Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Community, Culture & Identity: Nancy SHIELDS, Choctaw by Blood-African Indian…part 2

When I began this series on the “Choctaw by Blood African-Indians” on the Dawes Roll, I thought it would contradict the statement by Tams BIXBY that there were “numerous” cases on the roll in the Choctaw Nation. What I’m discovering is that in fact there may have been a lot more than meets the eye in regards to the classification of "Negro-Indian."

In my opinion Tams BIXBY was trying to justify the Five tribes and Dawes Commission excluding individuals who also possessed Choctaw or Indian blood from their father. He did this by affirming the "numerous" enrollment cases of individuals who possessed Choctaw or Indian blood through their mother and made the children "superior" to the children by a woman of African descent.

It was and is that attitude that ignores a basic principle of geneaolgy and science; we possess the "blood and DNA" of both parents! This practice was nothing more than continuing the "stigma" of slavery for the children of Indian men and Black women. Their decisions may have also had the effect of separating families literally and figuratively by blood.

You will recall my last subject Nancy ISHCOMER-SHIELDS was the product of an Indian mother and a “colored” man by the name of Nelson ISHCOMER.

It was unfortunate that both of Nancy’s parents were deceased at the time of the Dawes enrollment process but I was fortunate to have access to the 1885 Choctaw Census “Indians only” that provided some very important information on her parents.

Locating this information required some old fashion genealogy tricks to uncover the two but I’m fairly confident I have identified Nancy’s father in 1885. Again as a genealogist I had to proceed on the available information to narrow my search. The information on Nancy’s enrollment card provided many leads.

From the card I knew she resided in Jacks Fork County in Atoka, Indian Territory circa 1899. Her card states Nancy and her children received their 1893 tribal enrollment payment in Gaines County, Indian Territory. The card further informs me about Nancy’s mother Martha ISHCOMER, who resided in Blue County, Indian Territory Choctaw Nation. Information on the card tells me her husband was Jack SHIELDS, a “colored man” demonstrating Nancy may have begun to identify herself and her children both as Choctaw or “Negro-Indians” as Tams BIXBY would describe them.

Now oddly enough, there were other individuals enrolled by the Dawes Commission who had a father by the name of Nelson ISHCOMER but on their cards Nelson was “described” as a Choctaw Indian and these enrollee’s were listed as “full blood!”

You know my flag went up on this one but I had to dig to determine if there was more than one Nelson ISHCOMER and if these were Nancy’s siblings?

It is practically impossible for us today to say what the situation was for this family and we can only get a glimpse of their life through the documents available without some oral or written history that is in the hands of present day family members. However, a lot can be glean from what is available and this family was quite surprising in what information I was able to gather in an effort to determine how they navigated the complex social and cultural landscape that was Indian Territory and “Little Dixie” Oklahoma.

As I stated there were other individuals listed with the surname of ISHCOMER which amounted to only ten people on the final Dawes Roll. Clearly anyone with this name is highly likely to be related but I know better than to assume information that is not corroborated by documentation “as a genealogist” SIGH!

As you can see, I have some issues to resolve concerning these families but if I’m right about Nelson ISHCOMER, somebody has got some “‘splainin’ to do!”

I mentioned earlier how the 1885 Choctaw “Indian Only” Census could be useful in determining the family of ISH-COMER and SHIELDS. In order to identify family members as genealogist and family historians, we utilize the information we have and work backwards to locate family members. Utilizing that principle I took the names of everyone named ISH-COMER and looked for them approximately fifteen years earlier in the 1885 census.

Recall again when I discussed the area where Nancy and Jack SHIELDS lived being in Atoka, Indian Territory in Jack Forks county. Nancy was also shown to have been living in Gaines County in 1893. When you look at the four cards for the other ISHCOMER’S their cards have them living in areas known as Alikchi, Indian Territory in Nashoba County; as well as Lukfata, Indian Territory in Bok-tuklo County. The information required me to look in all of these counties in an effort to locate the parents of everyone and attempt to corroborate a connection to each other.

The fourteen year span between the 1885 census and the Dawes enrollment rolls meant that people though living a rural lifestyle were not tied to one location and in order to put these pieces together, this was going to take more work than I initially thought. However I believe the effort was rewarded!

