Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Izzy’s Native American Heritage


I am often asked by my siblings just how much “Indian blood” is flowing through our veins.  Growing up as Izzy’s children we’ve often heard mention of our Indian ancestors.  I remember as a child I was convinced that I could run and jump for great distances because of the “Indian in me.”

The answer: Isadore Joseph Navarre had ten known ancestors who were full-blood American Indians.  Three of them were Ottawa, six were Chippewa (Ojibwe) and one was Menomonee.

Izzy was almost 11% Indian – about 3.25% Menomonee, 6.25% Chippewa and about 1.5% Ottawa.  His wife, Olive Sarzycki Navarre had no known Indian ancestors so his children can claim half of these percentages – about 5% Indian.


Izzy’s Indian heritage came from his Grignon ancestors.  His grandmother on his mother’s side, Virginia Jane Grignon, was more than 28% Indian from the Menomonee, Chippewa and Ottawa tribes.  His grandmother on his father’s side, Eleanor Marie Grignon was almost 15% Indian from the Chippewa and Ottawa tribes.  The charts below give specific information about his mother and father’s Indian ancestors.

Both of his Grignon grandmothers descended from Charles de Langlade, a famous Wisconsin pioneer whose father married the daughter of the influential Chief Outaouaise who lived near Fort Michilimackinac which was located at the location of present-day Mackinaw City, Michigan.  We’ll discuss Charles de Langlade and Chief Outaouaise in later blogs.

Izzy’s 2nd great-grandmothers, Nancy McCrea, Sophia Therese Rankin and Lisette Chaurette, were each 50% Indians.  Nancy’s mother was a full-blooded Menomonee and both Sophia’s and Lisette’s mothers were full-blooded Chippewa. It was a fairly common practice in those days (18th century) for the French fur traders and other businessmen to marry into influential Indian families.

One of Izzy’s ancestors was the celebrated Keeshkenum, head Chief of the Lac du Flambeau band of Ojibwe (Chippewa).  I hope to discuss him at greater length in another blog.



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