Black Indians



In light of the latest developments (descendants of Freedmen expelled from the Cherokee Nation), please do not write me to tell me how disappointed you are with native americans and how you are withdrawing your moral support, or to call me racist (without even knowing my point of view) or to demand an explanation from me, like if I were some sort of spokesperson for the Cherokee Nation. I am NOT a member of the Cherokee Nation, I did NOT vote for this and I have NOTHING to do with this situation. If you want to file a complaint, go to the Cherokee Nation and express your opinion to them.  Thanks.

This page is possible thanks to the books "Black Indian Genealogy Research, African American Ancestors among the Five civilized tribes" by Angela Walton Raji and "Black Indians" , by William Loren Katz,  which along with others mentioned below, gave me a vivid picture about the life of the Black Indians among the 5 civilized tribes. Special thanks to Ms. Walton-Raji, who kindly gave me permission to quote parts of her book. And thanks to you, Carol. This page is for you


It is known that many Africans intermarried with Native Americans. Less widely known is the fact that  many Native Americans also owned African slaves, and fathered children with African slave women.  In addition there were smaller numbers  Free People of Color who lived in many of the nations and who also lived and married persons from the same nations, and whose descendants claim ancestry from the Oklahoma Black Indian people.  As a result, thousands of Americans have African and Indian ancestry." The Five Civilized Tribes ( Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole owned slaves.

The Origins 

Cherokee Indians used to enslave prisoners of war. The white traders incited intertribal warfare for their own profit. In the beginning, Cherokees regarded prisoners of war as commodities to be traded for other goods. The rapid development of dependence on foreign manufactured goods made slaves very desirable possessions. As a result, warfare escalated and enslavement came to be viewed in an entirely different way When they fully adopted the cultural white practices and started owning farms, slaves became free labor. As warfare wasn’t being practiced anymore, and there were no Indian slaves available, the Cherokee began to employ African slaves (atsi nahsa’i) in their fields. There was a new Cherokee aristocracy composed of wealthy farmers in the South. 1 % of all-full blood families owned slaves; 10.8 % of the mixed families and 30.4% of the non-full-blood families did (McLoughlin and Conser 1977:691, 695) 

At the end of American Revolution, George Washington encouraged the Cherokees to grow cotton and flax to relieve the economical crisis. His agents sent them looms, spinning wheels, plows and other implements. He appointed Benjamin Hawkins as supervisor of this plant, and Hawkins set an example estblishing a plantation complete with black slaves on the Flint River.

Life with the Cherokee


Laws controlling the activities of slaves actually preceded the Constitution of 1828. ( where black were excluded from participation in the government ).

An act passed by the National Committee and Council in 1820 prohibited the purchasing of goods from slaves. The law proscribed masters from allowing their slaves to buy or sell liquor, as well as the marriage of whites and indians to slaves and the freeing of slaves for the sole purpose of marriage and the possession of property by slaves.  The legislature did not see fit, however to extend the law to cover marriage with free blacks. The census of 1835 confirms that a small group in the Nation admitted having African ancestry.




Picture courtesy of Library of the Congress

Summary of 1835 Cherokee census

Sources: Hewes [1978:6, table I); Mcloughlin and Conser (1977:685); National Archives of the United States, 1960, Record Group 75, T496

Some voices were raised against slavery: the Cherokee Phoenix and Indian advocate newspapers addressed the question of international trade slave and came out in solid opposition to its continuation.

 Cherokees enforced the slave code in two ways: first, laws offered incentives to the prosecutor to seek out offenders and bring them to justice by providing that one-half the fines collected accrued to that official, and second, corporal punishment administered by patrollers of the settlement. The slave code was not the same that the whites had: there were no laws dealing with insubordination and rebellion and the majority of punishments were reserved for masters, not slaves ( laws penalized the person who bought goods from slaves or allow them to buy or sell liquor ).  White or Indian women cohabiting with an slave were punished suffering fourteen fewer stripes than males committing the same act.

 Because traditional Cherokee culture acted as a leavening agent, Cherokee planters avoided much of the rigidity and cruelty displayed by the white slaveholding society, but revolts happened, like the one in the Vann family lands in 1842 ( Joseph Vann was the biggest Cherokee slaveholder, with 110 slaves in 1835 ).  James Vann was good and generous when sober, but his frequent and immoderate consumption of alcohol aroused great cruelty. Vann’s slaves reacted to the abuse he gave them in kind.  

