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Feb. 28, 2022

Freedpeople in Indian Territory

When the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee (or Creek), and Seminole Nations – known as “The Five Civilized Tribes” by white settlers – were forcibly moved from their lands in the Southeastern United States to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), they brought their possessions with them, including the people of African descent whom they had enslaved.

After the Civil War, these slaves were freed and freedpeople were included in the allocation of Native lands undertaken by the Dawes Commission, making them the one group of former slaves to receive some reparations. However, like freedpeople in the South, their status and rights were often precarious and changed over time, especially with the establishment of Oklahoma statehood in 1907.

To learn more, I’m joined by Dr. Alaina E. Roberts, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh, and author of I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land.

Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The episode image is: “Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, Date Unknown; Oklahoma Historical Society.”


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Kelly Therese Pollock  0:00  
This is Unsung History, the podcast where we discuss people and events in American history that haven't always received a lot of attention. I'm your host, Kelly Therese Pollock. I'll start each episode with a brief introduction to the topic, and then talk to someone who knows a lot more than I do. Be sure to subscribe to Unsung History on your favorite podcasting app, so you never miss an episode. And please, tell your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, maybe even strangers to listen too.

Today's episode is about people of African descent, enslaved by Native Americans before the Civil War, who were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. White Americans who colonized the southeastern United States, termed some of the Native people they found living there, the Five Civilized Tribes. These nations, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, or Creek and Seminole had adopted some of the practices of white Americans as encouraged by the US appointed Indian agents. They built schools converted to Christianity, and like their white neighbors practiced chattel slavery, holding African Americans as enforced laborers. However, assimilation was not enough to keep these Five Tribes from forced removal. As more white settlers moved into the deep south after US independence, they wanted more and more land for agriculture. On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law, which authorized him to move Native nations still living east of the Mississippi River to land west of the Mississippi River. Most Native tribes resisted relocation. But they were forcibly moved, including the Cherokees, who were forced to march on what became known as the Trail of Tears, where approximately 4000 of them died en route. When the Native people were moved, their slaves moved with them. The lands they were moved to became known as Indian Territory. By the beginning of the Civil War, this Indian Territory on which the Five Tribes lived was the area of the present-day state of Oklahoma. Federal forces withdrew from Indian Territory when the Civil War began in 1861; and the Confederacy took advantage of this to sign their own treaties with the Five Tribes, promising them their own state if they fought for the Confederacy. But there were Native people within those groups, who thought that the union was the safer option to back. The result was Native Americans fighting on both sides of the war, and destruction and starvation within Indian Territory. After the Civil War ended, the Five Tribes made new peace treaties with the US, and like the southern states, they were required to emancipate their slaves. The formerly enslaved freed people who wanted to stay there were to be given full citizenship in the tribes. Those who left could return to the US and become US citizens. The Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation did not grant citizenship to freed people, instead, enacting laws similar to the Black Codes in the US South to restrict the rights and freedoms of freed people. In 1887, Congress passed the Dawes Act to regulate land rights within the tribal territories, converting communally held land to individual allotments, with remaining land to be sold to the federal government. In order to allocate the land, the federal government first had to determine eligibility. Although the Five Tribes were initially exempt from the Dawes Act, the establishment of the Dawes Commission in 1893, and the passage of the Curtis Act of 1898 extended the provisions to them. The US government had promised that Indian Territory would remain Native land in perpetuity, but with the land rush of 1889, the US ignored its earlier promises. The Dawes Commission worked to identify who belonged  in each tribe, and thus who was eligible for land. The resulting Dawes Rolls which contain over 100,000 names are still used by the Five Tribes in determining membership. The application packets used for placement on the rolls, often included such things as birth affidavits, and marriage licenses.

