BrokenClaw is the name I use for most of my online activity, as a tribute to my native American ancestry. The name is derived from the traditional naming practices of my paternal grandfather’s legacy, which is the Eagle clan of the Otoe-Missouria tribe of Oklahoma. In the native Chiwere language, this name would likely be rendered as Xra-sa’ge-gi-xu’ge, to signify an eagle’s fractured claw. I have used the eagle and eagle feathers on my website to honor my ancestors. Broken Claw is not my real Indian name, because it was not given to me by the clan elder. My paternal grandmother’s ancestry was the Munsee tribe of Kansas.
This blog replaces some of the static web pages which have been on the website since 1998, when I started our first online presence with a free ad-sponsored homepage. At that time the main focus of the website was the accounts of our outdoor adventures: primarily hiking and bicycling on park trails. In October 2000, I decided to make the leap from a webpage user to a website administrator, and so I started my own domain at www.brokenclaw.com. You can actually see what the website looked like back then using Archive.org’s Wayback Machine.
Over the next few years, my free time became more and more consumed by genealogy research, first with my father’s native American ancestry and then with my mother’s Pennsylvania German ancestry. In November 2005 I switched the actual domain to just BrokenClaw.net, with subdomains for my other content. As the banner at the top of the page says, the focus of the website continues to be shared information and experience. You can read more about the history of this website in my article, On the Web.
I have also contributed to the Wikipedia under the name of Broken Claw. The Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia which is the largest reference website on the Internet. The content of the Wikipedia is written and edited collaboratively by its users. Most of my contributions are excerpted from articles I had previously published here, for which I can cite references.
My paternal grandfather was a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma. My father and I, as well as my siblings, are enrolled members of the tribe. My paternal grandmother was a member of the Munsee Tribe of Kansas. My original research was centered on tracing our ancestry, which led me to write brief histories of these tribes and how they relate to our ancestors. My genealogical research expanded into general genealogy databases for both tribes, which I post publicly on RootsWeb.com, where most people go to start research.
The Otoe-Missouria are often grouped linguistically and culturally with the Ioway and other native Mississippian peoples. The tribes have never been large in numbers, compared with more well-known plains tribes. At the time of their contact with Lewis and Clark in 1804, the Otoe and Missouria inhabited an area near the Platte River in what is now Nebraska. Following a series of forced migrations and broken treaties, they eventually accepted settlement on a reservation in Indian Territory in 1881. Today they remain a federally recognized tribe known as the Otoe-Missouria, based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.
The Munsee were the northernmost division of the Delaware (Lenape) Indians, living in the area where present-day Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York meet. During the Colonial period, this group began to follow the teachings of the Moravian missionaries and became known as the Christian Indians. In 1772, they migrated with the mission to the Ohio Territory and later to southern Ontario, Canada. In 1839, a small group of them joined other Delaware in Kansas, and from that point on, the Kansas Munsee were a distinct band with their own identity. Their final treaty, in 1859, combined the remaining Munsee with a small band of Chippewa in Franklin County, Kansas.