BLACK NDNS

BLACK NDNs. "If you know I have a history, you will respect me."

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.

1876: The Year When Things Went from Bad to Worse for Indians and Blacks

William Loren Katz | 1/23/12

As 2011 ended the U.S. Senate voted 92 to 6 for the McCain-Levin amendments [S 1867] to the National Defense Authorization Act.  In the name of fighting terrorism, an astounding majority of Democratic and Republican leaders granted unlimited authority to the president [and future presidents] and the Army to arrest anyone, citizen or foreigner, here or abroad, and imprison them in Poland, Pennsylvania, or Guantanamo or anywhere else—indefinitely.  Ninety-two of our Senators agreed the detained could be denied access to attorneys and loved ones, and “enhanced interrogation” rather than legal procedures would determine if they are guilty of terrorist plots.  True, some rigid constitutionalists and libertarians from Senator Rand Paul on the right to the ACLU on the left have condemned S 1867 as a threat to our core beliefs and democratic system.  But S 167 swept through on the 235th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. 

Actually, we celebrated our founding document while undermining its principles in the centennial year of 1876, too.  That year, what might be called a federal-state task force, which included a majority of members of Congress and the Supreme Court, and the president chose to override the Declaration’s bold assertion of liberty, the Constitution’s “more perfect Union” and Abraham Lincoln’s “new birth of freedom.”  They did so to serve an unholy alliance of northern railroad builders and land speculators, unrepentant former slaveholders and assorted white supremacists—and their obedient lobbyists and media.  What followed was a severe and simultaneous assault on the basic rights of Native Americans and African Americans that sent the country careening in a new direction.  

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(Source: hnn.us)

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Tiya Miles, Public Historian

by Susan Leem, associate producer

“In my family, there was an oral history about Native American heritage. And it’s one that my grandmother talked about when I was young many a time on her front porch. So when I went to graduate school I wanted to explore this, and I was at a Native American history seminar when I first learned about Native American slave-holding. So I was confronted with two different ideas, or stories, about these relationships.”
Tiya Miles

The MacArthur Foundation brought this fresh voice to our attention when it announced a public historian as one of their recent “genius” grant recipients. This is a fascinating title, and a weighty responsibility. What makes a historian a “public” one? And once you hear her speak, you’ll ask, “Why aren’t there more?”

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Sarann Knight Preddy, Entrepreneur

Sarann Knight Preddy provides a unique perspective on women and gaming, as the first black woman to receive a Nevada gaming license.

Born on July 27, 1920, in Eufaula, Oklahoma, she migrated to Las Vegas in 1942 with her parents and husband. They settled in the Las Vegas black community, the Westside, and because her father was a carpenter, immediately built a home. Many African Americans lived in tents and shacks due to the lack of materials caused by the war, coupled with the challenge blacks faced when attempting to purchase real property. Obtaining the financing necessary for a car was different. Preddy remembered that it was not unusual to see a big, impressive, shiny new car in front of a shack because everybody was working and had money, but blacks just could not seem to qualify for a home loan.

Preddy gravitated to Jackson Street, the black business district, to seek employment, and soon became a Keno writer in the Cotton Club. The business district was peppered with a series of nightclubs, restaurants, beauty and barber shops, clothing establishments, and small grocery stores. Preddy gained business acumen in the gaming industry, and when her husband accepted an employment opportunity in Hawthorne, Nevada, she joined him and became the owner of her first gaming venue. For $600, which she borrowed from her father, she bought Hawthorne’s one club for blacks, renamed it the Tonga Club, and operated it for seven years. The gaming license she obtained for that club gave Preddy the distinction of being the first black to own a gaming license in Nevada. She remembers the club becoming successful as a result of her barbecue sauce recipe, in addition to the games of chance.

Preddy returned to Las Vegas after the Moulin Rouge Hotel Casino, the first integrated resort property in Las Vegas, opened and closed in 1955. She operated the Playhouse Lounge for a year before going to work at Jerry’s Nugget as an experiment. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had been told that Jerry’s Nugget would hire a black dealer if the association could send in a qualified person. Preddy accepted the challenge, intending to work at the North Las Vegas casino for six months. She stayed there for seven years. She remembers a congenial environment where profit-sharing was one of the benefits. [READ MORE]

Early encounters between Africans and Seminoles can be traced to seventeenth-century Florida, with the Spanish serving as a proxy connecting the two cultures. Enslaved Africans in the British colony of South Carolina found refuge and greater freedom under Spanish rule in Florida. The Seminoles, who had broken from the Creek Confederacy and settled in Florida, also found more friendly allies in the Spanish. Africans soon began to live in Seminole communities and establish alliances with Seminole towns. Some Seminoles took Africans as slaves, although their practice differed dramatically from that of invading colonizers.
Smithsonian: National Museum of the American Indian, indiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americans, p. 46. (via daydreamingbookworm)

