, 2022-12-13 18:37:55,
Mary “Sis” Carrier told me that growing up, little she was told about her Native American heritage seemed to revolve around compensation from the federal government.
“When I was a kid, all my grandmother said was to register with the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” says Carrier, as we stood under a blossoming pomegranate tree in Bonnie Don. They didn’t want to talk about our history. The settlers took our land and our livelihood and we got 600 dollars.”
She says Carrier’s original identity was lost – or more accurately suppressed – in the interest of safety and security. Its indigenous traditions and culture were sacrificed in the name of survival.
It would take Carrier and her daughter, Lisa Carrier, decades to uncover their ancestral roots. They paid for ancestral trees online, sought out birth certificates—the origins of which are often lost to name changes made to accommodate their families—and used other government documents to take them back in time through their family history.
This intense process cost them thousands of dollars and hours, and eventually led them to the realization that they were the descendants of tribes held at two missions: San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz. The descendants of these tribes now form Ma Matson Tribal Band.
Although they officially joined the Ma Mutsun tribe in the ’90s, the two carrier women will tell you they were both born into their own tribe. Everyone in the tribe I talk to…
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