My Father is a Native American, yet I have blond hair and blue eyes? (Real Native Americans Please Answer!)?

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  • #17813
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    I have peach-colored skin, dark blond hair, and blue eyes, like my mother. But my father and grandfather told me they were Cherokee Indians. I’ve seen my grandfather’s card, so I know it isn’t some weird idea they thought up to get money from the government (believe me, neither of them received a dime from anyone- they farmed for a living).
    Here’s my issue. The most important figure in my childhood, my grandfather, told me stories of Cherokee lore, taught me how to fish and hunt, and all sorts of Native traditions. I always heard about Kanati and other mythic figures, and the white buffalo, from when I was child. My grandfather practiced both pentecostal Christianity and believed (although he would try to hide it) in shamanism. Considering he was born in the 1920’s I very much doubt new age airs played a role in his thought. When he died, my uncle performed the rite (we also had the seven days of mourning mentioned- but since I didn’t believe in anything at the time- I didn’t pay much attention and I was distraught enough as it was).
    Here’s my issue. I was born in the South, and my mother’s family (Scotch-Irish) were, like a lot of older people in that region, staunch segregationists. I felt as though I was being forced to play up to two groups that were battling for my identity. They would put down my father’s family as “white trash,” and my father’s family would make comments about “whites” in general. I know I have problems for even caring, but lately it has been on my mind. I have two questions:
    1. Is it possible that I was just adopted? My dad and his siblings resembled medium-skinned Mexicans, my grandfather looked like a white guy with Indian features, and my mother was nordic looking. Is it possible for my father to have produced a son that was blond? Aren’t those traits recessive?
    2. I’ve thought about trying to learn the language, read up on the myths, visit the reservation, etc, but I’ve noticed a lot of people online talking about “Pretendians,” and “Wannabes.” I don’t want any formal membership/benefits/etc., but I would like to go to pow wows and give money to charities that help real natives. I’d also like to teach my daughter, who phenotypically resembles me, about one side of her origins (if in fact I was not adopted after all.) Does all that make me a “Pretendian?” I want to avoid that. I’m a Roman Catholic and not interested in new age mess. I would like to watch ceremonies though. I’ve been watching them online and they take me back to better days.
    Should I get some kind of dna test or do you think Native American people would want to get to know me without one? I don’t ever want to be seen as fake, but it is true that Native American culture played a big part in my youth, even if it was just some hoax played on me. Am I “mixed European/Indian?” Does being a descendant of a Cherokee make me an Indian period? Am I just a confused honkey? Help?

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  • #351558
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    Your father is Cherokee, period. Genetics are weird – people come out randomly looking like a combo of their parents, looking just like one of them, or looking like they might be adopted. Don’t worry too much about your skin and hair color – you understand the culture, seem to like learning about it, and you seem proud of your heritage.
    That said, you might want to do the DNA test thing, just so you’ll know. But remember that it’s just a measurement – true culture comes from your values and views of the world.

    #351553
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    My grandmother grew up on a reservation and married an irish man. My father looks very white, his brother looks very native american, but it is not as if one of them is less native american than the other.

    #351552
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    Acceptance seems to be on your mind, knowing is the other issue.
    I agree with having the dna testing done, but only for your own peace of mind, not as proof.
    I am white, but adopted Cherokee. I do not play being native american, in my own heart I know I am one, just happen to have white skin. Some accept that, others don’t.
    Be yourself, accept who you are and just move foward with that. there will always be people that accept you and don’t, no matter what race.
    RW

    #351531
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    I think that if your grand-father was really a Cherokee , you surely carry a Y-DNA Native American..but you’re physically white.

    #351505
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    if your grandfather was enrolled in one of the 3 cherokee nations, then why aren’t you? get your documents together and go to the tribal enrollment.
    then stop worrying about what you look like. have you seen some of the cherokees lately?

    #351496
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    Well I’m in your boat…almost. 1/4 Native, 1/4 Irish, 1/8 Greek, 1/8 Macedonian, 1/8 Belarusian, 1/8 Maori. Now, from that lineage, you’d think I’d be dark, right? Nope. Blonde hair, blue eyes, just like you. Growing up, I didn’t have much cultural influence in the home whatsoever. Doesn’t mean I can’t accept and implement it now. As an adult, it’s my choice. I consider myself just as much Native as I do Irish as I do the other ones, and honestly hope and expect that others will see me that way too. (which quarter of me is Native anyway? my left leg? Which half of you is Native? Left or right? lol) As a previous poster said, I do think a dna test might be a good idea, but only to settle personal concerns. As far as whether you are or not, it wouldn’t matter so much. You do sound like you have only good intentions at heart, and that’s all that matters. I don’t understand why you might not want to be enrolled, however. It’s up to you though. I don’t think you’re a “Pretendian” if you truly do want to learn about and implement that side of your culture (btw in my book “Pretendian” refers to someone who says “Yup, I’m Native, isn’t that cool? I don’t want to know anything further, but I’m going to parade that fact around anyway”). Being 50% Native 50% Scots-Irish doesn’t make you any less of either one unless you turn away from one or the other on purpose, so don’t base your decision of learning about the language, read up on the myths, and visit the reservation, etc, on what people would think of you. If you LIVE your heritage, then you ARE your heritage. It’s not about what you are, it’s about who you are.

    #351487
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    Your not alone. It happens, genetics are wierd. Your what we call a wonderbread NDN. Looks white but all the wholesome goodness of brown (different from a wannabe who is white and wants to be brown)

    #351483
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    it happens.
    SKINS are known by their actions.
    NOT by they’re coloring,
    NOT by their blood quantum.

    #351479
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    My Grandma is Cherokee- and being partially Indian doesn’t make you just Indian period unless you have a card that proves you’re part of a tribe or you want to claim that as being your race. Technically, you’re mixed European and Indian. And by the way, if you’re half Euro- why is it so shocking that you have blue eyes and blonde hair? Lol although those traits are recessive, they don’t just disappear.

    #351448
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    You need your ancestry & genealogy done. Birth certs, death certs, family records,etc. Screw the dna tests. We don’t pay that any attention, and it will not tell you tribe, anyway. Plus…it’s costly. Then contact the tribe. See if his family name was on the Dawes rolls. You must be able to trace the ancestry to the rolls. You have to be prepared first. Your genealogy is not their job.
    http://www.cherokee.org/
    http://www.nc-cherokee.com/
    http://www.unitedkeetoowahband.org/
    Do your homework. Don’t just give money away. Many powwows are run by non-natives for profit. Nothing wrong with free enterprise, as long as they don’t misrepresent. A powwow is NOT ceremonial…it is a celebration and a money-making venue as well. I know…I am a powwow artist/vendor.
    Also, you stated, “I would like to watch ceremonies though. I’ve been watching them online and they take me back to better days.”
    OK: you CANNOT watch ceremonies, unless you are invited. They are closed. PERIOD. We do not need to explain. When you say you’ve been watching them online, you are being duped. They are NOT REAL! Our spirituality is not open to the public, not on the internet and not for sale. Please, if you are serious about learning, stay away from private internet sites. They are often bs. You will not know the difference.
    Don’t sweat what you look like. I know many Tsalgi who look like you, or look black. So your mixed. Big deal.

    #326225
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    I am in the same boat as you. I often feel very conflicted when it comes to my racial identity because I appear to be White, with blonde hair and blue eyes, pail skin… but i am nearly a quarter Native American. My grandfather grew up on an Ojibwe reservation and moved closer to Minneapolis when he had children. I am told many stories from my mother about him having to go to a boarding school and my great grandfather having to give up his land to white men.
    Being “White” doesn’t stop me from identifying as Native American, though, because it is truly a part of me and is something I want to acknowledge and my kids to acknowledge. I definitely don’t think you need a DNA test, that won’t make a difference because it’s how you truly want to identify yourself as, and not what others tell you.

