Native American tribal nations that once owned slaves grapple with their own mistreatment of Black people

As the U.S. faces a reckoning over its history of racism, some Native American tribal nations that once owned slaves also are grappling with their own mistreatment of Black people.

When Native American tribes were forced from their ancestral homelands in the southeastern United States to what is now Oklahoma in the 1800s — known as the Trail of Tears — thousands of Black slaves owned by tribal members also were removed and forced to provide manual labor along the way. Once in Oklahoma, slaves often toiled on plantation-style farms or were servants in tribal members’ homes.

Nearly 200 years later, many of the thousands of descendants of those Black slaves, known as Freedmen, are still fighting to be recognized by the tribes that once owned their ancestors. The fight has continued since the killing of George Floyd last year by a Minneapolis police officer spurred a reexamination of the vestiges of slavery in the U.S.

Source: Associated Press – SEAN MURPHY

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