African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to by Celia E. Naylor

By Celia E. Naylor

Forcibly faraway from their houses within the overdue 1830s, Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians introduced their African-descended slaves with them alongside the path of Tears and resettled in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. Celia E. Naylor vividly charts the stories of enslaved and loose African Cherokees from the path of Tears to Oklahoma's access into the Union in 1907. conscientiously extracting the voices of former slaves from interviews and mining a number resources in Oklahoma, she creates a fascinating narrative of the composite lives of African Cherokees. Naylor explores how slaves attached with Indian groups not just via Indian customs--language, garments, and food--but additionally via bonds of kinship.

Examining this elaborate and emotionally charged heritage, Naylor demonstrates that the "red over black" dating was once not more benign than "white over black." She offers new angles to standard understandings of slave resistance and counters earlier romanticized rules of slavery within the Cherokee state. She additionally demanding situations modern racial and cultural conceptions of African-descended humans within the usa. Naylor unearths how black Cherokee identities developed reflecting advanced notions approximately race, tradition, "blood," kinship, and nationality. certainly, Cherokee freedpeople's fight for acceptance and equivalent rights that all started within the 19th century maintains even this present day in Oklahoma.

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Sample text

Other ‘‘criminal’’ activities of African Cherokee runaways—acts of resistance against the peculiar institution—also added to the chaotic conditions in the early years of resettlement in the Cherokee Nation. While on the run, and often in preparation for such attempts, it was necessary for runaways to procure items that would improve the chances of a successful escape. ’’≤Ω Cases of theft of animals and food attributed to runaways were not uncommon in Indian Territory and beyond. ’’≥≠ It is easy to understand that the 35 On the Run ‘‘theft’’ of such property would have generated a certain degree of satisfaction and a sense of retribution among those who had worked tirelessly on their Cherokee owners’ farms and plantations; in the end, their labor had solely benefited their enslavers.

Interestingly, in Indian Territory, free biracial African Cherokees could own property. Their ‘‘Cherokee blood’’—not Cherokee status based on matrilineal clan association—granted them access to this particular right of free status within the Cherokee Nation. This interjection of ‘‘Cherokee blood’’ in the new laws in antebellum Indian Territory reflected evolving ideas of belonging and status within the Cherokee Nation. Legal statutes in slaveholding regions of the United States did not di√erentiate between the status and limited rights of biracial free people of African and European descent and those of free people of African descent in the slaveholding republic.

While on the run, and often in preparation for such attempts, it was necessary for runaways to procure items that would improve the chances of a successful escape. ’’≤Ω Cases of theft of animals and food attributed to runaways were not uncommon in Indian Territory and beyond. ’’≥≠ It is easy to understand that the 35 On the Run ‘‘theft’’ of such property would have generated a certain degree of satisfaction and a sense of retribution among those who had worked tirelessly on their Cherokee owners’ farms and plantations; in the end, their labor had solely benefited their enslavers.

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