Author Topic: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians  (Read 88867 times)

Offline BlackWolf

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MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« on: November 20, 2010, 12:19:42 am »
The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians is a State Recognized Tribe in Alabama.  The conversation about them was originally brought up here.

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=2987.0

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What’s also interesting is that of the 3,960 enrolled members of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, only 40 of them have documented Indian Ancestry.  And strangely enough, those 40 were not even deemed to be descended from the group of Choctaw Indians that they claim to be descended from.  I guess this would be explained by proposing that the Indian Ancestors because of discrimination didn’t have records.  But that wouldn’t really explain why no single Indian ancestor could be found in any previous generation.
 

With that said, The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians based in Mississippi, (A LEGITITIMITE FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBE), who ARE descended from Choctaws that stayed in the East, have substantial documentation of who they are, and they faced discrimination by racist white southerners.
http://www.choctaw.org/

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2010, 12:22:50 am »
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But the findings go further than that on page 14, by stating that in many cases, "Indian ancestry is disproved".  I’ve also found some articles in particular on this tribe saying that DNA test was done on over 300 of their members, and in virtually every case, no discernable American Indian ancestry was found.  The findings did show evidence exclusively of African American and White ancestry.  
“In numerous cases, evaluation and Verification of the petition's genealogical claims to Indian Ancestry indicated that persons described as American Indian By the petitioner, and claimed on the petitioner's list of “Known Indian Ancestors" were clearly not of American Indian Ancestry”.

This link here is for the entire 186 pages of the “Proposed Findings against Federal Acknowledgement of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians.  The researchers and BIA genealogist did exhaustive research on the Tribe, and could find virtually no evidence of Indian ancestry for the majority of its members.  Tribal Rolls were not the only thing that was searched.  The BIA proposed findings shows that searches were done on numerous other documents, including Tribal Rolls, censuses, historical records, court documents etc., etc., and virtually nothing was found to confirm Choctaw or even Indian ancestry in the vast majority of cases.

PROPOSED FINDINGS AGAINST FEDERAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE MOWA BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS
http://www.bia.gov/idc/groups/xofa/documents/text/idc-001636.pdf
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 07:30:39 am by BlackWolf »

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2010, 12:24:53 am »
Of the 3,960 enrolled members at the time of the findings, only 40 of them had documented Indian ancestry, and strangely enough, these 40 weren’t even documented to the Choctaw people that the Tribe claims to be from.  The evidence shows these people are of African American and White ancestry.

In 1976,a Doctor William S. Pollitzer did a genetic study on 324 members of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians.

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Physical measurements and observations suggest predominantly White ancestry, and D2 analysis confirms this, with least similarity to Indians. Analysis of serological traits implies almost 70% White, almost 30% Black, and very little Indians genes. Few defects of clear genetic etiology were discovered. Growth patterns judged from X-rays appeared normal. All genetic loci testable were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium except Gc. While history and some common surnames suggest endogamy in the past, the medical and serological findings, plus some additional surnames, indicate that the isolate has already been largely diluted or dissolved.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/888930

In numerous cases, evaluation and Verification of the petition's genealogical claims to Indian Ancestry indicated that persons described as American Indian By the petitioner, and claimed on the petitioner's list of “Known Indian Ancestors" were clearly not of American Indian Ancestry.

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 02:09:17 am »
Another interesting thing about this group is that many of their members claim descent from other Tribes such as the Cherokee, Chickasaws, Creeks and Mescalero Apaches.  Not surprisingly however, the overwhelming majority of these claims could not be substantiated.

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The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians was duly incorporated in 1979 with its tribal office located in McIntosh and purchased their first 160 acres of land in south Washington County in 1983. They adopted the name “MOWA Choctaw Indians” to identify the Indians in Mobile and Washington Counties who are descended from several Indian Tribes: Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee, Mescalero, and Apache.
http://www.aaanativearts.com/choctaw-indians/index.html


Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 02:11:33 am »
Claims of Apache heritage can also be found in the BIA findings.  If you go to page 101, or 131 of page 186 of the BIA findings.


http://www.bia.gov/idc/groups/xofa/documents/text/idc-001636.pdf

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MOWA claims that-Lizzie Sullivan's father was an Apache that was imprisoned at Mt. Vernon Barracks in washington County during their stay prior to removal to Oklahoma. The Apaches were at Mt. Vernon Barracks from 1887 until 1894. Evidence for this is -a statement of Lizzie's sister, as recorded in an -extract of an oral interview.