My research efforts had me going from Gaines County to Blue County; from Atoka to Jacks Fork and making my way through the census information of Bok-tuklo to Nashoba, a lot of pages to turn just to see if Tams BIXBY’S assertion could be proven true.

What I discovered on pages 20 and 21 of the Nashoba County census offered some very interesting information!

Despite the fact these records were supposed to be the enumeration of “Indians only” there were several instances of “colored” individuals enumerated on them. One might assume an Indian is an Indian? I have come to recognize “Intermarried Whites” as Indian on the Dawes rolls. I’m increasingly discovering there are “Negro Indians” and they were considered citizens as well.

In the 1885 Census for Nashoba County, Choctaw Nation what you see is the clear indication that Nelson ISH-COMMAR was listed as colored. It also appears at one point he was noted as being an “Indian” but there appears attempts were made to remove that designation. Is this more segregation of the tribes along “racial” lines and could Nelson ISH-COMMAR have been mixed blood himself for the short and inadvertent inclusion of him as a Choctaw Indian?

So it would appear, the nine people enumerated in Nashoba County with the surname ISH-COMMAR except for Nelson’s wife Ish-toyapi were “African-Indians?” This is in direct conflict with the information on the Dawes Cards of every child of Nelson as they are listed as “full blood” Choctaw Indians!!!

You might be thinking, what about Nancy, what is her story in 1885? Nancy is a lot more elusive to find in the 1885 census but it was something else that got my attention and brought another major revelation to this story of Culture, Community and Identity!

Even if I could not tie Nancy ISH-COMAR-SHIELDS to the Nelson ISHCOMMAR in the 1885 census; that leaves open the question of how in 1899 the children of Nelson all became “full-blood” Choctaw Indians.

As I review the information and documentation on the ISH-COMMAR/SHIELDS family; it is becoming obvious that individual members began choosing how they identified themselves and who they identified with.
I'm of the opinion that in the subsequent years the SHIELDS' family became more entrenched in the culture of blacks whereas the ISHCOMMAR'S by claiming to be "full blood" Choctaw's removed the "taint" of Nelson ISH-COMMAR as a "colored man."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Community, Culture & Identity: Nancy ISHCOMER-SHIELDS, Choctaw by Blood-African Indian

I can’t help but notice discussions by some Native Americans concerning concepts on “culture, community and identity. Included in those discussion are the “traditional” ways of life within their tribes. While conducting my latest research these issues became part of my back story as I attempted to locate the “numerous Indian Negroes” on the Dawes “Choctaw by blood” roll.

As I went through the Dawes cards and identified about twenty individuals and then their subsidiary genealogical lines, I wondered what their census information was and how they identified themselves to the census enumerators. Certainly this could not tell me about their culture but it might give me insight into how they view themselves (identity) and determine the people that made up their “community.”

Tams BIXBY acknowledge there were children of “mixed” black and Indian parents on a Dawes card that identified them as Choctaw Indian. I have questions about what happens a few years later when the first Oklahoma federal census is taken and how “Indian-Negroes” identified themselves?

What was the community like in which they lived? Was it mixed freedmen, white and Indian? Did they reside in a strictly Native community practicing their “traditional” customs and culture or did they begin to identify themselves as black, colored, or mulato? There were Indian Census Schedules that were used to identify Native Americans, would I find them enumerated on one of these schedules?

If you will recall, Tams BIXBY gave two examples of “mixed Indian Negroes” placed on the blood citizenship rolls. In my first blog on the subject I discussed Beulah MARSTON and his children.

In the second example given by BIXBY was a family by the name of SHIELD(S). This family as the other appear to be a great example of how complex the issues of identity and family have evolved among the members of the Five Slave Holding Tribes.

The common factor with all of these “mixed blood families” was their father was considered a black, colored or freedman and their mother a Choctaw blood Indian. I began to question what did they consider themselves after being enrolled as a Choctaw by blood? Did they intermarry with other Choctaw’s or did their children continue to develop relationships with blacks? Another important issue would be how were they treated by other Choctaw blood citizens? The other factor that had to be critical to their relationships was the laws enacted in the nations that forbade “intermarriage with anyone of African descent.”

Nancy seems to make a conscious choice of marrying a freedman and her some of her children seem to have made a similar decision when you look at additional records.

