I once wrote an essay entitled "My Grandmother Was a Cherokee Princess" were I discussed the popular family myth, and some of the many problematic aspects of it. One of the main points I made, was the fact, that the Cherokee Nation never held a monarchical system of government; that is to say, there have never been Cherokee Nation kings, queens, princes, or princesses. However, what if I were wrong? What if there was in fact a Cherokee woman, who was regarded by many as a princess? Not in any official capacity or ranking, but called "Princess" Naomie because she was so beloved by her community. It is my honor to tell the story of Naomie Kennedy, born in 1871, who grew to be an elder and central figure in the Indigenous American community of New York City. "Where New York City Stands shall always be Lenape Lands" - Anthony Vairacocha. Princess Naomie lived in New York during the 1930s, her son, a lightweight boxer named Bill, helped arrange for her to live in, and be a caretaker of Inwood Park, which was once called Shorakapok Village. There, Princess Naomie, and her son Bill sold trinkets, postcards, cold drinks, and ice cream. Soon, Princess Naomie became the attraction of Upper Manhattan herself, she was said to have been able to tame the wild birds, squirrels, and park critters, and New Yorkers from all over began to take the subway uptown to sit, talk, and have lunch with the her. Naomie also became known as the "Mother of 600 Indians", because the Indigenous American community of various tribes of New York, knew of and deeply respected the elder, who was the Vice-President of the United Indians of America, who along with Chief White Eagle, planned on creating a Neo-Indigenous village, in Inwood Park. In the end, Naomie was unceremoniously evicted from the park, but let us never forget her life, her work, and her vision to renew and revitalize the Indigenous New York.
Written by: @IndigenousPride