The placement of freed people on the Dawes Rolls was tricky, and inconsistently done. For the Cherokee Rolls, citizenship was based on whether the freed people had been in the Cherokee Nation within six months of the Civil War, at a time when many of them had left. The freed people who were placed on the rolls receive the same kind of land allocations that other Native people did, making them the one group of Americans of African descent who received some reparations after the Civil War. As Oklahoma's statehood loomed, the Five Tribes proposed a separate state to be named in honor of Sequoia, the Cherokee who had created a written version of the Cherokee language. The Sequoia Convention met in August and September of 1905, to draft a constitution. And in November, 1905, the voters in the territory approved the Constitution and statehood petition in a vote 56,279 to 9073. In the end, Indian Territory was joined with Oklahoma Territory, to form the single state of Oklahoma. President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Oklahoma Enabling Act into law on June 16, 1906, and Oklahoma became the 46th state on November 16, 1907. The status of descendants of the Native freed people has remained controversial into the 21st century. For instance, some former slaves of the Choctaw Nation were adopted as full members into the nation in 1885. But in 1983, the Choctaw Nation added to their constitution a "by blood" requirement for membership, excluding many of the Choctaw freed people, and that change has persisted. The Cherokee Nation, however, has updated their constitution, so that people with ancestors on the Dawes Rolls can become citizens regardless of their blood descent. The Seminole Nation does not grant freed people full rights, but does consider them citizens. Like the Choctaw, the Chickasaw, and Muscogee do not enroll or recognize freed people descendants. To help us learn more about the freed people of Indian Territory, I'm joined by Dr. Alaina E. Roberts, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh, and author of "I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land." Hi, Alaina, thank you so much for joining me today.

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  8:24  
Hi, thanks so much for having me. 

Kelly Therese Pollock  8:26  
Yeah, I am so excited to have learned about this history and to have a chance to talk to you about it. So I wanted to start by asking you a little bit about your family history and and how you got into researching this history for your book.

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  8:44  
The like Black land ownership part of my book and my family history is something that I knew from a pretty young age. We would visit Oklahoma, sometimes for family reunions, for vacations, even though Oklahoma's not really popular in terms of vacations. But it was something that really didn't factor into the way I thought about myself. And it was really only in college that I started thinking about it in terms of you know, "Who am I as a person? What do I maybe want to do with my life? And how does kind of the story of my ancestors affect you know, who I am today?" And it turned out the answer is a lot. Not only was the history interesting to me, in terms of like, oh, this is kind of a, a window into the identity of the people before me and thus myself, that we are both African American, white Chikasaw and Chocktaw ancestry, but also understanding that this was an under-researched history. There had not been very many academic books written about slave ownership in especially the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, and so I really was very happy about the fact that I was going to be able to contribute something to the academic world, but also to my own family's understanding of our history.

Kelly Therese Pollock  10:06  
So you talk some in your book about your cousin Travis and the research that he had done, that you were able to sort of tap into. Could you talk some about that, and, you know, sort of the way he was looking at the family and his motivations for doing that?

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  10:22  
Travis, he had done so much kind of genealogical work. So he had, I think it was four or five generations back from him, and he's like two generations from me. So six total for me, going back into the 1700s, using sources from the Dawes Roll Dawes Testimony from the land allotment process, and then also oral history and information that he had gleaned from talking to people in his generation and before his generation. And so for him, using that information to eventually apply for citizenship in the Choctaw Nation was very important, and he was just gutted when he was unsuccessful multiple times. And this is a story, of course, that many freedmen descendants have of kind of the understanding that membership is supposed to come from these rolls, and then applying, getting information and being rejected, really just because of race. And when I kind of started talking to him, and understanding that, that kind of reification of his identity was so important to him, I really felt for him, because that was how I came to this topic initially. But I wanted kind of validation of this identity. And when I realized that that was not forthcoming, I really started looking at the history differently. Because I thought, you know, if my ancestors also didn't have this, you know, what was important to them? And it turned out from looking at the sources that, you know, that have their own words, then the sources from other freedmen, it was land. And so land was really kind of what they saw as important enough to maintain a place in a nation that did not accept them as citizens and barely really treated them as human beings sometimes.

Kelly Therese Pollock  12:12  
Yeah. So what are some of those sources then? You mentioned a couple, but you know, what, what were the ways you were able to dig into this project? And of course, this is always the problem with this kind of research is knowing that, you know, sort of different sides of the story have maybe more, at least more written sources that were recorded. So what all were you able to look at to sort of piece together this really complicated story?

