Ep 1: The "Five Civilized Tribes" And The Complicated History Between Blacks and Native Americans
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Photo Courtesy: Library of Congress.
Title: Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories.Created / Published[S.l.], 1892.Call Number/Physical Location G4021.E1 1892 .M2 TIL. RepositoryLibrary of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 dcu. Digital Id: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g4021e.ct000224. Library of Congress Control Number: 98687110.
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The racial tensions that led to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 did not begin in 1921. They began decades before the city of Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma were formed. That history includes the so-called "Indian Removal" of Native Americans living east of the Mississippi River, including what was known then as the "Five Civilized Tribes." That term refers to five Native American nations, which included the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole. A significant number of Native people made this trek along the "Trail of Tears" and eventually settled in what was known as "Indian Territory,"part of which resides in areas of present day Oklahoma, including Tulsa. It is in this territory that forcibly relocated Native Americans were eventually allotted land to cultivate along with their former slaves.
Multimedia Journalist and TV Reporter, Nia Clark, interviews Oklahoma Historical Society Executive Director, Dr. Bob Blackburn, as well as Eugene Harrod, Adjunct Professor at The College of the Muscogee Nation. Listeners will also hear an audio recording of an interview between Tulsa historian, Eddie Faye Gates and a woman named Thelma DeEtta Perryman Gray, who is a descendant of some of Tulsa's founders. Perryman Gray's great grandfather was Lewis Pettyman, who is considered one of the founding fathers of what became known as "Tulsey Town."
Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society
“So those were the State Negroes as they would have said at the time blending in with the territorial Negroes who are the former slaves and their descendants who have this two or three, now almost four generations of life among the Indians in that territory. And so you get this blending of different cultures. .” ~Dr. Bob Blackburn, Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
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Connect with: -Dr. Bob Blackburn at the Oklahoma Historical Society by visiting: https://www.okhistory.org/about/contact -Dr. Eugene Harrod at The College of the Muscogee Nation by visiting: https://cmn.edu/staff-and-faculty/ Resources: 1. https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=TU013 2. https://www.tulsahistory.org/exhibit/1921-tulsa-race-massacre/ 3. https://www.tulsa2021.org/
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Rough Episode Transcription
In partnership with the Tulsa race massacre, Centennial commission. I'm Nia clerk. And this is black wall street, 1921.
Some of the early pioneers, uh, in Charleston, some of the early black pioneers came as early as 1889. Um, in fact, some came earlier than that. A few came on the trail of years, uh, in the 1820s, the early 1830s with some of the tribes, uh, some of the five civilized tribes that came from the deep South, a few made it during the of 1889.
You just heard author and historian, Eddie Faye Gates. Describe how some of the indigenous people of America, as well as African Americans came to settle in what is present day, Oklahoma, as well as Tulsa. She mentioned some pictures. She saw them. I actually toured the Mabel little heritage house. While producing a documentary several decades ago and Tulsa, while a number of native American tribes already inhabited.
What is present day, Oklahoma. Many other natives arrived via the infamous trail of tears during the forced removal of tribes from the Southeastern part of the United States, they eventually settled in what is known as Indian territory in the 18 hundreds. What is rarely mentioned in history curriculum is that several of these tribes possessed African American slaves who also traveled along the brutal often deadly trail of tears with them, and also settled in Indian territory during the 18 hundreds, many early black inhabitants of what is now the state of Oklahoma.
Including Tulsa formed the number of all black communities due in large part to the treaties between the U S government and native Americans that forced native Americans to free their slaves and a lot them land. However many blacks who were of native American ancestry adopted many of the customs and traditions of the natives.
Some even continued to live in tribal communities.
Dr. Bob Blackburn, you are the director of the Oklahoma historical society. Could you tell me about the organization and what its goals are? Yes. The Oklahoma historical society was created in 18. Teen 93 by the Oklahoma press association to collect newspapers. Now we expanded of course, beyond that we now have a 200,000 square foot history center in Oklahoma city.
We have 30 some museums around the state, so all things associated with collecting, preserving, and sharing in Oklahoma history. Okay, great. So we're talking about the Tulsa race massacre, but your specialty is kind of setting up the events. Historical events and otherwise that created this perfect storm, so to speak so that the Tulsa race massacre manifested into what the Oklahoma historical society has called the worst incident of racial violence.