Cherokee planters allowed their slaves to establish the African Benevolent Society, affiliated with the American Colonization Society. The slaves anticipated “making out enough to carry one emigrant to Liberia” but never realized their goal. Organizations like that gave slaves in the Cherokee Nation an opportunity for an organized social existence apart from the plantation. The Moravians located their mission close to the home of James Vann, who offered them assistance in building an school. The missionaries held their first service for slaves on Vann’s plantation. Moravians were followed by the American Board.  

One thousand six hundred Freedmen walked the Trail of Tears along with the rest of Cherokee.

1835 Cherokee Population in State Areas, by Percentage of Mixture

Treaty of 1866

More than 20,000 Africans were adopted into these nations before the end of the 19th century.  The Treaty of 1866 brought about the abolishment of Slavery in Indian Territory, and the adoption of the former slaves into 4 of the 5 nations.

Articles Pertaining to African Cherokee Citizens and Ending Slavery in the Nation

July 19, 1866. Ratified July 27, 1866.  Proclaimed Aug. 11, 1866


 All the Cherokees and freed persons who were formerly slaves to any Cherokee, and all free negroes not having been such slaves, who resided in the Cherokee Nation prior to June first, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, who may within two years elect not to reside northeast of the Arkansas River and southeast of Grand River, shall have the right to settle in and occupy the Canadian district southwest of the Arkansas River, and also all that tract of country lying northwest of Grand River, and bounded on the southeast by Grand River and west by the Creek reservation to the northeast corner thereof; from thence west on the north line of the Creek reservation to the ninety-sixth degree of west longitude; and thence north on said line of longitude so far that a line due east to Grand River will include a quantity of land equal to one hundred and sixty acres for each person who may so elect to reside in the territory above-described in this article: Provided, That that part of said district north of the Arkansas River shall not be set apart until it  shall be found that the Canadian district is not sufficiently large to allow one hundred and sixty acres to each person desiring to obtain settlement under the provisions of this article.


 The inhabitants electing to reside in the district described in the preceding article shall have the right to elect all their local officers and judges, and the number of delegates to which by their numbers they may be entitled in any general council to be established in the Indian Territory under the provisions of this treaty, as stated in Article XII, and to control all their local affairs, and to establish all necessary police  regulations and rules for the administration of justice in said district, not inconsistent with the constitution of the Cherokee Nation or the laws of the United States; Provided, The Cherokees residing in said district shall enjoy all the rights and privileges of other Cherokees who may elect to settle in said district as hereinbefore provided, and shall hold the same rights and privileges and be subject to the same liabilities as those who elect to settle in said district under the provisions of this treaty; Provided also, That if any such police regulations or rules be adopted which, in the opinion of the President, bear oppressively on any citizen of the nation, he may suspend the same. And all rules or regulations in said district, or in any other district of the nation, discriminating against the citizens of other districts, are prohibited, and shall be void.


The Cherokee Nation having, voluntarily, in February, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, by an act of the national council, forever abolished slavery, hereby covenant and agree that never hereafter shall either slavery or involuntary servitude exist in their nation otherwise than in the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, in accordance with laws applicable to all the members of tribe alike. They further agree that all freedmen who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owners or by law, as well as all free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months, and their descendants, shallhave all the rights of native Cherokees: Provided, That owners of slaves so emancipated in the CherokeeNation shall never receive any compensation or pay for the slaves so emancipated. 


 Every Cherokee and freed person resident in the Cherokee Nation shall have the right to sell any products of his farm, including his or her live stock, or any merchandise or manufactured products, and to ship and drive the same to market without restraint, paying any tax thereon which is now or may be levied by theUnited States on the quantity sold outside of the Indian Territory.

Source: Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Vol. II (Treaties). Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington : Government Printing Office, 1904."

After the Treaty of 1866

Most freed blacks remained in Indian Territory , and most remained in the nation in which they had lives as slaves. In the decades that followed, the freedmen established lives for themselves and made ecomomic gains for themselves faster than the freedmen in the United States. Although some of the freedmen may have had difficulties as former Union soldiers, still very few left the nations.  The Creek freedmen were among the first to stablish schools for blacks.

The so called “Red-Black Cherokees” represent a truly  unique Cherokee population, they are the descendants of former slaves of the Cherokees, the freedmen.  Other Red-Blacks are the result of mixtures of Cherokees with black and often white ancestry ( tricolor ). This later group is a small segment of the Cherokee population, but unique and important. They have often been forgotten and  discriminated against by Cherokees and non-Cherokees alike. Their “indianness” has typically not been accepted to the same degree as that of Indians with white ancestry, even though they might have more Indian Blood.


