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North Florida Indians, Scott Sewell

 

Interviewee: Scott Sewell, North Florida Indians

Airtime: Saturday December 27th 3:00-5:00pm CST

Introduction: Author, researcher, historian, Tribal Member. Scott Sewell. Scott is currently concluding his MBA and will be moving home to N Florida, where he will continue his studies at the Doctorate level. Christopher Scott Sewell was born in New Bern, North Carolina. He holds a degree in Sociology from Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma. He has worked extensively as a contract researcher in the field of Southeastern populations, and has been involved in Native American rights issues for twenty years. He has recently moved home to Pensacola, Florida. He is publishing a new title soon with Backintyme Publishing, The Belle’s of The Creek Nation. Scott is highly involved with his community and the preservation of their traditional Native culture. Scott hosts

The Authors, both descendants of the Hill family, have worked together on research projects for twenty years documenting the history, culture and identity of North Florida’s Indian people.

Co-Author: S. Pony Hill was born in Jackson County, Florida. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from Keiser University, Deans List, and Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society member. He was previously a contract researcher for federal acknowledgement grants through the Administration for Native Americans and several tribes including the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee in Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation, and the Sumter Band of Cheraw Indians (SC). He specializes in southeastern Indian archival research and ethno history. He is the author of Patriot Chiefs and Loyal Braves, available online and the recently released book Strangers in their Own Land: South Carolinas State Indian Tribes.

Associates; The Apalachicola River Indian Community Conference, Porch Creek Indians, Creek Nation, MHA, Backintyme.biz, (please mention all the groups you are interested in and or participate)

  • Other Publications: North Florida Indians, Dominiker Indians Org http://www.dominickerindians.org/
  • North Florida Indians:

Airtime: Thursday Dec 27th 3:00-5:00pm CST

Show Line Up & Talking Points:

Introduction: Author and historian

Associates; MHA, Backintyme.biz,

History: North Florida’s Mixed-blood Indian People, Rediscovery of a Forgotten People

In the early 1800s, dozens of Siouan-speaking Cheraw families, including Catawbas and Lumbees, fled war and oppression in the Carolinas and migrated to Florida; just as native Appalachicola Creeks were migrating away. Being neither Black nor White, the Cheraw descendants were persecuted by the harsh “racial” dichotomy of the Jim Crow era and almost forgot their proud heritage. Today they have rediscovered their past. This is their story.

Familial/Tribal: Creek Eastern Siouan Cheraw Indians, generally located in the panhandle of Florida. Please give us also any related groups (Porch Creek, Redbones, Brass Ankles, etc) in which we can establish a surname connection locally or by association later (Mt Tabor Community), etc.

Genealogy: The Apalachicola River Indian Community Conference is a non-profit community-based tribal organization that works for the political, social, legal, and spiritual welfare of the Creek/Eastern Siouan Cheraw Indian people in the panhandle of north Florida. Its focus is to foster tribal cultural identity and unity, documentary historical research into our origins and history, and provide venues for communication, awareness, and growth. We are the descendants of the Indian people who lived in the 3 settlements whose history is documented in the “Our History” part of this website. These are surnames in our community:

Ammons, Ayers, Barnwell, Bass, Bennett, Bird, Blanchard, Boggs, Brown, Bullard, Bunch, Bryant, Brooks, Chason, Chavis, Conyers, Copeland, Davis, Doyle, Goins, Hall, Harris, Hicks, Hill, Holly, Ireland, Jacobs, Johnson, Jones, Kever, Laramore, Linton, Lollie, Lolly, Long, Lovett, Mainer, Martin, Mayo, Moses, Oxendine, Perkins, Porter, Potter, Revell, Rollin, Scott, Simmons, Smith, Stafford, Stephens, Sweat, Thomas, Whitfield, Williams.

These are surnames that are of documented Indian descent, there are several more families who are considered by our community members as a part of our people who may or may not be of Indian descent.

 

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Historically, our people lived predominately in 3 small settlements, Scott Town in Jackson County, Scotts Ferry in southern Calhoun County, and Woods across the Apalachicola River in Liberty County. These communities were similar to many of the Indian settlements in the Carolinas and most of the ancestors of the Indian people in the Florida settlements migrated to the panhandle originally came from Union and Sumter Counties in South Carolina and Robeson County in North Carolina, during in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Most of the Native American ancestral stock of the Florida Creek-Cheraw communities is from the Lumbee and Catawba, both Eastern Siouan-speaking Cheraw. There is a great deal of information located at www.dominikerindian.org website concerning further history of the Dominikers.

Founded by Absalom and Jacob Scott in the early 1800’s, the Scotts Ferry community prospered until the 1860’s when the settlement faced persecution under the racial miscegenation laws of the Jim Crow Era, a situation which would last until the desegregation of American society a century later. A similar situation confronted the related families from the Scott Town settlement in Jackson County, and to a lesser degree the Hill, Oxendine, Jacobs, and other Indian families at the smaller Woods Settlement. The people of these communities would constantly have to fight prejudiced local authorities and institutional racism to maintain their identities, as documented in the hundreds of documentary records which identify these persons race as “Indian”, from dozens of court cases and school board records, military enlistments, and tax records.

With desegregation and the end of prejudiced Jim Crow race laws, most Indians in north Florida were able to secure a place in the newly emerging southern social scene. But once again, the imposition of OUTSIDER’S definition of community members identity caused the same individuals who often had to fight the “mulatto” label growing up to have to now fight being considered “White” since as a tribal group the Indian people never had a reservation in Florida.

In the 1970’s, the emergence of the “instant-Indian” fad occurred in response to the Indian Claims Commissions award of a few hundred dollars in reparation for millions of acres seized illegally from the Creek Nation during their removal to the west in 1832. The idea of “Indian money” led to tens of thousands of southerners with a small amount of Indian blood and who had lived as White through the dark century of Jim Crowism to suddenly become reborn “Creek Indians”. Meanwhile, many of the families of the panhandle’s settlement Indians continued the daily struggles of life as Indian people in a white/negro southern social paradigm. Often referred to as ‘Dominickers, Redbones’, and other pejoratives by the dominant White population, the schools for the communities were funded as Colored, though only the Indian children attended. There was little improvement in the standard of living for many of the fuller blood families such as the Scott, Porter, Copeland, Jacobs, Oxendine, and Hill families until the 1970’s and access to more opportunity.

Historical Accounting: From the historic record about the Indians of north Florida, to document some of the racial realities our ancestors faced in the centuries of struggle in the Jim Crow South.

“The free negroes in this county are mixed-blood, almost white and are intermarried with a low class of whites – Have no trade, occupation or profession they live in a settlement or Town of their own their personal   property consists of Cattle & Hogs, They make no produce except corn &   peas & very little of that, They are a lazy Indolent & worthless race.”

-1860 Federal Census of Calhoun County narrative concerning Scott’s Ferry

“There are men who would knife us out of having our own school saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are of white and Indian blood…”

“Some of the forefathers claim there was no negro blood, but there was Indian blood. This, we are unable to substantiate by any official records.”

Important People in your tribal community through history:

Future Goals: Only recently has our ongoing research revealed the full extent of the intensity of social struggle on the legal, social, and political scenes by the community’s leaders, elders, and past generations. Our research over the last 20 years has revealed much of our little-known history, that of a the distinct American Indian people who have refused to be absorbed by the larger mainstream populations and who remain a unique and vibrant people today, the “People of One Fire”.

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