African-Native American Research Forum Archive
Re: Where are the enrolled freedmen?
In Response To: Where are the enrolled freedmen? ()
The descendants of Freedmen of the nations of Indian Territory are not eligible for enrollment. The BIA and the nations endorse the CDIB requirement to exclude those persons of African ancestry. When the Dawes Commission created the Final Rolls of Freedmen they deliberately left the "blood quantum" column blank to provide an opportunity to exclude freedmen in the future. The exception lies with the Seminoles who do allow two bands to be included in the nation though the Freedman bands do not have full equal rights in the nation. The recent case of Davis vs. the United States is merely one example of the racism practiced towards the citizens of Indian Territory who have African ancestry. The African Seminoles have always been a part of their nation yet the exclusion of the Freedmen from the monetary benefits awarded to the nation --- of which they are a part continues to this day.
Of course in the other naitons if Freedmen are admitted on a basis of being 100% Freedmen then the descendants would/should be considered to have a blood quantum of significant measure. Many Freedmen also have native blood which the nations are happy to ignore although the Special Indian census of 1910 recorded the Indian blood of many of the Freedmen as well.
The issue is comparable to that of a family that adopted children then decided to cut the adopted members out of the will because they did not share the bloodline of the family that adopted them. This is an illegal act that would never be allowed yet is considered to be fine in the nations and by the BIA. The reason is clear--the victims represent something that many in the nations find distateful---the presence of people of African ancestry. It appears that Miso - africanism very much like misogeny and anti-semitism and other forms of blatant discrimination are alive and well it appears.
However as more Freedmen descendants are becoming aware of the history of Indian Territory Freedmen there will be more attention drawn to the injustices to the treatment of Freedmen of Oklahoma.
[28 Jun 1999]
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