Nansemond Tribe…Curious

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    Imani Kushan

    Good afternoon everyone! So…I came across something very curious to me…wondering if anyone has any insight into it.

    John Ephraim Bass is my 9th great grandfather. He is the son of William Bass, who was the son of the Nansemond woman Elizabeth Bass/Basse. The Nansemond Tribe that is in VA is descended from the same woman. However, they do not permit membership to descendants from John Ephraim’s line. I’ve heard rumors as to why, but the official explanation is that there is a discrepancy in whether John is William’s son…or the son of another of Elizabeth’s son (Edward if my memory is working today lol).

    Soooo…why would being descended from one son qualify someone for membership, but being descended from another son would disqualify someone…even though the tie to the tribe is the mother these two sons share?? They could have different fathers…different sons…having that mother is what makes them Nansemond in the first place. Had there been a case of different mothers, I’d have no argument to their point.

    Now…devil’s advocate…Edward married another Native American they could claim that as Native tribes are matrilineal, his descendants should belong to his wife’s tribe. However, that would disqualify them on those grounds…due to them being male Bass descendants whose ancestors married white women…technically their “tribe” would be England, Ireland, Germany, etc. Not saying I don’t recognize their ancestry…or their right to be recognized as Native American…I’m just saying based on that concept no one would qualify by now.

    I’ve heard rumors it is because William and another son’s descendants show a paternal haplogroup from Africa…while the other sons show a European one. Still descended from the same Nansemond mother, so what difference that makes is beyond me. People say it’s because certain current members don’t want to be associated with people of “certain” descents. I can’t say it’s true…nor will I…but I definitely can see where people would feel that way.

    Can anyone make sense of that? I personally think after all that has had to be endured to hold on to any Native history, that any provable descendant should never be denied full access to it.

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