Demand the Federal government respond to the 1866 Indian Treaty.
By Melanoid Empowerment
It is a well kept secret that institutional slavery could not have occurred or existed in America without the support of the Five Civilized Indian Tribes (Cherokees, Seminoles, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek), who were slave holders, traders, chasers, and who signed agreements with and fought with the Southern Confederacy during the Civil War to maintain Blacks in slavery. Even after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Constitutional Amendment and the end of the Civil War in 1865, Indian Tribes continued to hold Blacks as slaves. The Indian Tribes refused to free their slaves, arguing that Tribes were sovereign nations that had the right to hold Blacks as property. In refusing to free their Black slaves and allying with Southern rebels, the Five Tribes played into the hands of European immigrants and the government that wanted westward expansion. When the Tribes took up arms against the United Sates in the Civil War, they violated all previous treaties and therefore lost their territorial property/land claims. The United States government had given amnesty to the Southern Johnny Rebs. The federal government also offered amnesty to the Five Civilized Tribes, in the form of the 1866 Indian Treaties, which remain the basis upon which the government has provided preferential benefits to Indians for the last 150 years. The 1866 Treaties required Indian Tribes to free their black slaves, and grant freed Blacks, Black Indians and their descendants, full tribal membership and voting rights in all matters pertaining to the Tribes. The Treaties mandated that the federal government and the Tribes provide the Black freedmen and Black Indians with no less than 150 acres of land, $160 dollars, equal share in all government provided material benefits, free schooling, reservation resources, and to be treated in all matters, similar to the way non-black members of the Tribes were treated. Today, that would include free college education, tax-exempt status and the right to own and operate gambling casinos. By 1890, however, both the federal government and the Indian Tribes began to ignore their legal mandated obligations. The government shifted focus from the foundation premise of the Treaties, to free and aid Black Freedmen and Black Indians, to instead reward unearned recognition and benefits to the slave-holding Indian Tribes and their descendants. In 1941, the United States government provided guidance to Tribes on how to redefine Indian in a way that excluded Black Freedmen and Black Indians. The government has continually narrowed its sphere of enforcement and has ignored its fiduciary responsibilities to the Black Freemen and Black Indians, as defined in those treaties. . .Below are the points of legal redress the HIFF(Harvest Institute Freedmen Federation) lawsuits are seeking:
Classification of Black Freedmen and Black Indians as a separate federally recognized Tribe;
A public declaration from the U.S. Department of Interior that Black Freedmen and Black Indians must be included in the mandated benefits that non-blacks have been receiving for over 150 years;
An order from the Courts directing the governmental agencies to retro-actively distribute benefits to eligible Freedmen and Black Indians with Dawes Roll numbers;
A greater awareness on the part of Black Americans of the importance of seeking and fighting for their historical monetary entitlements.