Looking at my Ancestry.com info it says that I have the deepest root in Northern Coahuila and San Antonio. The earliest tribe I found from SA is the Payaya but I am trying to find out which of the later tribes (Apache, Tonkawa, Comanche etc.) I am?
Identity and knowing who we are is one of the most important journeys we can walk. I applaud you for taking this path.
With the information you’ve gathered from Ancestry.com, you’re off to a great start. Your next steps are going to take some digging.
If you feel comfortable, start reaching out to family members who may have some information.
By asking simple questions like, “Can you tell me what part of the Texas or Mexico do you think our ancestors came from? Or, are there any names you heard growing up?” From this, you may be able to start piecing things together.
I would also ask these questions from other family members too who may be able to provide a little more information. And, if it’s helpful write this all down in a journal. Sometimes things that don’t make any sense initially may start to once you’ve gathered more information.
If you can start narrowing down what regions your ancestors came from, then you can start to narrow down which surrounding tribe you might be from. The more specific the better, as the Apache, Tonkawa, and Comanche tribes are all plains tribes, meaning the areas the once occupied covered vast areas.
It sounds like you’ve done some internet searches. I would continue. If you haven’t already, visit these tribes official websites. Also, the National Congress of American Indians has a tribal directory that you can look at.
I am always glad to hear when people want to explore their Native identity and heritage. Native American cultures are diverse and beautiful. This exploration should be conducted with respect to our ancestors, past present and future.
If you reach some dead ends, know that being Native means different things to each person. For some, it means that they are descendants of the original people of North America. For others it means a way of life or a way of being; a feeling, how one sees the world and one’s self; a way of interacting with nature, family, and Creator. Native culture in North America, is rich in tradition, history, spirituality, art, economics, and politics.
Make sure through this process of learning more about your culture, the history of your tribe and traditions, that you start from a place of respect and curiosity.
Our history as Indigenous people carries the dark cloud of what’s left over from colonization. By asking each other to ‘prove’ how Native we are, we’re doing exactly what the colonists wanted us to do and that doesn’t serve anyone well.
I believe that all people who have a connection to their culture, land and traditions, have the right to identify in the ways they choose.
I hope this helps.
Best of luck to you on your journey,