Colorado’s Mesa Verde

From Kevin Simpson at The Colorado Sun: When Swedish researcher Gustaf Nordenskiöld arrived at Mesa Verde in 1890 and surveyed the ancient cliff dwellings, he seemed to have the best of intentions.  But his subsequent efforts to meticulously — and urgently — unearth and catalog the human remains and artifacts of the tribes who once inhabited … Read more

Fremont Village

They found this ancient Fremont village long after I left Salt Lake, but it’s not too far from one of the places I lived. The Fremont people were related to the Cliff Dwellers (Anasazi, Ancestral Pueblo, whatever we’re calling them now), further south. And like the Cliff Dwellers, the Fremont culture seems to have collapsed … Read more

Not Exactly Cherokee

White Americans love to say they’re part Cherokee. Experts say identifying as Cherokee gives people a feeling of being native to America, but that doesn’t explain how they get the idea. There are a lot of theories here, as you might expect. RF Tree Genealogy suggests many of these people have Melungeon ancestry. The Melungeons … Read more

Pay to Play Indian

Did you know there was a time when you could pay to be Indian? I’m not sure about the reliability of this information but it has become a common meme about pretend Indians (“pretendians”).  “It may be fashionable to play Indian now, but it was also trendy 125 years ago when people paid $5 apiece … Read more


The Melungeons are a tri-racial group, descended from Europeans, Africans, and Indians. Although the term Melungeon refers to a specific group, it has become a generic label for many similar groups: the Carmel Indians of southern Ohio, the Brown People of Kentucky, the Guineas of West Virginia, the We-Sorts of Maryland, the Nanticoke-Moors of Delaware, … Read more