In American history. So let's go all the way back to before statehood and talk about how the first inhabitants of Oklahoma came to be. And we do know that there were some native Americans already living in Oklahoma or the territory and the area we not call Oklahoma. Is that correct? That is correct because many of the tribes before 1803 and the Louisiana purchase, and that's when most of Oklahoma became part of the United States, most of the state became part of the United States.
So in 1803, there would have been four or five tribes in and out of Oklahoma. Dominant would have been the Osage from the Northwest. We would add Caddo, Wichita, Comanche, Kiowa, perhaps even the Cheyenne occasionally coming down. But then other tribes went hunt through Oklahoma or rich ecosystem where the wooded East meets the high Plains of the West.
So the French came here as early as the 1720s trading with these tribes. So it was a rich. Culture of Indian tribes, all nomadic all coming and going no permanent settlements, but land that they called their own. Well, that is all changed. When the five civilized tribes are removed from their homelands and the American Southeast.
So largely from Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, uh, in there all five tribes are moved to what. They call it that time, the Indian territory, which was everything South of Kansas to the international border, which is the border with Texas. They moved because Americans wanted their land and they wanted it for cotton culture because the South, of course, with the cotton gin invented in the 1790s that made cotton culture much more profitable.
And the institution of African American slavery. They came embedded in American history at the same time in the 1790s and the early 18 hundreds. Well, those planters wanted the land where the five tribes were located. United States government affects had moved Westland to SciPy river will give you a lion there.
We will pay you for what you're leaving behind the trail of tears. That's what historians call the last episodes in the last several hundred thousand Cherokees were removed out of Georgia. In Tennessee to the West, but by the 1830s, late 1830s, all five tribes are in what is now Oklahoma. This was the Cherokee Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Muskogee Creek, all five tribes.
Bring with them, the institution of African American slavery. You mentioned they were called at the time the five civilized tribes. And that's because they adopted some European traditions and cultures. And. I guess now American traditions and cultures, including the institution of slavery. Exactly. Now from a European centric point of view, some of those tribes were civilized because they had written celebrations.
They had newspapers, they had written constitutions. They had, uh, governments with executive legislative and judicial branches. They had some form of law, but the mixed blood leadership. That had adopted the constitution, generally bring with them to the West African American slavery. Can we just pause there for a second?
Because most of us in America, when we think of American slavery, the enslavement of African American people in the United States, we do not think of native Americans. Is it the same type of slavery that you might see on the plantation of a white slave owner, maybe in Georgia in 1752? Or are there customs with regards to slavery different?
Well, that dependent by tribe and even each master would've been different, but slavery, slavery, uh, it is an evil institution. And you mentioned that you are of native American ancestry as well. May I ask which tribe? You're a part of. A Cherokee, not, not on the roles. Typical of many people in Oklahoma because of intermarriage over five generations.
The rules of being on the rolls for the five tribes is that you had to have lived in that territory for certain number of years before enrollment with the Cherokees 1904. So I can not say I'm a Cherokee citizen. I would not. Dare say that, but Cherokee heritage, just part of my family that comes from Claremore, Oklahoma, the most place a will Rogers and his father, a Cherokee plantation operator who had African-American slaves.
Yes. We come from that tradition. Okay. So the five tribes they arrived here in Oklahoma, between what years and what time period is that really between the 18 teams is when some of the early settlers arrive. And as late as the 18, late 1830s. So already as early as what, the 1860s, you're starting to see different ethnicities and cultures blending in and then into the area.
We now know as TOSA and what was called Indian territory back then, and then the emancipation proclamation. Is written and signed and slaves are declared free. Now we know that, you know, in the South, a lot of insulate people didn't know they were free for a long time, but at least it seemed like there was some sort of urgency to sort of.
Complete the transactions between the allotment that the native Americans received, um, because of the treaties that they signed with the U S government that was giving them land. And you can speak more to that. And then. The slaves were also given land because they had native American ancestry in their blood.
Is that correct? Well, partly but also all of their connections, they came from the American South. They came from Georgia in Tennessee and Mississippi. So they came from Southern culture. So the same forces at work in the South, or at work here, uh, all of the trade, all of the rivers out of Oklahoma flow to the South.
