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More Blacks are exploring the African-American/Native American connection

 

By Sherrel Wheeler Stewart
BlackAmericanWeb.com

 

About 15 years ago, a group of blacks attending the Silver Star Pow Wow in California decided to go out into the circle and dance together in an intertribal dance. Almost immediately, they felt a bond, said Don Little Cloud Davenport, leader of the Black Native American Association.

“There was something special about that moment,” Davenport told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “We are under the philosophy that you can’t be a whole person unless we acknowledge all that we are.”

William Loren Katz, author of Black Indians and a nationally noted expert on the subject, estimates the number of blacks with Native American ancestry to be 90 to 95 percent of blacks in America. You can see the features in blacks from Michael Jackson and Lena Horne to LL Cool J and Frederick Douglass, he told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Both Davenport and Katz say that in recent years, a growing number of blacks are acknowledging their Native American ancestry and studying to gain more information.

“In the 1960s, many knew of their Native American ancestry, but they did nothing about it. They felt that to acknowledge it would be to deny their African heritage,” said Katz, a native New Yorker who has been studying African-American history and writing about it since 1967.

Famed poet Langston Hughes in a phone conversation told Katz he thought there was an interesting story to be researched and written on black cowboys. His studies of that topic led to studies that resulted in Black Indians, published in 1986.

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