Descendants of the Five Civilized tribes

Freedmen, a word, when referred to in Native American genealogy, is somewhat confusing to many. This page will give you information and links that will help with a better understanding what Freedmen means in Native American research.

Freedmen of the Indian Nations, both Black and Indian, descendant from African and American Indian ancestors. Many mixed blood families were forced to choose one culture over another. Because of US contempt for both Blacks and American Indians, many families chose to hide their heritage. But history of survival opened, also opens to the story of the union of these two resilient peoples.

Freedmen of Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, who lived within the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Nations), were former slaves and Free Persons of Color. Many of these Africans intermarried with Native Americans, and many were slaves owned by Native Americans, who fathered children with African slave women. A much smaller number were Free People of Color who also lived and married persons from within the Nation they were living, their descendants clam ancestry from the Oklahoma Black Indian people. The result being thousands of Americans have Indian and African ancestry. The Treaty of 1866 abolished Slavery in Indian Territory, and the adoption of the former slaves into 4 of the 5 nations. There were over 20,000 Africans that were adopted into these nations before the end of the 19th century.

The Slave Narrative Collection
Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
Oklahoma Narratives, Volume XIII (369 pages) A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves. 

Treaties That Freed the Slaves

Cherokee Treaty of 1866

Choctaw-Chickasaw Treaty of 1866

Creek Treaty of 1866

Seminole Treaty of 1866 


Tribal Adoption of Slaves

Only 4 of the 5 tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole), the Chickasaw being the one tribe that did not adopt their slaves. After the treaty of 1866, the government gave the Chickasaw the option of adopting their former slaves as citizens of the nation. With the agreement of the Treaty of 1866, if the tribe did not adopt their former slaves the government agreed to remove the blacks from Chickasaw Country. The Chickasaw tribe did not adopt the freedmen, and the government failed to remove the freedmen from Chickasaw County. With the failure on both the Chickasaw and government to follow through with their agreement of the treaty, the freedmen lived in the Chickasaw Nation, for over forty years, without protection of the law or civil rights.

The Dawes Commission - March 3, 1893 to March 4, 1907


Rolls and Census

Freedmen Roll Numbers
Chickasaw Nation

Choctaw Nation

Cherokee Nation

Creek Nation

Seminole Nation

Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen's Census Card Numbers Index by Roll Number

Five Civilized Tribes Enrollment Cards 1898-1914 - National Archives Microfilm Publication M1186, Roll 93 Seminole Freedmen, 671 - 855

1860 Slave Schedule Index of Indian Lands

Freedmen Surname Index

1896 Census of Freedmen

Chickasaw Census Index - 1818 -1837 - 1839 - 1847

1896 Dawes Commission Index

Wallace Authenticated 1890 to 1893 Index

1867 Dunn Roll

Cherokee Census - Intruders African American



Indian Home Guard

The 79th and 83rd United States Color Troops

Seminole - Negro Indian Scouts

Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts - Medal of Honor Recipients


Other Items of Interest 

The 32 Tribes Of Oklahoma - Short histories of each tribe

Monroe Mission Church Records

The Choctaw Freedmen of Oklahoma

Center for African and Native American  Research

The American Indian Heritage Foundation

National Congress Of American Indian

African Native Americans - Photo Exhibit

Freedmen of the Frontier

Freedmen Bureau On Line

Freedmen's Bureau Records - An Overview

Freedmen Members of the Five Civilized Tribes - Lecture: Rudisill North Regional Library Tulsa, Oklahoma September 25, 1993

Seminole Camp, Texas - Seminole Camp was a frontier Black Seminole Indian community

The United States Board of Appraisers - Cherokee Freedmen Claimants Taken from the House Document #116, 6 January 1896: list of Claimants

History of Indians In Oklahoma

Native American Archives - Oklahoma Historical Society

Tennessee State Library and Archives - Suggestions for Native American Research (Cherokee)

Black Indians - History