Thursday, March 3, 2016

Bettie LOVE-LIGON 151st Birthday

Copyright 2016 Terry J. Ligon
March 1, 2016 would have been the 151st birthday of Bettie LOVE the daughter of an enslaved woman named Margaret Ann ALEXANDER in Burneyville, Indian Territory; Bettie’s father was an influential Chickasaw Indian with large land and slave holdings by the name of Robert Howard LOVE.

It was the circumstances of Bettie’s birth and thousands of men, women and children of similar birth that challenged the system of determining a person’s race by simply classifying them by the perceived race of their mother.

Bettie became the lead litigant in what began as a $15,000,000 (fifteen million dollar) lawsuit that sought a transfer of approximately two thousand people from the Dawes Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen rolls to the “citizen by blood” rolls of their respective nation. This suit became better known as “Equity Case 7071.”

When the suit was filed it was said that Bettie stood in front of the county courthouse doors and demanded that they remain open so people who “lived in the country” could have time to sign their names to the list of complainants so they could receive the 320 acres all Chickasaw by blood citizens were allotted.
With these actions Bettie LIGON became one of the unsung heroes in the list of Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen leaders that populated the rural communities outside of Ardmore, Oklahoma known as Milo, Berwyn, Newport, and Springer.

On April 13, 1907 at 2:00 PM the lawsuit that would involve ultimately more than 2,000 people, twenty million dollars and what could eventually be more than six hundred thousand acres of land became a part of Oklahoma history and American History.

Daily Ardmoreite April 14, 1907
Page 6, Columns 5 & 6
April 13th this year will mark the 109th year since Equity Case 7071 was filed for the proper classification of thousands of people who should have correctly been considered to be Chickasaw or Choctaw Indians as their birthright.

 Imagine, after more than one hundred years later, we have DNA test that can provide more information as to the truth of these people like Bettie through their descendants if they actually possessed “Indian Blood.” Perhaps it is too late for the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations to correct the sins of their fathers and mothers and embraced the descendants of these men and women who have a legitimate claim to citizenship?

Certainly the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations have no obligation to seek and embrace the descendants of Equity Case 7071 and allow them in the tribe.

Perhaps it is based on that lawsuit that sought millions of dollars based on the land lost because their ancestor was considered a Freedman and not a “citizen by blood?”

Perhaps there is still the fear that allowing the descendants into the nation would pose a threat to the numbers of people who might have a voice in the politics of the tribe?

Perhaps, the nations can’t admit that a massive wrong was perpetrated on their own people and to correct it at this time would bring unwanted attention to their tribes as they seek to portray themselves as an honorable people who have had undergone horrific oppression because they are Native American?

Perhaps, the attitudes on race have not significantly changed Native Americans so they can see the descendants of African-Natives as equals?

Bettie LIGON and all of the claimants on Equity Case 7071 just wanted what they thought was justifiably theirs because of their birth and for some reason 109 years later their cause remains to be settled. 

The Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations have a debt to these people and their descendants that must be addressed, how long they will ignore something that in the 21st Century demonstrates how far they have to go to truly be considered a “Civilized Tribe?” 

Wouldn't it be interesting to see how many of these descendants have Native American blood in their DNA test?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Address Comments to Fold3

Well since you asked; below is the link to Fold3 comments page. It has a drop down list that you can direct your comment, I chose General Feedback and left them this:
Greetings, I was glad to recently receive an email announcing you were offering some of your records free of charge as an effort to honor Black History Month. Upon entering your site I was hoping to have access to the Native American Collection because it has a tremendous importance and impact on researching my ancestors that were enslaved by the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians.

M 1186 Choctaw Freedman Card # 1422 Joe FREEMAN Former Slave Choctaw Nation b. 1829 
I can't tell you how disappointed I was to discover the Native American Collection was not part of the offering for the month of February honoring Black History Month. As a former subscriber I can attest to the importance of the Dawes Cards and their associated Packets for my research. 
M1301 Chickasaw Freedman Card #515 John TAYLOR b. 1842 former slave Chickasaw Nation
The relationship between African descended people and Native Americans is not a well-known history which is why I hope you would consider allowing access to these files as well because they have significance to "Black History" and could add new subscribers to your site.
M1186 Chickasaw by Blood Card # 1805 Joe and Dillard PERRY Landmark case to transfer African-Native people from Freedman Roll to the Choctaw or Chickasaw by blood roll. Over 1500 people sought to be properly placed on the blood roll.
It appears you have so many characters for your message but if you or anyone else is interested in leaving Fold3 a message by all means join the fray!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sequoyah National Research Center-Index of African Descended Peoples & American Indians

The Guide was compiled by James HANDY in the Fall Term, 2014 and reproduced by The Sequoyah National Research Center for the observance of Black History Month February, 2015.

I feel it is important to mention this guide because to many people don’t have knowledge or they have a misunderstanding of the relationships regarding Native Americans and people of African descent. 

I’ve gone through the index and will review it again but I have seen some very interesting titles that require my attention when it comes to the history of slavery among the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians.

Please take the time to visit the index and visit Sequoyah’shomepage to leave them a thank you message for this wonderful source.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Does Black History Include Indian Territory?

Earlier in the week I pondered out loud on another site how nice it would be if and opened up their sites for free access during the month of February in honor of “Black History Month.”

I don’t know or recall if they have ever done this before but it would be a nice gesture for thousands of family historians and genealogist to have access to these sites for a limited time to begin or complete research on their families.

Lo and behold I get an email from Fold3 indicating they are opening up their site for “BLACK HISTORY MONTH” and allowing FREE access to their records. I applaud them for this gesture and at the same time I realize this is good marketing for them. Once people have an opportunity to view records that may assist them in their genealogical research they may be inclined to subscribe for access after the month of February?

However, I do have a bone to pick with the good people at Fold3 and that is their seeming inability to include the records of the Native American Collection as part of their “BLACK HISTORY MONTH” freebie. Surely the people are aware of the large amount of records that pertain to African-American history and genealogy that are a vital part of the NATIVE AMERICAN COLLECTION beginning with the Dawes Cards and Enrollment Packets.

There are hundreds if not thousands of records that have a significant impact on the genealogy of Blacks and Native Americans in particularly the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muskogee) and Seminole Nations.

I can only this was an innocent oversight but for someone (me) that is very familiar with these records and understands the importance of them to the history of Black people in this country and their genealogy I find the oversight curious at best. It is my hope that the good people at correct this oversight and open those records as well as those they made available when it comes to the topics of SLAVERY, THE CIVIL WAR, JIM CROW and RECONSTRUCTION, not to mention the issues of Civil Rights in Indian Territory and later the state of Oklahoma aka Little Dixie.

All I need now is a contact person or email address to address my/our concerns? I would also like to see other people voice their concerns about what seems to be a continuing oversight when it comes to the history of Black among the Five Slave Holding Tribes. The question remains, does Black History include Indian Territory?