"Mr. Frank Barnett and his son. Negro farmer near Scull Shoals who is part Cherokee Indian. Greene County, Georgia. 1941 May. Jack Delano. Library Congress"

Descendants of Cherokee Freedmen today

Descendants of Cherokee Freedmen keep on trying today to be citizens of the Cherokee Nation.   Freedmen had already been adopted by the Nation in accordance with the Treaty of
1866 with full rights. The treaty is being completely disregarded in favor of the Dawes rolls. The rolls included degrees of Indian blood for the native Cherokee including adopted Delaware Indians with no Cherokee blood, but not the Freedmen with Cherokee blood. In 1983 the tribal council quickly passed an act which required that all tribal members be able to obtain a Certificate of Indian Blood (CDIB) card showing their degree of Indian blood, so to be a member of the Cherokee Nation, you needed first to get a CDIB  and it is virtually impossible for the descendants of the Freedmen to get one based on the Dawes rolls. Several descendants have brought their cases to the Courts and lost.  In March 2006, the Judicial Appeals Tribunal (JAT), the Cherokee Nation's highest court recently ruled that the law not allowing descendants of Freedmen joining the Cherokee Nation is unconstitutional, thus they should be allowed to join and vote as legit Cherokee citizens. However, the Cherokee Nation is trying to pass amendments, it is not over.


Oklahoma's Black Indians and their hundreds of thousands of descendants are among those who have left a legacy of records, from the Dawes rolls to the earlier records created after the Treaty of 1866 was signed. In addition, until the middle of the 20th century, there were Black Indians - Freedmen who still lived and practiced the customs of the nations where they had been born. The WPA Slave Narratives contained more than 25 interviews of Black Indians, who spoke of their lives as Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws. Their language, burial customs, and diet were formulated by the native culture into which they had been born, lived and eventually died. 

Those seeking more knowledge about the customs practiced by these Black Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes will not find lives centered around pow wows, and Hollywood images of the plains nations. These documented citizens of the Five nations were bilingual, bicultural people, seeking to establish new lives for themselves in their new country and their new state of Oklahoma.


Most of the Freedmen of Indian Territory who were adults when freed, were bilingual, speaking both English and the language of their Indian slave owners. In some cases some of the Indian Territory slaves, learned English after slavery ended, when meeting members of their families from whom they had been sold. Many of the Black Indians moved easily from English to their Indian mother tongue, while others had their native Indian language as their language of choice. There were others who preferred English though still understanding their Indian language. These excerpts reveal the language and culture in which the African Indians lived."


Most of the slaves who of the nations in Indian Territory were not allowed to practice any form of religion, however, most of the ex-slaves became part of a church-based community when they were free.

Only a few of the slaves interviewed had been exposed to religion or Chritianiy before emancipation. With many, religious practice was simply forbidden by their Indian slave masters. However, it is clear that the desire to worship was strong and when freed from bondage stayed with these Black Indians for the remainder of their lives.

However, some Cherokee planters seemed to have had no objection to their slaves receiving religious instruction and even encouraged and aided the work of the missionaries among their slaves. Some permitted children of their slaves to attend the mission schools along with their own children, but that was against the law and the state of Georgia started enforcing its laws in the Cherokee Nation.

In addition, some of the former slaves, also had beliefs in spirits, and charms, and some referred to the various charms they had used or seen used for protection throughout their lives

 As told by Sarah Wilson Cherokee Freedwoman:

"Before freedom we didn't have no church, but slipped around to the other cabins and had a little singing sometimes. Couldn't have anybody show us the letters either, and you better not let them catch you pick up a book even to look at the pictures, for it was against a Cherokee law to have a Negro read and write or to teach Negro."

Slaves narratives: Lucinda Vann

Lucinda Vann tells an unusual story of plantation life from the perspective of a house slave who was born with privileges. The comfort accorded house slaves is in stark contrast to the lives of the field slaves described in other interviews. Interestingly, Mrs. Vann also speaks of some time that her family spent before and during the war in Mexico. There were some Cherokee slaves that were taken to Mexico,  however, she makes vivid references to Seminole leaders John Horse, and Wild Cat. A few years of her life were also quite possibly spent among Seminoles during part of that time, although her memory of the death of Joseph "Rich Joe" Vann is clearly a part of Cherokee history.