So all your connections were South. Political institutions are Southern you're white ancestry would have come out of the South. And so the mixed blood culture was Southern economically, socially and even ethnically. And so they tended to side with the South, the full bloods wanted to stay out of it. They didn't care it wasn't their fight.
Uh, And the Cherokees and Muskogee Creek were split almost 50, 50, but all of them were punished whether they had some funding for the North or not, they were all punished in 1866. We call them the reconstruction treaties were negotiated with each of the, of the five tribes in each of these, the radical Republicans in Congress fulfill their promise of 40 acres and a mule.
That's a famous statement. They told those slaves in Virginia and, and South Carolina. Now that we've freed you, we've got to, we got to take those economic shackles off. Now that the legal shackles are off and gave you 40 acres on a meal, give you a chance. Well, they didn't do it anywhere except. Oklahoma because Lincoln was assassinated.
Right, right. And radical Republicans kind of take his idea of reconstruction was going to be moderate. Here's a list. Bring the Southern States back in and find a way to live together under certain conditions. But the rhetoric. Republicans take over in 66 and 67, they impeach the president. And so they say, no, we're going to really do something about it.
Will they lose power quick enough? By 76, the North gives up on the South and says, Hey, do what you want with your African American population. But I hear in the West, they stuck in those treaties in 1866 that the former slaves. And their descendants would be given land at any time that the community owned lands are divided in the private ownership that's there and all five tribes.
So fast forward, there's a loss of sovereignty in the 1870s and eighties by the 18, late seventies, early eighties, white people already outnumber. Indians and the Indian territory, then you have the land runs and then Congress forces the tribes to a loss they're accumulate on last individuals.
That's the commission that did the allotment for all five tribes. And so the DAS commission has created, they come West is if a bunch of old white guys from the East can tell Indians who's an Indian or not, but they do. They confiscate all the tribal records. They take agency records and they put together these commissions.
So as if you're a Cherokee in the Cherokee nation, you go to the MSA here. This is who I am. This is my Cherokee ancestry. Here I am on that 1872 census. So you're listed, you get land. Uh, then they asked the Friedman to come in. So there were still former slaves alive in the 1890s. And so they come forward, but so to their children and their grandchildren and say, hi, I am the descendant of David Miller, who was a Chickasaw slave who was freed in 1866, legally.
And I am still here. And they get on the rolls. And so then when the dos commission makes a decision, where's all this land gonna be distributed. Those African-American former slaves and their descendants who did not grow up in slavery, but grew up on the front tier being treated like all the other, frontiersmen say yes, I want that 40 acres at 60 acres at 80, depending on the value of the land.
Government decided to allot what essentially would have been free land to native Americans and former slaves. Well, they did the allotment because it was in the treaty. So they can, 66 tribes had to, the tribes did not want to do that. To keep the African Americans from getting the land, but they lost.
What I don't understand is what incentive with the U S government that for hundreds of years, enslaved black people, what incentive would they have to then put in a treaty that these African Americans who are recently free can now have land. Well, as I said, the radical Republicans were real reformers.
This would have been the age of Thaddeus Stevens being one of the leading voices. Whereas he may have been, uh, ostracized as a radical before the war, even during the war, after the war, the rattlesnake. Republicans take over there. These are the reformers from Boston and New York and Philadelphia, but, uh, this would have been the age of the ascendancy of the Quakers and the peace policy.
If you ask grant, well, they want to reform them and they want to give those former slaves a chance. And a chance in the 19th century at new hope was land. Land was golden. That's where you could break the cycle of poverty. They understood that let's give them land. We'll break. The cycle of poverty will break this cycle of enslavement that we now know as, as a sharecropping in tenancy and lack of the ability to vote, you know, the law of the land by 1896 with Plessy versus Ferguson, West separate but equal is okay.
That's a total defeat of what the radical Republicans would have been fighting for, but there are still people who respect the law. It was in the treaties. That's the way it was going to be done. The DAS commission had those orders using those treaties as legal precedent. And so they fulfill the promise made in 1866.
Fascinating. That's really just unusual also, because like you mentioned. There was the emancipation proclamation and then the 40 acres and a mule and Lincoln was behind it, but then he was assassinated. And so then it never happened. But in this Western part of the United States, you have African Americans being given what you said.
Was it essentially gold to sort of have a chance at life? And that's something that a lot of black people just did not get. Well, and part of the reason too, is that the Congress and the white majority of the East would take land away from Indians to give to African Americans. They would not have taken it away from white people.
That's just the way it would have been at the time. So perception was that there's all this land and very few Indians, there's plenty of land to do it. We don't care about the Indians. Anyway, we're going to take away their governments. We're going to deny them, their spirituality, their language, their ancient ways.
Let them be good little Americans.
so Eugene Herod, I know you're a professor at the Muskogee college. Can you just explain what it is you do there? I teach, I teach, uh, land issues. Which deals with trust land a lot. My lab, a restricted lab also teach native history and I'm a native girl. Can I just ask, are you part of the Creek nation or Muskogee nation?
Yes, I am an enrolled citizen of the Muskogee Creek nation. Okay. So can you just, if you could describe for us what the trail of tears was like? Uh, some of the antidotes I read, uh, people that had fought in the red stick, white sticks, civil war in 1814 against the U S government. They were brought here in chains.
There were individuals that had contracted with U S government to help transport, uh, some of these natives, uh, one another narrative involved, a boat called the Mon mouth Mon MOU. And there were about 300 natives creeks that were, uh, On this boat just pushed in there. Both sank had killed all 300 of the passengers.
Uh, there's no marker for the grave starvation exposure sickness. We lost about a fourth where people through death, one anecdote, I recall an older person saying that had survived that lived in, uh, till the early 19 hundreds. So at the end of the trail where they stopped at Fort Gibson in Indian territory, but there were no babies left.
So, uh, it was, it was, it was pretty bad.
Why were they called civilized? Some tribes attempted to emulate and assimilate as best as they could. The patterns of these Europeans that were coming here, they actually own slaves, which is where the Friedman comes from. Um, there were individuals in the Southern part of the Creek nation that were called Southern creeks.
They had assimilated, intermixed. And they actually, some of them even had plantations at all slaves. So when they forcibly removed the slate, their slaves were also forcibly removed and made the same trick. So they were on that trail too. That's often overlooked the other Cherokee who were highly assimilated.
They had slaves and plantations didn't treat their slaves any different probably than their so-called white counterparts. History is complex like that. Something I was wondering is when I first realized that some of the native Americans that you just mentioned owned slaves, it really shocked me. Not only because I'd never learned that I actually double majored in undergrad in journalism and Africana studies.
So I couldn't believe that. In all of my classes. I never learned that, but also the history of native American people in America, the genocide that took place. It just seems to me that if you're somebody who ancestors went through, that whose family members were going through, that you'd be less inclined to own another human being because you understand what that kind of retaliatory can do to a people.
And yet some native Americans, it didn't bother them. Right. Let me throw this into, uh, as late as 1750, there were more slaves in the Americas than there were Africans. They also used us as slaves in the Northeast after King Philip's war. I believe in the 1678 survivors, they would just capture. And send them to the West Indies for slavery.
These are all natives on Columbus's second voyage. He took about 200 days back to Spain. Two thirds of them died. You've seen I'm sure you've seen lithographs of ships that had Africans off. They did the same way. And again, Columbus, the second borage, uh, they took about 200 individuals, uh, back as slaves.
Um, The Spanish had a system called encomium that. And in the Southwest, they would use natives of slaves to build their missions, to keep them maintained. So, uh, slavery covered natives as well as Africans. Um, remember too, that when the civil war started, you had Confederate agents come up to Indian territory and.
Uh, tried to get the Indians to participate in the civil war. Some did some didn't. Even the ones that did and were still punished along with the ones that did after the war. Cause they lost half their territory. Right. Because a lot of native Americans, like you said, had owned slaves and were siding with the Confederacy because they wanted to continue the institution of slavery.
Right. But there were a lot that didn't just. You know, uh, but they were, you know, lost land anyway. Now allotment wasn't until 1884. It was a, there was a Senator from Massachusetts Thomas dolls, DAW. Yes. It started the thought. It would be a good idea to give adults males and females a 160 acres. And then once you get that you were supposed to be a farmer and live happily ever after native Americans and Friedman, but it did work out.
