Black Indians United
Between Freedmen of the 5 Civilized Tribes
To The Osage
And Allied Ethnic Tribal Groups In The Indian Territory
The Journey Of Two Finleys: Angela and Regina
By Angela Finley Molette
(Tuscaloosa Ohoyo) Black Warrior Woman
If You’re From One of the 5 Civilized Tribes, You’re From All of Them”
(Freedmen Genealogists Colloquialism)
Although truthfully that statement could be expanded further (generally) to explain;
“If you’re an Indian Freedmen from Oklahoma, you’re from the Tribes... All of Them!”
Ethnic Indian Groups In The Osage Domain?
Miami Chief Pen-now-weta
As stated in Part 1: "When the Osage signed the treaty of 1825 at St. Louis, they ceded all their lands to the United States, all of Oklahoma north of the Arkansas and Canadian Rivers, northwestern Arkansas, western Missouri and nearly half of Kansas. When the Civil War started, members of the Great Osage Band served in the Confederate Army, while many warriors from the Little Osage fought with the Union Army, although provision had been made by treaty for the Little Osage men to fight for the Confederacy. This division caused great distress among the tribe, and they suffered great property loss when their reservation was overrun by guerilla bands of white soldiers in the Kansas border fighting. When the war was over, the government secured the cession of a large portion of the Osage land in Kansas.”
Cherokee Freedmen Were Ceded Tribal Lands In Old Osage
Cherokee Freedmen were ceded an overflow district by the Cherokee Nation involving the same lands by the July 19, 1866 Treaty with the Cherokee.
Article 4. “All the Cherokees and freed persons who were formerly slaves to any Cherokee, and all free negroes not having been such slaves, who resided in the Cherokee Nation prior to June first, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, who may within two years elect not to reside northeast of the Arkansas River and southeast of Grand River, shall have the right to settle in and occupy the Canadian district southwest of the Arkansas River, and also all that tract of country lying northwest of Grand River, and bounded on the southeast by Grand River and west by the Creek reservation to the northeast corner thereof; from thence west on the north line of the Creek reservation to the ninety-sixth degree of west longitude; and thence north on said line of longitude so far that line due east to Grand River will include a quantity of land equal to one hundred and sixty acres for each person who may so elect to reside in the territory above-described in this article; Provided, That that part of said district north of the Arkansas River shall not be set apart until it shall be found that the Canadian district is not sufficiently large to allow one hundred and sixty acres to each person desiring to obtain settlement under the provisions of this article.)”
Note: (Neosho was the area reached by Opothleyahola, Freedmen and Refugee Indian Survivors making their last stand
Note: (Neosho was the area reached by Opothleyahola, Freedmen and Refugee Indian Survivors making their last stand in the Civil War as they fought their way through the Cherokee Country trying to reach Kansas. They were devastated by the many lives lost in the battle. Their civilian and warrior numbers were further depleted by exhaustion, winter, starvation and disease. The 1866 Creek and Seminole Treaties included provisions for them.
The Osage tribe soon faced intolerable conditions because white settlers were clamoring for more Indian land. An act of Congress on July 15, 1870 provided that the remainder of the Osage land in Kansas be sold for the benefit of the tribe. From the proceeds of this sale, a new reservation was purchased in the Indian Territory, the tract lying in the eastern end of the Cherokee Outlet and consisting of all present Osage County. By 1872, they were settled on their new reservation. Indian Agent, Isaac Gibson, established their new agency. The village that grew up around this agency was named Pawhuska, in honor of old Chief Pahuska (White Hair). It was many years before the Osage recovered from the hardship suffered during their last years in Kansas, and their enforced removal to their new home.
“The origins of the Osage tribe date back to the Ice Age, though their link with Pawhuska began in 1871 when they bought this land back from the Cherokees. Pawhuska was named for a famous Osage chief, Pahu-cka, or White Hair, who received his name from an incident in the battle known as St. Clair's Defeat. The chief, then a youth, wounded an officer wearing a powdered wig. As he started to scalp his quarry, the whole scalp came off and the victim escaped, leaving the Osage grasping a fluffy white wig in his hand!
