Three very powerful words that stir up different emotions in different people. For the Native American and their ancestors, it is a set of words that starts with a pride, a pride deeply seeded in a people that for the whole of their existence up until 'white men' settled in, had been mostly a demure society driven only in the ideals of its people and its nations. Sure, some tribes had reputations for less than what now would be deemed civil moments in history.
I am not quite sure how savages and other terms such as this crept into existence when referring to Native Americans, I am a Native American/Caucasian person, but I do know that historically speaking no one race has really been a 'peaceful' race. They have all had their moments of unrest, disobedience by another groups standards, and yet when Native Americans are mentioned to someone, lets say someone in the UK (since my best friend is there and we do have these discussions), a picture of a savage riding on a horse and scalping people pops up. True, the media has had a lot to do with that, old westerns as well, but when someone truly delves into Native American history they were no more civilly disobedient or murderous or lawless than any other group of people living and moving about this nation at that time.
Why am I talking about the Native peoples? Well, our Genealogy business not only specializes in the photography of headstones that you see, but we do general Genealogy family searches from all walks of life, including UK (Go Ward), but most Genealogists find a 'specialty' a niche or two that they really hone in on and study and work with. One of ours, outside the headstones and cemeteries is Native Americans.
Why you ask? Well, in part because of where I was born and raised, the end of the Trail of Tears is less than 20 miles from here, the lands upon which this town, Poteau, this county Le Flore, are built were once part of Native lands promised by the government for those Native Americans involved in the removal processes from Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas. Millions of acres they left behind to come here to start over, in a land they did not know, nor did they really desire. Many tribes felt it inevitable so in the face of losing many, or losing the promise of lands, they against their hearts desires, came here. Many died along the way, many precious families had to leave their loved ones alone along a road, a stream, in a field or forest. Studying Native Americans you know just how important burial and being near your loved ones is, so that must have been very tormenting for them to experience.
Needless to say the promises did not unfold as they were told, no wagons to carry them, no horses, not much in the way of food or shelter, even upon arrival the things they were promised, even in the written treaties were not to be.
So, all that said, Gosh, I was on a rambling roll today, Andrea and I are doing family Genealogy for the Chiefs of the Native American Tribes that moved to Oklahoma. We are tracing back and forward as far as we can. We have the Chief Peter Pitchlynn (Choctaw) family 1674-present, we just completed the Chief William McIntosh (Creek) family 1758-present, we are working on Chief Secoffee-CowKeeper (Seminole) family. In the coming weeks we will work also with a Chickasaw and Cherokee family. We are coming across dozens of roll numbers, and families that might not be aware that they are in line for Native American Enrollment.
I will be photographing the headstones (Like the one below), of the families and the Chiefs themselves, as I am able to locate them.
If you or someone you know may have family associated with a Native American Tribe, or one of the families mentioned above, and would like to inquire as such, please have them contact us here, under the AA Genealogy Consulting tab above! We'd love to get more Native Americans connected with their pasts!
May I introduce,
Honorable Edmund McCurtain (soon to be on our list of families to trace)
b. 4 Jun 1842 d. 4 Nov 1890 at (Skullyville) Scullyville, Indian Territory (Oklahoma)
His life was devoted to the service of the Choctaw people, whom he served as Judge, Superintendent of Education, Principal Chief, and Senator.
He filled every office of honor or trust in the gift of the people, from Representative to Principal Chief. He was also a Delegate in Washington for 4 years. One half his life was spent in the service of his country and during all this time his actions were governed by as pure a patriotism as the Choctaws will ever know. While Superintendent of Schools he sowed the seeds of Education among his people that still blossom and bear fruit as long as his Nation shall stand. He deserves above all others to be called The Friend of His People. He was kind and generous as the brave only can be. When the years have come and gone and the Choctaws shall be few, this stone shall mark the place of one of the purest, bravest, and most patriotic sons of that Nation. If there be a place where the kind, the noble, and the honest, shall rest when life is ended, he will enjoy its happiness because he made so many happy on this earth.
(Epitaph across the white, mid section of his Headstone)