Tuscarora White Deer Clan

Rickard, Clinton chief

There has been a discussion about the Tuscarora White Deer Clan.  Much uncertainty exists about the clan, and how or why it came to be.

Some comments involving this clan are politically motivated.  I try very hard to distance myself from that type of thing, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell what does and does not fall into that category.

A fellow researcher told me that the white deer clan was the result of the adoption of a white female child into the Tuscarora when they lived in North Carolina.  The question, of course, was whether or not this could have been Virginia Dare, the daughter of Lost Colonists, Ananias Dare and his wife Eleanor White Dare.

The results of my poking around found some videos and other online “documentation” that reported that the White Deer Clan was only formed in the 1980s as a political move related to tribal office.

It seems to me that there was a very large difference between the 1980s and the 1700s, given that the last of the Tuscarora formally removed from NC to NY in 1803.

I began searching for something a little more definitive, but I found nothing in my resources. I often refer to the Elias Johnson book, “Legends, Traditions and Laws of the Iroquois, And History of the Tuscarora Indians,” but on this topic, trusty Elias was silent.

Then Chris sent me a link to a page in the book,
Fighting Tuscarora: The Autobiography of Chief Clinton Rickard (1882-1971), published in 1973 by Chief Rickard.  Clearly, 1973 is before the 1980s, so whatever the chief had to say predated the information alleged about the 1980s.

Here’s what Chief Rickard had to say:

Rickard page

Based on the Chief’s information, we can determine that this white child was not Virginia Dare. Virginia was not a member of a set of twins, nor did she live when the Tuscarora and English were in conflict, in the early 1700s, in North Carolina.

I tried to find a photo of Chief Rickard, but little has been published about him.  A statue has been placed at Niagara Falls on the Indian reservation in honor of Chief Rickard. You can see the statue above and find the location here.

Chris, the gentleman who sent me the link to Chief Rickard’s autobiography said that he had seen another story related to the White Deer Clan that suggested the adoption of the white female was earlier, but he was unable to find that reference again.  If anyone finds any references to the White Deer Clan, historically, please leave a comment with the information and source, or e-mail me please.  And a big thank you to Chris for this info.

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About robertajestes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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