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Native American Stories

Hardly a week passes that I don't receive an email from someone asking for information or confirmation of" Native American" in their family tree.

Even my own grandmother told me stories of this assumed fact, but the stories were never substantiated with any proof.

Because I get the question so many times, I am providing, here, my own "standard" response to the question.

French and Native North American Marriages 1600-1800 A book has been published, available at Amazon.com, (click on the image to go to Amazon) that amounts to a compilation of known mixed marriages between the French and the North American Indian population during the early settlement years. The author, Paul Bunnell, says himself, it "is not a perfect and complete collection" but it may help you to find your own ancestors.
 
...so...what exactly IS the bottom line here? The pat answer is..."I don't know".
I have, in the past, heard stories from family members but never had anybody offer up any proof. My great-grandmother, Malvina D'AOUST, I was told was "part Indian". I never doubted the story, but to this day, I've not uncovered any factual evidence either proving or disproving the allegation. I did find out that at some point, while living in Escanaba, Michigan, Malvina was somehow involved with teaching the Native American population at a school on a local Indian reservation. I don't know any more detail. It was in Escanaba she met, and married, my great-grandfather, Joseph Lachance.

As to the story that she had "Native American" blood, I was told that there must have been a mistake. That, in fact, there was a saying, in French, describing the "farmers from the Beauce region who emigrated to the US". The specific words in French, escape me but I recall it was something like "L'arrière de vos jambes sont noires". or is it "La revers de vos jambe sont noires"? It means something to the effect of - "the back of your legs are black". This was later determined to be a reference to the fact that Malvina and Joseph were poor dirt farmers from Beauce who left to go to Maine in search of opportunity - or maybe just to join his brothers who were already there.

Portrait of Sacajawea Once, on the History Channel, I had seen a special on the travels and exploration of Lewis and Clark. Here is where we find that Sacajawea, a now well-known Indian woman who influenced Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition to find the Pacific Ocean. She was kidnapped by a Hidatsa Indian war party in 1800 at the age of twelve and sold to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader who claimed her as his wife. They had two children, Jean-Baptiste Pompey and Lisette. It was here that I took pause to find out if Charbonneau was somehow related. Going backwards from Toussaint Charbonneau, it turns out that, in fact, we ARE related, 4th cousins six times removed. That doesn't mean I have Native American blood...it just means one of my blood relatives married a Native American (or at least, had children with one). My information about the marriage and the ancestors of Toussaint has come from multiple sources including the written histories of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In fact, Toussaint himself claimed that his own mother was Sioux, but I have not pursued this research.Top Of Page

 
I Have My Own Suspicions or theory
I suspect more than a handful of our Québeçois ancestors had children with the Native population, outside of Quebec, as many of our early ancestors were trappers. Perhaps they had a wife and family in Quebec during the short periods they were at home….but while they traveled across the vast continent doing their trapping, they met and married (or not) another (Native American) women unbeknownst to the family at home…all speculation of course…but we all know that the “male of the species” can be, how shall I say…”randy”. I can say that because I am one...a male of the species I mean.

The Indian story is a common thread we all share. I believe many of us with French Canadian ancestors have heard stories. I am included in that group based on the stories of my grandmother. I also suspect that finding Native American ancestors is a serious challenge based on the records kept by Quebec churches because they did not allow the "Indian" name to appear (except perhaps in the margins on occasion) and the male or female Indian would be baptized with a good French catholic name.

Dans le revers de la médaille - there is some evidence to support that on my Mom's BUSSELL side - she is descended from the Wampanoag in Barnstable, Massachusetts through the marriage of Mary "Little Dove" Hyanno or Iyanough and Augustine Bearse. Mary Hyanno was the daughter of John Hyanno, Sagamore of the Mattachee Indians of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I have only managed minimal research on this side.

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My Personal Characterics Experience
Native American Characteristics

I once met a man in the MFGS Library in Lewiston Maine, while doing research. He was, (without doubt) of Native blood. He approached me and asked if I came from "Indian" blood. I told him that I had heard stories but I had no proof.

When I asked him why he would ask such a question he told me that I had features common to that of a Native American; high cheekbone, high forehead, less than round eyes, etc.

He then told me that if my second toe was longer than my big toe, then it was almost certain. Actually, it is... my toe I mean. I’ve checked some other sources on that “story” and found that both Native Indian AND those of Roman descent, have a second toe longer than the big toe.

I have even had people from Asia ask me if I am Asian??? And in my "look-a-like" page, it is evident that I resemble a handful of Asian people, Deng Xiaoping for example.

All said and done, I still do not have documented proof of any Native American in my blood line and I have not set out to prove that this is a part of my heritage. I will not, however, rule out the possibility because I suspect it is, in fact, there someplace. With so many people having told the stories, there simply must be some truth in them.

I found a 9-page document from The WEYANOKE Association (click to visit) that I have saved to this website, "just in case". This document lists the information in the next column AND references some of its sources. Click to view this document.Click here to view this document

Once posted on the Cherokee Heritage Group at MSN.

Many people are surprised to find physical characteristics running in their family that may indicate they are descendants v of Native Americans. These characteristics are all, alleged to be based on medical studies.
 High Cheekbones where glasses set high on the face and get all smeary on the bottom of the lens.
 Almond shaped almost oriental looking eyes?
 Lazy eyes in children.
 Heavy "fat" eyelids appears to have an extra fold.
 A melanin (pigmentation) in the back of the eye on the retina peculiar to Native Americans.
 "Shovel" teeth, the teeth have a ledge on the backside. Run your tongue across them, they feel almost like a shovel.
 Large front teeth with a slight or more than slight gap.
 Lack of the Carabelli cusp on the maxillary first molars, which is missing in Native Americans.
 Large heavy earlobes.
 Crooked fingers particularly the little finger or pinky.
 An inverted breastbone. Often called a Chicken Breast. The bone actually makes an indentation in the chest.
 Little toes that lie under the next one.
 A second toe longer than the big toe.
 A wider space between the big toe and the second.
 An extra ridge of bone along the outside of the foot.

I have these characteristics! I am sure there are many more out there that have them as well. Stanford University is alleged to have assisted in this research. If these facts are proven accurate, it might be a whole new world for many of us.Top Of Page

Links to other places with information on the subject 
From the Wynkoop Family Research Library at Rootsweb, here is another page about "characteristics"
  Reconnecting with your American Indian Heritage from the Native Languages.org website-  
  Quite a lot of information can be found at the Metis Culture & Heritage Resource Center  
  If you are looking for a Mailing List/Group Forum, The METIS list is at RootsWeb - lots of Franco / Native American Activity going on with this group.  
  From Access Genealogy an entire section is devoted to Native American Indian Genealogy  
  From USA Gennet and Clackamas County Oregon, there is also a lot of information to be gleaned.  
Today Is April 16, 2014 - This page was last reviewed or updated 416 day(s), 2 hours ago.
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