When I traveled to Akwesasne, I didn't have expectations or goals. I blindly went with the hope of learning something, anything.
What I got was pretty remarkable.
I'm not going to share everything right now, (Subscribe to the show on iTunes, Soundcloud or Overcast to find that out!), but here's a pretty nifty family tree of my Mohawk ancestors dating back to the 1700s.
The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe requires you provide at least three generations of Mohawk ancestors in your enrollment application, so it makes it pretty easy to piece together your extended family.
David George was the brother of my father's mother, Anna. Above is the extended tree that David's son, Doug, provided. (We'll learn more about Doug in the coming months. Promise.)
This is my father's application. It got cut off in the scan, but it's also pretty dope.
Important hidden nugget: His mother was a member in the Quebec portion of Akwesasne. In the 1960s, the Canadian government participated in what would be dubbed the "'60s scoop," where Native children were taken from their families and adopted by white families as a way of whitewashing the culture. My father was born in the late '50s.
As noted in the episode, the weird, sad thing about this family tree is that everyone has died. Or at least most of these people have died. Sure, the dates make it easy to search for people on Ancestry.com, but, dude, have you ever tried searching for Native records in the government databases that Ancestry pulls from? (In case you didn't know, Native tribes and the U.S. government haven't had the greatest of relationships....)
So, family trees are dope. You get to see some proof that you exist as a part of something larger. But context always lacks. You can't answer "How am I similar?" with this.