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The family of Mixed African American and Native American heritage. (The Oklahoma Historical Society has this image in their American Indian archives and lists the people as being from the Czarina Conlan Collection Photographs. Cheyenne Indians – (L. to R.): Mrs. Amos Chapman, her daughter Mrs. Lee Moore as an infant, Mrs. Chapman’s sister, and an unidentified young black girl. Photo by “Soule View Artist”. 1886. .)
By Founder & Executive Editor Nehemiah D. Frank
I have never questioned my native American ancestry. I have Creek and Choctaw blood flowing through my veins. I also have French blood running through me, more of it than native American. Further, although it is not a contest, by looking at me, anyone can evidently tell my African blood sprints through my veins more than the other two ethnicities and therefore dominates the others causing them to be the recessive genes in my body.
[The historic home of my ancestors from France through my mother’s mothers bloodline. They left France in 1699 to live in the French Louisiana territory, which became Lousiana, U.S.]
I have done thorough research on my family’s bloodline, paper, and DNA. I even found the name of one of my first descendants and the price which he was sold from the African continent, which brought me to tears late one evening.
Yes, I am more American than the whitest-white person in this country because I have genes from three different continents: Genes of the colonizers, the indigenous, and the once enslaved Africans.
I am proud of being African, and I do not claim my indigenous American ancestry nor my European decedents.
When America stops treating people of color as caste, then I will be proud to be an African “American.”
Because society shapes the stigma that I wear daily, I on the outside am merely a Black man who carries the burden of his African ancestors’ dreams and aspirations. Their greatest ambitions merely to see me physically and mentally liberated, enlightened, and not treated as a second-class citizen.
I have often been told to pay homage to my native American ancestors. I even attended my first and only powwow at the age of seven, but today, I will not pay homage because I understand the history, and my personal convictions will not allow it.
It is my own choice, and I am unapologetic about that.
I do not care about having a roll number simply to capitalize on the meager benefits of being related to a tribe that enslaved Africans.
I was pleased when I heard that the five, so-called, civilized tribes had recognized their American negro offspring, but it does not negate the fact that these five, so-called, civilized tribes owned and mistreated African slaves — thus the reasoning they were named the five civilized tribes.
Here is a troubling excerpt on the history of black slaves and their red masters in Oklahoma:
“When the Indians of Oklahoma freed the Negro, he was without social, economic, or political standings. As was stated previously, the governor of the Chickasaw Nation threatened to strip slaves of their clothes and drive them north to Fort Gibson or south to Texas if the Federal Government did not reimburse the tribe for its slaves. Most of the slaves, when freed, were poverty-stricken, and did not especially wish to leave their Indian masters.”
“When the Indians came to the conclusion that they must let their slaves go, they became indignant with the Federal Government, and felt the slaves had caused the war. For this curse, the Negroes were driven from place to place and the outcasts would congregate in various out-of-the-way places.”
“The Negroes who were slaves of the Seminoles and Creeks always enjoyed more freedom than those of the Cheorkkes, Choctaws, and Chickasaws.”
– The Economic Status of the Negro in Oklahoma 1850′ – 1870’s.
So, let’s not forget the twisted history of how blacks were forcibly brought to Oklahoma, and that the five civilized tribes fought on the side of the Confederate States of America to keep black folk under their heels and how they degraded African people, merely so they could enrich themselves.
Therefore, I want nothing to do with them nor their cursed benefits. Because to me, to do so would be to commit a horrific crime against my ancestors who were once the slaves of them, the five civilized Oklahoma native American tribes.
For more information on the history of African Americans’ harsh treatment by native American tribes click here.
Nehemiah D. Frank is the Founder of the Black Wall St. Times. Frank is also the Co-Executive Producer of the “Dominic Durant Sports Show.” Frank graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL in General Studies, and earned his second degree in Political Science from Oklahoma State University. He is highly involved in community activism, a middle school teacher at Sankofa School of the Performing Arts, a blogger for Education Post, and dedicates most of his time to protecting, empowering, and uplifting his community. Frank is a 2017 Terence Crutcher Foundation Honoree and has been featured on NBC, Blavity, and Tulsa People.