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NYT: The Cherokees Free Their Slaves 
Written by Melinda Miller and Rachel Smith Purvis

Following on the heels of the Emancipation Proclamation, in February 1863 the Cherokee Nation declared that all slaves within its limits were “forever free.” In 1983, the descendants of these slaves, known as the Cherokee Freedmen, were removed from tribal membership rolls and prohibited from voting in Cherokee elections. A series of protracted legal battles over Freedmen citizenship ensued and continue today.
Questions on the status of the Cherokees’ former slaves in tribal life originated in the complicated landscape of the Civil War in Indian Territory, a story of an internal civil war within the larger conflict. Although the Cherokee Nation had initially joined the Confederacy, Principal Chief John Ross and his supporters began discussions with Northern forces during the summer of 1862. These loyal Cherokees convened a meeting of the National Council at Cowskin Prairie and produced two distinct emancipation acts, documents that reverberate in today’s controversies over the legal standing of the Cherokee Freedmen.
Ross had originally rebuffed attempts to become engaged in the war, writing in June 1861: “I have already signified my purpose to take no part in it whatever.” But neutrality proved untenable, and the Cherokees signed a treaty of alliance with the Confederacy in October 1861. The nation raised two regiments; one was under the command of Ross’s nephew-in-law John Drew, while Stand Watie, Ross’s long-time political opponent, led the other.
By 1862, Ross had become disillusioned with the Confederate government. The first major military engagements in Indian Territory proved disastrous for both the Confederacy and the Cherokees. Retreating from Indian Territory, the Confederacy left the Cherokees open to Union advances and without supplies for Cherokee troops and destitute civilians. Although Ross believed the Confederacy was shirking its treaty promises, the Confederate colonel Douglas H. Cooper called upon Ross to fulfill his obligations by ordering all Cherokee men of fighting age to “take up arms to repel invasion.”
Union Capt. Harris S. Greeno was aware of Ross’s dissatisfaction with the Confederacy, and he ordered the arrest of Ross and his family at their plantation home, Rose Cottage, in present-day eastern Oklahoma. They were quickly paroled and escorted to Union territory, and they retreated to his wife’s family home in Philadelphia. Ross would spend the remainder of the war attempting to convince the Lincoln administration of the Cherokee’s loyalty and commitment to the Union cause.
With Ross absent from from Indian Territory, southern Cherokee leaders moved quickly to elect Stand Watie as principal chief and reaffirmed the Cherokee Nation’s treaty with the Confederacy. But in the winter of 1863, Col. William Phillips escorted Union Cherokees into the Cherokee Nation. There, they held a meeting of the National Council to affirm that they, and not Watie and his followers, were the true government of the Cherokee people. This 1863 loyal council opened by denouncing the Cherokee treaty with the Confederacy and insisting they were pressured into the alliance due to a lack of federal protection in Indian Territory. They then quickly moved to address the issue of slavery in the Cherokee Nation. Within the four-day period from Feb. 18 to Feb. 21, 1863, the Cherokee Council passed two separate emancipation acts.
The slavery issue was of such great importance they tackled it first: before they removed Stand Watie and other Confederates from office, before discussing how to deal with the utter devastation the Cherokee people faced in their war-torn country and before John Ross was appointed to represent the Cherokee Nation in discussions with the United States government.
The prominent place of slavery at these council meetings reflected a keen understanding of the nature of emancipation policy within the Lincoln administration. As the Cherokee Nation severed ties with the Confederacy and hoped to rejoin the Union, they were certainly aware of another government that had recently done exactly that: on Dec. 31, 1862, President Lincoln welcomed West Virginia into the Union, with its statehood conditional on its newly written constitution’s including an abolition clause.
The Emancipation Acts themselves further demonstrated the Cherokee Council’s acute awareness of President Lincoln’s policies. They first called for a Cherokee delegation to negotiate with the United States government to emancipate their slaves “upon the Principle of Compensation.” During the initial years of the Civil War, Lincoln had proposed ending slavery in the border states through a gradual dissolution of the peculiar institution, with compensation offered to slave owners for their financial losses. He again endorsed a plan for gradual and compensated emancipation in his annual address to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862. The Cherokee Council’s first Emancipation Act, passed on Feb. 18, was an attempt to take Lincoln up on this offer.
What is surprising, then, is how quickly the Cherokee council issued a second Emancipation Act that specified universal emancipation without compensation. On Feb. 20, the council declared: “Any person or Persons, who may have been held in Slavery are, hereby, declared to be forever free.” Why did Cherokee leaders change such a fundamental aspect of their emancipation plans?
Between Lincoln’s endorsement of compensated emancipation in his annual address and the Cherokees’ plan for compensated emancipation, a watershed had occurred. On Jan. 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This action forever altered the parameters of freedom in the United States, and Lincoln would cease his offers of compensated emancipation. The Cherokee Nation had missed its opportunity to receive payment for freeing slaves. Strengthening ties with the Union would require the Cherokees to adjust to Lincoln’s new emancipation policies.
The Cherokees, however, differed from Lincoln and his cabinet over one key issue. There was no serious discussion or consideration of freedmen’s citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. Instead, on Nov. 14, the Cherokee Council passed an act that explicitly denied citizenship to former slaves and required freed slaves remaining in the Nation to obtain work permits. The incorporation of the former slaves of Cherokee masters into the Cherokee citizenry would wait until the 1866 Treaty between the Cherokees and United States.
In the aftermath of freedom, the United States incorporated freed people into the body politic with constitutional amendments outlining their citizenship rights. In the 1866 treaty, federal officials also required Cherokee leaders to grant former slaves and their descendants “all the rights of native Cherokees.” This particular phrase is important, because it did not explicitly state what these rights were - and has been a source of tension between Cherokee leaders and the Cherokee Freedmen ever since.
Follow Disunion at twitter.com/NYTcivilwar or join us on Facebook.
Sources: Clarissa Confer, “The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War”; William McLoughlin, “After the Trail of Tears”; Melinda Miller, “Essays on Race and the Persistence of Economic Inequality; Cherokee Nation, 1863 Emancipation Acts and Treaty of 1866; James Oaks, “Freedom National”; Rachel Smith Purvis, “‘Maintaining intact our homogenousness’: Race, Citizenship, & Reconstructing Cherokee”; United States Government, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
Melinda C. Miller, a visiting assistant professor of economics at Yale and an assistant professor of economics at the United States Naval Academy, studies the economic status of the Cherokee freedmen during the decades following the Civil War. Rachel Smith Purvis, a postdoctoral associate at Yale, is revising her manuscript on the Cherokee Nation during the Reconstruction era.

