photos of direect relatives of Larry Lachance
Large oak tree Logo
native american pictured on a faded image of a man in a canoe
My OWN Grandmother told me we have Indian in our blood!
Hardly a week passes that I don't receive an email from someone asking for information about (or confirmation of) "Native American" or "American Indian" in their family tree.

Even my own grandmother told me stories of this, assumed, fact but the stories were never substantiated with any proof.  In fact, in my own case, there appears to be greater evidence of Native American on my mom's side than from my French Canadian line.

Because I get this question so often, I offer here, my own "standard" response to this question.
cover of book French and Native North American Marriages
A book, possibly still available at, (click on the image to go to Amazon) that lists a compilation of known mixed marriages between the French and the North American Native population during the early settlement years. The author, Paul Bunnell, says himself, it "is not a perfect and complete collection" but it may help you to find your own ancestors.
three babies bottoms pictured to imply "the bottom line"
...So then, what exactly IS the bottom line here?  My pat answer is..."I don't know!"
I have, in the past, heard stories from family members but never had anybody offer up any proof. My great-grandmother, Malvina D'AOUST, I've been told was "part Indian". I never doubted the story, but to this day, I've not uncovered any factual evidence either proving or disproving the allegation. I did find out that at some point, while living in Escanaba, Michigan, Malvina was somehow involved with teaching the Native American population at a school on a local Indian reservation. I don't know any more detail. It was in Escanaba she met, and married, my great-grandfather, Joseph Lachance.

As to the story that she had "Native American" blood, I've also been told that there must have been a mistake. That, in fact, there was a saying, in French, describing the "farmers from the Beauce region who emigrated to the US". The specific words in French, escape me but I recall it was something like "L'arrière de vos jambes sont noires".  Or is it "La revers de vos jambe sont noires"? It means something to the effect of - "the back of your legs are black". This was later determined to be a reference to the fact that Malvina and Joseph were poor dirt farmers from Beauce who left to go to Maine in search of opportunity - or maybe just to join his brothers who were already there.
Sacagawea from the History Channel
Click above for more about Sacagawea
From the history channel:

Here is where I found Sacagawea (The bilingual Shoshone woman (c. 1788 - 1812) accompanied the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition in 1805-06 from the northern plains through the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and back.) Now well-known, she was kidnapped by a Hidatsa Indian war party in 1800 at the age of twelve and sold to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader who claimed her as his wife.
They two children, Jean-Baptiste Pompey and Lisette.

It was here that I took pause to find out if Charbonneau was somehow related. Going backwards from Toussaint Charbonneau, it turns out that, in fact, we ARE related, 4th cousins six times removed.

That doesn't mean I have Native American just means one of the descendants of a blood relative married a Native American (or at least, had children with one).  My information about the marriage and the ancestors of Toussaint has come from multiple sources including the written histories of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In fact, Toussaint himself claimed that his own mother was Sioux. I have not pursued this research and have no idea this was ever proven.
the word suspicion
DEFINITION: sus·pi·cion - səˈspiSHən (noun)
1. a feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.
I suspect more than a handful of our Québeçois ancestors may have had children with the native population, outside of Quebec, as many of our early ancestors were, in fact, trappers.  Trappers back then were driven by lucrative earnings available in the fur trade. Demand for beaver pelts sent coureurs de bois into the woods of Canada to trade with Indigenous peoples. The French established a network of trading posts, forts and missions from Québec to the Gulf Coast and westward as well.

