| NEGRO AND
The first Negro slaves
were introduced into the New World (1501-03) ostensibly to labor in the
place of the Indians, who showed themselves ill-suited to enforced tasks
and moreover were being exterminated in the Spanish colonies. The Indian
Negro intermixture has proceeded on a larger scale in South America, but
not a little has also taken place in various parts of the northern
continent. Wood (New England's Prospect, 77, 1634) tells how some
Indians of Massachusetts in 1633, coming across a Negro in the top of a
tree were frightened, surmising that; 'he was Abamacho, or the devil."
Nevertheless, intermixture of Indians and Negroes has occurred in New
About the middle of the 18th century the Indians of Martha's
Vineyard began to intermarry with Negroes, the result being that "the
mixed race increased in numbers and improved in temperance and
industry." A like intermixture with similar a results is reported about
the same time from parts of Cape Cod. Among the Mashpee in 1802 very few
pure Indians were left, there being a number of mulattoes (Mass Hist.
Soc. Coll., r, 206; iv, 206; ibid., 2d s., iii, 4; cf. Prince in Am.
Anthrop., ix, no. 3, 1907). Robert Rantoul in 1833 (Hist. Coll. Essex
Inst., xxiv, 81) states that "the Indians are said to be improved by the
mixture." In 1890, W. H. Clark (Johns Hopk. Univ. Circ., x, no. 84, 28)
says of the Gay Head Indians: "
Although one observes much that betokens
the Indian type, the admixture of Negro and white blood has materially
changed them." The deportation of the Pequot to the Bermudas after the
defeat of 1638 may have led to admixture there. The Pequot of Groton,
Conn., who in 1832 numbered but 40, were reported as considerably mixed
with white and Negro blood, and the condition of the few representatives
of the Paugusset of Milford in 1849 was about the same (De Forest, Hist.
Inds. Conn., 356, 1853). Of the Indians in Ledyard we read: "None of the
pure Pequot race are left, all being mixed with Indians of other tribes
or with whites and Negroes."
Long Island presents another point of
Indian-Negro admixture. Of the Shinnecock on the south shore, Gatschet
in 1889 (Am. Antiq., xi, 390, 1889) observe "There are, 150 individuals
now going under this name, but they are nearly all mixed with Negro
blood, dating from the times of slavery in the Northern states." Still
later M. R. Harrington (Jour. Am. Folk-lore, xvi, 37, 1903) notes the
occurrence in many individuals of both Indian and Negro somatic
characters. These Shinnecock evidently have not been so completely
Africanized as some authorities believe.
The remnant of the Montauk in
East Hampton are reported by W. W. Tooker (Ind. Place-names, iv, 1889)
to be mixed with Negroes, though still recognizable by their aboriginal
features. The region of Chesapeake bay furnishes evidences of
Indian-Negro intermixture. The fact, pointed out by Brinton (Am. Antiq.,
ix, 352, 1887), that the list of the numerals 1-10 given as Nanticoke in
a manuscript of Pyrlaeus, the missionary to the Mohawk, dating from
1790, is really Mandingo or a closely related African language,
indicates contact or intermixture.
Of the Pamunkev and Mattapony of Virginia, Col. Aylett
(Rep. Ind., U. S. Census 1890, 602) states that there has been a
considerable mixture of white and Negro blood, principally the former.
Traces of Indian blood are noticeable, according to G. A. Townsend
(Scribner's Mag., no. 72, 515, 1571), in many of the freeborn Negroes of
the east shore of Maryland. According to Mooney (Am. Anthrop., iii, 132,
1890), "there is not now a native full-blood Indian Speaking his own
language from Delaware bay to Pamlico sound," those who claim to he
Indians having much Negro blood.
We find not only Indiana-Negro intermixture, but also
the practice of Negro slavery among the Indians of the south Atlantic
and Gulf states. The Melungeons of Hancock County, Tenn., but formerly
resident in North Carolina, are said to be "a mixture of white, Indian,
and Negro" (Am. Anthrop., ii, 347, 1889). The so-called Croatan of North
Carolina and Redbones of South Carolina seem to be of the same mixture.
The holding of Negro slaves by the tribes of the Carolinas led to
considerable intermarriage. There has been much Negro admixture among
the Seminole from an early period, although the remnant still living in
Florida is of comparatively pure Indian blood. Of the other Indians of
Muskhogean stock the Creeks seem to have most miscegenation, fully
one-third of the tribe having perceptible Negro admixture.
In the time
of De Soto a "queen" of the Yuchi ran away with one of his Negro slaves.
Estevanico, the famous companion of Cabeza de Vaca, the explorer, in
1528-36, was a Negro, and the importance of Negro companions of Spanish
explorers has been discussed by Wright (Am. Anthrop., iv, 217-28, 1902).
Of Algonquian peoples the Shawnee, and the Chippewa of Minnesota, etc.,
furnish some cases of Indian-Negro intermarriage, the fathers Negro, the
The Canadian Tuscarora of the Iroquoian stock are said
to have some little Negro blood among them, and Grinnell reports a few
persons of evident Negro blood among the Piegan and Kainah. Some of the
Indian tribes of the plains and the far west have taken a dislike to the
Negro, and he often figures to disadvantage in their myths and legends.
Marcy, in 1853, reports this of the Comanche, and in 1891 the present
writer found it true to a certain extent of the Kutenai of south east
Nevertheless, a few cases of intermarriage are reported
from this region. The Caddo, former resident, of Louisiana and east
Texas, appear to have truth Negro blood, and on the other hand it is
probable that many of the negroes of the whole lower Atlantic and Gulf
region have much of Indian blood. Lewis and Clark reported that some of
the north west Indians, for mysterious reasons, got their Negro servant
to consort with the Indian women, so much were they taken with him.
According to Swanton the richest man among the Skidegate Haida is a
Negro. In the Indian Negro half-breed, as a rule, the Negro type of
features seems to predominate.
The relation of the folklore of the
Negroes in America to that of the American aborigines has been the
subject of not a little discussion. In regard to the "Uncle Remus"
stories, Crane (Pop. Sci. Mo., xviii, 324-33, 1881) and Gerber (Jour.
Am. Folk-lore, vi, 245-57, 1893) assume the African origin of
practically all these myths, and hold that such borrowing as has taken
place has been from the Negroes by the Indians. Powell (Harris, Uncle
Remus, introd., 1895) and Mooney (19th Rep. B. A. E., 232-34, 1900)
entertain the opinion that a considerable portion of the myths in
question are indigenous with the Indians of south east United States.
The latter points out that "in all the southern
colonies Indian slaves were bought and sold and kept in servitude and
worked in the fields side by side with Negroes up to the time of the
Revolution." The conservatism of the Indian and his dislike or contempt
for the Negro must have prevented his borrowing much, while the
imitativeness of the latter and his love for comic stories led him,
Mooney thinks, to absorb good deal from the Indian. He also holds that
the idea that such stories are necessarily of Negro origin is due
largely to the common but mistaken notion that the Indian has no sense
Handbook of American Indians, Frederick W. Hodge,1906
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