Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Warrior Wednesday Charles COHEE President Chickasaw Freedmen Association

Graphic created by Terry Ligon © 2011-2017

Charles COHEE was born in February of 1848 he was considered to be part Chickasaw and part African descent. His wife Mary was mixed white and African descent. His father was a free man who it was said, appeared to look like an Indian with long straight hair. Charles Sr. came to Indian Territory with the Chickasaws around 1837. He attended the Chickasaw Council’s and acted as their interpreter.


M1186 #171F Chickasaw Freedmen Charles COHEE
M1186 #171R Chickasaw Freedman Charles COHEE

Charles COHEE Jr. became a prominent leader among the freedmen in his community of Berwyn and Dresden. In 1891 COHEE and Freedman Marcus HAMILTON traveled to Washington, D.C. to voice their concerns to Congress and the President of the U.S.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session)

In 1894 Chickasaw Freedmen held a convention and established contracts with attorneys named MULLEN and BELT who were hired to secure allotments for the Chickasaw freedmen and if failing to do that, they were instructed to negotiate and secure land for the freedmen some where else.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p28

The Committee of Chickasaw Freedmen’s Association which included Isaac C. KEMP, George W. HALL and Mack STEVENSON brought to the attention of U.S. Congress that the Freedmen did not participate in the creation of the Treaty of 1866 and therefore insisted the United States fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to protect the rights of the Chickasaw Freedmen.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p 36

The United States represented by the Dawes Commission began work to dissolve the Five Civilized Tribes in 1898, Charles COHEE, now the President of the Chickasaw Freedmen’s Association called for a convention to meet at the Dawes Academy near Berwyn on August 4th and 5th of the same year to pass several resolutions to fight for their rights under the Treaty of 1866.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p 37

The “Twin Territories” became the state of Oklahoma in 1907, in less than a year in April of 1908 Charles COHEE was deceased. Throughout his life Charles COHEE served the Chickasaw Freedmen and his community by representing their interest and desire to become citizens in the nation of their birth. His example of leadership is something we can learn from today as we preserve and highlight his legacy as a leader among the African and African-Native people of Indian Territory.


Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p 38

This is a re-post of a previous article with minor revisions.