I need help finding out my Indian Heritage

I first found out about my Indian heritage around 1995 during conversations with some elderly aunts and uncles. As far back as I can remember into my childhood, my parents never mentioned their Indian ancestry. It was only after my parents had died and I started working on my genealogy that I started asking questions. My mother's siblings told me their mother had told them about having Indian ancestors, but they didn't recall her discussing it in any detail. One younger (in her 70s) aunt said she recalled her grandmother telling stories about their Indian relatives, but remembered no details. My aunt did recall that when she was in grammar school the children were asked to stand and tell something about themselves at the beginning of the school year. She told me she had proudly stated "My daddy's from England and my mama's an Indian." When I mentioned my Indian ancestry to an aunt on my father's side after he and his siblings had all died, she told me that my dad's grandmother had told her about having Indian heritage. After several years of genealogy work, the only definite thing I know of the land of origin of my ancestors is that my maternal grandfather came from England as a child. The rest of them are still in the U.S. as far back as I've yet been able to trace them. I have found no indication that any of them were recorded as being Indian, which is not unusual for southeastern Indian people. Many have only oral family history to go on. Despite this lack of documentation, a Cherokee man honored me a few years ago when he commented about me: "He may not yet have found his Indian ancestors, but they surely have found him."

My Indian Heritage detail 1 by ChaoticatCreations on deviantART

My Indian Heritage by ChaoticatCreations on DeviantArt

My Indian Heritage detail 2 by ChaoticatCreations on DeviantArt

After moving to the U.S., I was introduced to Western classical music through the public school system. In high school, I had the opportunity to take my first Music Theory class. What was supposed to be theoretical part-writing exercises turned into compositional experiments for me and thus sparked my passion for creating music. I am enthralled by the possibilities of integrating aspects of the Carnatic style into the Western music idiom. Thus, I draw from my Western musical training and my Indian heritage to create my compositional language.

Beautiful! | My Indian Heritage | Pinterest

Although November was not designated as National American Indian Heritage Month until 1990, I grew up knowing about my Indian heritage by hearing stories from my mother, who was born to a French...

Proud of my Indian heritage | Faces | Pinterest
Lehenga Choli | My InDian HeriTage | Pinterest

Tracing my Indian heritage is what got me started at Ancestry

Although November was not designated as National American Indian Heritage Month until 1990, I grew up knowing about my Indian heritage by hearing stories from my mother, who was born to a French woman from Quimper and an Indian descended from Chief Black Hawk. I and my Sac and Fox cousins didn't play cowboys and Indians growing up. We played at "taking back our land and restoring our nation." We imitated our ancestor who tried to do that in 1832, giving the future President Abraham Lincoln his only battle experience during the Black Hawk War.

We knew we were playing, however, because like so many of those who had gone before us, not only had the names of Indian places and people become destinations and football team names, the people had become assimilated, too.

It's a fact of life.

After warring with people, we all begin to become "one", even though some insurgents take longer than others to understand this rite of passage. Or, as we jokingly said of ourselves, "our Indian blood had become polluted." For instance, the Lenni Lenape, better known as the Delaware Indians, had assimilated long before William Penn came to Philadelphia on his ship, "Welcome."

However, when my grandfather, Wapahmak -- Dark Shining Object on Still Water -- took me fishing or watched me play football, I knew the eyes of my ancestors were upon me. When we played at war and performed stunts, such as diving through windows, climbing rock walls, swimming in cold springs, catching fish with our hands and holding onto electric fencing, we knew we were testing ourselves.

My Indian grandfather did the same but it wasn't play. He was a deep-sea diver in World War I and a ship fitter in World War II and then he built radio towers outside of Philadelphia. Indian men always wanted to prove themselves, but when war ends, they take jobs considered too dangerous by many.

Before that, my grandfather attended the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania -- founded by Capt. Richard H. Pratt in 1879. There my granddad played football with his cousin Jim Thorpe. So, even though Pratt's effort to take the Indian out of the Indian had, in large part worked, my cousins, disbursed by marriage and opportunity from our tribal lands in Shawnee, Okla., still held on to both sides of our heritage.

And then, in 2002, I had the opportunity to be executive producer for the National Museum of the American Indian on the mall, near the U.S. Capitol. While my mom -- First Ray of Dawn, and granddad had both been given Indian names at birth, the museum experience gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my ancestors many years later.

I am of indian descent, however, I have no way of linking my indian heritage except to use DNA

My Indian heritage played no role in Harvard hiring

I would like some information on how to obtain proof of my indian heritage but am not sure how to go about finding this out. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I have been accepted to Immaculata University to obtain my Bachelors in Biology and pre veterinary so I can pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian.I am in need of financial help. Thank you! Caitlin Chellew

I appreciate being able to exercise my faith as a Christian while maintaining my Indian heritage

My Indian heritage is Yokuts and Pomo

The more I read, the more I realized that being Indian is an integral part of my identity. I am not exaggerating when I say that Midnight's Children made me feel Indian for the first time. I have always been proud of my Indian heritage, despite being a Malaysian national. Yet previously the idea of being Indian never really appealed to me. I was a Malaysian, and I hardly paid attention to what was going on in a land my ancestors left half a century ago. My parents felt the same way: India, they felt, offered them nothing. In fact, they were sick of India; they felt corruption and other social ills were rife there, and they had no wish to expand their ties. As I became more aware of my cultural heritage, I tried my best to explain to them why I felt Indian, but they just laughed it off, saying that in time I would realize that India is nothing but a distant land.