AP Photo/Doug Pizac
In this February 29, 1984 file photo, pop superstar Michael Jackson, right, is joined by his sisters, from left, Maureen “Rebie”, Janet and LaToya on stage during the 26th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, as he receives an award for Best Male Pop Vocal. Jackson received a total of eight Grammy awards, a new record. Jackson, 50, died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 25, 2009.

10 African Americans With Native Ancestry

Vincent Schilling

Being that February is Black History Month we thought it was appropriate to honor some African Americans who share some Native American ancestry. According to William Loren Katz, the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, speculates that a “vast majority” of African Americans today also share Native Ancestry.

Though not all of the specific tribes are known, the Native heritage of these historic notables has been documented, researched or claimed by them in their lifetime in some way or another.

In appreciation of these notables who have contributed to society in some way or another, here are 10 African Americans you may not have known have some Native ancestry.

Jimi Hendrix

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls him the greatest instrumentalist of all time, Jimi Hendrix was born Johnny Allen Hendrix on November 27, 1942. Hendrix was of African, European, Cherokee Indian and Mexican descent and spent many of his early years with his grandmother, a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. After a short career, Hendrix died in 1970 from barbiturate related asphyxia at the age of 27.

File photo dated August 20, 1970 of Jimi Hendrix on stage. (Press Association via AP Images)


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sweetgrass777's picture
Submitted by sweetgrass777 on
Great Article! Yes many are of Native Ancestry. Oprah Winfrey has Creek or Chickasaw ancestry as I do recall a article published many years ago about her father. He was pictured with two of his Indian aunts. I believe in was in the Star or the Enquirer. It was mentioned there. I never could find that photo. It was bonafide.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I'm not African-American and I never wanted to be a "little Indian," but alas, I'm Apache and they're not known for being very tall. :)