African-Native American Research Forum Archive
Re: Freedmen's Association (Descendant's)
In Response To: Freedmen's Association (Descendant's) ()
This point certainly deserves discussion. I can see the merit of a Freedman's heritage association provided that the focus is clearly defined. There are many issues pertaining to Freedmen their rights as displaced citizens of the Indian Nations where they they were enslaved are among the issues.
There are many in Oklahoma today who wish to ignore their slave owning history. If one mentions Freedmen for example one of the US Genweb lists the list owner will become quickly outraged and insist that NO MENTION of Freedmen will be tolerated. The list owner is however a descendant of slave owners from one of the nations and cannot deal with their racist slave owning past. The current efforts of descendants of their ancestors slaves perhaps constributes to this personal difficulty.
A Freedman's heritage association could take many forms. I hope that it will NOT take the format of some of the plastic "imitation Indian" groups with "tribes chiefs bands great seals etc". The Freedmen were African AND Native people. They were on the rolls of the Dawes Commission. They were on the 1880 Roll of Authenticated Cherokee Freedmen; The 1867 Dunn Rolls; The 1885 Choctaw/Chickasaw Census; The Wallace Rolls; the Kern Clifton Rolls; and more! They were bilingual and they were bi-cultural. Without them the native and the mixed bloods would not have survived.
However in my opinion an association of descendants can have many benefits. I for one am interested in providing information on the history of the freedmen. A journal or newsletter and source of research interests me. Secondly with enough resources and members educational benefits are of strong interest. Scholarship funds for Indian Territory Freedmen descendants could conceivably be developed.
The Indian Territory Freedmen were bilingual bi-cultural people of African and Native ancestry. It is our responsibility to keep their memory alive and our responsibility to remind the citizens of the nations that they can no longer deny the presence and their involvement with the lives of their African citizens.
Though it is the desire of many to continue to practice their own personal form of apartheid to this day it is a fact that the history of the Freedmen will NOT disappear from their history. We were as much a part of their nation as we are a part of the greater nation.
Yes an organization deserves much focus and discussion and I look forward to more ideas about the formation of an organization.
[22 Jun 1999]
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