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Though the Apaches had interacted with the local population, there is no documentation to support the theory that any child was born of Apache parentage other than between the Apaches themselves. The interpreter, who married an Apache woman and removed to Oklahoma had the only recorded Apache birth. The oral interview extract cited stated that the person had heard from Lizzie's sister that Lizzie’s father was an Apache named "Rye", but that he didn't know for sure. This was hearsay and not supported by any documentation. Several in-depth studies of this theory all have concluded that no Apache offspring could be found remaining in the washington County, AL. Thus, it is highly improbable that Indian ancestry could be claimed through any of the Apache who had been at Mt. Vernon.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 01:17:51 am by BlackWolf »

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2010, 02:52:23 pm »
In the Southeast racial classifications of American Indians, blacks, and mulattos were sometimes classified together and overlapping, and this explains why many people today believe they are of Choctaw heritage, when in fact their ancestors were actually Mulattos, or of mixed black/white ancestry. The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians is a good example of this.

Also, after going through some of the Choctaw applications for the Dawes Roll, the situation appears eerily similar to a lot of the same things that went on with the Cherokee applications for the Dawes Roll.  And specifically false claims of heritage.  While it is true that there were at least some rejected Choctaw applications of people who were genuinely of Choctaw heritage, most rejected applications appear to be for false claims of Choctaw heritage. 


Here are some excerpts from the book, After Removal: The Choctaw in Mississippi edited by Samuel J. Wells and Roseanna Tubby.

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By the time the official Choctaw Nation rolls were ordered closed on March 4th, 1907, some 25,000 personas had applied for identification as Mississippi Choctaw, but fewer then, 1,700 had been accepted.  Thousands of Blacks, Whites, and mixed bloods had been denied identification, P 21.


Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2010, 03:10:19 pm »
After Removal: The Choctaw in Mississippi, edited by Samuel J. Wells and Roseanna Tubby.  Parts of this book can be found at Google Books.
http://books.google.com/

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Although the would be claimants before the commission included more indigent whites and blacks then Indians, about 300 full bloods were eventually identified and removed at government expense to Indian Territory in 1903, Page 21.

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In 1908 the Choctaw council had warned that many non-Choctaw, including “Mexicans, Creoles, Dagoes, and Indians of other Tribes,” were claiming to be Choctaw in order to obtain a portion of the tribal funds that still remained after allotment, p 21.

What’s interesting about this book is that it explores the reality of “Authentic Choctaws”, who stayed behind in the East, did not move to Indian Territory, and suffered a harsh existence surrounded by a hostile racist society, yet there is a substantial body of evidence proving their existence.  The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians can easily prove their existence as a historic Indian Community.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 03:13:53 pm by BlackWolf »

Offline Cetan

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2010, 08:14:42 pm »
I believe the Mississippi Band requires 1/2 BQ for enrollment

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2010, 10:03:26 pm »
I believe the Mississippi Band requires 1/2 BQ for enrollment

I believe your right Cetan.  With that said, The issue with the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians isn’t how high or low their BQ’s are, but as to whether or not they ACTUALLY HAVE A CHOCTAW BQ.  The BIA document actually discusses this, and states that the MOWA Band is not being rejected on the issue of minimum BQ’s, or of being mixed with Black or White ancestry,  BUT for a combination of reasons, including NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER of Indian ancestry, and NO EVIDENCE of being an Indian community.  

With the Mississippi Band, it’s their right to decide on a minimum BQ, or lineal descent, as does any Federally Recognized Tribe have that right.  People who don’t have the minimum ½ Mississippi Choctaw BQ, but COULD document their ancestry, would have legitimate claims of having Choctaw heritage, but not of being legally Choctaw.  Something that virtually none of the enrolled members of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians can do.  And that is provide any evidence at all of their Choctaw heritage.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 10:05:05 pm by BlackWolf »

Offline educatedindian

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 03:02:29 pm »
In the Southeast racial classifications of American Indians, blacks, and mulattos were sometimes classified together and overlapping, and this explains why many people today believe they are of Choctaw heritage, when in fact their ancestors were actually Mulattos, or of mixed black/white ancestry. The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians is a good example of this.


I see this constantly, when students of mine have vague stories of NDN ancestors. I have to tell that for most white southerners, it was a way for the family to hide that they likely had Black ancestors, something most regarded with shame and was usually illegal at the time.