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Forcibly removed from their homes in the late 1830s, Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians brought their African-descended slaves with them along the Trail of Tears and resettled in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. Celia E. Naylor vividly charts the experiences of enslaved and free African Cherokees from the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma’s entry into the Union in 1907. Carefully extracting the voices of former slaves from interviews and mining a range of sources in Oklahoma, she creates an engaging narrative of the composite lives of African Cherokees. Naylor explores how slaves connected with Indian communities not only through Indian customs—language, clothing, and food—but also through bonds of kinship. 
Examining this intricate and emotionally charged history, Naylor demonstrates that the “red over black” relationship was no more benign than “white over black.” She presents new angles to traditional understandings of slave resistance and counters previous romanticized ideas of slavery in the Cherokee Nation. She also challenges contemporary racial and cultural conceptions of African-descended people in the United States. Naylor reveals how black Cherokee identities evolved reflecting complex notions about race, culture, “blood,” kinship, and nationality. Indeed, Cherokee freedpeople’s struggle for recognition and equal rights that began in the nineteenth century continues even today in Oklahoma.

Excerpt available online.

Forcibly removed from their homes in the late 1830s, Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians brought their African-descended slaves with them along the Trail of Tears and resettled in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. Celia E. Naylor vividly charts the experiences of enslaved and free African Cherokees from the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma’s entry into the Union in 1907. Carefully extracting the voices of former slaves from interviews and mining a range of sources in Oklahoma, she creates an engaging narrative of the composite lives of African Cherokees. Naylor explores how slaves connected with Indian communities not only through Indian customs—language, clothing, and food—but also through bonds of kinship. 

Examining this intricate and emotionally charged history, Naylor demonstrates that the “red over black” relationship was no more benign than “white over black.” She presents new angles to traditional understandings of slave resistance and counters previous romanticized ideas of slavery in the Cherokee Nation. She also challenges contemporary racial and cultural conceptions of African-descended people in the United States. Naylor reveals how black Cherokee identities evolved reflecting complex notions about race, culture, “blood,” kinship, and nationality. Indeed, Cherokee freedpeople’s struggle for recognition and equal rights that began in the nineteenth century continues even today in Oklahoma.

Excerpt available online.

History Lost in the Cherokee Freedmen Controversy

deluxvivens:

It is deeply ironic and tragic that the rolls created by the very commission that eliminated Cherokee sovereignty at the beginning of the 1900s are the same rolls that are used as the definitive list to decide membership in the Cherokee Nation today. The blood lineality requirement often underscored in the Cherokee freedmen debate revolves around the Cherokee Nation’s requirement that Cherokee citizens prove their connection to an ancestor listed on the “Cherokee by blood” Dawes roll. Though some Indian nations require a specific Indian blood quantum for membership, the Cherokee Nation has a blood lineality (not blood quantum) requirement for Cherokee citizenship today. When one considers the central role of matrilineality in the past in defining one’s Cherokeeness, as well as the ways people could be adopted within the clan system in Indigenous Cherokee society, the current Cherokee citizenship requirement (based on the Dawes Rolls) becomes even more problematic and perplexing.

http://www.firstpeoplesnewdirections.org/blog/?p=3846

University of North Carolina Press author Celia Naylor provides historical context for the current debates surrounding the Cherokee freedmen. Naylor is the author of African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens, which examines the intricate and emotionally charged history of Cherokee freedpeople.

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deluxvivens:


As for those who “mingled their blood” with African-Americans, they, too,  would be absorbed—though they might not like the consequences.  Let us consider the  example of the Gingashins.  This eastern tribe had two strikes against it:  Its members  refused to give up their traditional lifeways; even worse, they intermarried freely and  unashamedly with blacks.
This was anathema to Virginia elites.  Intermarriage with whites could be, and was,  tolerated.  Intermarriage with blacks, however, was an intolerable challenge to the arbitrary  color line that had been in place since the first chattel slavery law passed in 1661.  Thus, in  1813, the Gingashins made their way into the history books, becoming the first U.S. tribe  to be terminated.
Needless to say, Gingashin identity did not die with the legal decree.  As late as 1855,  Rountree notes, county maps showed an “Indian Town,” an Indiantown Creek,  and a settlement of seven houses.  Eventually, however, white antagonism, not to mention  opportunism, forced the Gingashins to merge into a sympathetic African-American  community.  Tribes such as the Pamunkeys, Mattaponis, Upper Mattaponis, Nansemonds,  Rappahannocks, and Chickahominies took note of the lesson—and learned how to resist.
A century later, armed with the awesome power of the state, Plecker declared war on  these people.  Consulting a listing of surnames associated with Native American ancestry— such as Beverly (from beaver), Sparrow, Penn or Pinn, Fields, Bear, and so on—and  drawing his authority from century-old census records that were likely to list Indians as  “mulattoes”—particularly if the census were taken in summertime, Houck notes— Plecker embarked on a crusade to re-classify every Native American in the state as an  African-American.

