Opinion

Julianne Jennings: Cherokee Freedmen struggle continues





"It has been one year since the descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen won their long dispute against a constitutional amendment that terminated them as citizens from the Dawes Rolls—only later to be overturned. The amendment promoted the misery and exploitation of treaty and human rights on the basis of blood politics.

The Cherokee, along with Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Nations collectively became known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” because they adopted many conventions of the south, including ownership of black slaves. Tony Seybert writes, in “Slavery and Native Americans in British North America” and the United States, “By 1824, it is estimated that the Cherokee owned 1,277 black slaves; the Choctaw and Chickasaw held over 5,000 blacks in slavery by 1860. Some “mixed-blood” Indians, such as Choctaw Chief Greenwood Lefore, and Cherokee Chief John Ross, owned between 100 and 400 enslaved blacks. Between 1830 and1840, when southeastern Indians were forcefully marched west to present-day Oklahoma by the American government along the infamous Trail of Tears, many as 15,000 enslaved blacks were taken with them.”"

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Julianne Jennings: Cherokee Freedmen: One Year Later (Indian Country Today 1/31)