On The Cherokee Rose, Historical Fiction, and Silences in the Archives

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-05-27 01:44Z by Steven

On The Cherokee Rose, Historical Fiction, and Silences in the Archives

Process: a blog for american history
2015-05-26

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan


Martha S. Jones

Martha S. Jones is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan on the faculties in Afroamerican and African studies, history, and law. She is also a codirector of the university’s Program in Race, Law, and History. The author of the forthcoming Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), she is at work on a new book entitled “Riding the Atlantic World Circuit: Slavery and Law after the Haitian Revolution.” She is also an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.

The Cherokee Rose, the debut novel by historian Tiya Miles, caught me in the middle of a longstanding argument. I had pre-ordered the book from its publisher John F. Blair, and so it arrived unexpectedly, as if unsummoned. It was March, a busy moment in the term. Still, I stole time that Saturday, reading it nearly cover-to-cover in one sitting. I left the last chapter until the next day, just to savor the experience. Miles is my colleague at the University of Michigan, and that hints at why I’d let my email pile up just to read a work of fiction. Generally, I’m the sort that lets a stack of books accumulate for later summer reading. But there was more. As I said, I was trying to settle an argument and thought The Cherokee Rose might help.

Many of us know Miles for her award-winning works of history: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family (University of California Press, 2006), The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (University of North Carolina Press, 2012), and Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (also coming from UNC Press this fall). Miles’ insight into the intimate dynamics of slavery at the crossroads of Native American and African American experience has won her professional accolades and an eager readership. In this sense, while The Cherokee Rose is fiction, it is no sharp departure. Miles builds upon what she had already taught us, including her exploration of Georgia’s Chief Vann House, to provide a new vantage point from which to explain the past…

Read the entire review here.

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Scholar’s debut novel ties black, Native-American history

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-03-22 18:43Z by Steven

Scholar’s debut novel ties black, Native-American history

The Detroit Free Press
2015-03-22

Cassandra Spratling

Tiya Miles got it honest.

Straight from her grandmother’s garden. That knack for telling stories that pull at your heartstrings.

“I’m one of those people who had a storytelling grandma,” says Miles. “We’d be in the garden or snapping peas on the porch and my grandma would be telling stories, about life in Mississippi, about how the family lost their farm to a white man, about how they came up North on a train. Those stories riveted me and they shaped me.

“If my grandmother had had my life, she would have won three MacArthur Fellowships,” Miles says of her grandmother, the late Alice King.

But it was Miles, 45, who was granted a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2011, and it was that award that gave her the shot of confidence she needed to up her game and write her first novel, which will be released next month.

Friends and coworkers at the University of Michigan are hosting a book launch party for “the Cherokee Rose” (John F. Blair, $26.95) Tuesday…

…Not that she doesn’t greatly appreciate the fellowship that annually doles out a ton of money to selected people in a variety of areas so that they can pursue their areas of interest, unencumbered by money woes.

Without it, she doubts she would have completed “the Cherokee Rose,” a novel that uses three modern day women to take readers on a haunting, sometimes horrific, but redemptive journey to a little-known past on a Southern plantation where Native-American and African-American lives were intertwined. In the process, the women make unexpected connections to one another and others…

Read the entire article here.

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The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-03-22 18:31Z by Steven

The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

John F. Blair
2015-04-07
264 pages
6×9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-89587-635-5

Tiya Miles, Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor of African American Women’s History
University of Michigan

Written by an award-winning historian and recipient of a recent MacArthur “Genius Grant,” The Cherokee Rose explores territory reminiscent of the bestselling and beloved works of Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. Now, Tiya Miles’s luminous but highly accessible novel examines a little-known aspect of America’s past—slaveholding by Southern Creeks and Cherokees—and its legacy in the lives of three young women who are drawn to the Georgia plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and equally extraordinary compassion once played out.

Based on the author’s in-depth and award-winning research into archival sources at the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth, Georgia, and the Moravian mission sponsored there in the early 1800s, Miles has blended this fascinating history with a contemporary cast of engaging and memorable characters, including Jinx, the free-spirited historian exploring her tribe’s complicated racial history; Ruth, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from its bounty; Cheyenne, the Southern black debutante seeking to connect with a meaningful personal history; and, hovering above them all, the spirit of long-gone Mary Ann Battis, a young woman suspected of burning a mission to the ground and then disappearing from tribal records. Together, the women’s discoveries about the secrets of the Cherokee plantation trace their attempts to connect with the strong spirits of the past and reconcile the conflicts in their own lives.

