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On Black Freedmen

Matthew L. M. Fletcher

Michigan State University College of Law

November 8, 2007

MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-08

In recent years, some legal, political, and cultural questions involving American Indians have begun to overlap - and conflict - with those of African Americans. The recent Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma's vote to strip the Black Freedmen of tribal membership generated allegations of racism and calls to force Indian tribes to comply with the Reconstruction Amendments sheds light on this question. This controversy highlights a serious problem in Indian-Black political and social relationships - the discourse of Black-White racism has begun to intrude into the discourse of American Indian law. The Reconstruction Amendments, federal civil rights statutes, and federal case law - all established as a reaction to Black-White racism - expresses important antidiscrimination principles that can conflict with the foundational elements of American Indian law: tribal sovereignty, the trust relationship, and measured separatism. To import the law of Black-White racism into American Indian law is to destroy American Indian law and, potentially, American Indian culture.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: freedmen, interest-convergence theory, reconstruction, indian tribes, race, employment discrimination

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Date posted: September 18, 2007 ; Last revised: November 13, 2007

Suggested Citation

Fletcher, Matthew L. M., On Black Freedmen (November 8, 2007). MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1015282 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1015282

Contact Information

Matthew L. M. Fletcher (Contact Author)
Michigan State University College of Law ( email )
318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
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