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The word, Melungeon, dates at least back to the late 1700s and has several interpretations. The most obvious is that it is frontier derivation of the French word, mélange, which means “blend.”

The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People

The year was 2005.  It was a time when the internet for me was rapidly evolving from a new-fangled medium on which to send communications and find romance to a serious research tool.   The Muscogee-Creek Nation had retained me to create an electronic book on the Native American history of the Southeast.1 This innovative book was an early experiment in web-based publishing. Google’s search engines were exploding the amount of knowledge on the internet. A world was opening up that had been formerly confined to the environs of university libraries and the Library of Congress. While working on the section of an electronic book on the history of the Georgia Mountains, I stumbled upon an article that mentioned the Nacoochee Valley.  Glancing at that paragraph only, I realized that the author placed the Nacoochee Valley in North Carolina.  It is not. It is in White and Habersham Counties, Georgia.  The Nacoochee Valley is one of the most sacred places of Georgia’s Creek Indians. This particular paragraph stated that during the 1690s British officers had observed large numbers of Spanish-speaking gold miners living in the Nacoochee Valley.  That whetted my curiosity. The article was by Dr. Brent Kennedy, a history professor who lived in the southwestern Virginia town of Wise. Beginning in 1997, when he published, The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People,  Kennedy was at the forefront of research about the Melungeons.2 He is of Melungeon descent, himself.  Publicity about his research got him a free trip to Turkey to work with Turkish academicians on solving the riddles of the Melungeons’ origin or origins. The Melungeons are a...

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