I fing your article encouraging but problematic. You rightly note the issue of freedmen descendants in the Cherokee Nation has become a "moral" issue but in the same breath you make the proclamation their ancestors were "forced" on the nation. Following that line of thinking, one might conclude the descendants of those men and women held in bondage are now being "forced" on the nation? My problem with this thinking is the fact that no one "forced" one slave on a Cherokee citizen in their ancestral homelands or when they were removed to Indian Territory. I seriously don't think the "slaves" forced themselves into bondage and "forced" themselves to learn the language and culture of their oppressor? The fact that the Five Slave Holding Tribes ALL willingly embraced the institution of chattel slavery and subsequently negotiated treaties as a result of their severing treaties that were in place prior to the "War of the Rebellion" meant there were consequences to pay for their actions. As is seen in the skillfully negotiated treaty with the Choctaws and Chickasaws which gave them the "option" of adopting their former slaves and descendants as citizens the implication the African and African-Native descendant people who were enslaved by all rights, culture and acclimation had known no place else but Indian Territory as their home. To say they were forced on the tribe after being enslaved is to suggest these people, the enslaved should have just packed up their rags and forced themselves on the United States since their former enslavers had no more use for them? I have always been amazed the former slaves of the Five Slave Holding Tribes chose to remain in Indian Territory and the only conclusion I come up with is they had developed homes and relationships in the territory as a result of their enslavement and chose to remain. Think about the two land runs when Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement, they could have left then and possibly obtained more land as a result but they chose to stay in a hostile environment; but forced? Mr. Trimble, I don't have much to quibble about your article I think you have pretty much identified the problem but I'm just a bit bewildered by the symbolism of enslaved people being forced on the enslaver.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 00:02