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  12:40  
The key sources that I used in my book, were also the first sources that I ever stumbled upon when kind of doing my own genealogical work. And those are what I call Dawes Testimonies. And so the Dawes Act was passed in 1887. And it is what a lot communally owned Indian land across North America,  and so in Oklahoma, when you think of like the various land runs, when we think of why the Oklahoma Sooners are call the Oklahoma Sooners, because those are the people who raced onto that land illegally. Early on, the Dawes Act is what allows that to happen because it makes Native people and African Americans who are owned by Native people choose allotments. And when those kinds of allotments are all accounted for, then there is surplus land that white people can settle on. And so these are what these people are kind of racing to get on and own as we get to the 1880s and 1890s. And when the Five Tribes who own slaves are allotting these land allotments, there is a committee of three white men who are really kind of verifying this information. And so Native Americans as well as freed people will write to these men with kind of evidence of who they are, their community, their slave owner, showing that they are supposed to get an allotment because of this history. This comes from the treaty signed after the Civil War. And so from these records, I have really just so much rich information about who is important to whom, who was in each other's family, where are these people living, what were they doing during the Civil War, after the Civil War, and it is a is a primary source that was previously really just used to look at Native American history, to look at Native American community making, how Native families are really kind of torn apart and forced into the nuclear family kind of box. It was not natural to them. And so I'm really kind of taking the opposite look at this process because for freedmen, it was it was sort of devastating; but also, this was the way that they got any sort of land, like this is the way that they got what I say might be called reparations because of this process. And so it really is an interesting sort of source as well as an interesting historical moment, because the Native people and the people of African descent who are experiencing it are experiencing in two very different ways.

Kelly Therese Pollock  15:27  
Yeah. So I, I'd like to talk about settler colonialism, because that that's where you start your book. And that that's, you know, sort of the important narrative framing that you give to looking at all of this is this idea of, of how not just the white people who are coming in are, of course, themselves settler colonialists. But also, you know, what, what that means for all of the different groups that you're looking at. So let's start with sort of how you are defining this, and then how that can be applied as you're looking at these different groups of people.

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  16:05  
I'd say the most kind of broad, general simplistic way I can describe settler colonialism is that it's the idea that people from another place, usually white Europeans, come to a place like the Americas and replace those people, like their goal is to not just kind of live there among them, but also either kill them off, or move them to undesirable places where they no longer have power or influence. They take their resources, they also replace their culture, and make sure that their culture becomes the norm, and that the kind of Indigenous culture is viewed as inferior. And that is, I think, what best explains, of course, what happens with this kind of first contact in the 1500s in the Americas. But what was interesting to me is when I looked at the sources, about Native people, so the Five Tribes who own slaves, when they come to Indian Territory, modern day Oklahoma, after removal, the Trail of Tears, and then when African Americans from the United States come, and then when their former slaves are really kind of coming out of emancipation and settling on this land, they all really use similar language to talk about how they wanted to claim this land, and justify these claims. And so they all would say, some variation of, you know, the people before me weren't adequately using this land, they didn't farm like white Europeans, they civilized, they didn't create civilized structures, like churches, like a government. And this is why I deserve this land. And so it's really, I call them waves of settlers who are doing this starting with the Five Tribes, and moving into Americans, until we get to white Americans who ultimately have this claim that we see with the American Settler State that always sort of reinforces this right, that white Americans have to live anywhere and claim anywhere as their own. 

Kelly Therese Pollock  18:07  
Yeah, and it's interesting, you were just talking about this idea of, you know, this is civilized, right? Like the this is what sort of the, the dominant culture has told us is civilized, and that extends not just to maybe farming but even slaveholding. That the the reason the Five Tribes have slaves at all, or have African American slaves at all is because they're told by the dominant culture, like, this is what civilized people do, which is shocking and terrible to think of now, but is what they were, were sort of trying to adopt, to try to sort of get along in the society. But then white America comes along and says, "Oh, wait, that that's what we said. But you know, now we had a Civil War, and now you can't do that anymore." So you know, how were, how were the not just, you know, being moved and things in the Trail of Tears, but you know, how are the Five Tribes sort of affected by everything that is happening around them, the Civil War, which isn't something that they were trying to be a part of, but then had to be a part of because it was around them? So so how is all of that really affecting what sovereignty looks like for the Five Tribes, what citizenship means for all of the different actors in this story? You know, what, can you sort of place us in time and sort of talk about what that looks like?

