Many person speak of Indian ancestry, although
few persons can cite customs, languages, or traditions from
any particular nations that pertain to their Native American
ancestor. References are often made that refer to racial
features such as hair length, cheek bones, and complexion.
However, the same ancestor sometimes referred to as the
"full blood" Indian did not leave any traditions or customs
that remain a part of the memory of anyone living in the family
Oklahoma's Black Indians and their hundreds of thousands
of descendents are among those who have left a legacy of
records, from the Dawes rolls to the earlier records
created after the Treaty of 1866 was signed. In addition,
until the middle of the 20th century, there were Black Indians -
Freedmen who still lived and practiced the customs of the
nations where they had been born. The WPA Slave Narratives
contained more than 25 interviews of Black Indians, who spoke
of their lives as Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws.
Their language, burial customs, and diet were formulated
by the native culture into which they had been born, lived
and eventually died.
These excerpts taken from many of these interviews are presented
here to highlight the quality of their lives, that were
recorded, in the words of the Black Indians themselves.
Those seeking more knowledge about the customs practiced
by these Black Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes will not
find lives centered around pow wows, and Hollywood images of the
plains nations. These documented citizens of the Five nations were
bilingual, bicultural people, seeking to establish new lives
for themselves in their new country and their new state