This official Choctaw Nation supplemental guide for teaching about the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision is full of misinterpretations of the history, omits histories of Black people and Freedmen, and erases the Choctaw Nation’s clear history of anti-Blackness. (Thread)
First of all, in the official guide, the authors state that “If people who were not Choctaw tribal members respected Choctaw laws, they could visit the Choctaw Nation, work there, or even become Choctaw citizens,” in post-Removal Indian Territory. Image
This statement holds true if the individual in question was white or non-Black from another Indigenous tribe. However, Black people (both of Choctaw heritage and devoid of Choctaw heritage) were specifically barred from living in the Choctaw Nation boundaries if they were free.
The 1847 Choctaw Constitution specifically stated that “no free negro, or any part negro, unconnected with Choctaw and Chickasaw blood, shall be permitted to come and settle in the Choctaw Nation.” Image
The constitution also made it illegal for any person of partial African ancestry to “ever” “hold any office under [the Choctaw Government]” and made it legal to naturalize anyone as a citizen as long as they WEREN’T “a negro.” Image
These anti-Black laws were acted upon and affected real peoples’ lives. Oliver Ingles, a free Black man from Fort Smith, Arkansas was hired to work at Spencer Academy (a missionary school in Choctaw Territory) and when Peter Pitchlynn, the Chief of the Choctaw Nation at the time
demanded for Ingles to be fired from the Spencer Academy and immediately leave the Nation. They threatened to have him arrested by light-horsemen and sold into enslavement if he did not comply with the Nation’s anti-Black laws in 1844. digital.history.pcusa.org/islandora/obje…
Ingles made no preparations to leave and lived within the Nation for a year in conflict with Chief Pitchlynn’s racist demands, but eventually left after receiving his full compensation. digital.history.pcusa.org/islandora/obje…
So, could “people who were not Choctaw tribal members respected Choctaw laws” “visit the Choctaw Nation, work there, or even become Choctaw citizens?” Well, they definitely COULD NOT if they were Black. In fact, in doing so, they risked arrest and re-enslavement.
Perhaps the @choctawnationOK—who released this statement—refuses to see Black people from the 1800s as people even now?
The guide also states that “the Choctaw Nation had been an ally of the United States since the American Revolution, and continued conducting business with Americans after Removal.” This is certainly true. However, the guide never mentions that much of this “trade” had been in
slaves and goods produced by slaves owned by Choctaws.
The article also states that the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations “had little choice but to side with the Confederate States of America in the conflict. Their safety and security were at stake.” This leaves out that the tribes sided with the Confederacy partially out of a drive to
Continue owning slaves of African descent. The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations continued to practice slavery within their territories up until 1866–even after they LOST in the Civil War along with others in THE CONFEDERACY.
The guide states that “the U.S. forced them to accept concessions that included the loss of land and some of their control over their lands. The most significant requirement was the allowance of railroads to be built within and through Indian Territory.” Image
This completely overlooks the fact that the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations we’re punished in part because even after they lost in the Civil War, THEY REFUSED TO EMANCIPATE THEIR SLAVES. Slavery continued to be legalized and practiced in both tribes until the Treaties of 1866.
The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations both practiced chattel slavery up until they entered into the Treaties of 1866 with the federal government—a fact that is never once stated in the “history” guide.
Further, this “history” guide does not mention Freedmen once in discussions of the Dawes Commission or land allotments, even though Freedmen were some of the people most at risk for land theft and land manipulation schemes.
For a source on Freedmen land manipulation schemes, you can read one of our theses here: history.columbia.edu/wp-content/upl….
To learn more about Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen in the Civil War please read @AYWalton’s blog post from 2012: african-nativeamerican.blogspot.com/2012/11/chocta…

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More from @ChoctawFreedmen

12 Oct
You do realize that Indigenous slave-ownership continued after colonization? We are the descendants of people of African descent owned by Indigenous people from the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations. Colonization didn’t “end” enslavement by Indigenous people.
Colonization led to the enslavement of the people Indigenous to this land by European colonizers, enslavement of people of African descent owned by both European and Indigenous people, and mass rape, murder, and the spreading of never-seen-before diseases.
Colonization in North America was a violent process in which European colonizers—in order to extract resources from the land and from the Indigenous people on the land and the African people they brought to this land—raped, killed, and harmed Black and Indigenous people.
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct
A reminder on this #IndigenousPeoplesDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay2020 that many Black Native people are not enrolled in their tribes of origin because of historical and current anti-Black citizenship policies.
In the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, descendants of people of African descent enslaved by tribal members are actively excluded from citizenship rights and tribal programs due to our ancestors’ statuses as enslaved people. We were promised citizenship in the Treaty of 1866.
Are we not “Indigenous” because our tribes have broken their treaty promises of citizenship? To exclude us from Indigeneity is to affirm our tribes’ anti-Black policies and histories. For many programs today, in order to be considered Indigenous, one must be enrolled
Read 4 tweets
12 Oct
Happy #IndigenousPeoplesDay! A reminder that there are many different groups of Black Native people within the United States and that often our ties to Indigenous Nations are through violence and slavery at the hands of Indigenous people. Our ancestors were resilient!
Not all relationships between Black and Native people were ones of mutual respect. Not all Native nations assisted runaway slaves. In fact, some Native nations—like the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations—recaptured and re-enslaved runaway slaves of African descent.
This doesn’t negate our Indigenous ancestry, but certainly complicates it. Our introduction to our tribes of origin was not through peace or mutual understanding, but through violence, forced labor, and forced migration on the Trail of Tears while enslaved.
Read 14 tweets
20 Sep
Did you know that the last person to surrender on the side of the Confederacy was a Cherokee slave-owner named Stand Watie? He owned a large plantation in Spavinaw Creek in the Indian Territory. #NativeHistory #CivilWar
As staunch slave owners, factions from each of the Five Slaveholding Tribes fought alongside the Confederate army. Their reasons for fighting for the Confederacy were complex, but they were motivated in part to fight for the Confederacy in order to continue owning Black slaves.
On the other hand, Black enslaved people fought for freedom from bondage by fighting with the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment on the Union side of the war.
Read 5 tweets
7 Aug
Blood quantum was a racist practice of diminishing “Indian-ness” that settlers used to shrink the Indigenous population in the United States. This was a system of Indigenous identification that allowed for settlers to justify taking Indigenous peoples’ lands and obliterating
Tribal communities. On the other hand, settlers identified Black people under a maternal one-drop-of-Blood policy that stated that all people with any African ancestry were Black and all people born of Black enslaved mothers were automatically slaves.
These systems of racial grouping and identification allowed for white settlers to both expand their land holdings—taken from Indigenous people as they were “absorbed into whiteness”—and expand their ownership in enslaved people. They were able to both take land
Read 9 tweets
6 Aug
Just in case anyone was unaware: the Choctaw Nation chose to legalize chattel slavery within the tribe. Tribal members owned slaves of African descent and many enslaved people walked the Trail of Tears with their masters during Indian Removal.
Once in Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, Choctaws continued owning slaves and slaves built much of the infrastructure in Indian Territory. Slaves rebelled. For example, many Choctaw slaves participated in the 1840 Slave Rebellion in the Cherokee Nation to escape bondage.
Slaves performed difficult labor under the threat of and with actual violence. The Choctaw Nation had slave patrols as well.

Correction: the Cherokee Slave Rebellion took place in 1842.
Read 25 tweets

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