 "Yes Sa. My names' Lucinda Vann, I've been married twice but that don't make no difference. Indians wouldn't allow their slaves to take their husband's name. Oh Lord, no. I don't know how old I is; some folks ay I'se ninety-two and some say I must be a hundred.

 I'se born across the river in the plantation of old Jim Vann in Webbers Falls. I'se born right in my master  and missus bed. Yes I was! You see, I'se one of them sudden cases. My mother Betsy Vann, worked in  the big house for the missus. She was weavin when the case came up so quick, missus Jennie put her in her own bed and took care of her. Master Jim and Missus Jennie was good to their slaves. Yes Lord Yes.

My missus name was Doublehead before she married Jim Vann. They was Cherokee Indians. They had a big big plantation down by the river and they was rich. Had sacks and sacks of money. There was five hundred slaves on that plantation and nobdy ever lacked for nothing. Everybody had fine clothes, everybody had plenty to eat. Lord yes su-er. Now I'se just old forgotten woman. Sometimes I eat my bread this morning none this evening.

Seneca Chism was my father. He was a slave on the Chism plantation, but came to Vann's all the time on account of the hourses. He had charge of all Master Chism's and Master Vann's race horses. He and Master took race horses down the river, away off and they'd come back with sacks of money that them horses won in the races.

My mother died when I'se small and my father married Delia Vann. Because I'se so little, Missus Jennie took me into the Big house and raised me. Somehow or other they all took a liking to me, all through the family. I slept on a sliding bed. Didn't you never see one of them slidin' beds? Well, I'll tell you, you pull it out from the wall something like a shelf. Marster had a little race horse called "Black Hock" She was all jet black, excepting three white feet and her stump of a tail. Black Hock was awful attached to the kitchen. She come up and put her nose on your just like this---nibble nibble, nibble. Sometimes she pull my hair. That mean't she want a biscuit with a little butter on it.

 One day Missus Jennie say to Marster Jim, she says, "Mr. Vann, you come here. Do you know what I am  going to do? I'm goin' give Lucy this black mare. Every dollar she make on the track, I give it to Lucy." She won me lots of money, Black Hock did, and I kept it in the Savings Bank in Tahlequah. My mother, grandmother, aunt Maria and cousin Clara, all worked in the big house. My mother was seamstress. She bossed all the other colored women and see that they sew it right. They spun the cottons and wool, weaved it and made cloth. After it was wove they dyed it all colors, blue, brown, purple, red, yellow. It look lots of clothes for all them slaves.

 My grandmother Clarinda Vann, bossed the kitchen and the washing and turned the key to the big bank.

That was sort of vault, where the family valuables was kept. Excepting master and mistress, couldn't nobody put things in there but her. When they wanted something put away they say, "Clarinda, come put this in the vault." She turned the key to the commissary too. That was where all the food was kept. 

All the slaves lived in a log house. The married folks lived in little houses and there was big long houses for all the single men. The young, single girls lived with the old folks in another big long house.

 The slaves who worked in the big house was the first class. Next came the carpenters, yard men, blacksmiths, race-horse men, steamboat men and like that. The low class work in the fields.

 Marster Jim and Missus Jennie wouldn't let his house slaves to with no common dress out. They never  sent us anywhere with a cotton dress. They wanted everybody to know we was Marster Vann's slaves. He wanted people to know he was able to dress his slaves in fine clothes. We had fine satin dresses,  great big combs for our hair, great big gold locket, double earrings we never wore cotton except when we worked. We had bonnets that had long silk tassels for ties. When we wanted to go anywhere we always got a horse, we never walked. Everything was fine, Lord have mercy on me, yes.

 The big house was made of log and stone and had big mud fireplaces. They had fine furniture that Marster Vann had brought home in a steamboat from far away. And dishes, they had rows and rows of china dishes; big blue platters that would hold a whole turkey.

 Everybody had plenty to eat and plenty to throw away. The commissary was full of everyting good to eat.

Brown sugar, molasses, flour, corn-meal, dried beans, peas, fruits butter lard, was all kept in big wooden hogsheads; look something like a tub. There was lots of preserves. Everything was kept covered and every hogshead had a lock.

Every morning the slaves would run to the commissary and get what they wanted for that day. They could have anything they wanted. When they get it they take it back to their cabin. Clarinda Vann and my aunt Maria turned the keys to the vault and commissary. Couldn't nobody go there, less they turn the key.

