By Celia E. Naylor
Forcibly faraway from their houses within the overdue 1830s, Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians introduced their African-descended slaves with them alongside the path of Tears and resettled in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. Celia E. Naylor vividly charts the reports of enslaved and unfastened African Cherokees from the path of Tears to Oklahoma's access into the Union in 1907. conscientiously extracting the voices of former slaves from interviews and mining a number resources in Oklahoma, she creates an attractive narrative of the composite lives of African Cherokees. Naylor explores how slaves hooked up with Indian groups not just via Indian customs--language, garments, and food--but additionally via bonds of kinship.
Examining this problematic and emotionally charged historical past, Naylor demonstrates that the "red over black" dating was once not more benign than "white over black." She provides new angles to standard understandings of slave resistance and counters prior romanticized rules of slavery within the Cherokee kingdom. She additionally demanding situations modern racial and cultural conceptions of African-descended humans within the usa. Naylor finds how black Cherokee identities developed reflecting advanced notions approximately race, tradition, "blood," kinship, and nationality. certainly, Cherokee freedpeople's fight for acceptance and equivalent rights that all started within the 19th century maintains even this day in Oklahoma.
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Extra resources for African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens
On 14 July 1832, in his fourth year in o≈ce, President Jackson appointed a special commission to report on conditions in Indian Territory—the Stokes Commission. ≤≥ The commission cajoled these nations to remove their people to new areas assigned by the government. The Senecas and the Quapaws moved to northeastern Oklahoma; the Osages eventually moved to southern Kansas. Even with the construction of treaties in the 1820s for the cession of Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee land, not to mention the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, when the time came for removal, many of the members of these southeastern Indian nations were neither prepared nor willing to move.
The runaway attempt that Robertson described began at approximately four o’clock in the morning on 15 November 1842, when at least twenty runaways, most of whom were enslaved by Cherokee Joseph Vann, congregated near Webbers Falls in the Canadian District of the Cherokee Nation. After being joined by a number of runaways from the Mackey, Tally, and other plantations, they stole ‘‘horses, mules, etc. ’’∑∏ Once their escape had been discovered, ‘‘a group of about forty went in pursuit. ’’∑π Once in the Creek Nation, a group of Creeks, joined by Cherokees, pursued the runaways and overtook them about ten miles beyond the Canadian River.
By complicating the traditional accounts of enslavement, resistance, and freedom in the United States, these stories vividly demonstrate the multifaceted realities for enslaved and free people of African descent in the nineteenth century. Life in nineteenthcentury Indian Territory also necessitates a reconceptualization of the enduring association between Indians and victimization, as well as romanticized notions of only cooperative and collusive relationships between African-descended people and Indians in United States historiography.