Author Topic: Paula Underwood aka Turtle Woman Singing - Pretendian Author - Fake Iroquois "Historian"  (Read 11761 times)

Piff

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Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2016, 02:56:09 am »
Quaker.

Paula's father Perry Leonard Underwood was a Quaker, he and his parents and all grandparents are listed in the US, Hinshaw Index to Selected Quaker Records via Ancestry.com. I've worked back six generations or so from there, most everyone is Quaker, often in Quaker meeting house records.

Other researchers who have traced back further say these people came from England to Virginia. Lots of Quakers.

Paula's father divorced her mother by the time she was 8 or so. He died when she was 26. He was listed white in all 5 of the federal census he was documented in. And at least according to Quaker records, he was Quaker.

Yet Paula turned him into supposed Iroquois and one half of her "Tribe of Two" .

Paula Underwood Spencer also wrote a manuscript "Cherokee Ancestry  - Crews, Ellyson, Elmore, Saunders and related lines". This contains garbled stories from many people who insist they are Cherokee. The stories include a Cherokee Indian Princess, many orphaned children taken in by kindly Quakers, straight black hair,  etc.

I've figured out which ancestors Paula tried to attach this to, her people in the late 1700s.  Quaker.

Paula says those ancestors were by 1790 already "well integrated into an English/Cherokee - often Quaker society".

Her manuscript does not contain anything to point towards  even distant actual Cherokee heritage.She does mention in passing her supposed Oneida ancestors.

I think Paula's books and curriculum and stories are Quaker inspired. It would be interesting to compare her work with Quaker literature and theology.

Piff

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Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2016, 03:09:20 am »
I should add to the above that Paula could have distant NDN heritage, I just haven't found any sign of it, even in other people's family tree work and historical accounts.

Piff

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Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2016, 05:28:06 pm »
Paula Lora Underwood born 01 March 1932 originally was named Priscilla Loramarie Underwood https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2RD-5R5

Here she is in the 1940 federal census https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9WC-3VN living with her divorced mother, maternal grandmother, aunt, and brother.

In 1940 her divorced father Perry Leonard Underwood was living elsewhere 
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9ZJ-9RX

In 1920 her father Perry Leonard Underwood living with his parents

Name   P Leonard Underwood
Event Type   Census
Event Date   1920
Event Place   Des Moines Ward 3, Polk, Iowa, United States
Gender   Male
Age   19
Marital Status   Single
Race   White
Race (Original)   White
Relationship to Head of Household   Son
Relationship to Head of Household (Original)   Son
Birth Year (Estimated)   1901
Birthplace   Nebraska
Father's Birthplace   Illinois
Mother's Birthplace   Iowa

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDM7-9V2

His father (Paula's paternal grandfather) Oliver Perry Underwood in that 1920 census

Name   Oliver P Underwood
Event Type   Census
Event Date   1920
Event Place   Des Moines Ward 3, Polk, Iowa, United States
Gender   Male
Age   47
Marital Status   Married
Race   White
Race (Original)   White
Relationship to Head of Household   Head
Relationship to Head of Household (Original)   Head
Birth Year (Estimated)   1873
Birthplace   Illinois
Father's Birthplace   Illinois
Mother's Birthplace   Illinois

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDM7-9VV

Oliver Perry Underwood 1870 census with his parents

Name   Oliver Underwood
Event Type   Census
Event Year   1870
Event Place   Illinois, United States
Gender   Male
Age   7
Race   White
Race (Original)   W
Birth Year (Estimated)   1862-1863
Birthplace   Illinois, United States

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6W9-QNL

His father Silas Dinsmore Underwood in that census

Name   Silas Underwood
Event Type   Census
Event Year   1870
Event Place   Illinois, United States
Gender   Male
Age   38
Race   White
Race (Original)   W
Birth Year (Estimated)   1831-1832
Birthplace   Illinois, United States

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6W9-QNV

Silas Dinsmore Underwood 1880 census
Name   Silas J Underwood
Event Type   Census
Event Date   1880
Event Place   Georgetown, Vermilion, Illinois, United States
Gender   Male
Age   50
Marital Status   Married
Race   White
Race (Original)   W
Occupation   Farmer
Relationship to Head of Household   Self
Relationship to Head of Household (Original)   Self
Birth Year (Estimated)   1830
Birthplace   Illinois, United States
Father's Birthplace   Virginia, United States
Mother's Birthplace   Virginia, United States

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXKP-LWQ

Silas Underwood's parents were John Underwood and Drusilla Morgan http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=59848866&ref=acom

Perry Leonard Underwood is listed white in 5 federal census
His father Oliver Perry Underwood is listed white in 5 federal census
Oliver's father Silas Underwood is listed white in 2 federal census
Silas's father John Underwood listed white in 3 federal census and in 1 Illinois state census. He was a private in the War of 1812, Green's Regiment Mounted Infantry, Virginia Militia
John Underwood's wife, Silas's mother Drusilla Morgan listed as white in at least 3 federal census
Drusilla (Morgan) Underwood's father was Achilles Morgan: "They came from Virginia where they as a family were great Indian fighters." http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=19329427

These names all match Paula Underwood Spencer's stated genealogy. Drusilla (Morgan) Underwood is a main ancestor that Paula claimed was Iroquois, or was gifted with special Iroquois stories.

Paula at times referred to herself as "clan mother of the Turtle clan, Iroquois nation".


Offline WINative

  • Posts: 140
Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2016, 10:43:26 pm »
Paula Underwood is very good at double talk. In her book, "Franklin Listens when I speak," on page 9 and 100 she explain her geneaology and Native American connection.

She states "Many Oral Keepings have been handed down in my family from my Grandmother's Iroquois grandmother."
"I was told my grandfather Oliver Perry Underwood learned all this from his grandmother Tsi li Komeh."
"Tsi li Komeh learned from her mother Lame Deer, before 1810 in their Oneida community Caskaskia on the Shenango River."
"Lame Deer heard this from her father Skenandoah."

"Drucilla Morgan Underwood called Tsi li Komeh "My Indian Sister". Born 1778 and died 1891 at 113 years old.
"Tsi li Komeh was in Vermilion Co. Illinois when the Underwood's arrived from West Virginia (around 1825)"
"She healed their daughter from an apparently fatal fever."

And was rewarded by being allowed to live behind the main house and teach generations of her family "Old Things" and was rewarded by being adopted by the family and buried in an unmarked grave.

Skenandoah or Skenando means Deer Oneida, and was an adopted Oneida.
He had many children but none listed as "Lame Deer." Only time I heard that name was a Lakota medicine man.
There was no Oneida community in Caskaskia on the Shenango River. No such place.
Skenando lived in Oneida Castle NY, located in upstate NY. His family left New York beginning in middle to late 1820's for Wisconsin, so not likely a granddaughter wandered alone to Illinois at the same time they just began arriving near Green Bay, Wisconsin. .
All this information seems to be made up and romanticized about this Oneida connection.


Piff

  • Guest
Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2016, 02:28:59 pm »
Paula Underwood's daughter Laurie Spencer Roberts (birth surname Spencer, current married surname Roberts, prior married name Wallace) is a school psychologist "who has worked for 21 years on Native American reservations".

http://www.schreiner.edu/news/2015/news15-oct08-past-is-prologue.aspx

Offline WINative

  • Posts: 140
Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2016, 01:56:59 am »
Did anyone find a copy of Paula Underwood's Obituary anywhere? I could not

Piff

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Offline WINative

  • Posts: 140
Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2016, 10:45:51 pm »
No obituary? I guess she was trying to keep her parts of fraudulent life a secret until the very end.

Piff

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Re: Paula Underwood-Native American Author-Iroquois Historian
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2016, 10:19:19 pm »
"I profoundly resist the whole concept of 'authentic' - in part because anything that can be identified as a human tradition needs some flexibility of change so that it may learn and grow."

"The essence of being Indian, I would say, is to understand the Universe as a totality."

Paula Underwood (Turtle Woman Singing) in her book Three Strands in the Braid: A Guide for Enablers of Learning

In this book Paula identifies as a Native American author. She writes that her grandfather's grandmother was "a healer among her People, the Oneida of western Pennsylvania".


Piff

  • Guest
Thank you WINative for posting about this woman. I think we here are the only place online with necessary critical review of Underwood.

Paula Underwood received grants, attention, and acclaim. She gave speeches at DAR meetings, at Unity and Unitarian church events. She went on book tours. In 1996 her Past is Prologue business had 57 "certified trainers".

In 1987 she headlined, along with Jake Swamp, the Friendsville Festival to "spotlight contributions of the Iroquois Confederacy" (Cumberland Sunday Times, July 26, 1987)

Here she is at a 1988 event
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/12/us/washington-talk-briefing-the-first-constitution.html

Her tales of her father's supposed lessons are so contrived. She alternates between her father talking homespun "honeychild" talk with outright Tonto speak.

A librarian friend paged through "Franklin Speaks" and deemed it "hideous". I agree.

Paula Underwood's main patron was Jeanne Lamar Slobad. Paula refers to Jeanne in the acknowlegements in "Franklin Speaks" as "Enabler in Chief".

Part of Paula Underwood's poem "Spirit Identity":

"I am what I am
As all things are.
My right to be what I am
Unquestionable
Though questioned."

Paula Underwood claimed she taught "an ancient Native American methodology for learning, organization, and health".

Her daughter Laurie (Spencer) Roberts knows her family are white settlers  http://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Spencer-Family-Tree-9918 yet she continues with the family hoax business of book selling and workshops.

Piff

  • Guest
Paula Underwood contradicted herself often. In "Franklin Speaks" pg 95 is both "Fundamental accuracy is considered essential" and "From my perspective, it wasn't important whether Tsilikomah was Skenandoah's daughter or grand-daughter or even if she were a direct descendant.".

I'd wondered if there would be a strong Quaker influence in her stories, but actually the main themes are pretendian. She took her own actual genealogy, some history, modern psychology beliefs, and threw in lots of pretendian.

She said about her father's teachings: "In Western culture this is referred to as the Socratic method.".

In "Franklin Speaks" she says her Quaker paternal grandmother told her a story about a white ancestor John Howland. Paula says she later met someone else that knew this story and that this story shared shows specialness.

But the story of John Howland being saved from drowning is from "Bradford's history of the Plymouth settlement" from the late 1800s. It was eventually translated into modern English. Most anyone reading up on John Howland would come across this story.

Paula Underwood, a white woman, benefited from playing pretendian. She presented herself as a special individual, with special ancient knowledge.