 We had a smoke house full of hams and bacon. Oh they was good. Lord have mercy I'll say they was. And we had corn bread and cakes baked every day. Single girls waited on the tables in the big house. There was a big dinner bell in the yard. When meal time come, someone ring that bell and all the slaves know its time to eat and stop their work.

 In summer when it was hot, the slaves would sit in the shade evening's and make wooden spoons out of  maple. They'd sell 'em to folks at picnics and barbecues.

 Everybody had a good time on old Jim Vann's plantation. After supper the colored folks would get together  and talk, and sing, and dance. Someone maybe would be playing a fiddle or a banjo. Everybody was happy. Marster never whipped no one. No fusses, no bad words, no nothin like that.

 We had out time to go to bed and our time to get up in the morning. We had to get up early and comb our hair first thing. All the colored folks lined up and the overseer he tell them what they must do that day.

 There was big parties and dances. In winter white folks danced in the parlor of the big house; in summer they danced on a platform under a great big brush arbor. There was seats all around for folks to watch them dance. Sometims just white folks danced; sometimes just the black folks.There was music, fine music. The colored folks did most of the fiddlin'. Someone rattled the bones. There was a bugler and someone callled the dances. When Marster Jim and Missus Jennie went away, the slaves would have a big dance in the arbor. When the white folks danced the slaves would all sit or stand around and watch. They'd clap their hands and holler. Everybody had a good time. Lord yes, su-er. 

When they gave a party in the big house, everything was fine. Women came in satin dresses, all dressed up, big combs in their hair, lots of rings and bracelets. The cooks would bake hams, turkey cakes and pies and there'd be lots to eat and lots of whiskey for the men folks.

 I'd like to go where we used to have picnics down below Webbers Falls. Everybody went---white folks, colored folks. There'd be races and people would have things what they was sellin' like moccasins and beads. They'd bring whole wagon loads of hams, chickens and cake and pie. The cooks would bring big iron pots, and cook things right there. There was great big wooden scaffolds. They put white cloths on the shelves and laid the good on it. People just go and help themselves, till they couldn't eat no mo! Everbody  goin' on races gamblin', drinkin', eatin', dancin', but it as all behavior everything all right. Yes Lord, it was, havy mercy on me yes. 

I remember when the steamboats went up and down the river. Yes, Lord Yes. Sometimes there was high waters that spoiled the current and the steamboast could't run. Sometimes we got to ride on one, cause we belonged to Old Jim Vann. He'd take us and enjoy us, you know. He wouldn' take us way off, but just for a ride. He tell us for we start, what we must say and what to do. He used to take us to where Hyge Park is and we'd all go fishin'. We take a big pot to fry fish in and we'd all eat till we nearly bust. Lord, Yes!

Christmas lasted a whole month. After we got our presents we go way anywhere and visit colored folks on other plantation. In one month you have to get back. You know just what day you have to be back too.

Marster had a big Christmas tree, oh great big tree, put on the porch. There'd be a hole wagon-load of  things come and be put on the tree. Hams cakes, pies, dresses, beads, everything. Christmas morning marster and missus come out on the porch and all the colored folks gather around. Smoeone call our  names and everybody get a present. They get something they need too. Everybody laugh and was happy.  Then we all have big dinner, white folks in the big house, colored folks in their cabins. Poeple all a visitin'. I go to this house, you come to my house. Everybody, white folks and colored folks, having good itme. Yes, my dear Lord yes.

 I've heard em tell of rich Joe Vann. Don't know much about him. He was a traveler, didn't stay home much. Used to go up and down the river in his steamboat. He was a multi-millionaire and handsome. All the Vann marsters was good looking.

 Joe had two wives, one was named Missus Jennie. I dunno her other name. Missus Jenni lived in a big  house in Webbers Falls . Don't know where the other one lived. Sometimes Joe bring other wife to visit  Missus Jennie. He would tell em plain before hand, "Now no trouble." He didn't want em to imagine he give one more than he give the other.

 The most terrible thing that ever happen was when the Lucy Walker busted and Joe got blew up. The engineer's name was Jim Vann. How did they hear about it at home? Oh the news traveled up and down the river. It was bad, oh it was bad. Everybody a hollerin' and a cryin'. After the explosion someone found an arm up in a tree on the bank of the river. They brought it home and my granmother knew it was Joe's.  She done his washing and knew the cuff of his sleeve. Everybody pretty near to crazy when they bring  that arm home. A doctor put it in alcohol and they kept it a long time. Different friends would come and  they'd show that arm. My mother saw it but the colored chillun' couldn't. Marster and missus never allowed chillun to meddle in the big folks business. Don't know what they ever did with that arm. Lord it was terible. Yes Lord yes.

