How can a number so large, in a region that was part of the American South, be overlooked?
How can a region of people where the slaveholders were documented in slave schedules when the census was made in 1860 but on the pages of American history---those particular slaves are never mentioned?
How can a region that sympathized with the Confederate states and fought with them on their side to preserve slavery, be omitted when discussion of the Confederacy and their sympathizers are mentioned?
And from the perspective of the enslaved, these questions must be asked:
How can thousands of slaves living in land that would become part of this country be ignored?
How can the largest slave rebellion in North America not be reported in American textbooks? A rebellion more than 3 times the size of Nat Turner's rebellion, but not get mentioned? (See: The Cherokee Slave Revolt)
How can the constant stories of resistance from runaways to slave uprisings be ignored by America's historians?
Runaway Slave Ad from Choctaw Intelligencer 1850
(Note the reward offered if the young man is not captured alive.)
Why is every map depicting slavery on the North American continent conveniently not reflecting enslavement of 8000+ slaves on the same continent? These slaves lived directly north of the state of Texas.
Looking directly north of what was Texas---no slavery in Indian Territory is reflected.
This image of Slavery States and Territories also does not reflect slavery in Indian Territory
In 2009, CNN had a series called "Black in America" and as they depicted slavery in America, they too ignored the same people and the same region when they created their own map of slavery in America.
CNN: Black In America
This image also ignores slavery just north of Texas in Indian Territory in what would become Oklahoma.
And again this is repeated
Once again looking directly north of what was Texas.---no slavery in Indian Territory is reflected.
So----Who are the ignored people on America's historical landscape? Who were these men, women and children? They were the Slaves of Indian Territory----the black people taken west, in bondage, against their will to the west, with Indians as slaves on the same Trail of Tears.
The Cherokees even documented the 1200 that they took west with them. Yes, there were also free blacks who lived among some of these tribes and they have wonderful stories to tell---and they were not ignorant of the plight of their people and many worked within the tribes to assist their people. But the enslaved are somehow erased, once the free blacks are discussed. It is almost as if slavery never happened----but it did.
In 1860 there were 444 free black people enumerated in the 1860 census in Indian Territory. In that same year, there were more than 8000 enslaved people documented on the slave schedules in the very same community.
Again the question-----
Why are their stories not told?
Are their being slaves of Indians somehow making them less of a slave or less worthy of inclusion on America’s historical landscape?
It is time that those who are the voices of American history, from historians in the academic institutions to those of the History Channel-------take note of this error and this omission.
The historians of The Organization of American Historians, Assoc for the Study of Afr. American Life & History, American Historical Association are all being asked here and are addressed here: as America's history tellers--how does this omission get corrected?
And the story tellers from Ken Burns, to the History Channel---when does this omission get corrected?
There are apologists for the slaveholding tribes that will give quick answers saying "Oh that is because Indian Territory was not part of the United States.
The discussion here is NOT when Oklahoma joined the Union and became a state.
The discussion here is the omission of telling the story of slavery in Indian Territory and thus altering American history.
*Discussion of the Removal is presented in American textbooks, and NO American history book omits this story. But discussion of black chattel slavery after removal is continually omitted.
* California was not a state in 1849---but NO American history textbook omits the story of the California Gold Rush and it's impact.
* Lands from Louisiana to the Pacific Northwest were not part of the United States in 1803---but no American history textbook omits the story of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
The argument therefore of the slaveholding tribes not being a state holds neither weight nor water.
The slave holding tribes signed a treaty with the Confederate states at the very beginning of the Civil War.
At the same time there was no objection to the fact that the Slave Holding Tribes of Indian Territory did not live in the United States---just right next door, nor does the fact of these tribes joining forces to fight for the philosophy and beliefs of the Confederate South was never a concern and is not a concern to this day.
This is is not a discussion of the fact that they may have been on the wrong moral side of a war by befriending those that fought to preserve a heinous institution. But--re-hashing the Civil War is not the focus here.
The focus is the omission of inclusion of thousands of enslaved people on America's historical landscape.
The question at hand is: When will the historical maps reflect this history?
Students of history turn to the historical texts, writers, and producers of documentaries to learn what has happened. But how can one learn when a blind eye is cast upon one region?
When, oh when, will history reflect my people?