Descendants Of Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes
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Importance of the Afro Indian Issues
1)Black Indian peoples tax dollars are being used to subsidize a system which discriminates against their own people, since the system basically says there are no “black Indians, only “white Indians". This was started by the Dawes Commission, however, Congress as well as the BIA should not make distinctions between the black Indian and the Indian with no African descent. US Code Title 25 defines an "Indian" as including the children and grandchildren of tribal members. Even those who meet this definition are not treated the same as other "Indians", if they have African descent and are designated as the children and grandchildren of Freedmen tribal members.
2) The BIA and the tribes are perpetuating a lie by pretending that all of the suffering dealing with the forced removals,etc was endured by non-African people. Few pictures and books show Afro-Indian people walking the "trails of tears". The world should know that prior to Jim Crow laws and forced dissolution of the tribes, black Indian people in Oklahoma served as Chiefs, tribal council members, and held other important positions after the 1866 treaties in 3 of the nations. And this is right after slavery. True history of the 5 nations is being suppressed.
3)Black-Indian people are being denied the right to housing assistance, payments for tribal lands, scholarships, health care, clothing allowances, loans, and other programs set aside for Native American people. Meanwhile, the “white Indian”, who has minimal blood quantum and has never suffered the disadvantages of being identified as a person of color can take his place as a citizen of the nations entitled to those rights (and when it suits him, return to the white world) while others descended from the Dawes rolls (who may be his own relatives) are locked out of benefits of being a tribal member as well as any benefits which an individual who is not a tribal member but has a CDIB card is entitled to.
4)Black Indian people are being shut out of learning about and claiming the heritage of their ancestors. Without being tribal members, black Indian people who wish to know about the history and culture of their ancestors are unable to easily gain such knowledge since they do not have easy access to the tribal newspapers, etc. They may not be able to participate in history or language classes or other programs set up by the tribes to increase culture and heritage if they are not tribal members. It seems inconceivable that in the 21st century, anyone would have the concept that an individual with some African ancestry should only be able to claim that ancestry. This is not the case with other individuals of mixed ancestry; no one such as an individual with Chinese-Korean heritage or a Choctaw-Chickasaw heritage has to pretend he only has one lineage or should learn about one of his 2 heritages. The "one drop of blood concept", obliterating all other ancestry only exists for people of African descent. Furthermore, many people of black-Indian ancestry have more knowledge of their Indian ancestors than their ancestors who lived in Africa or who originally arrived in the United states.
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