You will note the Dawes allotment card for Nancy indicates her husband and the father of her children was a “colored man.” Utilizing the notes on Nancy’s card I am able to locate “New Born” cards for another child of Nancy’s, as well as two children of her eldest daughter Sarah. These cards are important because they provide information on the names of the children but also information on their father’s.

In terms of identity, it is interesting that in the 1900 census Nancy and everyone in her family were enumerated as being black. However, Nancy and her daughter enrolled their children in the Choctaw tribe as Choctaw by blood as a minor or new born in 1904, ’05 and ‘06.

Clearly they understood the importance of enrolling and documenting their children as Choctaw by blood. I would assume they did so in their efforts to secure more land the children would be entitled?

Without personally knowing any descendants of the SHIELDS it is difficult to say if they have maintained their Choctaw identity or become black as a result of their marriages to other blacks. Ten years later the 1910 census provides us with additional clues as to how they were perceived or identified themselves.

In the 1910 census we see the older children grown with families of their own. Despite the fact there are “Indian Population Schedules” for the 1900 and 1910 census, none of the SHIELDS family is enumerated on them. The assumption here would be they are not looked at as being Indians but now mulato.

What relationship they had to other tribal members is not known but now they lived in the state of Oklahoma and racial categories were an integral part of the life that being black brought about issues that you think the SHIELDS’ would avoid if possible?

I thought this would be the end of this little research on identity, culture and community but this family got a lot more interesting the more I followed the extended family and ancestors of Nancy ISHCOMER-SHIELDS.

I will post that in the second part of this fascinating research exercise on the ISHCOMER & SHIELDS family!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

$15 Million in 1907 Equals $454,625,322.15 in 2009

Indian Citizen April 18, 1907 p1 c1-2

I "might" be getting off the "reservation" on this one, but, what if? (pun intended)

The lawsuit file on April 13, 1907 initially involved approximately one thousand –five hundred individuals seeking a transfer from the Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen roll to the by blood roll of the tribe of their respective birth.

It was calculated that these men, women and children who were the children or descendants of Choctaw and Chickasaw men would stand to gain the equivalent of ten thousand ($10,000) each; in a land allotment of three hundred and twenty acres as opposed to the forty acres they would receive as “freedmen.”

The argument used by the tribes, the Dawes Commission and the Department of the Interior was based on the antebellum “custom” of children of slave women following the status of their mother in regards to their “race.”

However, the mandate for the Dawes Commission and the Department of the Interior was to enroll and allot 320 acres of land to all who “possessed” Indian blood!

Seems to me, a debt is long overdue and payable? Whether a person was born out of wedlock or not does not affect their genealogy.

Joe and Dillard PERRY Chickasaw Freedmen Card# 61 rear
Later in the year the number of claimants to what eventually would be known as Equity Case 7071 increased to two thousand. That would adjust the inflation figure to what cost $20,000,000 (twenty million dollars in 1907 would cost $454625322.15 million in 2009. I suspect the number would increase each year until the debt is paid?
"Test Case" for transfer cases
Joe and Dillard PERRY Chickasaw Freedmen Card# 61 front

I find this interesting in light of the ongoing litigation concerning the Cobell case involving issues of “Native Americans” receiving monetary damages for a case that involved “land and mineral rights” based on the United States Government not fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility to the plaintiffs.

Lead litigant Equity Case 7071 Bettie LIGON Choctaw Freedman Card# 106 rear

Should any of the Cobell money go to anyone in the so called Five Civilized Tribes, you might make the argument the descendants of the claimants on Equity Case 7071 should share in the allocation of the funds?

Lead litigant Equity Case 7071 Bettie LIGON Choctaw Freedman Card# 106 front

About the Settlement

A proposed Settlement has been reached with American Indian Plaintiffs in a long-running class action lawsuit against the federal government for mismanagement of individual Indian trust accounts and trust assets. The Settlement is with the Secretary of the Interior, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior-Indian Affairs, and the Secretary of the Treasury. The individual Indian trust accounts relate to land, oil, natural gas, mineral, timber, grazing, water and other resources and rights on or under individual Indian lands.