NYT: The Cherokees Free Their Slaves

Written by Melinda Miller and Rachel Smith Purvis

Following on the heels of the Emancipation Proclamation, in February 1863 the Cherokee Nation declared that all slaves within its limits were “forever free.” In 1983, the descendants of these slaves, known as the Cherokee Freedmen, were removed from tribal membership rolls and prohibited from voting in Cherokee elections. A series of protracted legal battles over Freedmen citizenship ensued and continue today.

Questions on the status of the Cherokees’ former slaves in tribal life originated in the complicated landscape of the Civil War in Indian Territory, a story of an internal civil war within the larger conflict. Although the Cherokee Nation had initially joined the Confederacy, Principal Chief John Ross and his supporters began discussions with Northern forces during the summer of 1862. These loyal Cherokees convened a meeting of the National Council at Cowskin Prairie and produced two distinct emancipation acts, documents that reverberate in today’s controversies over the legal standing of the Cherokee Freedmen.

Ross had originally rebuffed attempts to become engaged in the war, writing in June 1861: “I have already signified my purpose to take no part in it whatever.” But neutrality proved untenable, and the Cherokees signed a treaty of alliance with the Confederacy in October 1861. The nation raised two regiments; one was under the command of Ross’s nephew-in-law John Drew, while Stand Watie, Ross’s long-time political opponent, led the other.