 I went to the missionary Baptist church where Marster and Missus went. There was a big church. The  white folks go first and after they come out, the colored folks go in. I joined the Catholic church after the war. Lots of bad things have come to me, but the good Father, high up, He take care of me.

 We went down to the river for baptizings. The women dressed in whtie, if they had a white dress to wear. The preacher took his candidate into the water. Pretty soon everybody commenced a singing and a  prayin'. Then the preacher put you under water three times. There was a house yonder where was dry clothes, blankets, everything. Soon as you come out of the water you go over there and change clothes. My uncle used to baptize 'em.

 When anybody die, someone sit up with them day and night till they put them in the ground. Everybody cry, everybody'd pretty nearly die. Lord have mercy on us, yes.

 When the war broke out, lots of Indians mustered up and went out of the territory. They taken some of  their slaves with them. My marster and missus buried their money and valuables everywhere. They didn't  go away, they stayed, but they tell us colored folks to go if we wanted to.

 A bunch of us who was part Indian and part colored, we got our bed clothes together some hams and a lot  of coffee and flour and started to Mexico. We had seven horses and a litle buffalo we'd raised from when its little. "We'd say "Come on buffalo", and it would come to us. We put all the bed clothes on its back.

When night came we cut grass and put the bed clothes on top for a bed. In the morning we got up early,  made a fire, and made a big pot of coffee. We didn't suffer, we had plenty to eat. Some of us had money. I had the money Black Hock had won on the track. We got letters all the time form Indians back in the territory. They tell us what was happening and what to do. One and a half years after the war we all come back to the old plantation. There wasn't nothing left. Marster and Missus was dead.

 Our marshal made us all sign up like this; who are you, where you come from, where you go to. We stayed here till everything got fixed up, then we went back to Mexico. My father was a carpenter and  blacksmith as well as race-horse man and he wanted to make money. He worked in the gold mines. We made money and kept it in a sack.

 After everything quiet down and everything was just right, we come back to territory second time. Had to sign up all over again and tell who we was. It's on records somewhere; old Seneca Chism and his family.

 I remember Chief John Ross. He courted a girl named Sally. He was married, but that din't make no difference he courted her anyhow. Some of the old chief's names was Gopher John, John Hawk and Wild Cat. This was before the war.

 After the war I married Paul Alexander, but I never took his name. Indians made us keep our master's  name. I'se proud anyway of my Vann name. My husband didn't give me nothing. Lord no, he didn't. I got all  my money and fine clothes from the marster and the missus.

 Everything was cheap. One time we sold one hundred hogs on the foot. Two pounds of hog meat sold for a nickel. A whole half of ribs sold for twenty-five cents. Little hog, big hog, didn't make no difference.

 After the old time rich folks die, them that had their money buried, they com back and haunt the places  where it is. They'd come to the door like this, "sh....." and go out quick again. I've seen em. My father he say, "Now chillun, don't get smart; you just be still and listen, rich folks tryin tell us something" They come and call you, say so much money buried, tell you where it is, say it's yours, you come and get it. If  someone they didn't want to have it try to dig it up, money sink down, down deep in the ground where they  couldn't get it"

Useful links

    This page belongs to Angela Walton Raji, and it is an excellent source about the history and current situation of the Black Indians. Highly recommendable

  2. BulletBorn in slavery: Slave narratives from the Federal Writer's project, 1936-1938
    Historical collections for the National Digital Library, Library of the Congress. Includes narratives of slaves that lived with the 5 Civilized Indian Tribes

  3. BulletDescendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association
    Non-profit corporation seeking to enhance the social welfare and work for enforcement of treaty rights of Black Indian people

I wish to thank Ms. Angela Walton-Raji for allowing me to use extracts of her web page,, as well as from her book, "Black Indian Genealogy Research, African American Ancestors among the Five civilized tribes". Other sources used to complete this page are : “The Cherokee Indian nation, a troubled history” edited by Duane H. King” “Cherokee planters, the development of Plantation Slavery before removal", by Theda Perdue, “The Cherokees: a population history” by Russell Thornton, "Black Indians, a hidden heritage" by William Loren Katz. and the most important: the WPA slaves narratives.