Roots & Branches: March of the Ancestors by Sam Jackson

I’d like to think that each of us, in our own time, comes to a point in our lives when we want to know where we came from. For some of us, tall tales of fabled ancestors don’t always satisfy our desire to learn more about our roots. Recently, like several friends had done, I had my DNA tested to determine what my ancestry truly was.

As I write this now, I am waiting for those results and will have to do so patiently for the next six to eight weeks.

Growing up, my brothers and I were often regaled with stories of our Cherokee ancestry by our father. It seems mythologized but still completely feasible. Our purported forebear, Timothy Brown, was a Cherokee man living in the American south in the nineteenth century. According to this narration, he and several of his contemporaries had become aware of what was about to take place within the country before the Indian Removal Act.