As #Native #American
societies in the Southeast were primarily matrilineal, African males who married Native American women often became members of the wife's clan and citizens of the respective nation. As relationships grew, the lines of racial distinction began to blur, and the evolution of red-black people began to pursue its own course. Many of the people known as slaves, free people of color, Africans, or Indians were most often the products of an integrating culture. Some aspects of African American culture, including handicrafts, music, and folklore, may be Native American rather than African in origin. The cultures of Africans and Natives intertwined in complex ways in the early Southeast, and material culture, like social organization, often reflected the blending of these two cultures.
In areas such as Southeastern Virginia, the "Low Country" of the Carolinas, and around Galphintown near #Savannah
, communities of Afro-Indians began to arise. The term "mustee" came to distinguish between those who shared African and Native American ancestry from those who were a #mixture
and African. Even after #1720
, black and red Carolinians continued to share slave quarters and intimate lives; many wills continued to refer to "all my Slaves, whether #Negroes
, Or #Molattoes
." The depth and complexity of this intermixture are revealed in a 1740 slave code in South Carolina that ruled: ...all negroes and Indians, (free Indians in #amity
with this government, and #negroes
, and #mustezoes
, who are now free, excepted) mulattoes or mustezoes who are now, or shall hereafter be in this province, and all their issue and offspring...shall be and they are hereby declared to be, and remain hereafter absolute slaves.
As early as the latter years of the nineteenth century, ethnologists cited the #deep
relationship between #African
Americans and #Native
Americans. James Mooney in 1897 noted: "It is not commonly known that in all southern colonies Indian slaves were bought and sold and kept in servitude and worked in the fields side by side with negroes up to the time of the revolution...