Narrative Essay: A Descendant of the black Seminole Tribe
Everybody has a good story to tell and the story is even better if it concerns some little known facts and secrets about our own family tree. We are all surprised to find these things out and also quite intrigued by these little details, even awed and amazed by what we uncover. In my case, I learned only recently I descended from a black Seminole tribe from the Bahamas. It is a country of about 700 islands which became a British colony back in 1718 and it is located a bit north of Hispaniola (consisting of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Cuba which together form part of the Caribbean region in the Atlantic Ocean.
Columbus made the first landfall in the New World in the Bahamas in 1492 and met the Arawakan-speaking natives but did not settle there. When America won its independence from Great Britain, many Americans who were loyalists resettled in the Bahamas and brought along their black slaves and put them to work in the plantations (coffee, sugar, tobacco, etc.); to this number were added several hundreds more of freed Africans when Great Britain abolished its international slave trade in 1807. Several thousands of runaway slaves during the Civil War who was then in Florida, including members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, later on, escaped to the Caribbean, in particular to the islands of the Bahamas, for a better life.
I am not only surprised but also extremely proud of my ancestry as a black Seminole deriving from my mother’s side (my maternal grandmother had three-quarters of the Seminole blood quantum) and my grandfather was probably one of the maroons (freed slaves and also included fugitive slaves). In this regard, I consider myself as a red-bone African-American, a person who is tri-racial: African, Native American, and a bit of European lineage (Waak 2).
Waak, Patricia. My Bones are Red: A Spiritual Journey with a Tri-racial People in the Americas. Macon, GA, USA: Mercer University Press, 2005. Print.