I Am Beninoir/Haudenosaunee

by FreeSpirit • More.com Member { View Profile }
Francesca Playing Djembe Drum

I am Beninoir/Haudenosaunee

I am an African (of Benin (Dahomean decent))American Indian (of Haudenosaunee decent). I embrace both my African and my indigenous American Beninoir/Haudenosaunee heritage and culture.

As my 94 year old Grandmother told me when I was 4, My Great-great Grandmother (her grandmother), a young African girl from Dahomey (now Benin) was kidnapped and taken on a slave ship from Dahomey, West Africa to America. Somehow, she managed to escape once docked and ran away. She was found by indigenous Haudenosaunee people who took her away to a reservation in Brattleboro, Vermont where she was adopted, cared for and raised. She married within the people and bore children who bore children (my Grandmother Lila Mae Thompson and her sister Bertha Mae Thompson. The teenaged sisters left the reservation because they were mistreated by their stepmother (because of their kinky hair) after their mother died and their father re-married. Lila Mae Thompson went to settle in the Bronx, New York and her sister Bertha Mae Thompson went to settle in Springfield, Massachusetts. My Grandmother Lila Mae tried to teach me the Haudenosaunee culture, but my parents wouldn’t allow it and soon tore me away from her just before she died.

I currently live in Indianapolis, IN but I’m trying to make a connection with my culture that I was torn away from as a child. I’m still searching for my Haudenosaunee people of a reservation in Brattleboro, Vermont that may no longer even exist. I’m searching the net trying to learn the language, the history and the culture.

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