As perpetual owners of the mineral rights in the county, the Osage Indians became the richest people per capita in the world during the "Oil Boom" of the 1920's. Oil Barons such as Frank Phillips and Jean Paul Getty sat under the "Million Dollar Elm" in Pawhuska to bid for the Osage oil leases which helped make their fortunes”
Expanded Divisions of Former Osage-Cherokee Freedmen Lands Cherokee Freedmen, Delawares and Shawnees were granted authority in the 1890 by the courts to file suit, either Individually or collectively as a Class, to sue the Cherokee Nation for the recovery of monies held in trust by the Cherokee Nation for the illegal sale of their allotted lands to other Indians boomers and sooners.
According to legal documents the Cherokee Freedmen were successful in this endeavor and a Federal Trust was established for Cherokee Freedmen in a Kansas Bank. What there is no record of is that the money was ever actually given or made accessible to the Cherokee Freedmen. Reportedly, there were millions of dollars set-aside in an account (based upon the sales of Cherokee Outlet Lands) that languished for years, until the modern manifestation of the Cherokee Nation claimed the monies instead of their Cherokee Freedmen, whom have been legally exiled and excluded from modern enrollment from the Tribe.
Regardless of their status, whether tied to the Cherokee Nation or as an Autonomous Tribal Band, it is still their money and it remains a debt unfulfilled. Whether the Cherokee Freedmen remain enrolled in the modern tribe or not, efforts at recovery of these millions owed to freedmen, stolen in this high style case of fraud, must be recovered.
Afterall, a successful court claim proved that the Cherokee Outlet Lands were rightly owned by Cherokee Freedmen and that they had a right to their fair share of moneys collected from the sale of their tribal domain.
Cherokee Freedmen were not, however, able to receive aid from the courts in time to halt the continued illegal sales of their lands, nor the Land Run following the opening of the Cherokee Outlet in 1893. Ethnic Cherokees and Freedmen were forced to stake claims upon their lands and wage an all out assault in order to keep their lands. (see Leona Mitchell Southern Heights Heritage Center and Museum story of Mollie Eskridge, ancestor of Sylvia Baucum and Anedria Brown).
Freedmen Farms, Black Cowboys and Drovers using the Springs (Government Springs) in Enid, Garfield County, Oklahoma occupied the territorial era and in fact formed territorial settlements all around the Springs.
These particular Black Cherokees and other Ethnic Bands of Indians and Freedmen represented serious competition for the influx of Euro-Farmers and Cattlemen driving livestock through the part of the former Osage and Cherokee domain that became Garfield and Kay Counties.
So, from the Euro and Mixed Blood White Indian perspective, getting the U.S. Government to put Federal brakes on Indian Freedmen Farming Pioneers (a people also needing to run their live stock through the Cherokee Outlet as they had been doing from 1830 forward and finally becoming legal owners through the 1866 Treaty) became an obsession.
Ethnic Indians, Freedmen and Black Land Rush Pioneers became targets for elimination in order to ensure the future success of Big Money Caucasian Interests moving into the Cherokee Outlet.
Intersecting Family Lines
The actual paternal Finley Family History shared by Regina Finley and I soon follows, after a couple of interesting tidbits from my paternal grandmother’s line:
The name of my father’s only brother (11 years older) was James Henry Augustus Brown. His father, August Brown was enrolled by the Dawes Commission in the Creek Nation as an infant Freedmen, under the name Augustus Brown.
More Intrigue: James Henry Augustus Brown, whom we lovingly referred to as "Uncle James," had several children from an early marriage to a woman named Adelaide, whose mother's name was "Tishomingo". The children born to the union of James and Adelaide Brown were, Eugene Brown (Genie Boy), Georgetta Brown, Ricky Brown and Marva Brown.
*Creek Naton Record Group 607 (Newborns):
#770 Brown, Augustus-New-Born Creek Freedmen
The Mother to both my father and his brother was Alfreddie H. Burton Brown. She was married to Robert Finley, but was referred to as Ms. Brown nearly her entire life.