About the claims of Apache/Choctaw babies at Mt Vernon barracks, this was among the most heavily documented groups, ever. There was quite a media circus surrounding their imprisonment and every single Apache in the group was under heavy guard. The chances of a child being born with no one knowing about it are pretty slim.

Also amusing how they thought Mescalero and Apache were two separate tribes.

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2010, 06:35:52 pm »
In the Southeast racial classifications of American Indians, blacks, and mulattos were sometimes classified together and overlapping, and this explains why many people today believe they are of Choctaw heritage, when in fact their ancestors were actually Mulattos, or of mixed black/white ancestry. The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians is a good example of this.


I see this constantly, when students of mine have vague stories of NDN ancestors. I have to tell that for most white southerners, it was a way for the family to hide that they likely had Black ancestors, something most regarded with shame and was usually illegal at the time.

About the claims of Apache/Choctaw babies at Mt Vernon barracks, this was among the most heavily documented groups, ever. There was quite a media circus surrounding their imprisonment and every single Apache in the group was under heavy guard. The chances of a child being born with no one knowing about it are pretty slim.

Also amusing how they thought Mescalero and Apache were two separate tribes.



That’s right.  And this can all be explained if one examines the historical context of the times.


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Any assumption of ethnicity on the basis of census data from a single year (or any other single document) may err. Determining the ethnic identity of any family labeled free people of color (or f.p.c.) on any record invariably requires exhaustive research in the widest possible variety of resources. This is especially so when treating the large number of southeastern families who traditionally paint their family tree red rather than black[b/] (Mills 1990, 264).10

Tracing Free People of Color in the Antebellum South: Methods, Sources, and Perspectives.
National Genealogical Society Quarterly 78(4): 262-278.



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Development of Alabama Miscegenation and School Segregation Law., l.2;5:2-l.927. A prerequisite for understanding the development of any southern ethnic group whose ancestry includes antebellum free persons of color requires an understanding of the legal conditions which prevailed at various time periods and the social relations which resulted, in part, from the legal status. Understanding these circumstances makes it possible to comprehend the motives; which led the members of such groups to claim Indian rather than African ancestry or, in cases where both components were present, to emphasize the Indian rather than the African ancestry.



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Prior to the Civil War, the restrictions which Alabama placed upon free persons of color were by no means uniform. Neither we’re they logically consistent. Over a period of approximately 80 years, from 1852 to 1927, there was in Alabama a steady movement to a stricter legal definition of what made! a person "Negro." After the Civil War, Alabama law was apparently interpreted to mean that prohibitions against interracial marriage applied to persons of African descent. but not to persons of Indian descent. The earliest record of: possible Choctaw ancestry for Rose (Gaines) Reed took place in the context of a trial in which a white man was accused of miscegenation for having married one of her granddaughters.


P 24 of BIA DOC.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 06:41:58 pm by BlackWolf »

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2010, 01:41:46 am »
Just like the MOWA Band’s claims to Mescalero Apache heritage turn out to be unsubstantiated, the same goes for virtually all of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians claims to Cherokee Heritage.  No evidence was found to substantiate these claims

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NANCY FISHER Cherokee "..mother of Cecile Weatherford full blood Cherokee -G.M.Roll # 17392

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MOWA claims that Nancy Fisher was a -Cherokee Indian (full-blood). MOWA also claims Nancy was the mother of Cecile Weatherford. Proof of this claim is documented by -Guion Miller Roll #17392

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Guion Miller Application #17392 of Mrs. Iorinda Reed of Fairfax, AL, was taken when she was age 75. She stated her father was a weaver, b.  Georgia, and mother Seceil [sic] Weatherford  b. Tennessee; that her father died in 1889 and mother in 1858. [Other applications state that both Nancy and Cecile died in 1849/50.J She stated that Cecile's father was Wm. Weatherford and mother was Nancy Fisher. She stated that she was descended from Cherokee Indians because her mother Tiney Cesile and grandmother, Nancy (Fisher) Weatherford told her so. Her application was rejected because she was not Cherokee, but it was placed in the Creek file because of the Weatherford name. There was no documentation that Nancy Fisher was Cherokee, or that Cecile was a WeatherfordThere is also no documented  connections to David Weaver and CecileMany present-day MBC descend from this family.


BIA Doc, 116

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2010, 12:43:26 am »

In 1850, there actually were a few Choctaw families living in Mobile county Alabama.  However, unlike the overwhelming majority of the descendants of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, the Authentic Choctaws were classified as Indians on that Census.  So the question is why were they classified as Indians, but the MOWAs ancestors were classified as Mulatto, white and black?