The class action lawsuit claims that the federal government failed to fulfill its financial responsibility for the individual Indian trust resulting in the loss, misdirection, and unaccountability of several billion dollars of monies held in trust or which should have been held in trust by the United States for Indian beneficiaries in Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts.

Under the terms of the Settlement in Cobell v. Salazar, the federal government will create a $1.512 billion Accounting/Trust Administration Fund and a $1.9 billion Trust Land Consolidation Fund. The Settlement also creates a federal Indian Education Scholarship fund of up to $60 million to improve access to higher education for Indian youth. The Settlement also includes a commitment by the federal government to appoint a commission that will oversee and monitor specific improvements in the Department's accounting for and management of individual Indian trust assets, going forward.

The Agreement creates two groups of Indians eligible to receive Settlement money - the Historical Accounting Class and the Trust Administration Class. Details of who is eligible follow.

For the record, NO the Cobell case is not exactly like Equity Case 7071 but there are elements in 7071 that deserve similar resolution like Cobell in monetary ways.

I have no idea how many descendants of Equity Case 7071 know about this case. I have not been able to complete a compiliation of the litigants with all of the additional material that is related to them from Dawes Commission records to the Choctaw Chickasaw Citizenship records and more (one of these days I will complete that task.) It is my opinion these people who are listed in 7071 deserve their day in court.

Tragically when the case DID come before the United States Supreme Court, a brief was not filed (highly dubious) and the justices never heard arguments on the case.

Supreme Court Memorandum December 12, 1911

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Numerous Cases of Mixed Indian & Negro Blood Cited...

In my blog on December 7th of this month I began to tell the story of people on the Choctaw "citizen by blood" roll who had a parent that was considered to be a freedman, colored or Negro. My interest in this was motivated by an excerpt from a congressional hearing in 1907.

Tams BIXBY was providing the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs a rebuttal to testimony given by Webster BALLINGER an attorney representing a class of "mixed blood" people of Choctaw or Chickasaw and African descent. In BIXBY'S rebuttal appeared a phrase that caught my attention (curiosity) and sent me on a hunt for more information.

Senate Report 5013 59th Congress, 2nd Session pt2 pg1542

There it was, "numerous other cases could be cited of persons of mixed Indian and negro blood who have been finally enrolled as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation." Clearly BIXBY was trying to deflect criticism of the Dawes Commission and it's procedure to enroll people of "mixed" Indian and Negro blood to certain rolls if their mother was a "freedwoman."

However, being the idiot that I am, I had to look at what he was claiming, NUMEROUS other cases in my mind indicated there was a lot to discover. It also indicated that the idea that people in some families could easily end up on separate rolls as citizens and "non-citizens" in the case of Chickasaw freedmen, but this was about Choctaw's and I was determined to locate every last one (what an idiot I am!)

Just so you know, there are over six thousand Choctaw by blood cards and I was going to have to go through each and every one to determine who was enrolled and had a freedman, colored or Negro father and Choctaw mother.

The other thing in the back of my mind is the word numerous; meaning many or abundant, for BIXBY'S statement to have any truth or validity there should be an ABUNDANT number of individuals who fit this particular description?

For me the jury is still out on whether he is supported by the evidence because out of more than six thousand cards I found less than one hundred. That included the "New Born" and "Minor" cards. Also consider the six thousand cards represented over eighteen thousand people who were finally enrolled as Choctaw citizens by blood in 1902; of that figure 1587 were intermarried whites.

So now my juices are flowing and I'm on a mission! Who were these people and just how numerous are they? There was one other curious part of what Tams BIXBY said that quickly got my attention. He gave two examples of the people who were enrolled and I found that hmmmm, interesting!

Senate Report 5013 59th Congress, 2nd Session pt2 pg1541

Senate Report 5013 59th Congress, 2nd Session pt2 pg1542

With this information I felt confident I would be able to at least locate these two examples and begin the process of locating the numerous mixed blood (African-Negro) families on the Choctaw blood rolls. I believe I understand why BIXBY chose these two cases and the Bulah MARSTON case in particular to illustrate his point.

When you first look at the information on this card there is very little that would have you think it fits the criteria for someone being on the Choctaw "citizen by blood" roll who was also of African descent. You will note however several factors that require you to dig a little deeper if you want to know why Tams BIXBY recalled this particular case as his example of the "numerous" mixed blood Choctaw Negroes.

