Members of five Native American nations, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Nations (known as the Five Tribes), owned black slaves. Then located outside the territorial boundaries of the US in a region known as Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), these sovereign nations were not affected by proclamations or constitutional amendments. Instead, separate treaties had to be made between the US and these Native American nations not only to free enslaved peoples, but also to formally end the American Civil War battles and antagonism between American and Native American troops.
The fact that by the time of the Civil War black chattel slavery had been an element of life among the Five Tribes for decades is rarely discussed. It is, however, an important aspect of US history which serves to remind us of the complexity of colonialism, exploitation and victimisation that laid the foundations of our country.