Creek Indian/ Freedman Connection in Oklahoma
RICH CREEK NEGROES. Ura ta Iadian Territory An dantt or Slave. - .. The richest community of negroes in the United States live in Indian Territory. Territory. There are 700O of them, and they are worth on an average of S3000 each. The wealth of the more industrious foot up even higher, certain individuals being the owners of from $10,000 to $15,000 worth of land each. These negroes are the descendants of slaves of the Creek tribe of Indians, and are known as Creek negroes. They are entitled to a share in the division of Creek Indian lands, also a part of the trust funds. Together,lhe 7000 negroes own 22,000,000- 22,000,000- acres of land. And yet their education is far from complete..Their social, environments are crude to the" extreme, and progress goes slowly amid their huts and fields. Unlike the other Indians of the rich five civilized tribes, the Creeks insisted upon freeing their slaves to give them an equal share in their lands and money, At that time there were few slaves, but the number grew through Jescendants, until now fully 7000 have laid successful ciaim to a "head right" m the Creek rolls of citizenship. They aave their own representatives in the Creek Indian Legislature, their own ichools and their own churches.' Everything Everything bids fair to make them the model community of negroes in the United States when Indian Territory is recov-ired recov-ired recov-ired from tha tangled wilderness of reconstruction, its laws made uniform ind itself a State of the Union. . . There is Uttle culture among the Creek negroes. They have a social set ill their own; to which, not even the indians are invited. Their characteristics characteristics are in a great measure different from the negro of the South or the Xorth. It is a mixture of both, with idditional peculiarities. Like the Indians, these negroes have their dances in the open, which have me to be a sort of religion with them. And, following in the footsteps it the Southern negro, they have barbecues, barbecues, 'possum hunts and the like. A.s a Northern type of the negro they ire more industrious and independent jf the whites, know how to work hard md save their money, and," like the :ype from the city, are well dressed jaudily, but at the same time wearing expensive clothes. " " "? These 7000 Creek negroes live in a tract of rich land called the Canadian liver bottoms," and Okmulgee is their town and trading point. Okmulgee is the capital of the Creek Indian nation, and has been for years a negro town. Recently, t however, white people docked In and have taken possession. The negroes are starting their own towns along the branch of the 'Frisco railroad. , Notwithstanding that many of these Creek negroes are industrious, there are some among them who rent out their estates and lounge in idleness about the railway stations. It is a common sight to see a 500-acre 500-acre 500-acre tract )f rich land in the Canadian bottoms being tilled by a white man. Invarl ably, upon inquiry as to his landlord, he will refer to the negro owner in no :omplimentary terms. Meanwhile one (vill find the owner shooting craps or enjoying himself eating turkey and possum in a neighboring village. ; , , . . When the Creeks freed their negroes In 1864 the two fraternized for a time, and even intermarried, but that has all passed now. In accordance with the terms granting their freedom the Creek negroes are allowed a . voice in the tribal government, and so they have their own members in the council, have their own schools and all that; but the Creek 1 Indian feels above the Creek uegro and refuses to associate with him. New York Tribune.