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  19:35  
I think it's important to emphasize the fact that Native Americans have always been dynamic people and like North America was constantly changing even before Europeans got here. So really, it's a continuation of the changes that were always happening and so they view Europeans as "Okay, this is a new group of people, you know, how are we going to work with these people? Do we like these people? Can we trade with them, anything beneficial for us?" So there is, of course, an amount of coercion when it comes to getting into the 1700s, when Europeans and then Americans are kind of pressuring them to learn English, to do things like maybe model their government after the United States, which all the five slaveholding nations do. But there also is very much kind of a picking and choosing going on, especially with the Five Tribes. And so like the Chickasaws, my tribe, they are not interested in religion at first, and so they really ignore it. Whereas like other Native people embrace that pretty early on. And so slaveholding for the Five Tribes, or at least, many of the most influential members, many of whom happen to be mixed race, but some of whom are not, I see this as a way to, yes, kind of show that we are interested in you seeing us a certain way as perhaps more civilized than other Native people. But also, it's really great because it allows them to become wealthy. And these are people, these are men who are really interested in getting kind of the best deal that they can get from the United States. And so these are people who, often their fathers or grandfathers are Europeans, like they've been traders, or tribal agents. And so they know that in order to kind of work the United States, they have to be educated. And so slave ownership is part of buying into an economic system, but then also, over time, more of a social system and buy into the idea of a racial hierarchy, because this is what is happening in the broader North American continent. And so then with the Civil War, again, they are really kind of talking to the Confederacy who actively courts them, and seeing what they could get from the Confederacy. And some of that is about maintaining slavery, but also about, you know, the United States is not treating them the best, the United States is often slow on giving them payments from the sale of their homelands in the southeast. The United States does not give them governmental representation, the Confederacy offers this, they also say we're never going to let White people settle on your land in Indian Territory. And so there are many ways that really the whole kind of time period covered in my book, yes, there is constant coercion, but also, these are very intelligent men who are making strategic decisions about you know, what's best for us and our nation. And so they do choose to fight in the Civil War, the kind of leadership in the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nation is pretty staunchly confederate. But members of all these tribes fight for both sides, Confederacy and the United States. After the war, again, they are pressured into doing things, as you said, to really kind of changing with the time, so whereas before, it was beneficial for them to begin to own slaves. Now, the United States says, "You know, we don't want to own slaves anymore. So you can't own slaves anymore, either." And so they are forced into emancipating their slaves forced into giving them rights, like the right to vote before the United States does that itself. And giving them land, which, of course, again, is something that the United States did not do, even though the there were discussions about it in Congress. And so we end up with a region where Black people have more rights, more economic autonomy than in the United States.

Kelly Therese Pollock  23:33  
Yeah. And so you talk about Reconstruction. And this idea that Reconstruction, you know, if we look at it, at least in this particular story is much longer is is in a different location, and is much longer than the way that Reconstruction is is often defined. You know, so what, what does that sort of expanding that timeline, expanding the location into looking more into the West, what does that tell us about maybe the pieces of Reconstruction that were successful or temporarily successful, at least, you know, and what we might learn from from looking at that much longer view of the time?

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  24:16  
Well so I'm definitely building on the great work of people like Elliott West, and Stacey Smith, who have looked at Reconstruction as a larger kind of geographical region. Because certainly the entirety of the United States and really larger North America is talking about, you know, "What is citizenship now? Who is included in our ideas of who is or can be a citizen?" And so part of my book's argument is really kind of trying to get people to realize that Native nations are also having the same conversations about what it means that Black people might be citizens and you know, should they have the same rights as white or Native citizens? And so the kind of Reconstruction argument that I'm really pushing is that if we look at Indian Territory, and if we look at land allotment there as a kind of not an idealistic version of Reconstruction, but one that ended with people of African descent actually getting something that really kind of helped them pull themselves up after being, you know, enslaved. I think it it tells us that there were possibilities. And those possibilities we see in action in Indian Territory, because the United States doesn't have to worry about white people, white landowners and white slave owners and so even though Confederates are obviously traitors, a lot of these Republicans in Congress just can't see taking land from a white person and giving it to a Black person. It doesn't sit right with them. But they can kind of justify to themselves the idea that it's okay to give Native American land to people of African descent, because, you know, like, okay, these Native Americans, they don't think of land like we do, they still don't have private land ownership, they still don't have the same ideas of private property, which is not totally true. Obviously, they are totally interested in capitalism when it comes to certain aspects like slavery. And so really, the Secretary of Interior pushes through this reconstruction project that goes on longer because we don't have like large scale white violence. We don't have a KKK in Indian Territory until a lot later, really 1890s, and Oklahoma statehood, in 1907. We don't have the kind of turn around where we have like Black representation in the south, and then it's gone, largely because of violence. There are still Black Indians serving in the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Nations and like various political representative positions, until Oklahoma statehood stops that. And so it's, I think, it's helpful to know that there is another kind of scenario that could have happened. But also, it's important to understand that this happens because of American intervention, and really kind of overstepping tribal sovereignty. And so, again, kind of like similar to what I said, with the Dawes Rolls, there is a part of me that does Native American history that understands that this is devastating to Native people, and to the idea that they have the right to really run their own domestic independent nations. And they are not given that right. And at the same time, we have Black people who are able to really kind of experience life as it should have been, because of that same American intervention.

