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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Caesar COLBERT Choctaw FreedmanCitizenship-Rig

Hold on Eli, despite the fact I used the word “harsh” twice in my post, let me assure you I have no anger. One of the problems we have with the internet is the tone of a conversation can sometimes be misconstrued and please believe me, I’ve gotten past the anger years ago.

Now you do bring up an interesting point, and I would like to address it if I may. If as you say the U. S. government “started” this mess, and I will agree with you the founding “fathers” were clearly in the land acquisition business among other “property rights” but the question comes back to, when are the “sovereign” nations of the Five Civilized Tribes going to deal with the responsibility they have in this mess?

No one put a gun to the enslavers head and told them to reap huge monetary gains off the cheap/slave labor of those “Africans” they purchased to work their land, wait on them hand and foot, nor produce more children for the purpose of further enriching the mixed bloods. This was a choice by the tribal members, made after exposure to a system some folks in the nation took to like fish in water.

When you look at the Choctaw and Chickasaw Treaty of 1866, it was clearly negotiated by some skillful folks. They were able to construct a document that essentially guaranteed they did not have to accept/adopt those people who came to Indian Territory in bondage and were summarily asked to leave when they could no longer be held in bondage. AND THEN the money that was to be given to the Freedmen IF they moved would be defaulted on if they DID NOT, and if the United States DID NOT remove them. You may want to blame that on the U. S. but clearly they did not have an incentive to take a fiduciary role regarding the freedmen in a nation that was not under its control.

When I look at that document, it makes me wonder who in their right mind expected the two most “disloyal” Indian Nations during the Civil War were going to accept on an equal basis the people they blamed for their demise. They weren’t doing it in the United States, I guess the example could be held to blame, but again, whose choice was it really. Especially if these tribes considered themselves “sovereign” nations, why did the United States have to take responsibility for the former slaves of their nation?

So we have the tribes with the only real exception being the Seminole Nation until 2000 blaming the enslaved for their plight, yet not one of those treaties was negotiated by, for or with a former slave present during the negotiations. That was not the freedmen’s choice. Though the U. S. has a great deal of responsibility in the process, where is the responsibility of the tribes in this mess?

Eli, I was up E * A * R * L * Y this morning listening to one of my favorite radio stations. A guy called in from San Diego and was quite Politically Correct and noted to the host that the United States never kept a treaty with the Indians, and then this apologist for the “Indians” made a statement that “astounded” me (tongue in cheek again.) He probably was not aware of our little secret, eh?

The southern tribes had taken on the bigotry of the south and even with the treaties they negotiated, they articulated a second class status for the people they enslaved, and fathered. The same people who shared a language, culture and heritage. To blame the result on the United States is misplaced.

Now, concerning the responsibility of who does what, when where and how. I don’t know that the MLK Center has an interest in what has happened in Indian Territory, then and now, doesn’t matter, far as I’m concerned, it’s not their issue.

You say these attorneys are involved in sovereignty issues, seems to me, this is germane to those issues since a treaty exist that bears upon that sovereignty and the people within that nation.

When the “sovereign” nation of the Seminole people met to remove the two so called Freedmen/black bands from the nation, they did it to prevent them from sharing any of the money received for the land lost in Florida. The same land the ancestors of those two bands assisted in them maintaining so they could eventually receive the 50 plus million dollars. Are we to blame that on the U. S. or the Seminole Nation and the people who voted them out?

In 1873, the Chickasaw Council met to pass an Act to “adopt” their freedmen. It was left to the U. S. Congress to pass legislation so it would all conform to the Treaty of 1866, and it never happened. Now you might say the U. S. dropped the ball, but over the ensuing years the Chickasaws (the mixed blood elite) came out of their temporary insanity and repealed that decision. Why? Because the “freedmen” were about equal in number and the fear was they would take control of the purse strings of the nation and that was not to be allowed. Sorry, can’t blame it all on the U. S., somebody’s got to be held accountable.

The one body of people who could possibly be held blameless are the “Freedmen” and their descendant’s, like I said, they were never a part of the negotiations and when they tried to exert their rights, it was met with violence from the NDN’s and the whites.

The MLK center is not really connected to this history. “Our” history is unique and if it is to be preserved it is the “responsibility” of the descendants to do so, the descendants in and out of the nations. TO THIS DAY, the only building dedicated to the history of any freedmen, in any nation is left abandoned and probably deteriorating as we speak and I believe it is in the Creek Nation. The nation didn’t fund this site. The United States didn’t fund this site. Mr. Napolean Davis I believe was the man’s name and he DID IT ALL with his own money and his own hands. Is that the responsibility of the United States, the Mvskogee Nation, Oklahoma Historical Society or the “freedmen descendant’s? (Rhetorical question)

Sorry to go on, but like I said, you pose an interesting question. So for my part in this drama, Eli, I like the research I do. I think and hope more people will come to appreciate it. It is my hope that by putting this information in people’s hands we remove the emotion (anger) from the argument and get to the heart of the matter.

When are the nations going to accept their responsibility in this mess?


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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