I mean, they lost a lot of land through fraud deceit, so they forced a lot, but on the S and also getting back to the so called five tribes, The freedom form of freedom. We're also given a lot less now the freedom and also the Creek nation had tribal towns. They had three tribal towns. They could speak Creek.
They participate in our ceremonies. There was even an African that was a tribal chair in 1875 because a lot of these Friedman were once the slaves. That belongs to some of these native tribes. They did wrong to the tribes. They belong to individuals and I hate to use the term belong. I mean, how can you own another human being slavery?
Yeah. That's slavery. Anyway, among the creeks, there were three African tribal towns along the creeks. Uh, there were probably others, but I'm more familiar with creeks and they were given a lot in the lab. So after this time, um, at the time you mentioned that the land was. You know, taken away from native Americans through various means, unscrupulous people.
So on and so forth. You mentioned they were just surviving. What was the dynamic like in Indian territory between the Friedman and the native Americans, and then obviously perhaps the Caucasians that are also starting to come in through the. So called land runs where the U S government would open up land in Indian territory and Oklahoma territory so that people could stake their claim and begin to cultivate it and grow the agricultural economy.
Uh, the 1866 treaty gave. Freedman the right to be free. So there was a treaty that allowed between Creek nation and the U S government. And this treaty was forced on all the other tribes as well. So that treaty essentially freed. That we're living among native Americans, right? The imaginal patient proclamation was in 1863.
That was something from Lincoln. This is completely different than the Dawes act, allowed them to have a lot in that land. But even after 1866, between 1860 $6,000, zero, uh, The Friedman could vote. There was one tribal chair whose tribal chairman for one year he was a form of frequent. They had Friedman on tribal council.
So they did participate the government. You know, the entire point in this episode is to really establish some of the seeds that were planted for the racial and ethnic unrest that developed and sort of spawned, not only the Tulsa race massacre, but also other riots that we saw around Oklahoma. So I guess from a native American perspective, What were the dynamics like between native Americans and other communities that existed in Oklahoma?
In the late 19th century, early 20th century. Yeah. Oklahoma adopted a lot of Jim Crow balls, similar to what Southern States passed. Uh, it was mainly directed toward African-Americans, but at the same time, A lot of us were forced to attend these BI boarding schools that were set up in the late 18 hundreds.
I was a attended one in Southern Oklahoma. Uh, during my childhood, we were bused to a local church and we had to sit in the balcony. Yeah. It was a Southern Baptist denomination, which was established in 1846. And you had to sit in the balcony because you were native American. Yeah. Segregation. At least we were closer to heaven.
That was the running joke. So BIA, can you just explain for people who don't know what that is, what BIA is. VI, uh, the Bureau of Indian affairs is an agency within the department of the interior. It used to be part of the department of war, like chief 49. Gotcha. So they moved it to the part where the interior, uh, but, uh, the Southern Baptist denomination broke away from the first Baptist convention in 1846 solely for their support of slavery, that ed was not rescinded until 1997.
When it was the organization was headed by an average, you aware. Was there some sense of resentment, animosity, hostility among native Americans towards the latter part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century for everything that had happened up until that point. Was there a resilient there?
Yes, definitely. And how did, how did the community or the various tribal communities, how did they deal with that? How did they handle that? You know, at the end of the 18 hundreds, they were just broken. I remember, uh, recall, uh, reading, uh, blackouts speaks by John Lionheart and blackout was a veteran of, uh, a little big horn.
He's 14 years old. Uh, And it wounded. The, the, uh, the, uh, us military killed about 300 natives, including women and children in South Dakota. And, uh, the individuals operate, the Gatling guns were all awarded medals of honor that were never taken away. Uh, and I remember blackout speaking to John nine hard saying, you know, The dream of a people died that day and it was a beautiful dream and I know exactly what he meant.
I could feel it. And that's the way a lot of us felt at the end of the 18 hundreds, beginning of the night should have just, we were just beat. You gotta remember when Columbus first got here, there were probably 20 million people within what's. Now the United States. By 1900, there were only 250,000, and then you have historians denying genocide.
So you can even start to see some of those seeds of racial animus. Racial tensions developing even among the native American community in Oklahoma at that time. Yes.
