African Creeks

Gary Zellar. African Creeks: Estelvste and the Creek Nation. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. 





In African Creeks: Estelvste and the Creek Nation, Gary Zellar examines the relationships among African Creeks and Creek Indians. Zellar begins the story in slavery when Africans encountered the Creek Indians. Until the 1850s, slaves in Creek nation enjoyed relative freedoms. Creek slavery became harsher and when the Civil War emerged, African Creeks became the first black troops to enlist in the United States Army. Zellar defines the postwar Creek nation as an “unheralded success story of reconstructing race relations in the U.S." (p. 77). In the 1880s, outsider presence brought racial views that intruded the Creek nation. The 1887 Dawes Act caused racial tensions to flourish in Creek nation. The Curtis Act implemented allotment on the Creek Nation, and six thousand African Creeks were signed up in the midst of the never-ending accusations of fraud and mistakes that resulted. African Creeks quickly lost seventy-five percent of their land as the Creek Nation was pushed toward dissolution. Zellar describes African Creeks living, from the early twentieth century, in the Jim Crow state of Oklahoma as people indistinguishable from other African Americans. 

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