First, both parents of Beulah were still alive which meant there should be a card that could provide information. In addition, the mother of his children is listed as an Intermarried white but the remark after her name says she is a "non-citizen colored." Clearly there is some conflicting information but that's what we live for as genealogist and family historians; a little meat on the bones!

This is a very interesting little note. If Beulah's wife was an intermarried white, NO PROBLEM! She becomes a "citizen by blood" an official "Indian" and life goes on, but there is that notation that the mother of Beulah's children, Mary, is a "non-citizen colored" woman.

This means two things; one, she is not to be enrolled as an "intermarried citizen" because she isn't "white." Two, if she isn't white and children follow the status of their mother, none of the children listed on this card should receive Choctaw citizenship by blood. However the commission enacted a rule that to get around this hurdle an applicant had to show they were recognized in other tribal records. None of this had anything to do with documenting if a person possessed "Indian blood."
Realizing that Beulah's father is a non-citizen, I know there is not a card with him on it unless he was enrolled as an Intermarried white, his mother is another matter, she is alive and indications say she is a citizen! So I needed to locate her card as well as the interview jacket on her and Beulah.

SURPRISE! SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Beulah's mother was African-Choctaw!!! This meant that Beulah, his mother and all of Beulah's children were "mixed blood" Choctaws.
Another question as a genealogist is how could Beulah and Mary MARSTON'S children not be Choctaw by blood? Call me crazy but if Beulah is considered a Choctaw by blood, his mother is considered Choctaw by blood and his mother's mother is considered Choctaw by blood his children should be considered Choctaw by blood? Somehow the Dawes Commission and the Choctaw tribe found a way to muck this up!

As you look at the information provided on this card you will note how at one point the two children of Beulah and Mary MARSTON were placed on the "D" for "Denied" roll; number D404 to be exact. There is also the notation giving the "reason" as their mother Mary being; say it together group, A NON-CITIZEN NEGRO!
Beulah's card provided a great deal of information and it has to be noted that there were other children born to this couple, a set of twins to be exact! I think that brings us to seven people who were enrolled officially as "mixed Indian Negro."

I alluded to it earlier about the reasons I suspect Tams Bixby used this family as one of his examples of "enrolled mixed Indian Negroes." Beulah MARSTON had the temerity to challenge the system that would deny his wife the same rights an intermarried white woman was given and have his children enrolled as Choctaw by blood despite their mother being a "non citizen colored woman."

Dawes Interview Jacket Beulah MARSTON Choctaw by blood # 4383 p05

Dawes Interview Jacket Beulah MARSTON Choctaw by blood # 4383 p07

Dawes Interview Jacket Beulah MARSTON Choctaw by blood # 4383 p24

Because Tams BIXBY, the Dawes Commission and the so called Five Civilized Tribes sought to minimize the "mixed Negro Indian" population in the tribes, Beulah's actions amounted to a major threat and had to be challenged. Beulah MARSTON deserves a lot of credit for standing up to a system that he knew was inherently wrong and racially motivated. The tribes with the help of the Dawes Commission conspired to exclude thousands of people who had a right to citizenship that included three hundred and twenty acres of land as opposed to the forty acres given to "freedmen."

To understand why the tribes and Dawes Commission sought to minimize the "mixed Indian Negro" population compare the numbers. The number of people on Equity Case 7071 who sought a transfer from the freedmen roll to the Choctaw and Chickasaw by blood roll numbered between 1600 and 2000 individuals.

Those "mixed Indian Negroes" officially enrolled with mixed Choctaw and Chickasaw blood amounted to less than 100. The impact on the tribe and the land distribution which was the underlying motivation (my opinion) for the Dawes "allotment" process would be huge! For the sake of an argument, if you choose to take the maximum numbers 100 and 2,000; that amounted to a difference between 32,000 acres as opposed to six hundred and forty thousand 640,000 acres.

This would have had an impact on the future development of the state of Oklahoma, the railroads that traversed the state, and exploitation of the natural resources like coal, asphalt and almighty oil!

But that's another story!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Researching a Story From All Angles...

