It is undeniable that I am proud and knowledgeable of my African culture and heritage. That is something precious and personal. Yet what I find strange is that too many people use the internet to attack views rather than to dialogue. I know the history of the Chickasaw Indians. They defended the South in the Civil War and had ocurrences of brutality among some of the "plantations". However I am also aware that slavery was not as rampant as so widely reported. Roughly 80% of the tribe did not own slaves and those that did were mostly white mixed bloods but that is rarely mentioned.
I approach the tribe the same way I do African and African American cultures as a student whose quest for knowledge is personal. I asked to hear from enrolled people because I'm simply curious to hear what they have to say. If none of us are interested in their experience then why have this medium at all? To say that the past was all harsh and negative is generalizing because it wasn't in my family and that experience can't be that unique can it? Yes I do care about the un-enrolled but knowledge comes from exploring all perspectives. Wouldn't hearing from someone else with a different experience broaden the whole picture?
As for my status with my tribe that's personal only because it seems that whatever it is would be attacked. I will say that they are aware of who I am culturally and respect me just as any other Chickasaw citizen.
I was elated when this message board came on line because it enabled a place for us as African Native Americans to fellowship and learn from each other. However if people cannot respect a question such as where are the enrolled freedmen for what it is a simple question and not a pledge of allegiance then I'd rather not attempt a dialogue anymore. If we cannot feel comfortable among other African Native Americans then how do we pass on this legacy at all?
[10 Aug 1999]