Great Lakes Melungeon Nation is a Lineage Society and Cultural group (we are *not* an Indigenous Tribe or a Religious Denomination) based in Hazel Park, Michigan that consists heavily of descendants of the Midwest Diaspora (Lakeminite) of Melungeon people who settled in the midwest from Appalachia. 

From Appalachia to the Midwest

Great Lakes Melungeons

The Melungeon people are a triracial isolate group consisting of European, African American, and Indigenous ancestry. We are NOT an Indigenous Tribe or a Religious Denomination. The first Melungeon people recorded in American history were residing in the Cumberland Gap area of Appalachia and had likely been there hundreds of years.  The Melungeon communities of Appalachia were sometimes referred to as Melungia. These communities were primarily endogamous, resulting in a heavily mixed racial background for each family.  Years of isolation in those mountains gave Melungeon communities to develop their own culture, traditions, and way of life.  However, being a mixed race group in the south meant the Melungeon people faced many hardships, discrimmination, oppression, displacement, poverty and abuse at the hands of people like Walter Plecker and laws like the Racial Integrity Act.

The Hillbilly Highway

Due to issues with poverty, oppression, and racial discrimmination many Melungeon families were part the “Great Appalachian Migration”.  Durng this time large portions of Melungeon communities moved from their declining small communities out towards larger cities, along what is commonly known as the "Hillbilly Highway".  In search of a better life and better jobs they headed to the newly booming Auto Industries in the Midwestern Us States. From their homes in South/Central Appalachia (TN, VA, WV, KY, and NC), many Melungeons migrated to some of the most notable rustbelt cities, including Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, and Cincinnati, OH.

Today, small communities of Melungeon families still exist in and around these cities, making up large populations of small metro towns like Hazel Park, MI and Highland, OH.


Board of Directors


Vice President and Registrar

Executive Director

Kathryn Tebbe 



Midwest Lost History