Africans and Native Americans: Black Indians Passing

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Far before passing became the act of crossing the socially constructed “color line” that separated European Americans from African Americans, Native Americans in the United States were passing as “colored” among black communities. Contact between red and black people was so extensive that Spanish law had prohibited marriage, as early as 1523, between Africans and Indians. The genetic blending of the two peoples weakened the control Europeans wanted over their slaves, and the instances in which Indian tribes housed black runaways are many. Furthermore, in some parts of Massachusetts the Indians that feared for their lives also took refuge in black settlements and identified as blacks. The feeling of Black Indians, nowadays, is that they must embrace all parts that make up their history, although risking to be considered inauthentic. Biracial recognition and the claiming of an identity that differs from the one drop-rule becomes a prerogative to a people who, otherwise, leave the entire ancestry of one of the parents out of equation.


Keywords: Racial Gender Crossing
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Renee D'Elia-Zunino

Lecturer, Department of Modern and Foreign Languages and Liteartures, University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

I am a lecturer of Italian at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I grew up in the province of Genova, North-West of Italy, and graduated with a Master in English Comparative Literature, achieving the license of Doctor in Modern and Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Genova. I moved to the United States in 1998 and I am a non-degree graduate student in the English Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I am interested in White Studies. I have published my work on whiteness in Reconstructing Societies in the Aftermath of War: Memory, Identity, and Reconciliation and my article on Myths of Whiteness in Italian Society is now in publishing.

Ref: D08P0074