Friday, September 12, 2014

Cherokee by Blood, or by Myth ?

Myth : an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true.

I sure don’t know where the myth of Cherokee heritage aka Cherokee Syndrome came from, but it sure seems to be common back East. 
It’s turned into a ‘cliche’, usually in the form of “GGrandma was a ‘Cherokee Princess’. Too bad Cherokee’s didn’t have princesses. I hear the "GGrandma was a "Cherokee Princess" thing all too often. It makes me wonder, does this mean that there are no 'common' Cherokee women? Were they all princesses? 
Recently a blogger posted "The Collins and Gibson were Cherokee......... and in 2014 this is being backed up by DNA testing."

Which Collins and Gibson’s ? My 4th Great Grandparents were Collins/Gibson’s. I’d love to see the documents and DNA results to back that statement up. After all 'talks cheap'.

Was it the Collins/Gibson’s mentioned that wrote this tune ?........

My Collins' had an Indian 'myth' story. I once was talking with my Uncle Noel. We were talking about how our Collins’ were 'once Indians', a story I first heard from my Dad. I asked Uncle Noel "What Tribe ?", he answered "maybe Cherokee, that’s what people always say, but we really don’t know."

I have no reason to doubt this old family story. My DNA testing didn’t support it, but with a little digging by downloading my raw data from FTDNA’s Family Finder test to GEDmatch, I did find a small amount of Native American DNA. 
Between my small amount of African DNA and even a smaller amount of Native American DNA, it appears these admixtures go pretty far back in time. I estimate mid to late 1600’s to early 1700’s.
By my research, that pretty much leaves out any chance of any 'Cherokee Blood'. By using a time line and maps, this is how I have come to my conclusion.

My Collins line is well documented back to 1787 in Wilkes County, North Carolina. With that said, I can trace my Bunch/Collins Y-DNA line going backwards to Louisa County, Virginia, Bertie County, North Carolina, Hanover County Virginia, New Kent County, Virginia, to Lancaster County, Virginia.

Using the maps below, you can see where the Cherokee were in time (within the red lines), these are from the University of Georgia:

Cherokee territory pre European contact:

 In 1791, my folks were in Wilkes Co. NC.....

In 1838, my folks were in Floyd Co. KY.....

I'm more inclined to believe my families small amount of Indian blood came from one of these tribes, from a map from the Smithsonian Institute:

So, Cherokee by Blood, or by Myth ? Regardless, I'm not going to claim "Indian birthright", with a few drops of Indian blood, it would be a shame to throw all my other heritage under the bus, only a cretin would do that. I'm of mixed blood, and proud of all my heritage. My birthright is American......

That's my 2  cents......


  1. Excellent post! It's hard for folks to understand the difference between being a member and part of a modern tribe and having "some" native ancestry. I like to honor my ancestors but that doesn't mean I want to demand some sort of recognition, live on a reservation or live under tribal law. Just knowing is enough.

  2. Thanks Denise. I'm thankful for all my ancestors and heritage. I also respect the decisions that were made by my forefathers/mothers.