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

 

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