Indigenous geography: invisible history of tribes gets a hearing.

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Reynolds, Jerry. “Indigenous geography: invisible history of tribes gets a hearing.” Indian country today May 11, 2004.


Reynolds discusses one aspect of what he calls the invisible history of tribes: The relationship between Southeastern Native Americans and African Americans. He notes that Native Americans often took in, or in other ways helped support, runaway slaves; and Native Americans stayed behind or hid out (perhaps with the help of African Americans) during the Indian removals of the nineteenth century. Thus African American heritage exists among Southeastern Indians. Reynolds discusses an allusion to this history during the April 1, 2004 hearing in the House Committee on Resources on H.R. 898, a bill for federal recognition of the Lumbee. Rep. Eni Faleomavaega asked Lumbee attorney Arlinda Locklear if race had played a role in the difficulties the Lumbee have faced in obtaining true federal recognition. Locklear replied that this would be a fair assumption. Reynolds comments: “The exchange over H.R. 898, singular for content but remarkable also for Faleomavaega’s strained questioning and Locklear’s clipped answers, implied that mainstream America’s misguided romance with ‘real’ Indians and its historical distaste (to say no more) for African Americans still operates, though nowadays pains are taken to keep both below the visibility horizon. But at least a tiny patch of otherwise invisible history made it onto the Congressional Record April 1.”

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