Part of the Tribe, But Shut Out
Freedmen is another term for descendants of former slaves. And in the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma, the question of their status within the tribes has been debated for decades. In the Cherokee Nation, there are two open court cases that will determine the freedmen’s tribal citizenship. And a similar debate is happening in the Seminole nation.
In this third and final story in our series about the Freedmen, Invisible Nations’ Allison Herrera explains why the Seminole freedmen feel especially angry about the actions of their tribal council members.
LeEtta Osborne Sampson sifts through a pile of yellowed, worn documents at a library in Midwest City. She’s showing me tribal identity cards and records containing information about her ancestors from the Dawes Rolls. Some cards belong to her dad, grandfather and other relatives. One record stands out.