By 1862, Ross had become disillusioned with the Confederate government. The first major military engagements in Indian Territory proved disastrous for both the Confederacy and the Cherokees. Retreating from Indian Territory, the Confederacy left the Cherokees open to Union advances and without supplies for Cherokee troops and destitute civilians. Although Ross believed the Confederacy was shirking its treaty promises, the Confederate colonel Douglas H. Cooper called upon Ross to fulfill his obligations by ordering all Cherokee men of fighting age to “take up arms to repel invasion.”

Union Capt. Harris S. Greeno was aware of Ross’s dissatisfaction with the Confederacy, and he ordered the arrest of Ross and his family at their plantation home, Rose Cottage, in present-day eastern Oklahoma. They were quickly paroled and escorted to Union territory, and they retreated to his wife’s family home in Philadelphia. Ross would spend the remainder of the war attempting to convince the Lincoln administration of the Cherokee’s loyalty and commitment to the Union cause.

With Ross absent from from Indian Territory, southern Cherokee leaders moved quickly to elect Stand Watie as principal chief and reaffirmed the Cherokee Nation’s treaty with the Confederacy. But in the winter of 1863, Col. William Phillips escorted Union Cherokees into the Cherokee Nation. There, they held a meeting of the National Council to affirm that they, and not Watie and his followers, were the true government of the Cherokee people. This 1863 loyal council opened by denouncing the Cherokee treaty with the Confederacy and insisting they were pressured into the alliance due to a lack of federal protection in Indian Territory. They then quickly moved to address the issue of slavery in the Cherokee Nation. Within the four-day period from Feb. 18 to Feb. 21, 1863, the Cherokee Council passed two separate emancipation acts.

The slavery issue was of such great importance they tackled it first: before they removed Stand Watie and other Confederates from office, before discussing how to deal with the utter devastation the Cherokee people faced in their war-torn country and before John Ross was appointed to represent the Cherokee Nation in discussions with the United States government.

The prominent place of slavery at these council meetings reflected a keen understanding of the nature of emancipation policy within the Lincoln administration. As the Cherokee Nation severed ties with the Confederacy and hoped to rejoin the Union, they were certainly aware of another government that had recently done exactly that: on Dec. 31, 1862, President Lincoln welcomed West Virginia into the Union, with its statehood conditional on its newly written constitution’s including an abolition clause.

The Emancipation Acts themselves further demonstrated the Cherokee Council’s acute awareness of President Lincoln’s policies. They first called for a Cherokee delegation to negotiate with the United States government to emancipate their slaves “upon the Principle of Compensation.” During the initial years of the Civil War, Lincoln had proposed ending slavery in the border states through a gradual dissolution of the peculiar institution, with compensation offered to slave owners for their financial losses. He again endorsed a plan for gradual and compensated emancipation in his annual address to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862. The Cherokee Council’s first Emancipation Act, passed on Feb. 18, was an attempt to take Lincoln up on this offer.

What is surprising, then, is how quickly the Cherokee council issued a second Emancipation Act that specified universal emancipation without compensation. On Feb. 20, the council declared: “Any person or Persons, who may have been held in Slavery are, hereby, declared to be forever free.” Why did Cherokee leaders change such a fundamental aspect of their emancipation plans?

Between Lincoln’s endorsement of compensated emancipation in his annual address and the Cherokees’ plan for compensated emancipation, a watershed had occurred. On Jan. 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This action forever altered the parameters of freedom in the United States, and Lincoln would cease his offers of compensated emancipation. The Cherokee Nation had missed its opportunity to receive payment for freeing slaves. Strengthening ties with the Union would require the Cherokees to adjust to Lincoln’s new emancipation policies.

