posted on July 4, 2010 and updated on July 5, 2010
I ordered my gggrandmother’s birth certificate to find out her mother was Margaret Gamblin.
The only Margaret Gamblin I’ve been able to find was born to Joseph Gamblin and Mahale Harris of SC/Tenn/GA. I’ve found their associated enrollment card. I have yet to get a copy from the Federal Archives.
I have another gggrandparent with a MCR, rejected enrollment card. He was John Lee of Jacob and Nancy Lee of MS. A 2nd or 3rd cousin was kind enough to forward me a photo. My father lost the suitcase of family photos in a transient hotel in San Francisco during his homeless days. It was the only possessions he took from the old homestead.
So, I’ve got Choctaw lineage in two directions it seems, recognized and unrecognized. There’s still one more branch of my family that I have not yet researched.
This may be premature, but I may be looking for other Gamblins if I validate my research and get my CDIB. However, my research could turn out to have false leads.
I first came to NYC on vacation with my husband who was from here. He used to tell me “New York will love you.” My husband passed in 1999.
I’m also considering relocating from NYC. TX is too hard to go back to since my immediate family there have all passed. Ironically, where I was born is less than 300 miles or about 4 hours S. of the reservation.
If I get my CDIB, then, I may investigate the reservation as a possible relocation destination.
I’m anxious. My ggrandmother’s certificates may be a problem. I have father’s, grandmother’s, gggrandmother’s and soon ggggrandmother’s. This is very time consuming and taking a percentage of my budget that I didn’t have to spare.
But, I grew up saying I was Choctaw. I was rare. Guess I still am. I’ve only met one other person claiming Choctaw lineage outside of my own family. The other branch of my family thought Cherokee.
I’m not sure how the mixup occured. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was young. And, we were always Choctaw. My 1/2 1st cousin says my grandmother said to her “Cherokee”. Her father also says “Cherokee”. I need to confirm, but I believe at the time my cousin talked my grandmother was already dieing of lung cancer. I know in her final months she was on morphine.
But who pulls the Choctaw tribe out of a hat. You can’t make that kind of stuff up. Why would anyone randomly pick the Choctaw tribe out of all the tribes there are to choose from? I seriously doubt anyone sat around anywhere and came up with “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to say were Choctaw?” Of course, it would be cool given what I’ve read of the Choctaw pre-relocation makes for very interesting reading. But, the likelihood of that happening is fairly unlikely.
I knew I was Choctaw. All of my research shows Choctaw. My dad said we were the hippies of the Indians that flattening our heads and hanging out in the woods eating berries. My father was a colorful character and that’s how he described being Choctaw.
Being Choctaw was always a strong source of pride in my family.
When I got to NYC, I discovered some of the people I encountered openly hate Natives. I look white, so people didn’t know they were talking in front of a Native. It doesn’t make sense to me, I have never known one thing that would make me ashamed to be Choctaw. And, the problems that I have heard that have struck Natives since the invasion, don’t make me ashamed, either. It makes me have hope that those afflicted will eventually rise above. But, when people are relocated, it takes time to rebuild.
I have two tattoos of a feather crossed with a variation on the Choctaw Serpant. I didn’t know what it was a Choctaw design. I picked the Serpant like design from filigree earrings, Jewish silverware, and Victorian lattice work.
I varied the design so that the third loop is a small serpant crossing at an angle the larger two looped serpant. It’s around my right arm with 12 serpants representing my inability to fight and my left ankle with 10 serpants representing my inability to dance. I was going to use thorns and barbwire, until I was told they were too played out, too many times. So, I designed my own tattoo.
The Hungarian immigrant who tattooed them on me in the parlor in his living room made the right arm too high. So, I will have to make a modification, eventually. He made a stencil of the design that I gave him to create the tattoo.
On day, I was looking up Choctaw things to discover my design was also Choctaw. Cool. Huh?
Incidently, my favorite colors are black, gold (substitute yellow and sometimes burnt orange), maroon, and forest green with a leaning towards grey-blue.
I picked Ladybug colors for my daughter: white, black and red. I love Ladybugs, Lightening bugs, June bugs and Doodle bugs. Grasshoppers, crickets, spiders and ants, except red and army ants, are cool. I hate grub worms. And, I’m using the word lightly. My grandmother was a farmer. Coyotes are the best. And, the bear is a rascal. And, my father claimed to have a mountain lion as a friend. Buffalo, deer, muscadine, black berries, corn on the cob, hot water corn bread and the small strawberries my grandmother grew are to die for. Her tomatoes were pretty darn good as well.
O.k. Now off of the tangent and back to the subject.
I didn’t go to the recent “meeting”/“festival” (pow wow) because I could not bring my daughter who was wrongfully placed in foster care. I feel like crud for not going. But, without my daughter, it’s no good. But, I didn’t realize it until the day of the meeting.
BTW: This new website is lovely. As a website developer, I have some minor critiques, but overall, absolutely lovely. Kudos. Props.
I guess I always associated that word with my immediate family members who showed me love in the smallest ways and to whom family was everything. Maybe, I’m romanticizing about the unknown. But, I don’t know yet.
Of course, I’m not saying my whole family was perfect, but I know I was loved. In my eyes, my grandmother could do no wrong. And, once upon a time, the same held true for my father. As a child, I don’t remember every being told, “I love you.” I don’t remember needing to be told.
I’ve lived in the south, the west and now the northeast. My original land is no longer occupied by my family. So, I guess I’m just looking for a comfortable place to hang my hat.
After all, maybe, I’d prefer to live in a concentration camp.
Attached is a graphic image of my tatoo, but the small serpant is not included in the image.