A Dirt Road By Half Breed Drive Stretches Out Of Auburn, Nebraska

2151 Words Oct 21st, 2016 9 Pages
A dirt road called Half Breed Drive stretches out of Auburn, Nebraska for just a few miles, through endless cornfields, past a single mailbox. But its history runs deep, with an origin story stretching back 185 years, long before Nebraska was a state, or even a territory. This road traces the top of the western boundary of the Half-Breed Tract, a failed reservation for people rooted in two cultures but welcome in neither. The story that follows only amounts to pieces that I’ve stitched together. My dad raised me with stories, to revive in me what was almost forgotten by the generations before us. His own father was born a few years before the Great Depression began, in the largely Ihanktonwan, or Yankton Dakota settlement of Greenwood, South Dakota. He was among the first in his family born a United States citizen after the Snyder Act in 1924. I choose this term ‘Indians’ to follow suite with the language used in that particular Act. When I speak of Indians, I speak only from my own understanding of Yankton Dakota heritage, passed down from all the generations before me. With a dash of artistic license, of course. The Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation was first established by the Treaty of Prairie du Chien of 1830, which set aside land for the mixed-race descendants of French-Canadian trappers and women of the plains tribes, including the Yankton. Under their patrilineal systems, children with white fathers could live with their mother’s tribe, but unless they were officially…

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