Native American and Black Connection Honored

August 8, 1999

Source: The Boston Globe

On August 8, 1999, The Boston Globe reported that 200 people attended a powwow on August 7th in Canton, Massachusetts. The powwow, held on the lawn of the Trinity Episcopal Church, honored the connection many African Americans have with Native Americans. Rev. Vernon Carter, a Black man with Wampanoag roots, organized the event to heighten the awareness of the "duality that goes unrecognized in the black community." Carter billed the event as the first powwow in New England of Blacks who have Indian heritage. William L. Katz, author of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, wrote that because many Indian tribes took in large numbers of escaped African slaves to protect them from bounty hunters, "almost every African-American family has an Indian branch in its family tree." The history of the connection between the two peoples has been nearly impossible to track down because written records were not kept on the births of Native American children until 1934.