Digging for the Red Roots
by Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El
My name is Mahir Abdal-Razzaaq El and I am a Cherokee
Blackfoot American Indian who is Muslim. I am known as Eagle Sun Walker. I serve as a Pipe
Carrier Warrior for the Northeastern Band of Cherokee Indians in New York City.
There are other Muslims in our group. For the most part, not many people are aware of
the Native American contact with Islam that began over one thousand years ago by some of
the early Muslim travelers who visited us. Some of these Muslim travelers ended up living
among our people.
For most Muslims and non-Muslims of today, this type of information is unknown and has
never been mentioned in any of the history books. There are many documents, treaties,
legislation and resolutions that were passed between 1600s and 1800s that show that
Muslims were in fact here and were very active in the comunities in which they lived.
Treaties such as Peace and Friendship that was signed on the Delaware River in the year
1787 bear the signatures of Abdel-Khak and Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. This treaty details our
continued right to exist as a community in the areas of commerce, maritime shipping,
current form of government at that time which was in accordance with Islam. According to a
federal court case from the Continental Congress, we help put the breath of life in to the
newly framed constitution. All of the documents are presently in the National Archives as
well as the Library of Congress.
If you have access to records in the state of South Carolina, read the Moors Sundry Act
of 1790. In a future article, Inshallah, I will go in to more details about the various
tribes, their languages; in which some are influenced by Arabic, Persian, Hebrew words.
Almost all of the tribes vocabulary include the word Allah. The traditional dress code for
Indian women includes the kimah and long dresses. For men, standard fare is turbans and
long tops that come down to the knees. If you were to look at any of the old books on
Cherokee clothing up until the time of 1832, you will see the men wearing turbans and the
women wearing long head coverings. The last Cherokee chief who had a Muslim name was
Ramadhan Ibn Wati of the Cherokees in 1866.
Cities across the United States and Canada bear names that are of Indian and Islamic
derivation. Have you ever wondered what the name Tallahassee means? It means that He Allah
will deliver you sometime in the future.
Article Taken from:
The MESSAGE, July 1996
(Copyright: The Message Magazine as long as proper acknowledgement has been
stated, and a link to the site is retained, it can be reproduced)