The Cherokee Princess in the Family Tree

ACCESS PURCHASE
Students and scholars can access articles for free via Project Muse.

The Cherokee Princess in the Family Tree

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 3, No. 1: Spring 1997

"One form of 'race-mixing' that both black and white southerners have long viewed with unconcern or even with pride has been intermarriage (perhaps preferably in the remote past) with the South's Native American population."

One form of “race-mixing” that both black and white southerners have long viewed with unconcern or even with pride has been intermarriage (perhaps preferably in the remote past) with the South’s Native American population. Southern families from the First Families of Virginia to the Presleys of Tupelo, Mississippi, have believed themselves descended from Indian ancestors, and often boasted of it. Although fewer than 2 percent of southern residents responding to the Spring 1996 Southern Focus Poll replied “Native American” or “Indian” when asked “What race do you consider yourself?,” 40 percent said they had Indian ancestors when asked, 45 percent said they did not, and 14 percent didn’t know. Southerners are more likely to claim Indian ancestry than are nonsoutherners, only 25 percent of whom did so (66 percent said they had none, and 9 percent didn’t know). Residents of the South are now more likely to claim descent from American Indians than from Confederate soldiers (the Fall 1994 Southern Focus Poll found that only 22 percent did the latter).

RELATED CONTENT