Saturday, September 18, 2010

Did Chickasaw Indians Give Their Former Slaves 40 Acres of Land?

I was reminded again how some little known history and some commonly held falsehoods could actually give a mistaken impression that an act occurred that has no basis in fact. What I refer to is the belief that all the former slaves of the Five Slave Holding Tribes were given land as a provision of the treaties signed in 1866 following the Civil War.

It is true the former slaves of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek and Seminole nations received land as a result of the Dawes Commission allotment process. What I discovered was the common mistake that the Chickasaw Nation willingly gave 40 acres of land to the former slaves and their descendants that  lived in that nation.

Despite the fact former slaves that were held in bondage by citizens of the Chickasaw Nation received the equivalent of forty acres of land; it was not as a result of some altruistic gesture by the Chickasaw Indians.

Remember the Chickasaws did not adopt their former slaves as citizens and when it came to allotting land, the Chickasaw nation along with the Choctaw’s fought to recover all monies associated with the land given to Chickasaw Freedmen.

According to the newspaper article shown (Daily Oklahoman; January 25, 1910, p1 column 5) it is clear the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes sued the United States for the cost of the land given to more than four thousand men, women and children who were former slaves in the Chickasaw nation.

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