Battles in  Red,  Black, and White: Virginia’s Racial Integrity Law of 1924

deluxvivens:

As for those who “mingled their blood” with African-Americans, they, too, would be absorbed—though they might not like the consequences. Let us consider the example of the Gingashins. This eastern tribe had two strikes against it: Its members refused to give up their traditional lifeways; even worse, they intermarried freely and unashamedly with blacks.

This was anathema to Virginia elites. Intermarriage with whites could be, and was, tolerated. Intermarriage with blacks, however, was an intolerable challenge to the arbitrary color line that had been in place since the first chattel slavery law passed in 1661. Thus, in 1813, the Gingashins made their way into the history books, becoming the first U.S. tribe to be terminated.

Needless to say, Gingashin identity did not die with the legal decree. As late as 1855, Rountree notes, county maps showed an “Indian Town,” an Indiantown Creek, and a settlement of seven houses. Eventually, however, white antagonism, not to mention opportunism, forced the Gingashins to merge into a sympathetic African-American community. Tribes such as the Pamunkeys, Mattaponis, Upper Mattaponis, Nansemonds, Rappahannocks, and Chickahominies took note of the lesson—and learned how to resist.

A century later, armed with the awesome power of the state, Plecker declared war on these people. Consulting a listing of surnames associated with Native American ancestry— such as Beverly (from beaver), Sparrow, Penn or Pinn, Fields, Bear, and so on—and drawing his authority from century-old census records that were likely to list Indians as “mulattoes”—particularly if the census were taken in summertime, Houck notes— Plecker embarked on a crusade to re-classify every Native American in the state as an African-American.

Battles in Red, Black, and White: Virginia’s Racial Integrity Law of 1924

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This beautifully written book tells the haunting saga of a  quintessentially American family. It is the story of Shoe Boots, a famed  Cherokee warrior and successful farmer, and Doll, an African slave he  acquired in the late 1790s. Over the next thirty years, Shoe Boots and  Doll lived together as master and slave and also as lifelong partners  who, with their children and grandchildren, experienced key events in  American history—including slavery, the Creek War, the founding of the  Cherokee Nation and subsequent removal of Native Americans along the  Trail of Tears, and the Civil War. This is the gripping story of their  lives, in slavery and in freedom. Meticulously crafted from historical and literary sources, Ties That Bind vividly  portrays the members of the Shoeboots family. Doll emerges as an  especially poignant character, whose life is mostly known through the  records of things done to her—her purchase, her marriage, the loss of  her children—but also through her moving petition to the federal  government for the pension owed to her as Shoe Boots’s widow. A  sensitive rendition of the hard realities of black slavery within Native  American nations, the book provides the fullest picture we have of the  myriad complexities, ironies, and tensions among African Americans,  Native Americans, and whites in the first half of the nineteenth  century.

Google Preview available.

This beautifully written book tells the haunting saga of a quintessentially American family. It is the story of Shoe Boots, a famed Cherokee warrior and successful farmer, and Doll, an African slave he acquired in the late 1790s. Over the next thirty years, Shoe Boots and Doll lived together as master and slave and also as lifelong partners who, with their children and grandchildren, experienced key events in American history—including slavery, the Creek War, the founding of the Cherokee Nation and subsequent removal of Native Americans along the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War. This is the gripping story of their lives, in slavery and in freedom. Meticulously crafted from historical and literary sources, Ties That Bind vividly portrays the members of the Shoeboots family. Doll emerges as an especially poignant character, whose life is mostly known through the records of things done to her—her purchase, her marriage, the loss of her children—but also through her moving petition to the federal government for the pension owed to her as Shoe Boots’s widow. A sensitive rendition of the hard realities of black slavery within Native American nations, the book provides the fullest picture we have of the myriad complexities, ironies, and tensions among African Americans, Native Americans, and whites in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Google Preview available.

Public Historian Tiya Miles was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011. The Fellowship is a $500,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more. Learn more at http://www.macfound.org/fellows

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