Indgenous Southern Woman

For Haibun Monday at dVerse. Frank Tassone is the prompter. He wishes us to write about indigenous – “What does Indigenous mean to you? Is it your culture? Is there a time and place that speaks to you about the Indigenous? Or is there an experience of time and place that marks it as your own indigenous moment?”

Indigenous Southern Woman
“The truth is nobody can own anything. That was an unheard-of concept among indigenous people. We invented that.”  Tom Shadyac

A few years ago, I did one of those DNA test thingies. The results did not surprise me. Being a physical anthropology major, I knew of course, physical characteristics of Native Americans, particularly those from the Southern East Coast. My little fingers are crooked. I already had the making of a chef’s hands before I started. Another physical characteristic is hidden behind the teeth, a ledge that gives the teeth a shovel appearance. An inverted breastbone is also common, a trait that leaves an indentation in the chest; it is sometimes called a “chicken breast.” All of their unique characteristics are due to genetic mutations that have been passed down through the tribe over thousands of years. Modern DNA analysis has allowed these traits to be traced and tracked and can help to identify those with Cherokee or other Native American blood.

It was discovered that I am 28% Native American including the tribes of the NC Coast: Lumbee, Sappony, Meherrin Occaneechi, Waccamaw tribes. I am also descended from very early English Settlers. They were part of the pirate contingent who raided the coast and pillaged and some of them settled here, on the NC coast, in about 1640. In fact, some of the folks on the barrier islands speak with old English accents and use their words. My family has always been watermen and farmers – and pirates. That is where I get my love of the land, the seasons, the trees from. The rest of the DNA test revealed mostly English, specifically the east coast of England. I follow the seasons, respect the earth, and try to walk gently upon it. I was taught this by my family.  We all in our family believe in the lessons the earth has to teach us.
southern woman
born of tribes and pirates
lover of the seasons

 

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sarahsouthwest
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 16:32:55

    We are all one family, really. We shouldn’t forget that. We’re all a jumble when it comes down to it.

    Reply

  2. kanzensakura
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 16:57:26

    Yes. But arguably the indigenous people have no connection to European peoples. It is an accident of birth that I am connected. I am very proud of my heritage woth indigenous peoples. Plus.the pirates! Lots of British pirates!

    Reply

  3. Frank J. Tassone
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:03:01

    Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    A beautiful account of your own indigenous experience, Toni!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:09:02

      Thank you Frank. You are of Portuguese descent? Are you from the Azores?

      Reply

      • Frank J. Tassone
        Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:20:46

        Actually, my wife is Portugese, born in the Tras os Montes region, in the the North of Portugal, along the Galician Spanish border. I’m an Irish-Northern European-Italian mutt, adopted and raised by a first-generation Italian-American father and a four-generation Irish-American mother.

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:28:38

          I understand. I know most of the Portuguese people in Massachusets come from the Azores. Nothing wrong with being a mutt. Most of us Americans are. I am particularly proud of my pirate heritage, lol.

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          • Frank J. Tassone
            Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:38:18

            Yes, the Azores are not far from MA. the flight time is about 4-5 hours. And, of course, many of the Portugese from the Azores were fishermen! 😉

            Reply

            • kanzensakura
              Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:42:29

              Yes they are. I worked with a bunch of crazy lobster and fisherme when I did summer cheffing on Provincetown. Good food and crazy (in a wonderful way).

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  4. Glenn Buttkus
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:24:03

    28%, wow, you could apply for your Indian rights…whatever they are. Ancestry.com has changed my life too. I love your haibun, and your personal connection to the prompt. My indigenous DNA comes from the eastern steppes of Asia, perhaps the real First People, who came across the land bridge in the Bering Straits before anybody else settled the Americas.

    Reply

  5. Rob Kistner
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 17:44:55

    Beautiful soul you express here Toni. Your vision of balance with the earth is one I share. I am a mongrel bastard taken in at an orphanage, and then by a family, the father of which was a remarkably kind, generous, and loving man. No idea of who my parents are, much less my ancestry. Don’t really care, nothing to be gained in knowing — I only look forward. If any of my children ever want to know, they can investigate. Really excellent writing here!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 14, 2019 @ 18:28:24

      I think most of us want to know. It isn’t a matter of not looking backward, of looking forward, it is a matter of looking, period. My family had always suspected and wanted to know for sure. I have been told I could apply for Native American Rights. My answer to that? I don’t need no stinking government to give me any rights. I get my rights from the sky, the stars, the earth. I know several people who were adopted, and all by amazingly kind people. I like knowing that I am descended from various tribes and pirates. The best part? Being able to go arrrrrrr and mean it!

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  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 18:05:13

    Nice sentiments no matter where such values came from.

    Reply

  7. rivrvlogr
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 18:59:59

    Fascinating, with a true connection to nature. Nice.

    Reply

  8. memadtwo
    Oct 14, 2019 @ 19:33:22

    I like the way all the lines converge into you. (K)

    Reply

  9. lifelessons
    Oct 15, 2019 @ 00:23:41

    Fascinating. Your DNA search revealed more specific details than mine did.

    Reply

  10. calmkate
    Oct 15, 2019 @ 08:24:47

    we should all live like this, well written!

    Reply

  11. rothpoetry
    Oct 15, 2019 @ 10:48:47

    You have a very interesting heritage.

    Reply

  12. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Oct 15, 2019 @ 15:16:33

    I have not investigated my own… but I know long back we all probably have African roots… but it’s interesting to know what paths we might have walked.

    Reply

  13. msjadeli
    Oct 15, 2019 @ 20:27:24

    I love everything about your poem, Toni. Congratulations on your indigenous heritage discovery. Not sure I need to know what mine is, and I don’t want any DNA samples of mine floating out there. I wonder if they can be anonymously?

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 15, 2019 @ 21:16:59

      I don’t know. The sample is a small bit of saliva. I was assured that samples are kept private slthough some some companies do make results available to law enforcement agencies for yhe solving of cold cases or who share with people looking for relatives. I am totally not into that.

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