While they were out "trading" and spending long winters away from home, it was common practice on the part of the Indian women to offer marriage and sometimes just sex in exchange for fur traders not trading with their rivals.  Virtually all Indian communities encouraged fur traders to take an Indian wife in order to build a long-term relationship that would ensure the continued supply of European goods to their communities and discourage fur traders from dealing with other Indian tribes. (This is written in "The Woman Who Married a Beaver: Trade Patterns and Gender Roles in the Ojibwa Fur Trade" by Bruce M. White, University of Minnesota)

Perhaps some of our ancestors had a wife and family in Québec during the short periods they were at home….but while they traveled across the continent doing their trapping and trading, they met and married (or not) a Indian woman unbeknownst to the family at home…all speculation of course…but we all know that the “male of the species” can be, how shall I say…”randy”. I can say that because I am one...a male of the species I mean.  But that doesn't mean I'm "randy!!"
painting of The Trapper's Bride, 1845
Bartering for a Bride (The Trapper's Bride), 1845
(Public Domain)
Indian brides were sold by their fathers for a horse, gun, powder and ball, jug of whiskey or maybe $2,000 in beaver skins for a chief’s daughter.
I once met a man in the MFGS Library in Lewiston Maine, while doing research. He was, (without doubt) of Native blood. He approached me and asked if I came from "Indian" blood. I told him that I had heard stories but I had no proof.

When I asked him why he would ask such a question he told me that I had features common to that of a Native American; high cheekbone, high forehead, less than round eyes, etc.

He then told me that if my second toe was longer than my big toe, then it was almost certain. Actually, it is... my toe I mean. I’ve checked some other sources on that “story” and found that both Native Indian AND those of Roman descent, have a second toe longer than the big toe. And to complicate matters further, I know at least one Han Chinese person who has the same situation!

Coincidentally, I've even had people from Asia ask me if I am Asian??? And in my "look-a-like" page, (no longer available) it is evident that I resemble a handful of Asian people including, Deng Xiaoping.

All said and done, I still do not have documented proof of any Native American in my blood line and I have not set out to prove that this is a part of my heritage. I won't rule out the possibility because evidence points in this direction. With so many people having told the stories, one would think there must be an iota of truth in them.

I found a 9-page document from The WEYANOKE  Association (click to visit) that I have saved to this website, "just in case". This document lists the information in the next column AND references some of its sources. Click HERE  to view this PDF document.
Once posted on the Cherokee Heritage Group at MSN (early 2000)

Many people are surprised to find physical characteristics running in their family that may indicate they are descendants of Native Americans. Each of these characteristics are alleged to be based on medical studies.
High Cheekbones where glasses set high on the face and get all smeary on the bottom of the lens.
Almond shaped almost oriental looking eyes.
Lazy eyes in children.
Heavy "fat" eyelids appear to have an extra fold.
A melanin (pigmentation) in the back of the eye on the retina peculiar to Native Americans.
"Shovel" teeth, the teeth have a ledge on the backside. Run your tongue across them, they feel almost like a shovel.
Large front teeth with a slight or more than slight gap.
Lack of the Carabelli cusp on the maxillary first molars, which is missing in Native Americans.
Large heavy earlobes.
Crooked fingers particularly the little finger or pinky.
An inverted breastbone. Often called a Chicken Breast. The bone actually makes an indentation in the chest.
Little toes that lie under the next one.
A second toe longer than the big toe.
A wider space between the big toe and the second.
An extra ridge of bone along the outside of the foot.
I have these characteristics!  I am sure there are many more out there that have them as well.  Stanford University is alleged to have assisted in this research.  If these facts are proven accurate, it might be a whole new world for many of us.
Book cover of The Cherokee Diaspora
In the course of gathering information or this page I came across a lecture presented by Gregory D. Smithers. Smithers is an American historian who received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Davis.  Currently  living in  Virginia, he is a professor of American history at Virginia Commonwealth University.
According to Smithers, author of "The Cherokee Diaspora", in 2016, over 1 million Americans identified as Cherokee. 

In November of 2016 he presented a lecture at the Library of Congress  in which he uncovers the origins of the Cherokee diaspora and explores how communities and individuals have negotiated their Cherokee identities.

The 60 minute long lecture can be watched by clicking on the YouTube video here. I have watched the entire video (sometimes tedious) but otherwise somewhat enlightening.
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