Alfreddie Burton Brown’s siblings were;
1. Leroy Charles Burton (died in 1964, buried in a Military Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas).
2. Frankie “Gold” Burton Marchman (married Charles Marchman, Sr.)
They lived in Geary, Oklahoma. She died in childbirth. Her only son was Charles Marchman, Jr.
3. Robert Charles Burton (married Patricia Bridgewater).
4. Sedalia Burton Smith (married Leroy Smith). Born in Wewoka (1924), lived in Enid.
My grandmother's Burton branch had members in San Antonio, Texas; Camden, Arkansas; and Wewoka, Oklahoma where her little sister Sedalia Burton Smith was born. She amused me and all my brothers and sisters often talking about beating some type of public tree in Wewoka used for the purpose of getting out agression (we felt sorry for the tree). My grandfather also talked about being mistreated because she was darker in color than the rest of her siblings.
Alfreddie H. Burton first married August Brown in Watonga, Oklahoma and many years later married Robert Finley, Jr. in Geary (where my Father was born). The family moved to Enid before my Dad started Elementary School., where he met my mother.
My grandmother also talked about a difficult life following the harvests.
Her grandfather was Native American, but she described him as curiously wearing strips of fabric or cloth in his long hair, which seemed to have been an endless source of embarrassment to her mother, Minnie Burden and all of Minnie’s sisters. My Grandmother said her grandfather was Blackfoot.
Her cousin said, “our grandfather was not a regular Negro, he was different ‘cause he was Indian.” The oral History on this ancestor included a story about the year he got sick, which my grandmother’s Mother and Sisters used as an opportunity to cut their father’s hair. The removal of his hair shamed and weakened their father, causing him to actually die after his hair was cut off. From that point on My grandmother’s mother and her sisters lived in sorrow, feeling that their action caused their father to die after his hair was cut off, which he foretold as would likely result if his hair was taken.
This story was confirmed by another of my Grandmother’s relatives, an elderly Dorothy Whittaker, her first cousin a lifelong resident of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Piegan-Blackfoot Woman With Strips of Fabric-Cloth-Animal Fur In Hair
Nothing could have prepared me for the day when I was confronted with a face to face encounter with the above image of a Piegan-Blackfoot Woman, more than years after my grandmother described the very same practice used by her grandfather Zero Moody, father of Minnie Burden.
It occurred to me much later, as an adult that certain Indian cultures thought of scalping and collecting scalps as a victory over dead or defeated persons and perhaps my Grandmother’s Grandfather perceived the taking of his hair against his will and wishes as “scalping” and therefore “dishonor,” having nothing whatsoever to do with modern ideas of a haircut. Minnie Burden and her sisters could not grasp such an ancient thought, because they sat upon the actual societal precipice of assimilation and modernity, passing from the old Nation to the New. They dealt directly with pressure to shed their native identity and traditional folkways in order to gain acceptance in a rapidly changing, gentrified Oklahoma, but they would never achieve the much anticipated acceptance in their lifetime.
Minnie Burden’s father was Zero Moody. He died in Watonga, Oklahoma.
Minnie Burden’s mother Easter Thomas Moody, was the daughter of Mary Thrist (or Triche), lived in Georgetown, but was born in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
My grandmother and her siblings kept in continual contact with a family from Omaha, Nebraska and Arkansas (including a man named Dumas).
(Two of Minnie Moody Burden’s sisters were; Emma Kilgore and Malisia Jeff, both of whom may have died while living in Inglewood and/or Los Angeles, California).
My paternal Grandmother’s Father, Charlie Burton had been born in Montana (at Mill Stone), but died in Watonga, Oklahoma. His father’s name was Frank Burton (from Custer-era Montana). Her mother, Minnie Burden (original spelling) is buried in the Geary Cemetery next to her daughter, Frankie “Gold” Burton-Marchman (Mother of Charles Marchman).
READ MORE: Coming Soon!
History on Bill Pickett and the 101 Ranch, Ponca Chief White Eagle and the Cherokee Outlet