Over the past couple of weeks I've been doing some deep research (my opinion) on the thousands of people who sought a transfer to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian by blood rolls. During the course of that research a couple of things came to mind about the story and what was missing from the overall story.

Clearly the main focus for me over the years has been the people of African-Native descent who claimed to have Choctaw or Chickasaw ancestry. I have been noting their attempts at being transferred from the Freedmen Roll to the citizen by blood roll. When you look at documents that were used to determine citizenship, it is apparent (to me) how the Dawes Commission and tribal leaders constructed the rolls to "exclude" people identified as "freedmen" from documenting their "Indian" blood.
You can see from the heading of each nation's Dawes Roll except for the Creek Nation each document made it a point to "not including freedmen." Except for the Creek's where I have yet to locate a form that has the statement "not to include" and the Cherokee nation where they excluded several categories of individuals, the overriding sentiment was "not including freedmen" on the so called "by blood" rolls.

In my recent blog Laws: Customs & Usages, See Things As They Are...

I began the process of illustrating how the Dawes Cards went to elaborate attempts at "not including freedmen" with mixed "African-Native" ancestry from the blood rolls with the practice of "including" people of "mixed parents" with the female parent classified as Choctaw or Chickasaw "by blood" only. As a genealogist I find the practice offensive based on a genealogist's understanding of "descent." In simple terms we are a product of two individuals our genealogy, DNA and the rest results in a total person, not fractions that allows the phrase "not including freedmen."

On both of these cards you have individuals without any trace of Indian blood, but they and their descendants today would be consider "Indian" because they show up on the blood roll.

In congressional testimony before a Senate Committee the attorney for the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation's was quite clear that the children of Indian men and freedmen women were no more than illegitimate children and should not be placed on the blood roll.

Senate Document 298 59th Congress, 2nd Session

The subtitle stated "not including freedmen" was the catch-all phrase that allowed the exclusion of thousands of people with Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Cherokee blood to be placed on rolls that are utilized today to proclaim tribes don't want "non-Indians" in the tribes.

Perhaps that should have been their sentiment during the Dawes enrollment process because today many "citizens" of the tribes are the offspring of "non-Indian" and/or "intermarried whites." with no discernible "Indian" blood. Some were even, illegitimate and still received "citizenship by blood."

Lizzie GARLAND Choctaw by blood#6090

Don't take my word for it! If you looked at the first one hundred cards on the "Choctaw by blood" roll you will see the majority of the cards have someone on them with the classification or their immediate parent with a classification of I.W. or Non Citizen somewhere on their card. The Chickasaw cards are in such bad condition it is virtually impossible to look through them for answers but I'm sure a similar history provides similar results. That's just the first one hundred, throughout the more than six thousand cards I hazard to guess that the majority of the cards has someone who is "intermarried white" or "non-citizen" enrolled as a "citizen by blood."

 I assure you at the rear of the roll there is nothing but I.W. (intermarried whites) who are single and not married. What is more revealing is that many of them happen to be women. I mention this because the tribes like to point to their "matrilineal tradition" of determining what status a child follows when they considered enrolling a person on the Dawes Roll.

Senate Document 298 59th Congress, 2nd Session

All of this is tragic and as a genealogist I find it hard to understand how in today's world some tribal leaders would utter the phrase they want a "tribe only of Indians." Clearly they never took the time to research their own history on this matter?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nomination For Top Forty Blog (Shameless Self Promotion)

It has been brought to my attention the "Black and Red Journal" has been nominated to compete in Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs.

It is indeed an honor especially since I had to be dragged kicking and screaming just to produce this blog by a good friend of mine. She obviously knew something about my need to write and discuss the history and genealogy of Indian Territory Freedmen.

If you have found information and/or stories in my blog that you feel warrant your vote you can do so (early and often as they say in Chicago) at the following link:

There are many participants in the contest and whoever wins will be most deserving, I just need you to make it me in the category of "Heritage Groups."......
(I did say "Shameless Self Promotion!")

I want to thank you in advance for your vote and hope to bring more interesting articles on Indian Territory Freedmen and the Five Civilized Tribes.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Laws; Customs and Usages..."See Things As They Are"

Recently I had an interest in looking up people on the Choctaw by Blood roll who had a black, Negro, colored or freedmen parent or ancestor. I hope to go into the reason why in subsequent post but I must say the exercise was very enlightening!

