Slavery in Indian Territory 1869

Before the Civil War, the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes held approximately 10,000 people of African descent in bondage. Because those slaves belonged to Native Americans and not American citizens, the 13th Amendment did not free them.

The Cherokee National Government voluntarily freed its slaves in 1863. The United States negotiated a treaty with the other four tribes in 1866 stipulating that they must release their slaves and grant them full rights as citizens. If they failed to comply with those terms they would forfeit payment for lands ceded to the United States by the same treaty. Few of the slaves freed by Native American tribes were ever accepted as citizens of their tribes.