Ayanna Goines

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Nicole Maskiell


The appearance of Blacks in Native spaces affected the very structure of Indigenous lives during the forced removal of Native groups in the 1830s to the emancipation of enslaved people in the 1860s contributing to the change from a “clan-based society to a society grounded in the modern concept of rule of law” as the need to control the actions of enslaved people called for the creation of laws. Tribal courts were also used to determine whether someone was recognized and adopted into the clan. Outside of government involvement, the status of enslaved Black people was reinforced by the social interactions with their Native enslavers. This includes treatment and punishments given by enslavers. Narratives from those who were enslaved also provide direct insight into the various “types” of indigenous enslavers. Aside from forcing Blacks into labor to prove their civility and to prevent whites from further land encroachment, Cherokee culture was affected by the appearance of African Americans. Oral traditions about the origins of mankind include Blacks and the roles Native people believed they were supposed to fill. After Emancipation, freed African Americans fought for citizenship in their enslaving clans. The United States, in the form of treaties, attempted to control independent Native governments and made the 1860s a period of rejection and acceptance for freed African Americans looking for Native recognition. The ongoing discussion of whether freedmen are citizens of Native clans displays the importance of knowing the relationship between these two groups in American history.


© 2023, Ayanna Goines