Date of Award

11-28-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Women's Studies

First Advisor

Denise A. Donnelly, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Elisabeth O. Burgess

Third Advisor

Joseph B. Perry

Abstract

Historical interconnections between Native Americans and many people of African descent in America created a group of Black Indians whose lineage continues today. Though largely unrecognized, they remain an important racially mixed group. Through analysis using qualitative feminist methodologies, this thesis examines the history and analyzes the narratives of African-Native American females regarding their racial identity and political claims of tribal citizenship. Their socialization, which includes kin keeping, extended families and the sharing of family stories, allows them to claim native ancestry because of the information usually passed down to them from mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other family members. Their culture and identity revealed that Black Indian women have particular attitudes regarding their racial identity. I conclude my investigation with the suggestion that Native and African American studies can be instrumental as an alternative method of studying American race relations and the ways race intersects with gender in the formation of identity politics.

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