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Published on Jul 4, 2009
Motivated by CNN's website, "Black in America 2, and their omission of blacks having a history in Indian Territory aka Oklahoma, I felt it was important to correct the omission by telling a little bit of my family's connection to the state.
The video concentrates on telling the history of some of my ancestors both maternally and paternally being enslaved by the Choctaw and Chiickasaw tribes. The so called Five Civilized Tribes seem to ignore this part of their history and most people seem totally unaware of the tribes pracitce of chattel slavery.
It is important that America's history be told in full. The tribes continue to lament about their forced removal from their ancestral homelands in Alabama and Mississippi but they failed to include their oppression of African and African-Native people in the "Trail of Tears" legend.
The fact that CNN could exclude such a large segment of "black" people from their map of "slave states" illustrates how the lack of including the story of the Indian Territory institution of slavery can give a false impression that the history of blacks in Oklahoma began "after" the land rush.
It also gives the Five Slave Holding Tribes a sense of moral certitude they don't deserve and it only compounds contemporary issues of "race" and "citizenship" we see demonstrated by the efforts of the Cherokee Freedmen as they attempt to re-claim their history among that tribe.