The Northern Shenandoah Valley Local Affiliate Group has been meeting via Zoom video/phone technology since the beginning of the pandemic. Many of our meetings continue to be virtual, with occasional “in person” gatherings. We invite you to join us for this special meeting on Thursday, November 30 when we will explore the topic of African Encounters with Native Americans in the New World!
Summary: Africans first came to the Americas as Conquistadores with the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries. This service would buy their freedom and entitle them to land as well when their service was complete. African Conquistadores (there were over 500 of them from the 15th Century to the 16th Century) led to Native American First Contact with African men. Many of these African Conquistadores intermarried with Native American women and their DNA would show up today as an 8th through 10th grandparent. Some Native American tribes make mention of the Spanish and African Conquistadores in their oral histories. 1619 was the first arrival of Africans to the Virginia Company (Jamestown and Massachusetts Bay Colonies) and African Indentured and later African enslaved people-the English and Dutch settlers found Africans to be gifted Linguists who translated for Native American leaders. Africans were always known as gifted linguists and interpreters even in Africa. “Black Indians” were free and escaped Africans integrated into Native American Tribes including the Powhatan Confederacy after crackdowns on people of color following Bacon’s rebellion. In the1690’s the threat of enslavement caused Africans and Native Americans to flee to the Great Dismal Swamp. In the 1700’s many Cherokee enslaved Africans. The enslaved people went along with the Cherokee during the “Trail of Tears”. Through several legal proceedings in United States and Cherokee Nation courts, the Freedmen descendants conducted litigation to regain their treaty rights and recognition as Cherokee Nation members. Finally, certain tribes are now pursuing DNA matches to try to locate separated tribal family, and they are intentionally seeking out “Black Indians” who were separated from the tribe either in the 1820s or 1920s.
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