Kelly Therese Pollock  27:47  
Yeah, the the next episode after this one is going to be Megan Kate Nelson talking about Yellowstone and Reconstruction. And there's a lot of the same dynamic going on there that that it's like you, the Republicans in Congress can, can say, "Okay, we can help Native Americans or we can help African Americans. And we sort of can't do both." And there's almost this like, seesaw going on sometimes. We can help one, but it's at the expense of the other. So I, you know, I've seen you talk in various places about identity. And you you started at the top by talking about your cousin Travis and the identity question for him. So that's part of your family history. But it's also part of this entire history is this, where do people belong? Who do they belong to? Who accepts them as belonging in their sort of in group? So I wonder if you could talk about that piece of it a little bit, and what that looks like and how that changes over time, and what that means really, for you and your family now, at this point in history?

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  28:57  
Part of the the ideas that really kind of, at first motivated me to write the book is the idea that belonging doesn't necessarily always go both ways. And like, maybe that's obvious, because certainly people write about that in many different ways. But with Native nations, specifically, there is the idea that, because there has been so much loss of culture, because so many Native people live in urban environments and not on the reservation, that you don't have to necessarily have, like the largest amount of Native American ancestry, but what really matters is that like your community accepts you, or that you maybe are enrolled, and you have that sort of kind of written at least documentation of that. And that was very hard on me when I first started this journey, because I don't have that acceptance. And whenever I would talk to another Native person, I was always wondering, "Is this person going to accept me because I'm also Black, and because my connection to these Native nations also comes from the enslavement of my ancestors?" And so the kind of key to I think me understanding the idea of belonging that runs through my book is that when a treaty includes the emancipation and enfranchisement and citizenship of these various peoples that that is important, and that when people choose to, like my family and many other descendants to live in a space and really to kind of push the idea that their belonging isn't necessarily dependent on other people wanting them there. I think that was mind blowing to me as a person, and also, to me writing the book. And so the idea that land really ties to the way people express themselves as if not citizens, as members of a community, and the idea that kinship and your ties to not just people who you know, are like your blood, but also just community members, is so important for the way people Black, white and Native ancestory, really kind of, like showed to me as a historian, like what they thought; because these people aren't necessarily always saying, "Oh, I identify as mixed race, or like, these are the people who I call my family." But it was really in the ways that they talked around it and the decisions they made about, like, where they went during the war. And did they leave when it got really hard and decided to reinvent themselves in the United States? Or did they say, "No, this is where I'm going to stay no matter what." And so that, I think, is something I still think about and something I definitely plan to explore in future books. Because there are so many changes going on right now in Indian country when it comes to discussions about anti- Blackness, discussions about who is really Native and how can we perhaps be more inclusive. The Cherokee Nation actually today like right before I started doing this interview, they are having an event where the Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr, is talking to various freedmen descendants and really kind of talking to his nation and saying, "Hey, we need to accept these people. These former slaves are just as Cherokee as you and I, if not, because they're mixed race, because they are on the Dawes Roll along with us and your ancestors." And like, I don't know, I'm getting choked up about it. Because it's just, it's amazing. I mean, imagine like the President of the United States, like getting on TV and saying, "Hey, like we need to accept African Americans as like the same as us." I can't see that happening. And I also don't know that I can see it happening in the other slaveholding Indian nations. But I really hope it does. Like I really hope that there are changes eventually. And that they see that acknowledging this history doesn't make them weaker. It's, I think, ignoring it that does, acting like it never happened, because it did.

Kelly Therese Pollock  33:09  
Yeah. Yeah. Toward the end of your book, you talk about the Tulsa Race Massacre. And I think, you know, that's something that in 2021, at the 100th anniversary, was suddenly getting a lot of attention. But I It hadn't occurred to me until reading your book to wonder why were there so many Black people in Tulsa, with businesses with wealth, who could even be in this position for this massacre to happen? You talk about sort of statehood 1907 in Oklahoma as being sort of one endpoint but but really that 1921 is sort of a another in a way sort of endpoint of this story. Could you talk some about that, you know, how, how this story of, of the Dawes Commission and everything, how that leads, then to this moment in Tulsa with this terrible, terrible event that happens?