An excerpt from the book Tulsa 1921, reporting a massacre by Tulsa world reporter Randy Krehbiel. At some point the wind or how unrecorded, the loads of polka settlement acquire the name to lossy old town in the Muskogee Creek language over time to lossy became Tulsi or Tulsi town, and finally Tulsa, the bitter, highly personal violence of the civil war in Indian territory, scattered to losses and habitat.
But the name lingered attached to an undefined area that included the sprawling guilds and pasture land of the Perry mints. The family had been among the earliest Creek immigrants to the Indian territory arriving from Alabama in 1828 with a party that advocated voluntary resettlement beyond the Mississippi, the Paramin patriarch Benjamin was a man of prominence who's Muskogee named Steve Shopko.
Mico translates as. Great King. He was among those who signed the treaty of Fort Gibson of 1833 and represented the creeks at a great inter-tribal conference. The following year and 1836 Benjamin and his oldest son, Samuel sat for the portraitist George Catlin, Benjamin Perriman brought with him to Indian territory.
Six times. And two daughters all became important figures in the Creek nation and its history. One son Louis Paramin established a trading post a few miles Southeast of the low chip polka settlement. And about 1848 is large and diverse household included 19 children and three or four wives. Polygamy being common among the creeks, the naturalist SW Woodhouse passing through the area in 1849 wrote that Louis Paramin quote showed evidently that he had considerable Negro blood in him and quote, a photograph of Louis Paramin son latus twice elected principal, chief of the Creek nation also suggested.
Possible African ancestry, certainly mixed parentage was not unusual among the creeks. Blacks free and enslaved had been part of tribal society for decades. Benjamin pyramids ancestry is uncertain and the identity of his wife or wives is unknown. So the notion that one of Tulsa's founding families, might've been an African as well as Indian and European extraction is plausible, but that does not mean it has been widely embraced.
The reference to Louis pyramids, quote Negro blood was excised from an edition of Woodhouse's journal published in 1992.
Now you're going to hear Gates interview, a woman named Thelma D ETA Paramin gray, who is a descendant of some of Tulsa's early founders. Including both natives, as well as African Americans.
of course, anyone who studied said Tulsa is driven, knows any little thing about it also knows that it was founded by Creek Indians and that 18th and Cheyenne and Chelsea is the council of tree where the creeks brought their sacred bar from their home in Georgia. And, uh, the, the names connected with the founder of Tulsa and I most heard is the parent, the paramount George Lewis and others.
And we of course know that, uh, the original pair Raymond's and Grayson's, and. Other, uh, Cree tribes, intermarried frequently. And so many of these are Scottish traders, like, uh, paramount white rice, and many of our Scottish traders, um, came into this region as early as a 17 hundreds, 18 hundreds. They entered marriage with Indian women, but it is totally the history books is that they also married black women and had families.
And those were convened and left out of the history book. Now, the time is opening up or telling the entire history of, of all people. And that's what we're trying to do today to have a little history about the parameds. The found was the Creek Indian founders of Charleston, and about their black relatives.
And we were talking today too. Fella D ed Paramin gray. She is a descendant of Terry Moses who founded the city. Her, her father was John Frederick. Paramin. And her mother was Lou Balla burglar, Grayson paramount. Thank you, mrs. Gray, talking to us today. And would you just kind of tell us where you were born and what it was like then, and the fact your father's and his Indian ways and so forth?
I was born on 21st street, 21st and Mingo Creek. And it was so beautiful there. My father, when I was a little girl, he used to take us in a wagon and you want to go to the Indian camp. And I remember they had lot of POS cooking. I went around and my father was trying to teach them something about web and some of them by spiel that they didn't know where I don't know whether it was a wheels or what, but he was showing them how to use that because.
They had to them to use way to Chines and not have it on their lessons. They had better mood, a wagon moves out pathways and whatever they call them to take them from one place to another. And then begin to use the horse the way that harnesses and my father to show them how to face those guys and the things.
I haven't know that I was very little, I know the kids in the water
In the next episode, we'll explore why Oklahoma was seen as a promised land for so many people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite the challenges the state faced, particularly with regard to racial tensions between the various groups of different ethnicities, who inhabited Oklahoma at the time.
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