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Cherokee Slave Holders and a Poem

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Sarah Sousa

5-thingd-you-dont-know-about-Freedman_012552569902Slave and Cherokee master, likely taken around the time of the Civil War

The fact that many Cherokees owned slaves is another sad chapter in American history. Members of all the Five Civilized Tribes, located in the southern US: Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole owned slaves, with Cherokees owning the most. But this sad truth is also a complicated one. Native Americans had been oppressed by European Americans themselves. For around two centuries by the time this photo was taken, Native tribes had been decimated, some extinguished completely, by disease, violence and hardship at the hands of European Americans. Around the time of the Civil War, many in the Five Civilized Tribes, living cheek by jowl with their white neighbors, sought to assimilate, to blend in with the dominant culture, to survive. And I’m sure some Native slave holders just sought their own gain. So, it’s no surprise that…

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