By Blood

A film by Marcos Barbery & Sam Russell
53 minutes, color, USA, 2015
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Chapter Markers, Bonus Scenes

File under: African American, All Films, Civil Rights, Homepage, Law, Native American, New Release, Slavery, U.S. History

Synopsis

Americans are familiar with the removal of Cherokees in the infamous “Trail of Tears” but the involvement of African American slaves is far less known. When the U.S. Indian Removal Act forced Native Americans to relinquish their native land and move west, countless slaves followed them into the frontier, bound and shackled. In 1866, after U.S.lawmakers amended the Constitution to bar slavery, the Cherokee Nation entered in to a treaty with the federal government, granting perpetual freedom and full tribal membership to Cherokee slaves and their descendants as newly minted Cherokee members called the “Freedmen.”

150 years later, the Cherokee and Seminole Nations, now wealthy tribes with land, casinos and business holdings, continue to deny tribal rights to Freedmen descendants arguing that they are not members of their tribe “by blood.”

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