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In 18S0, the few known Mississippi Choctaw families residing in Mobile County, Alabama, were classified by the census takers as "Indian," whereas members of the MBC families were classified as "Mulatto" (U. S. Census 1850s).


Another strange phenomenon is that the evidence shows that a large number of MOWA’s ancestors applied to the Dawes Rolls and Guion Miller Rolls as Cherokees.  This can be found in the records of rejected applications.  This is pretty strange since they are claiming to be a Choctaw Tribe.

In addition to the fraudulent claims to Cherokee, Choctaw, and Mescalero Apache ancestry, MOWA Choctaw claims to Houma and Creek ancestry either have not been proven, or  in many cases, have  been disproven. 
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The claim to Houma ancestry was based on oral tradition only, and is contradicted by documentary evidence :( ~ pertaining to the supposed Houma woman


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MOWA claims that Molly Starland, b.  1849 was the -daughter of Jesse Starland, who was -Houma from LA. Documentation comes from - "oral history”



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The "oral history" was an extract of interview. Starland was not a Houma surname, never appearing in documented Houma genealogical material. Molly married a Byrd in the 1890's. On the 1900 Census, Mollie (Stallings) Byrd said she was born in July, 1855 In Alabama; her father born in GA; her mother in FL. From this assorted data, it seems highly unlikely that Molly was of Indian extraction. MBC-

Nor were their claims to Creek ancestry substantiated.
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DANIEL REED Creek -Son of Hardy Reed  and Eliza Tarvin - Wooddwards Remin. -oral history

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MOWA claims that their ancestor, -Daniel Reed is the son of Hardy Reed and Eliza Tarvin, -was a Creek Indian. Documentation provided by MOWA was from -Woodward's Reminiscences, written in 1859, and-Oral History.


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Thomas S Woodard’s Reminiscence does not mention anything about Daniel or Hardy Reed. The oral history was an extract of an oral interview taken in 1978 just prior to petitioning for acknowledgment.  In those histories, no one mentioned that Hardy Reed was the father of Daniel.
Documents provided by MOWA as part of their petition put Daniel's origins in doubt.  Some histories stated he was from Texas, some from Jamaica, and some just did not know•,
There was no documentation or reason to believe that Daniel Reed was the son of Hardy Reed, nor that he was an Indian.
Many documents show otherwise.

P 112

Offline tuschkahouma

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2010, 05:46:35 am »


     Halito, chim achukma okla api homi? Sa hochiffo ut Mike. Sa okla ut chahta okla hannali. Chahta imanumpa ish anumpuli hinla
     ho?  translated: hello are you well indian people? my name is Mike. My people are six towns Choctaw. Do you speak Choctaw?
     I am a non federally recognized Choctaw/Biloxi descendant who has learned to speak the Choctaw language since 1998.
     My ancestors are Brelands, Byrds, and Shepards who were rejected by the Dawes Commission in Oklahoma and still
     given blood quantum numbers.

     I'm 1/32nd Choctaw and 1/32nd Biloxi Indian. My ancestors resided in Greene and Perry County, MS. This is only fifty or
     sixty miles northwest of the Mowa Choctaw Community. The European side of my ancestry arrived in this area from
     the Carolinas in 1800. The Choctaws were mostly still in the area for 25 or 30 years. The Biloxis had gone mostly
     to LA amongst the Tunicas, Houmas, and Choctaws there after the defeat of the French in the French and Indian War.
     Tribes like the Pascagoula, Biloxi, Pacana, and Koasati went LA and later Texas as the Americans came into this area
     in the South. The way the conversation about the Mowa people is going here bothers me. It's obvious that no one here
     has read, "They Say the Wind is Red" by Jacquillene Matte. There was also a book called, "And the Waters still Run" that
     deals with numerous state and federal tribes from New England to Louisiana including the Mowa people. Geronimo's
     people spent seven years here and I've met Apache descendants in the Mowa community. A child of Geronimos  attended
     Carlisle Indian School and died there. He is buried in Mobile AL. Like many communties along the coast the Mowas absorbed
     Creeks, Cherokees and some Apache ancestry from the POW's. In comparison the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of LA has Avoyel,
     Taensa, Ofo, and Choctaw ancestry amongst it's enrollees and was still BIA recognized in 1980. The late Vine Deloria
     Jr wrote the forward for the They Say the Wind is Red book. He signed my copy and said the Mowas were the real deal.
     In contrast a caucasian appearing Cherokee BIA OFA Director Lee Fleming told the Mowas the BIA was done with their petition
     and they'd have to go to Congress. Even GOP wingnuts like Richard Shelby supported the Mowa people in the past.
     In conclusion a little reading goes a long way even for people who claim to be educated. Please research before you judge someone.










