SPOTLIGHT ON TRIBAL RACISM AGAINST DESCENDANTS OF FREEDMEN IN THE CREEK NATION
In the past weeks, Americans of various races and tribes have marched against racism as an aftermath of the murder of Mr. Floyd. I pray the Floyd family will receive justice in the courts of law.
But there are places within the United states in the year 2020 that blacks are openly denied the right to vote and hold elective office, to obtain jobs and contracts, and to obtain assistance from Federal funded health and housing programs based on their ancestry as descendants of African slaves and their black skin color. One such place is the Oklahoma based Creek Nation.
The Creek nation treated with the Confederate states in 1861 largely to keep black chattel slavery permanent. Article 2 of the 1866 treaty signed between the US government and the Creek nation ended slavery within the tribe and created permanent citizenship for the former slaves and their descendants; and gave these black citizens the right to share in the funds of the nation. After 1866, the black freedmen and their descendants served as lighthorsemen (tribal police), tribal judges, tribal legislators (members of the house of kings and house of warriors), and were leading citizens of the tribe. The Creek nation as well as other tribes had no concept of “blood quantum” citizenship until this concept was brought in by the US government during the 1890s.
In 1979, the US government approved a new tribal Creek nation constitution which removed the freedmen citizens and their descendants from the current tribal membership rolls. Freedmen citizens and their descendants were not allowed to participate in this vote. Creek freedmen descendants are currently challenging their status in Creek Nation tribal courts. The Creek nation claims that as a sovereign nation they can chose to register whom they will or disenroll any citizen.
I ask, is this legal? In the cases of Cherokee and Seminole freedmen descendants, the Federal courts have upheld the 1866 treaty rights of the freedmen tribal members/citizens to retain their citizenship; and that tribal constitutions do not overturn treaties made with the US government.
Is this fair? Would anyone agree a US Senator or Congressperson had won a valid election if Creek citizen who were US citizens were barred from the polls? Do you accept that it is just a matter of “states rights” if black US citizens or Navaho Indian US citizens are denied to vote for US President?
It certainly appears that this disenrollment is due to freedmen having black skin color, being descendants of slaves, and also to greed – not wanting the Creek freedmen descendants to share in Federal funded services, to share in the millions of Judgment funds distributed by the Federal government (or to share in tribal CARES ACT funding) or to share political power with the freedmen.
Is racism against blacks acceptable if the perpetrators are non whites, ie Indians? There are tribal leaders speaking against white racism but are quiet about their own tribes racism. If you oppose tribal racism will you boycott the Creek nation casinos, restaurants and other business enterprises?
The Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Tribes Association is an Oklahoma based non-profit Visit us at www.freedmen5tribes.com or on facebook at Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Tribes.
The Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Tribes Association will host a conference at OSU Tulsa on November 7 th 2020 at OSU Tulsa beginning at 10am to discuss race relations and race reconciliation as well as other topics. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.