Thursday, June 7, 2007


Like the Wannabe Indians of today, one can find Wannabes in every culture. Wannabe African-Americans, Wannabe Redbones, Wannabe Melungeons, Wannabe Mowa Choctaw and yes, even Wannabe Renegade Redbones.

The Wannabe African-American will tell you how they have Black friends and eat fried chicken or some such nonsense to somehow prove their ancestry and good intentions. They may even tell you that they think their ancestors were slaves, and -- their ancestors may well have been. The answer, rather than the question, is their ancestor did not have to be African to be a slave. But, their slavery example will be all they will present to hang their hat on.

The question of color is complex from then to now, but with a broad brush begins with the present day thinking of all slaves being African and all Free People of Color (including mulatto's) being Black. Fact is that at one time, there were more Indian Slaves in Louisiana than there were African Slaves.

Indians were cheaper, as low as $30.00 a pop at Natchitoches, but they were harder to work and did not hold up as well as the Africans. Whether this thinking was couched in fact would only be known to the slave owners of the day, but this seems to be the thinking of that time.

The term Mulatto had always legally meant a mix of Indian, Black or White in any combination. On the other hand, "Free People of Color" seems to reside in a catch all coffee can where nothing was constance or the same. But, the big question is, if they were Negroes, why didn't they call them that? Just what is a colored person? Was it someone who was not White? How were Portuguese classed? What would you call a Middle Eastern or Oriental person? Colored?

You see, it makes no sense to expouse that Mulatto's, Redbones and Melungeons were really Negroes or Black Africans. If they were Negroes, why not call them that? Back to the Redbones.

The latter Redbone type, the "renegade or new deal Redbone," bring their own modern, ready made, invented new age culture, repleat with a Grand Dragon or a Redbone Elder, or -- an East Texas transplant playing "Cowboy and Indian." They love to throw around the word "Elder" and seem to glow when they use it. Bunk!

These brands of semi organized lunacy, without an original thought, but with at least one Elvis era adoring member (usually known as Ethel, Mary, Mona, Marilyn or --whatever), always supports the "Elder" or "Head Cowboy" who leads her around by the nose, like a cow, when it comes to the official line. The latter of course are my opinions and observations.

The only thing missing in these cults, is a Grand Dragon and of course, even the slightest hint of research or original thoughts. That's right, original thoughts that lead to research with substance -- without the "what if" or "they say" in a poorly researched issue.

The Wanabe Redbone or Melungeon might mean well when it comes to the declaration of I'm a "Redbone" or I'm a "Melungeon," but fail the test everytime when it all hinges on having the same last name in their family history that is common in known Melungeon or Redbone families. Just like "not all Smith's and Jones' are not related," neither are "all Goins', Gibson's, Collin's or McCoy's related."

To have the connections for real, you need to prove that "family" connection, they really have to be related or at least connected by marriage.

My final thought is that if you didn't call a Redbone Negro, did you call them Redbone because they were White on the outside but "Red on the Inside?" Makes more sense.

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

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