Offline BlackWolf

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Re: MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2011, 02:27:17 am »
I’ve read ALL of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians counter arguments that were recorded in the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs Hearings on June 26th, 1991 in regards to their Federal Recognition, and I’ve also read Jacqueline A. Matte’s testimony.  That was her opportunity to make her case.  She states that Indians were counted as black or white after the Civil War “because Indians were not supposed to be there”.   There is no evidence to support that the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indian’s ancestors were Indians neither after the Civil War, before the Civil War, nor at any other point in time.  

As I pointed out before, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians ancestors, and Authentic Choctaw descendants that aren’t necessarily enrolled in one of the Federally Recognized Choctaw Tribes can document their Choctaw ancestry back for generations on many other documents besides censuses.  Even if this happened to be the case with the MOWAs, this does not explain why no evidence whatsoever going back over 200 years can substantiate any of their claims to being a Choctaw Tribe, an Indian Tribe or to being Indians.  The evidence clearly shows who their ancestors were, and they were not Indians.   Many of them believe they are of Indian heritage because of the oral story that was passed on to them in their family.

With that said, their BIA Denial was not based on one single factor such as a census, but based on a combination of many, many factors, all of which suggest that the overwhelming majority (or 98%) of the members of the Mowa Band of Choctaw Indians are neither Indians nor of Indian descent.  All of the evidence clearly shows these people are descended from whites, blacks, and Mulattos: Descended from people who in some cases were described as Cajans, Cajuns, Creoles, or Creoles of Color in some of the historical literature.  Some of their ancestors may have  claimed Indian, Choctaw, or Cherokee because of various Anti Miscegenation laws and other laws in place in Alabama and the Southeast at the time, and claiming Indian worked to their advantage, or as educatedindian pointed out,
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for most white southerners, it was a way for the family to hide that they likely had Black ancestors, something most regarded with shame and was usually illegal at the time
.

I also suggest you read Origins of the MOWA Band of Choctaws: A Critique by Jonnie Andrews Jr.

As far as Richard Shelby, the US Senator from Alabama goes, he is a Senator from Alabama, and will do what he can to help and support his constituents.  He also testified at that hearing.   He cited the fact that they (the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians) got funding from Federal and State sources, and that that was some sort of proof that they are recognized as Indians.  Just because a Tribe is State Recognized and gets some sort of funding from the Federal or State Government is meaningless.  Just because a Governor signs a piece of paper recognizing a club as an Indian Tribe to bring in Federal dollars is also meaningless.  



tuschkahouma said

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Geronimo's people spent seven years here and I've met Apache descendants in the Mowa community. A child of Geronimo’s attended Carlisle Indian School and died there. He is buried in Mobile
.

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that supports the claims that any of the MOWAs are descended neither from Apaches nor from Geronimo.  What evidence do you have of this?

This theory was investigated in depth and can be found in the BIA document.

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MOWA claims that-Lizzie Sullivan's father was an Apache that was imprisoned at Mt. Vernon Barracks in Washington County during their stay prior to removal to Oklahoma. The Apaches were at Mt. Vernon Barracks from 1887 until 1894. Evidence for this is -a statement of Lizzie's sister, as recorded in an -extract of an oral interview
.

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Though the Apaches had interacted with the local population, there is no documentation to support the theory that any child was born of Apache parentage other than between the Apaches themselves. The interpreter, who married an Apache woman and removed to Oklahoma, had the only recorded Apache birth. The oral interview extract cited stated that the person had heard from Lizzie's sister that Lizzie’s father was an Apache named "Rye", but that he didn't know for sure. This was hearsay and not supported by any documentation. Several in-depth studies of this theory all have concluded that no Apache offspring could be found remaining in the Washington County, AL. Thus, it is highly improbable that Indian ancestry could be claimed through any of the Apache who had been at Mt. Vernon
.

educatedindian said

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About the claims of Apache/Choctaw babies at Mt Vernon barracks, this was among the most heavily documented groups, ever. There was quite a media circus surrounding their imprisonment and every single Apache in the group was under heavy guard. The chances of a child being born with no one knowing about it are pretty slim
.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 02:20:00 pm by BlackWolf »