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Slavery

A few hundred black slaves had run away from their white masters and sought refuge in Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee settlements, where they were received as free people. While some Indian communities incorporated blacks as free people, American Indians in each of the nations, except the Seminole, began to purchase African Americans as slaves.

A number of Indian farmers had large tracts of land under cultivation and used enslaved laborers to produce cotton and surplus crops for sale and profit. Most Indian slave owners, however, practiced subsistence agriculture, and both slaves and masters labored side by side in the fields. By the 1830s well over three thousand African Americans, mostly slaves, lived among the tribes.

American Indians brought their slaves to the west in the 1830s and 1840s when the federal government removed the nations from the southern states. The Cherokee, with more than fifteen hundred, had the largest number. Slave populations removed with the other nations ranged from approximately three hundred in the Creek Nation to more than twelve hundred in the Chickasaw Nation. By the time the Civil War broke out more than eight thousand blacks were enslaved in Indian Territory, where they comprised 14 percent of the population. Slavery continued in the territory through the Civil War. [1]


Family History Library
  • Mallory, Rudena Kramer, Claims by Missourians for compensation of enlisted slaves : records of the U.S. District Court of Kansas, Slave Compensation Records, November 3, 1866 to February 21, 1867, Record Group 21, National Archives-Central Plains Region, Kansas City, Missouri (SLC, Utah:Genealogical Society of Utah, 1992) FHL film 1597959 item 4
  • State Slavery Statues (Bethesda, Maryland : University Publications of America, c1989) FHL fiche 6118911
  • United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands and Washington Reginald, Records of the field offices for the state of Missouri, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1972 : NARA, RG 105, M1908 (College Park, MD : NARA, 2004) FHL films 2426982–2427005
Slave owners
  • In the 1830s African American slavery was established in the Indian Territory, the region that would become Oklahoma. By the late eighteenth century, when over half a million Africans were enslaved in the South, the five southern Indian societies of that region Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole had come to include both enslaved blacks and small numbers of free African Americans [2]


References

  1. http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/S/SL003.html
  2. Oklahoma State Digital Library

 

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