Daniel Boone and Adoption (under Honorific Adoption)

1820 oil painting of Daniel Boone by Chester Harding.


It is not unusual for adults to be adopted as honorary members of a family, clan or tribe. There are two main types.

-One is the publicity-stunt adoption of politicians, usually western leaders, or other worthies by "native" clans or tribes, done as a photo-opportunity for the politician and for publicity by the tribe. -The other type is where an individual is adopted as a mark of respect or reward for his services to or sympathy with a tribe. It recognizes a long-standing bond between the individual and the tribe and could be compared with the award of the freedom of a city. It is not the same as the adoption of captives. This directory contains three representative examples of honorific adoptions:

1. Peter John Powell,

2. Buffalo Child Long Lance and

3. Julius Meyer

all adopted by Native American tribes.

Other names which I have collected but not provided full entries for include:

-Batley, Robert Thompson, 1849-1917, New Zealand farmer (adopted by the Ngati Whiti people in recognition of his friendship and help in establishing their ownership of land confiscated by the government)

-Boone, Daniel, 1734-1820, American soldier and explorer (adopted by Native Americans in 1778)

-Coombs, Herbert Cole ("Nugget"), 1906-97, White Australian economist, university chancellor and campaigner for Aboriginal rights and reconciliation (adopted by the Marika family of the Rirratingu clan of northeast Arnhem Land)

-Schuon, Frithjof, 1907-98, Swiss-French-American philosopher and painter (adopted by the Sioux (family of James Red Cloud) in 1959 and by the Crow (Thomas Yellowtail) about 1963)

-Weisner, Conrad, American businessman (adopted by the Mohawks in the 18th century)