Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-15-2013

Abstract

The Freedmen are, most simply, those individuals that have been freed from bondage. In the United States this term is often used in reference to legally emancipated slaves and consequently, their descendants. The term “Cherokee Freedmen” refers to those freed slaves who joined with the Cherokee Nation, or, men and women who were formerly held in servitude within the Cherokee Nation. This term has also been given to the descendants of marriages involving freed Africans and Cherokee spouses, thus making the network of people labeled Freedmen an expansive group of people. Totaling roughly 3000 people in the present day, Cherokee Freedmen have had a history of a strongly contested citizenship and relationship to the Cherokee Nation. At first held as slaves and then forcibly freed at the hands of the United States government, the Cherokee Freedmen are today trying to regain and cement their acceptance into the Nation and no longer be relegated to a position of secondary citizens or not members at all.

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