Of course it wasn't done intentionally so to speak, he was trying to avoid his family from being shunned upon in society.
See Paw-paw was a red-skinned white man (if that's possible), as was my Dad. My whole life Paw-Paw told me I was a direct descendant of Jeronimo. Up to his dying day he swore to this. I had started doing family research about 4 years ago, well after Paw-Paw's death. I never found a direct link to Jeronimo, but I wasn't even questioning that fact, because what Paw-Paw said I took to be true.
Well about 6 weeks ago my family and my uncle were cleaning out the shed at Paw-Paw's house getting it ready for sale and a picture of one of Paw-Paw's brothers caught my eye. Not quite as dark skinned as my Paw-Paw but he had definite color to his skin tone. So my uncle commented that our heritage causes the whole family line to be dark. And my comment to him was something to the effect of "that's the Indian in us coming out".
Well I almost hit the floor, not sure if it was because Paw-Paw had lied to me all my life or if the fact that I hadn't figured this out during my research. I can promise you the jaw was stuck to the floor by the time my uncle finally shut up.
"Stephanie, you are not Indian in any shape or form, you are creole." And of course my answer was something to the effect of "You might not be Indian, but I sure am, Paw-Paw told me so". Turns out, according to my uncle, Creoles were particularly shunned by society in our area of Louisiana, so to avoid his family from feeling that pain and being treated as social outcast, Paw-Paw created this fib.
So now I am not Indian, after 41 years of believing I was, I am creole descent. Does that change who I am? NO Does that change how I look at the world or the people around me in everyday life? NO But does in change something in my heart knowing that I am Creole and not Indian? I believe it does in some respects which I can't explain.