    #314808
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    I’m also blond haird blue eyed and fair skinned, but my grandfather is full blood Cherokee, my father is half Cherokee and my mother though mostly white has Indian blood as well, my dad was dark skinned with brown eyes and black hair, my mother is fair skinned but brown eyes and hair. I look nothing like either parent other than features such as an Indian nose cheekbones and facial shape. I’m told I look very much like my white grandmother. I’m still at least a quarter Cherokee, I can prove it on my fathers side, I have my great grandfathers roll number. I wasn’t lucky enough to be raised with much culture from either side of my heritage, but I am still Cherokee. I’m learning the language, teaching it to my children. I’m getting in touch with what I feel in my heart. I think you are just as Cherokee as anyone on a reservation and I think it is sad that the people we belong to would shun us because we aren’t dark or fail to embrace us when we want to learn about a part of us that we feel is important.

    #287257
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    If you’re in fact part american indian then you should go and learn about your culture. I am one quarter indian, the rest white, but I look native( dark hair, dark eyes, dark tan skin). I know alot of guys that look white but are actually half ndn. The worst thing for a white man to do at a powwow is to start bragging about their heritage when they look white. They’re not going to take you seriously and blow you off as if your a pretindian. What you should do is sit down and talk with tribesmen and casually bring up that you are part native and be sincere about it. You should have pride in your culture, I’m cherokee as well and I love attending all our events!

    #268795
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    i am half native american i come from Cherokee and Cocteau , and black foot i know your pain man i used to look full white now its weird as i got older i changed to the native american look i look just like an idian but with brown black blonde hair mix weird and let me tell you genes are weird like that but you should get your family tree done or some sort of proof of your Indian decent and claim rights you can get allot of good benifis for it like your child could go to college for free when she grows up you could live on a reservation and you could even get a check in the mail every month for like 1500 dollars i hope this was helpful to you peace

    #262589
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    I think that to have DNA checked, you need to go thru the patriarchial line. Have a male in your family checked since the markers are on the Y chromosomes? So…your Dad or a brother could get it checked.

    #262411
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    SRY BUT FULL BLOODED CHEROKEE INDIANS ARE NOT BLUE EYED BLONDE HAIR ACTUALLY THAT WAS WHAT THE WHITE MEN WHO KILLED OFF THE NATIVES LOOKED LIKE

    #261790
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    uknow sound like you have some issues you may need to work through. Yes you can still be Indian and have blond hair and blue eyes. You may not be 100% but genetics are weird. My mother and father both have dark hair and I have very light blond. My childern all look like clones of me with blond hair and blue eyes. No thier dad does not have blond hair or blue eyes he is half black.So my childern are 1/4 black 1/4 indian 1/4 german and 1/4 irish. They all have blond hair and blue eyes so does that make them not part of the indian,black,irish or german people?

    #258704
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    I’m half Comanche/Apache/Aztec and half English/Irish/German. I have brown hair but am super-white with freckles and green eyes. I totally get your feelings-it was really hard growing with white skin and being on the reservations. I was teased a lot by the other kids and got rocks thrown at me for being too white. For the most part it’s just something that I carry within myself (proudly, of course). I hate to say it, but there can definitely be some prejudices against whities. I wish you luck and peace in your search for your heritage

    #258549
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    Well i think you should go through with the DNA test but like everyone else said just for you to know. But i feel your pain sorta i have blonde/dirty blonde hair (it’s finally starting to turn dark) , fairly tan skin with brown eyes. But growing up i had the blondest hair ever so it was hard. But my great great grandmother and grandfather were full indian and my father has dark brown hair and brown eyes , but his father had blonde hair. And my mother’s side has some indian but more to the irish side so atleast i know where the blonde hair came from. But my grandmother teaches me eveything she knows about the culture and people. But someday i do wish to go to a reservation and hopefully they can accept me.

    #256108
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    I am Iroquois, kanien:kaha’ka. I have full status and I have blonde hair blue eyes and fair skin. Some people will except you and some won’t because of the way you look. When I was younger this hurt me deeply, at times it still does. Sometimes felt like I was stuck in limbo between both sides of my family. I am a proud Haudenosaunee women and I know this in my spirit. If you begin your journey you will find what you are searching for.

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