Friday, June 8, 2007



One thing for sure, everyone has a supposition about those folks known as Redbone’s. Indians, Creek Red Sticks, Turk’s, FPC, Mulatto’s, High Yellow’s, Escaped slaves, Gypsies and it goes on into the ridiculous and absurd. Had flying saucers been in vogue during the turn of the century, surely the word alien’s would have been added.

It is for sure that we can answer the question of what Redbone’s were not, and in this simple exercise, we can readily eliminate two – White and Black. Actually, we can probably eliminate pure blood English, French, Spaniard’s and African’s but the remaining mixed blood folks are probably too diverse to even follow, so let’s just say, Indian’s and mixed blood people.

Now I do not want to argue what tribes, or “I’m more Indian than you are” even. Nor do I want to entertain the Cowboy and Indian view from the comic books of Larry Keels who does not now and will never carry tribal issued credentials or a government CDIB card, which seems to be an issue with him. Nevertheless, the Redbone issue does appear to be partly a battle between the haves and have not. One group or entity jealous over what the other person wanted. Dominant society against all others.

Those people known as Redbone likely wanted what the dominant class had, and the dominant class did not want them to have it. Was it money? Was it land? On the other hand, was it social economic status only? If you were an Indian, should you look like an Indian and not dress like a White person? So were there two types of Indians? Those who were perceived as Indians and those who were not but did not look White, Black or Indian – but what does an Indian look like?

Now we’re not talking the classic look – those proclaiming tanned skin and high cheekbones might be describing someone from Mongolia – the classic look that is. The term “Redbone” is not like the terms Creole, Arcadian or Cajun but more like the insulting term “Coonass.”

However, the term Redbone appears to have been less offensive than the term Coonass, yet Coonass has withstood the test of time and is still a referral to Cajun’s and Arcadians. So we know Creoles, Cajun’s and Arcadians are out.

However, what happened to Redbones? What does that term refer to? There does not appear to be a specific group of people other than the mixed blood of Indians and others. The “others” being a mix of perhaps Turks, Portuguese, Middle Eastern people and more – a melting pot for sure. But, the designation narrows.Therefore, the discussion here ends with the exclusion of what Redbones were not.

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

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