One of the names that came up in my search was CARNEY; and like practically everyone of the names I discovered there was one reason why it was easily recognized because of the way the Dawes Commission identified people for the rolls.

Jincy BASCOMB nee CARNEY Choctaw by Blood#5465

When I began this project I was not prepared for the amount of information I discovered and I'm still collecting and processing the people and information regarding them.

Frankly I should have known better! I've detected a multi-layered relationship between the so called blood Indians and freedmen because of my research on the issue of "mixed" African-Native Americans from the freedmen perspective. The relationships are just as complex when a "blood" citizen has a documented relationship that was "legally" sanctioned by the tribe and the Dawes Commission.

As you can readily see from Jincy's card there are more people, cards and information to collect just to conduct some serious genealogy on the family of CARNEY. One of the best things (depending on how you look at it) about this particular family is the father of the CARNEY children Wallace CARNEY was still alive and enrolled as a Choctaw Freedman.  Since Wallace CARNEY was still alive I had to look at his card and see what information was on it.

Before I could do that I still needed to take a look at all of the clues indicated on card# 5465. At the bottom left of the card are three notations indicating there were new born and minors with cards that had to be added to the information for this family. As it stands at this point the two surnames I have are CARNEY and BASCOMB. In addition I have Choctaw by Blood New Born cards #1289, #1353; Choctaw by Blood Minor card# 341 along with the card for Charles BASCOMB #3730. Finally I will have to take a look at Choctaw Freedman Card# 786 for the children and grandfather of the individuals on card# 5465, Wallace CARNEY.

Choctaw by Blood Minor card# 341

Choctaw by Blood New Born #1353

Choctaw by Blood New Born cards #1289

Charles BASCOMB #3730
As they say, be careful of what you ask for! I soon discovered just how true that cliche is when I took a look at the information for Wallace CARNEY Sr. Choctaw Freedman# 786...

Choctaw Freedman Card# 786 (front) Wallace CARNEY

Choctaw Freedman Card# 786 (rear) Wallace CARNEY

The Dawes card for Wallace CARNEY was full of surprises. The first was him being listed as deceased but not before he established a card with his mother Milly CARNEY and someone by the name of Judy SEXTON who was listed as his cousin!!!

The information on Wallace's card indicates there are at least three more sources of information that requires attention. Not only that but his cousin Judy SEXTON was eventually removed from the freedman roll and enrolled as a Choctaw by blood on card# 4853.

Judy POPE Choctaw by Blood#4853

Judy POPE illustrates a very interesting aspect of Indian Territory research. At some point she is perceived as a freedman, she is even asked by a commissioner which category she would like to enroll; as a "freedman" or as a "citizen by blood." The other interesting aspect of the interview was the fact Judy needed an interpreter to conduct her interview!

M1301 Judy POPE Choctaw by Blood#4853

Wallace CARNEY is like the gift that keeps on giving. When you look at his card further you discover he has another family and another child in the Creek Nation!!!

Creek by blood Amey CONNER# 2825

In the Creek Nation Wallace CARNEY is said to be married to Amey CONNER he is also attributed with at least two children who are also listed as Creek by blood.
Creek by blood Lizzie KARNEY#2879

Creek by blood Wallace CARNEY Jr. # 3644

Indian Territory became an interesting experiment in the concept of what is "race." Contrary to science, the Constitution and genealogy the Dawes Commission and Congress developed a scheme to separate families based on the antebellum idea that a "child follows the status of their mother."

They ignored the rationale that a person is the product of two parents; containing the DNA (blood) of both to determine whether they were "Indian."

I imagine it could be argued, if you believe the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and the "badges of slavery" the tribes continue to violate the Constitution today?

This practice was clearly stated as the basis for denying the children of Indian men and women of "African descent" consideration as being an Indian when the Dawes Commission enrolled these individuals as "Freedmen."

Senate Report 5013 (59-2) pt 2 pg 1541

Our challenge today is to "See Things As They Are" and challenge their validity!
Senate Document 298 59th Congress 2nd Session p1a

Senate Document 298 59th Congress 2nd Session p1b

Senate Document 298 59th Congress 2nd Session p2a
Senate Document 298 59th Congress 2nd Session p2b