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  34:06  
 I definitely didn't start the book thinking it would end with the Tulsa Massacre. I thought it would end with statehood, because it is such kind of a clearly defined change in jurisdiction. It's when the United States thinks of Indian nations and their sovereignty as sort of ending and then becoming assimilated into the state of Oklahoma. But as I really sort of read the sources and thought about the way statehood affected the various actors, I realized that the Tulsa Massacre was so kind of representative of the difference in the reality for especially Black people, but also Native people, because statehood brought with it, Jim Crow. And so the kind of discriminatory legislation that we saw across the south, beginning I mean, as soon as right after the Civil War, became a thing that Native people and also Black people had to deal with. Even though Native people were for some purposes defined as white, there was still really a change in how they were seen as not as important and not as influential. Like when they went to vote, many materials weren't in their language. So they couldn't necessarily participate. And the more and more white settlers there were, the more violence there was toward Black and Native people. And so looking at the timeline is something that expanded to encompass an event that I think now, so many more people realize, really signifies white anger and resentment, not a riot that is kind of like equal on both sides. It really was white Americans attacking Black entrepreneurship and autonomy. And so when I, when I looked at like the Black newspapers that were encouraging African Americans to come to Indian Territory, the sort of hope and idea of Indian Territory as a racial paradise; and then I looked at the sources talking about the Tulsa Massacre, everything that was destroyed during that event, I think it just becomes so clear that the Reconstruction period that allowed people of African descent to kind of build themselves up, build their communities up in this western space, really kind of ended when the American government allowed this to happen. I mean, because that's what they did. I mean, a lot of police, a lot of the National Guard participated. No one stopped this as it was going on. No one stopped African Americans from being held in pens for a week after the event. And so there are so many ways that the American intervention that helps people of African descent right after the war is so clearly gone. And it really just becomes about how can we help white Americans really kind of take advantage of these Black and Native people and any sort of resources that they have built up for themselves?

Kelly Therese Pollock  37:00  
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, when you were talking earlier about, you know, this was maybe the the one moment where people of African descent get some sort of reparations after the Civil War, and then to have those very, reparations sort of lead to this event, because these people had a certain amount of wealth and power that that they wouldn't have had in other parts of the country. It's just, it's devastating. So I think that everyone should go and read your book. How can people go get a copy of it?

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  37:31  
Well, I know that was a little depressing. I promise the whole book in't depressing. You know, I mean, Bezos has it on Amazon, of course, but there are lots of different bookshops and ways to support local booksellers. I think if you Google it, the Gilder Lehrman Center has it on their bookshop, the Howard Zinn Project, I think has on their bookshop, so yes, please feel free to Google and buy it from an indie publisher, indie bookstore.

Kelly Therese Pollock  37:45  
 Excellent. And I will put a link in the show notes too, so people can find it that way. Well, Alaina, thank you so much for speaking with me. I really enjoyed this book. I learned so so much from it. And I think it just really helped expand my view of, of Reconstruction, of different forms of belonging, and I just really appreciated it.

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts  38:20  
Thanks so much for having me.

Teddy  38:23  
Thanks for listening to Unsung History. You can find the sources used for this episode To the best of our knowledge, all audio and images used by Unsung History are in the public domain or are used with permission. You can find us on Twitter, or Instagram @unsung__history, or on Facebook @UnsungHistorypodcast. To contact us with questions or episode suggestions, please email   Kelly@UnsungHistory If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review and tell your friends.


Alaina RobertsProfile Photo

Alaina Roberts

Alaina E. Roberts is an award-winning historian who studies the intersection of Black and Native American life from the Civil War to the modern day. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Roberts holds a Doctorate in History from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in History, with honors, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

She writes, teaches, and presents public talks about Black and Native history in the West, family history, slavery in the Five Tribes (the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Indian Nations), Native American enrollment politics, and Indigeneity in North America and across the globe.

In addition to multiple academic articles, her writing has appeared in news outlets like the Washington Post, High Country News, and TIME magazine, and she has been profiled by CNN, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Boston Globe.

Her book, I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land is available for purchase at Amazon as well as at a variety of bookstores and websites.