The Cherokees, however, differed from Lincoln and his cabinet over one key issue. There was no serious discussion or consideration of freedmen’s citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. Instead, on Nov. 14, the Cherokee Council passed an act that explicitly denied citizenship to former slaves and required freed slaves remaining in the Nation to obtain work permits. The incorporation of the former slaves of Cherokee masters into the Cherokee citizenry would wait until the 1866 Treaty between the Cherokees and United States.

In the aftermath of freedom, the United States incorporated freed people into the body politic with constitutional amendments outlining their citizenship rights. In the 1866 treaty, federal officials also required Cherokee leaders to grant former slaves and their descendants “all the rights of native Cherokees.” This particular phrase is important, because it did not explicitly state what these rights were - and has been a source of tension between Cherokee leaders and the Cherokee Freedmen ever since.

Follow Disunion at twitter.com/NYTcivilwar or join us on Facebook.

Sources: Clarissa Confer, “The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War”; William McLoughlin, “After the Trail of Tears”; Melinda Miller, “Essays on Race and the Persistence of Economic Inequality; Cherokee Nation, 1863 Emancipation Acts and Treaty of 1866; James Oaks, “Freedom National”; Rachel Smith Purvis, “‘Maintaining intact our homogenousness’: Race, Citizenship, & Reconstructing Cherokee”; United States Government, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

Melinda C. Miller, a visiting assistant professor of economics at Yale and an assistant professor of economics at the United States Naval Academy, studies the economic status of the Cherokee freedmen during the decades following the Civil War. Rachel Smith Purvis, a postdoctoral associate at Yale, is revising her manuscript on the Cherokee Nation during the Reconstruction era.

449 Plays

NPR: Who Gets To Decide Who Is Native American?

August 9, 2012

A controversy about identity has erupted in the race for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. News outlets revealed Democrat Elizabeth Warren claimed Cherokee ancestry during her academic career, and critics say Warren isn’t providing enough documentation to prove her identity. Host Michel Martin discusses just who is Native American.

Guests: 

Rob Capriccioso is the Washington D.C. Bureau Chief for Indian Country Today Media Network. An enrolled citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Sault Ste. Marie.

Dr. Tiya Miles is an American historian, and professor in the Department of History and chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. She is a 2011 MacArthur Fellow. Her work includes: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom,The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story , “Why the Freedmen Fight”

a-lostbird:

Scull Shoals (vicinity), Greene County, Georgia. Farmer Frank Barnett and his son with their team of oxen. They are part Black and part Cherokee Indian. 
From the Library of Congress
View high resolution

a-lostbird:

Scull Shoals (vicinity), Greene County, Georgia. Farmer Frank Barnett and his son with their team of oxen. They are part Black and part Cherokee Indian

From the Library of Congress

(via alostbird)

"Black Slaves, Red Masters" was produced by Sam Ford and originally aired on WJLA-TV Washington in February 1990. // Part II // Part III // Submitted by Mujerdorada

