by refixico

I was a 52 yr. old African-American, when I discovered that, I was really an African-Native American. This epiphany took place 14 years ago. Since then, my quest for identity has been featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s, book and exhibit, entitled: “indiVisible”: African-Native American Lives in the Americas. It’s a banner show, that has been touring the U.S. since 2009.

A few years ago, I submitted , a long held idea to , www.indianvoices.net, an online/on stand monthly newspaper, which is Published by, Rose Davis. My idea was to create a news entity , called the Bureau of Black Indian affairs.  A news column, designed to address some of the issues that affect: Black Indians, who only have Oral History to go on. Mr. William L. Katz, the Father of Black Indian Studies, in  the United States, was fully in favor of my idea and came on board with the full force of his incredible body of work. I suggested , that the BBIA be formed as a ,News Bureau, not as an  organization whose mission it was , to replicate what, the Official US Government’s ; Bureau of Indian Affairs has done, mostly for By-Bloods. It would report on the status of Black Indians. While, the 3 co-founders,  were Phil Wilkes Fixico, Rose Davis and Wm. L.Katz, Rose Davis, a Black Seminole, is carrying on with it. I take no part in the operation or management of the Bureau of Black Indian Affairs.

“What if you only have Oral History to go on”? I am saying that there is help out there and more on the way. My opinion on what one should do about their desire to explore their Indigenous Roots, when all they have is ,Oral History, is this. First of all, take my advice, enter upon this quest, for the right reason. In my opinion, that would be to advance one’s self culturally. That’s right, CULTURAL ADVANCEMENT ! Those people who are dreaming about, Indian Rights could fail to receive a rainbow of benefits. It will be unobtainable for people who only have Oral History. However, it is possible to find a legal link, if the correct documentation is available, Go for it and Good Luck !

Don’t give up. You can still win, even if the documentation never existed, if you appreciate the value that can be gained from : Cultural Enlightenment. I say these things because, I have, Walked the Walk. Also, because I am a staunch believer in : TRANSCENDANCE. Transcendance, is one of 4 responses, mentioned in Estelusti Marginality ,by Dr. R.V. Robertson.  Dr. Von Robertson is a Pan-Africanist Professor at Lamar University in Texas.  In his article, he discusses, the reaction of Black Indians , when By-Blood Indians reject their attempts to join Indian nations. The essay states that , Blacks usually respond in one of of four ways , they are called; Return- Blacks return to their own groups, Poise- “I know what I am ,whether By-Bloods accept me or not”, Assimilation- usually means overcoming the target groups non-acceptance to “fit in” and finally ,Transcendance- To rise above the rejection and what Black Indians feel is owed to them , by forming our own Indigenous-like groups. I have the necessary documentation and evidence linking me to a direct ancestor on the Dawes rolls. Yet, I have not applied for membership and I remain in solidarity with those who only have Oral History. I further believe, that anyone, who wants to Celebrate this culture, for cultural purposes shouldn’t hesitate to do so.

Finally, Native Americans make up about , 1.5 % of the US population and African-Americans represent ,about 12.5 %. My experiences lead me to believe that at least 60 % of African Americans, THINK that they have either Native American ancestry or Shared History. We (African-Americans), undeniably have the numbers, so why don’t we just start out using and enjoying the culture, on our own turf, while we work,  to create our own African-Native American groups. We can do this by beginning an all-inclusive, Cultural Renaissance similar to the , Harlem Renaissance , we would use , the African-Native American example as clearly exemplified for the world in, the Smithsonian Institution’s, book and exhibit, entitled; “indiVisble”: African-Native Americans Lives in the Americas.

All the Best, Phil “Pompey” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant,