Updated: Sep 16
Ancestral origins from four of the five civilized tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Creek) scattered around the southern end of what is now called the Appalachian Mountains and westward across Tennessee were quietly and very effectively suppressed by my family until my father began digging into the family tree a few decades ago. Why? Because whites marrying Indians was a criminal act in the olden days. Love apparently prevailed over white man's hateful laws, though, and such artificial boundaries were quietly, discretely breached by great great grandparents and great grandparents before those fear-fueled laws were finally rescinded. Branches of the family tree since have included still more ethnic mixtures only more recently considered acceptable–at least by people of any reasonable intelligence.
Some of my ancestors survived horrific diseases carried across oceans to this continent by some of my other ancestors from Europe and Britain who fought in Indian Wars so that some of the few survivors of those lopsided wars could then traverse and survive The Trail of Tears to continue making children in the region I sprang from and lived in for the first two decades of my life. But our family's mixed marriages were kept hush hush, all so that my grandparents and parents and siblings and I could come into this world legally described as "white" on paper, and oh what a privilege it has been to have lived so designated in the USA. If I had officially been categorized as Indian then I probably would have experienced life much differently as something considered subhuman by this grand nation's fucked up society and government borne out of obscene manifest destiny. By trickery, we became white enough.
Now I marvel at how my family managed to leverage deep love and stoic secrecy to beat the white man's sick ethnic exclusivities to foster happy, productive offspring which could grow up legally described as caucasian on official forms from birth certificates onward, as I have been until the turn of the century when I began more accurately writing in "mutt" as my ethnic classification on census forms. I revel in the knowledge of my mixed blood origins, no longer giving a damn how to legally describe myself. Mutt is appropriate. Mutt is just fine.
And everyone knows mongrels are smarter, healthier and much more genetically sound than any purebreds.