ARTIST STATEMENT:
Who is Kyra Climbingbear?
Kyra Climbingbear is an “American” singer/songwriter. Her definition of American meaning the TRUE foundation of America being of both African and Native descent. At the tender of age of 9, Kyra Climbingbear first took notice of her writing ability and talent with words and has been writing ever since. Although, she sang in chorus and honor’s choir all throughout Grammar, Middle, and High Schools, it was not until she was in her late teens that she realized she wanted to be a singer/songwriter; to be exact the “frontman”, the leader.
After the birth of her first child Kenai, it was her mother and partner that pushed Kyra Climbingbear to get over the “hump” and pursue singing professionally. Weeks later she was in Lethal Nation of the Grunts as Karen Rowe. The band L.N.T.G. played at the famous CBGB before it’s finally closing. Though the group did not last, Kyra continued to pursue music. Needless, to say it has been a rough road and five years later she is still going strong. Her hard work and dedication has paid off with her recent success. In the summer of 2009, not only did she graduate from the Institute of Audio Research with a GPA of 3.84, she also opened for Stax recording artist N’dambi. N’dambi, who was once the background singer of Erykah Badu,who by the way is one of Kyra’s favorite singers. It’s no wonder that people have often compared Kyra’s voice to N’dambi’s, with N’dambi being one Kyra’s main influences. Three weeks after the birth of her second child YaRa, Kyra Climbingbear with children in tow, opened for American Idol Bo Bice, at the 97th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair. This was an enormous opportunity for Ms. Climbingbear whose family still resides on the Qualla Boundary Reservation. She was able to bring new music to her tribe and perform in front of her peers and family.
As an enrolled member of the Eastern Band Cherokee Indian, Kyra Climbingbear is now working on a new project to fuse both of her worlds. She is ready for the world to hear a new sound. Many others have claimed to be an ” Urban Indian” however, Kyra has not only lived in the Tristate area most of her life but has spent months back and forth on her own rez. In the next year, she will be immersing herself head first into Cherokee traditional music, language, and culture as a way to fuse them with Hip Hop, Soul, and Rock music. All of these being a part of who she is, has been, and will become. During this “hibernation” she hopes to emerge with a new voice/sound that reflects her true inner voice.
This is just one of the many projects Ms. Climbingbear is working on. With projects in the works of a children’s album, Management/ Production company, Artist Development for Native and Urban youth. One should expect big things from such a small person within the next few years.

ARTIST STATEMENT:

Who is Kyra Climbingbear?

Kyra Climbingbear is an “American” singer/songwriter. Her definition of American meaning the TRUE foundation of America being of both African and Native descent. At the tender of age of 9, Kyra Climbingbear first took notice of her writing ability and talent with words and has been writing ever since. Although, she sang in chorus and honor’s choir all throughout Grammar, Middle, and High Schools, it was not until she was in her late teens that she realized she wanted to be a singer/songwriter; to be exact the “frontman”, the leader.

After the birth of her first child Kenai, it was her mother and partner that pushed Kyra Climbingbear to get over the “hump” and pursue singing professionally. Weeks later she was in Lethal Nation of the Grunts as Karen Rowe. The band L.N.T.G. played at the famous CBGB before it’s finally closing. Though the group did not last, Kyra continued to pursue music. Needless, to say it has been a rough road and five years later she is still going strong. Her hard work and dedication has paid off with her recent success. In the summer of 2009, not only did she graduate from the Institute of Audio Research with a GPA of 3.84, she also opened for Stax recording artist N’dambi. N’dambi, who was once the background singer of Erykah Badu,who by the way is one of Kyra’s favorite singers. It’s no wonder that people have often compared Kyra’s voice to N’dambi’s, with N’dambi being one Kyra’s main influences. Three weeks after the birth of her second child YaRa, Kyra Climbingbear with children in tow, opened for American Idol Bo Bice, at the 97th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair. This was an enormous opportunity for Ms. Climbingbear whose family still resides on the Qualla Boundary Reservation. She was able to bring new music to her tribe and perform in front of her peers and family.

As an enrolled member of the Eastern Band Cherokee Indian, Kyra Climbingbear is now working on a new project to fuse both of her worlds. She is ready for the world to hear a new sound. Many others have claimed to be an ” Urban Indian” however, Kyra has not only lived in the Tristate area most of her life but has spent months back and forth on her own rez. In the next year, she will be immersing herself head first into Cherokee traditional music, language, and culture as a way to fuse them with Hip Hop, Soul, and Rock music. All of these being a part of who she is, has been, and will become. During this “hibernation” she hopes to emerge with a new voice/sound that reflects her true inner voice.

This is just one of the many projects Ms. Climbingbear is working on. With projects in the works of a children’s album, Management/ Production company, Artist Development for Native and Urban youth. One should expect big things from such a small person within the next few years.


