Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Birchfield, D.L. "Freedmen".Encyclopedia of North American Indians. Volume IV.

Europeans were not the only people who owned slaves. Indian tribes such as Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole were also partakers of slave holding. While some tribe members owned fewer slaves other owned a large amount of slaves. Robert Jones, a mixed-blood Choctaw, owned a plantation with over five hundred African American slaves.

Call me senseless, but I never knew that Indians had slaves or maybe I was just not fully aware of it. Coming from a known blood line of Cherokee ancestry, on both my grandfather and grandmothers side, I am somewhat disappointed and I am starting to see the prejudice views that Cherokee people can have against African Americans, through my own families negative personal encounters with Cherokee Indians, regarding our own citizenship's.

History of Freedmen Descendants

Go to Link: History of Freedmen Descendants

The link above offers a timeline of court rulings pertaining to ("descendants of original enrollees under the Freedmen and Intermarried White categories of the Dawes Rolls"). In 1975, Cherokee Nations also expressed the need ("to return to its roots as an Indian tribe made up of Indians") and approval of a New Constitution that redefines its requirements for Cherokee Citizenship. Declaring, ("To become a citizen the Cherokee people decided that one must trace one lineal ancestor (specifically Cherokee, Shawnee or Delaware) listed on the Dawes Rolls. Descendants of original enrollees in Non-Indian categories on the Dawes Rolls (the Freedmen and Intermarried Whites categories) would not be eligible for citizenship.") (1975)

This timeline is a very valuable piece of information for those who may not know the background of the court rulings pertaining to the Freedmen descendants. However, until you become familiar with the history of Freedmen's you can't really understand or take sides. I started this research with a somewhat made up mind about who's side I would take, siding with the Cherokee Nation. The information they presented seemed reasonable and why should a person without a Cherokee ancestor be allowed to become a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I made a mistake of not researching both sides before choosing. Through research and gaining a clearer understanding about the Freedmen, I have decided to argue against the Cherokee Nations New Constitution that excludes ("descendants of original enrollees in Non-Indian categories on the Dawes Rolls"). (2006, March)