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.
As we contend with Indigenous sovereignty today, it is important for Indigenous people to recognize that arguments for “Indigenous sovereignty” are often employed to rationalize anti-Blackness even today. Despite our long and documented histories with the Choctaw and Chickasaw
Nations, we are denied citizenship rights, economic opportunities, access to cultural events, and access to sovereign tribal programs. Our rights are affirmed in the Treaties of 1866, but in 2020, we continue to be denied citizenship rights from the tribes that forced our
ancestors into enslavement and into their Indigenous practices. True tribal sovereignty does not encompass the exclusion of the descendants of those whom tribal members enslaved in the past. With the McGirt decision, tribal reservation lands may be reaffirmed
in Oklahoma for all five of the Five Slaveholding Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole Nations). However, please consider how such a decision would impact Freedmen—whose ancestors also received land allotments from that reservation land
but who are now not considered tribal citizens. How can an anti-Black interpretation of sovereignty actually undermine that sovereignty for both Black and non-Black Indigenous people?
On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, it is also important to remember the anti-Blackness and harm that comes with underlining blood quantum in Indigenous spaces. Consider how uncomfortable it is for those of us whose “Indigenous Blood” comes through rape and violence.
Consider also what you are including and what you are omitting as “Indigenous Blood.” If the “blood” of politically Afro-Indigenous people, like Freedmen, is not included in your conceptualization of “Native Blood,” than please consider the messages you are sending
about who you consider to be Indigenous. You are actively erasing Native people, by discounting the complications of Native identities through chattel slavery.
Throughout the day, we will be sharing resources that can be read to understand more about Freedmen history and anti-Blackness in Indian Territory.
You can follow @ChoctawFreedmen.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: