Thursday, December 11, 2014

Native American Indian Phenotype Variety

Sonya Braxton By Sonya Braxton

Article cover image

When the European came to our land they found physical variety among our people and in comparing region by region no two tribes were the same in culture, beliefs, or even phenotype.

The European caste system has caused confusion and bias pitting Native against Native. To believe that within our whole hemisphere there was no variety among our people is to believe the lie that the European has been brainwashing our people with for the last 522 years. 

We have dark-skinned Native American Indians as well as light skinned Indians. We have Natives with dark eyes, light eyes, dark hair, and light hair, straight hair, and curly hair. Dark does not always mean black, and light does not always mean white. No one tells the dark skinned curly haired aboriginal people in Australia that they are African just because they are dark, no more than anyone can tell a fair skinned Chinese that they are not Asian because they happen to be one of light skin with naturally curly hair. 

This is an account of European explorer Giovanni da Verrazano when he came in contact with North Carolina Indians in 1524 approximately 32 years after Columbus.

"Written Record of the Voyage of 1524 of Giovanni da Verrazano as recorded in a letter to Francis I, King of France, July 8th, 1524 "They are dark in color, *not unlike* the Ethiopians, with thick black hair, not very long, tied back behind the head like a small tail. As for the physique of these men, they are well proportioned, of medium height, a little taller than we are. They have broad chests, strong arms, and the legs and other parts of the body are well composed. There is nothing else, except that they tend to be *rather broad in the face: but not all, for we saw many with *angular faces. They have *big black eyes, and an attentive and open look." 

Suggested is a variety in skin color, bone structure, hair length, and hair textures within our original people of our land/region in the western hemisphere. 

We have variety in looks, this is just one of them. We are not a stereotype. We are who we are, Native. Don't try to make or mold us into anything else. #RedNation

(Native Male) Native Kalinago, Dominica - Caribbean Indian
(Native Child) Tuscarora Indian of North Carolina
(Native Women with Blanket) Cherokee of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
(Native Woman Sitting) Cherokee of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Written and compiled by Sonya Braxton, a Tuscarora Indian of Snow Hill, North Carolina