ARTIST BIO: 
Kyra Climbingbear was born May 14, 1983 to a “Black” mother and a “Native American” father. At an early age Kyra embraced her mixed heritage and decided, through music, she would educate ignorant minds. She spent many years between New Jersey and Cherokee, North Carolina (Qualla Boundry, Cherokee reservation) where her father later resided with her two brothers and step-mother. During her visits she was introduced to Cherokee traditional dancing as well as traditional Cherokee songs which she took to naturally. Nowadays, her goal is to address world issues and become what Marvin Gaye was in his era: a motivator. Her musical influences can be attributed to her mother’s vast collection of music. One of Kyra’s earliest memories are of her mother humming “Easy On Down the Road” from the soundtrack to The Wiz, and the lyrics have remained with Kyra as a constant reminder to never carry anything that might be a load.
WEBSITES Watch performances on youtube.com/kyraclimbingbear Listen to music on myspace.com/kyraclimbingbear Resume on amerinda.org/naar/climbingbear/musician/musician.htm
View high resolution

ARTIST BIO:

Kyra Climbingbear was born May 14, 1983 to a “Black” mother and a “Native American” father. At an early age Kyra embraced her mixed heritage and decided, through music, she would educate ignorant minds. She spent many years between New Jersey and Cherokee, North Carolina (Qualla Boundry, Cherokee reservation) where her father later resided with her two brothers and step-mother. During her visits she was introduced to Cherokee traditional dancing as well as traditional Cherokee songs which she took to naturally. Nowadays, her goal is to address world issues and become what Marvin Gaye was in his era: a motivator. Her musical influences can be attributed to her mother’s vast collection of music. One of Kyra’s earliest memories are of her mother humming “Easy On Down the Road” from the soundtrack to The Wiz, and the lyrics have remained with Kyra as a constant reminder to never carry anything that might be a load.

WEBSITES
Watch performances on youtube.com/kyraclimbingbear
Listen to music on myspace.com/kyraclimbingbear
Resume on amerinda.org/naar/climbingbear/musician/musician.htm

Pain of ‘Trail of Tears’ shared by Blacks as well as Native Americans

CNN | Tiya Miles | 2/27/12

African American history, as it is often told, includes two monumental migration stories: the forced exodus of Africans to the Americas during the brutal Middle Passage of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the voluntary migration of Black residents who moved from southern farms and towns to northern cities in the early 1900s in search of “the warmth of other suns.”

A third African-American migration story—just as epic, just as grave—hovers outside the familiar frame of our historical consciousness. The iconic tragedy of Indian Removal: the Cherokee Trail of Tears that relocated thousands of Cherokees to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), was also a Black migration. Slaves of Cherokees walked this trail along with their Indian owners.

In 1838, the U.S. military and Georgia militia expelled Cherokees from their homeland with little regard for Cherokee dignity or life. Families were rousted out of their cabins and directed at gunpoint by soldiers. Forced to leave most of their possessions behind, they witnessed white Georgians taking ownership of their cabins, looting and burning once cherished objects. Cherokees were loaded into “stockades” until the appointed time of their departure, when they were divided into thirteen groups of nearly 1,000 people, each with two appointed leaders. The travelers set out on multiple routes to cross Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas at 10 miles a day with meager supplies.

At points along the way, the straggling bands were charged fees by white farmers to cross privately owned land. The few wagons available were used to carry the sick, infant, and elderly. Most walked through the fall and into the harsh winter months, suffering the continual deaths of loved ones to cold, disease, and accident. Among these sojourners were African Americans and Cherokees of African descent. They, like thousands of other Cherokees, arrived in Indian Country in 1839 broken, depleted, and destitute.

In addition to bearing the physical and emotional hardships of the trip, enslaved Blacks were enlisted to labor for Cherokees along the way; they hunted, chopped wood, nursed the sick, washed clothes, prepared the meals, guarded the camps at night, and hiked ahead to remove obstructions from the roads.

