"Mixed Blood" Indians looks at a fascinating array of such birth- and kin-related issues as they were alternately misunderstood and astutely exploited by both Native and European cultures. Theda Perdue discusses the assimilation of non-Indians into Native societies, their descendants' participation in tribal life, and the white cultural assumptions conveyed in the designation "mixed blood." In addition to unions between European men and Native women, Perdue also considers the special cases arising from the presence of white women and African men and women in Indian society.
From the colonial through the early national era, "mixed bloods" were often in the middle of struggles between white expansionism and Native cultural survival. That these "half-breeds" often resisted appeals to their "civilized" blood helped foster an enduring image of Natives as fickle allies of white politicians, missionaries, and entrepreneurs. "Mixed Blood" Indians rereads a number of early writings to show us the Native outlook on these misperceptions and to make clear that race is too simple a measure of their--or any peoples'--motives.
Robert Conley begins his survey with Cherokee origin myths and legends. He then explores their relations with neighboring Indian groups and European missionaries and settlers. He traces their forced migrations west, relates their participations on both sides of the Civil War and the wars of the twentieth century, and concludes with an examination of Cherokee life today.
Conley provides analyses for general readers of all ages to learn the significance of tribal lore and Cherokee tribal law. Following the history is a listing of the Principal Chiefs of the Cherokees with a brief biography of each and separate listings of the chiefs of the Eastern Cherokees and the Western Cherokees. For those who want to know more about Cherokee heritage and history, Conley offers additional reading lists at the end of each chapter.