© 2011, Doug Sivad
Seminole Indians of Mexico & Texas
A Missing Link in American African History & Genealogy
FREEDMAN IN 'DUH LOS' PLA'NS'
Coody Johnson (left) This Freedman's half-sister, Kitty Johnson, escaped to Mexico with John Horse in 1849, as the step-daughter of John Horse's Sub Chief John Kibbitt. A noted attorney in Oklahoma, J. Coody Johnson, "the Black Panther" was born outside Wewoka, July 27, 1864 and died February 27, 1927. He and Kitty were children of Black Creek Indian Robert Johnson, of the William McIntosh band, and different mothers.
Most Seminoles were shipped across the Gulf of Mexico aboard steamers, in chains and shackles, as POW's to New Orleans. Many elder chiefs and tribesmen died on the journey from dysentery caused by foods they weren't accustomed to. At New Orleans, eastern slavers waited on the docks to claim or kidnap a Black Indian. Following a short stint in a prison camp, because the army had no money, their trek continued when Juan Cavallo felt obligated to pay for his immigration group's journey up the Mississippi River, to the Arkansas, into the Territory. His group elected him as their chief. In Indian Territory the Seminoles were placed among their arch-rivals, the Creeks, from whom they received commodities. Their land was sandwiched between the Choctaw and Chickasaw to the south, and the Creeks and Cherokee to the north. Indian Territory was horrendous for all the new occupants, and even worse for the Seminoles. The U.S. began its revenge on the Seminoles. Life for any dark skin Indian was just as bad as for the Istalusti and Maroon, all three now called Freedmen, because they were prey for Indian half-breeds, Indian/white mix, and white slavers. Villages were raided, Seminoles were snatched, and although it was illegal to sell these Freedmen, they were sold on slave auction blocks in Texas and Louisiana. Juanna, John Horse's older sister, lost her two children, Sarah and Limus, to raiding slavers.
Monday Dindy (left) of the Dosar Barkus Band of Seminole Freedman.
Elizabeth Manuel (right) of the Cesar Bruner Band of Seminole Freedman
Following the annexation of Texas and Florida in 1845, a Confederate mentality began to emerge. Slavers enticed Indian leaders with Black enslavement, explaining how slaves could be used to mount tribal wealth. The Southerners showed how the U.S. didn't care about the Indian, because if they did, the Natives wouldn't have been in the condition they were in. They had the Indians think that the government cared more for the Blacks than they did the Indian. The battle seasoned Seminoles were banned from carrying guns. Unable to protect their families, John Horse and Wildcat led their tribes out of Indian Territory, fighting off slavers and the Lighthorse, with only bows and arrows.
The Florida and Oklahoma Fires (tribes; families) Black and Red honor each other, but there is rarely discussion about the Muskogees who split away and escaped to live in Mexico.
Muthey Bowlegs (photo on Rothila Home)
The western Seminole Nation (Oklahoma) has two Indian bands that are Black (no Indian blood; istalusti or cimarone): the Dosar Barkus and Cesar Bruner Bands. Some Bruners fled Indian Territory and went to Mexico with John Horse and Wildcat. Some Bruners (and Bowlegs) went back to the Territory after the end of the War Between the States, late 1860's. The Bruners are called Bruno and Bowlegs are Sanchez or Bully in Mexico.
^^^ All photos on this page are found in the Seminole Nation Museum, Wewoka, Oklahoma ^^^