The Formation of Black and Indigenous Relationships and Identities Through Land Struggles in Oklahoma and Kansas from 1854-1930

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Amity Doolittle
Essay Abstract: 
Prior to the Civil War, the Five Tribes were relocated to Oklahoma. The tribes brought with them their slaves, who quickly became a large part of the population in indigenous territory. After emancipation, the Five Tribes had tensions with their formerly enslaved members over land allotment. Allotment broke up communal land into individual plots, and Black Freedpeople were eager to claim their bits of land. In Kansas, after federal intervention, the Kiowa went from being nomadic to trapped within the boundaries of allotted land. A newly freed Black population multiplied dramatically as Black people from the southern United States came to indigenous territory. This paper will explore the tensions and conflict between indigenous members of Oklahoma and Kansas and the various Black populations that came to inhabit indigenous territory. the settling of the land and how conflict arose along color lines and land claims. It will draw particularly from Black intellectuals and homesteaders in their views of Oklahoma territory and the creation of Black towns. Overall, this paper will demonstrate the causes and effects of racialized landscapes, and show that ethnic conflict is crucial in understanding the formation of policy, cross-cultural relationships and land stewardship.