One Cherokee man, Nathaniel Willis, remembered in the 1930s that: “My grandparents were helped and protected by very faithful Negro slaves who … went ahead of the wagons and killed any wild beast who came along.” Nearly 4,000 Cherokees died during the eviction, as did an unaccounted for number of Blacks. As one former slave of Cherokees, Eliza Whitmire, said in the 1930s: “The weeks that followed General Scott’s order to remove the Cherokees were filled with horror and suffering for the unfortunate Cherokees and their slaves.”

Although Black presence on the Trail of Tears is a documented historical fact, many have willed it into forgetfulness.

Some African Americans avoid confronting the painful reality of Native American slave ownership, preferring instead to fondly imagine any Indian ancestor in the family tree and to picture all Indian communities in the South as safe havens for runaway slaves.

Some Cherokee citizens and Native people of other removed slaveholding tribes (Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles) have also denied this history, desiring to cordon off forced removal as an atrocious wrong that affected only Native Americans. By excluding Blacks (many of whom had Native “blood”) from a claim on this history, these deniers also seek to expel the descendants of Freedmen and women from the circle of tribal belonging. For it is the memory of this collective tragedy, perhaps more than any other, that binds together Cherokees who draw strength from having survived it.

As a researcher whose work focuses on African-American and Native American histories, I have encountered this resistance. A few years ago, I spoke on the subject of Blacks in the Cherokee removal at a conference of the National Trail of Tears Association. One member of the audience, a Cherokee instructor of Cherokee history, insisted that this was an historical event only for Cherokees, a story that rightfully belonged to them alone. This is a view shared by a former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, who reportedly implied in a published remark that descendants of Freedpeople do not deserve tribal rights because they did not suffer the collective trauma of removal. The Trail of Tears is a sacred story to the Cherokees, as in special and set apart. It carries a meaningful lesson across time and space—-about greed, injustice, and the perseverance of a people staring into a bleak and unknown future. However, a potent story shared with others is not necessarily diminished by the sharing; it might instead grow stronger in its ability to enlighten.

Read More

(Source: local10.com)

30 Plays

MacArthur ‘Genius’ Tiya Miles does pioneering research on the relationship between Cherokee Indians and African-Americans. She speaks with host Michel Martin about shedding light on the unexplored history of Native American and African-American slavery in Michigan.

Download the free podcast or read the text transcript here.

Accumulated by the federally appointed Dawes Commission between 1898 and 1914, the Dawes Rolls are the largest Indian record set and contain hundreds for entries for individual with mixed black and Indian heritage. Documents known as Rolls by Blood and Freedmen Rolls, as well as a subcategory of documents known as the Minors and the New Born Rolls, are useful in genealogical research. Freedmen, the slaves held by the southeastern Indian communities known as the Five Civilized Tribes, sometimes had blood and cultural ties to individuals listed on the blood rolls. In some case, siblings appear on both the Rolls by Blood and the Freedmen Rolls. These families were blended.

In addition to the Dawes Rolls, many other rolls record mixed-heritage families and individuals, including:

• Tompkin Roll, Cherokee Nation (1867)
• Dunn Roll, Creek Nation (1869)
• Cherokee Census of 1872
• Wallace Roll, Cherokee Nation (1880)
• 1880 Authenticated Cherokee Roll, Cherokee Nation
• Hester Roll, Cherokee Nation (1883)
• Choctaw-Chickasaw Freedmen Census (1885)
• Cherokee Census (1890)
• Kern Clifton Roll, Cherokee Nation (1896)
• Authenticated Roll, Cherokee Freedmen (1896)

Other records that can be of use to the genealogist and that document many blended families are the rejected files of the Mississippi Choctaws and the Eastern Band of Cherokees. The rejected files represent data provided by the applicants who had ties to Indian tribes based on family histories but were not approved by government authorities. As a result, the descendants of many of the mixed heritage families who submitted applications were later identified as being only black or white.

Smithsonian: National Museum of the American IndianindiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americans, p. 82. (via daydreamingbookworm)

(via daydreamingaimlessly-deactivate)

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