Sometimes these records give us mixed messages, which may turn out to be valuable hints.
When working with the Carlisle Indian School student records, I found a record for Regina Cree Girl, an Assiniboine from Montana.
This seemed somewhat confusing, so I spent some time researching the Assiniboine. What I discovered indeed did tie them to the Cree.
A great plains people, the Assiniboine were close allies and trading partners of the Cree, engaging in wars together against the Atsina (Gros Ventre). Together they later fought the Blackfoot. They purchased a great deal of European trade goods from the Hudson’s Bay Company through Cree middlemen.
Given this connection, it’s not surprising to find that these tribes intermarried. Adoption was common within Native tribes in any number of circumstances. The question remaining, of course, is whether the designation of Cree Girl was specific to Regina or if is was by this time a “family name” that had originally referred to another individual.