Afro Native Narratives
Jihan Gearon on Blood Quantum in Indian Country (HD Video)
This interview is about Jihan Gearon of Diné (Navajo) and African American heritage, and the Executive Director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition and an aggressive advocate of Indigenous Peoples rights and environmental justice as well as an active organizer, speaker, and writer on these issues.
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Since the time that Christopher Columbus began the slave trade in the Caribbean, enslaved Africans looked towards the indigenous Native tribes of the America’s for refuge. From these unions a singular identity was formed that was distinct from its parents, being both African and Native. These groups were marginalized at higher rates than their parents and have been virtually wiped from historical records and were forced to choose a side or have one chosen for them. Once the slave trade made it’s way to the Americas, that refuge became a necessity for both Native and enslaved Africans. Both races intermingled and married into and adopted each other’s culture.
After time, due to racist lawmaking policies, Afro Natives came to be less acknowledged and accepted and some neglected one side or the other to avoid being singled out. Black Natives who have persevered are proud of their heritage and their traditions. Most continue to embrace their culture and continue to carry on their traditions, and passing them on through generations.
Note: African Native American or Afro Native? People who call themselves “Black Indians” are people living in America of African-American descent, with significant heritage of Native American Indian ancestry, and with strong connections to Indian Country and its Native American Indian culture, social, and historical traditions. Black Indians are also called African Native American people, Black American Indians, Black Native Americans and Afro Native Americans.
Afro Native Narratives is an interactive documentary film project by Macha Rose, Michael Santiago and Adrian Heckstall in partnership with I Love Ancestry. that explore and assist in the preservation of Afro Native Identity through the mediums of portrait photography and video documentary. Credits: Macha Rose – Director/Producer – Michael Santiago – Photographer/Producer – Adrian Heckstall – Producer