"Pierres grandfather, and the first Navarre to arrive in America, was Robert Navarre, the three times great-grandson of King Henry IV. Pierre married Angelique Kechoueckquay, the daughter of a Potawatomi chief."
Tribal member discovers royal blood, tribal heritage
Gladys Immenschuh grew up being told she had royal blood.
Until this September, the Augusta woman didnt know exactly how.
That is when she and 23 relatives she lost track of gathered in Rochester, Ind., Sept. 19, 20 and 21 to help the community to honor the Navarre family and commemorate the Potawatomi Trail of Courage.
The Trail of Courage Festival commemorates the 1838 removal of Potawatomis from their land in Indiana and the Great Lakes region to Kansas. Each year the festival honors a Potawatomi family.
The Navarre family, of which Immenschuh is a member, was presented with a key to the city by mayor Phil Thompson. They were also honored at a traditional Native American dance.
"My mother came from Oklahoma Indian Territory but she never talked about it," Immenschuh said. "I guess she was ashamed about it.
"She always told us we had noble blood but didnt really elaborate on it," she said.
Immenschuh is the great-great-granddaughter of Pierre Navarre, the founding father of present South Bend, Ind., and a descendant of King Henry IV of France.
Pierres grandfather, and the first Navarre to arrive in America, was Robert Navarre, the three times great-grandson of King Henry IV. Pierre married Angelique Kechoueckquay, the daughter of a Potawatomi chief.
From these royal figures, one French, one Native American, Immenschuh received her royal lineage.
Upon receiving an invitation from cousin Keith Navarre of El Paso, Texas, Immenschuh made a quick study of the Potawatomi culture and her family history.
"I didnt know anything about it. We were never told anything when we were growing up," she said. "I went to the Indian Center (in Wichita) and did a lot of research.
"Im glad I learned so much about my Indian heritage," she said. "I had a wonderful time in Indiana. It was an eye opener."
Ribbon blouses are made with only straight cuts. "Potawatomi women did not have the scissors to cut curves. The women usually wore brightly colored calicos with wide sleeves. Ribbons hung from the front, " she said.
"I looked in a friends book and found this pattern," she said, lightly touching a curvy piece of fabric. "This is supposed to be the Potawatomi sign. I dont know how they made all of these curves."
The dancing shawl is worn across the dancers arm with the fringe facing the inside.
Immenschuh wore her ribbon blouse and carried her shawl during the dancing. A white buckskin dress and moccasins, loaned by a friend, were worn the day before.
"That dress was beautifully made with the fringe and the beadwork," she said. "But, it really weighed me down. It looks very light but because of the material it is made out of it is very heavy.
"The men dance with big steps and they do a lot of turning and jumping," she said. "The women take little steps. Its more like a walk."
This story, written by Amy Engel, appeared in an Augusta, Kansas, newspaper last October. A copy was sent to the HowNiKan.
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