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Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2013-04-02 04:32Z by Steven

Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom

University of California Press
February 2005
329 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520241329
Paperback ISBN: 9780520250024

Tiya Miles, Professor of American Culture, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Native American Studies
University of Michigan

  • Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize, American Studies Association
  • Frederick Jackson Turner Prize, Organization of American Historians

This beautifully written book tells the haunting saga of a quintessentially American family. It is the story of Shoe Boots, a famed Cherokee warrior and successful farmer, and Doll, an African slave he acquired in the late 1790s. Over the next thirty years, Shoe Boots and Doll lived together as master and slave and also as lifelong partners who, with their children and grandchildren, experienced key events in American history—including slavery, the Creek War, the founding of the Cherokee Nation and subsequent removal of Native Americans along the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War. This is the gripping story of their lives, in slavery and in freedom.

Meticulously crafted from historical and literary sources, Ties That Bind vividly portrays the members of the Shoeboots family. Doll emerges as an especially poignant character, whose life is mostly known through the records of things done to her—her purchase, her marriage, the loss of her children—but also through her moving petition to the federal government for the pension owed to her as Shoe Boots’s widow. A sensitive rendition of the hard realities of black slavery within Native American nations, the book provides the fullest picture we have of the myriad complexities, ironies, and tensions among African Americans, Native Americans, and whites in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Shoeboots Family Tree
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • PART ONE. BONE OF MY BONE: SLAVERY, RACE, AND NATION—EAST
    • 1. Captivity
    • 2. Slavery
    • 3. Motherhood
    • 4. Property
    • 5. Christianity
    • 6. Nationhood
    • 7. Gold Rush
  • PART TWO. OF BLOOD AND BONE: FREEDOM, KINSHIP, AND CITIZENSHIP—WEST
    • 8. Removal
    • 9. Capture
    • 10. Freedom
  • Epilogue: Citizenship
  • Coda: The Shoeboots Family Today
  • Appendix 1. Research Methods and Challenges
  • Appendix 2. Definition and Use of Terms
  • Appendix 3. Cherokee Names and Mistaken Identities
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index
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AAS 490: Special Topics in Black World Studies: Section 008: Race and “Black Indians”

Posted in Anthropology, Course Offerings, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2013-03-12 13:32Z by Steven

AAS 490: Special Topics in Black World Studies: Section 008: Race and “Black Indians”

University of Michigan
Winter 2013
Theme Semester Courses

Tiya Miles, Professor of American Culture, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Native American Studies

This seven week mini course is a special winter 2013 offering for the LSA Theme Semester on Race. The course will introduce students to a range of issues and experiences related to the topic and identity category of “Black Indians.” Popularized in the 1980s by a book of the same title, the term “Black Indians” is often used to identify and describe people of mixed-race African American and Native American ancestry. It is also applied to people with strong bi-cultural connections across these groups who may or may not have Black and native “blood” ties. This class will explore and analyze three major aspects of our subject matter:

  1. historical contexts for the interactions of Africans, African Americans and Native Americans;
  2. personal experiences stemming from mixed race and bi-cultural Afro-Native identities;
  3. meanings and effects of “racial stories” that have been crafted and told about “Black Indians” over time.

Major themes and ideas that will emerge in our discussions include: indigeneity, European and U.S. colonialism, slavery, racial formation and racial hierarchy, mixed-race coupling and family making, tribal sovereignty, personal and community identities, and racial and cultural authenticity.

Textbooks/Other Materials

  • Confounding the Color Line, Author: Brooks, James F.
  • Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, Author: written by William Loren Katz.
  • Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: the African diaspora in Indian country, Author: edited by Tiya Miles and Sharon P. Holland.
  • IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, Author: general editor, Gabrielle Tayac.

For more information, click here.

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Opinion: Black Americans must embrace true colors

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science, United States on 2013-01-12 20:45Z by Steven

Opinion: Black Americans must embrace true colors

In America: You define America. What defines you?
Cable News Network (CNN)
2012-12-15

Tiya Miles, Professor of American Culture, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Native American Studies
University of Michigan

Editor’s note: Historian and author Tiya Miles is a professor at the University of Michigan’s Afroamerican and African Studies department and a 2011 MacArthur genius award recipient.

(CNN) – In the documentary film “Black Indians,” a man who appears to be African-American recounts his delight at eliciting shocked looks from strangers when he launches into a conversation with his wife in the Cherokee language.

The man who tells this story is Cherokee as well as black and a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. His is just one among thousands of examples that show diversity has always been a core aspect of African-American identity.

That diversity has been rich – from the moment when Africans from different tribes, cultures and language groups were captured as slaves and transported to North America to the present day, when African-Americans live in various regions and intermarry with members of other ethnic groups.

The evidence of this diversity is so obvious that it may seem at times invisible.

Read the entire opinion piece here

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Who Gets To Decide Who Is Native American?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Audio, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-08-10 03:00Z by Steven

Who Gets To Decide Who Is Native American?

Tell Me More
National Public Radio
2012-08-09

Michel Martin, Host

Rob Capriccioso, Washington Bureau Chief
Indian Country Today Media Network

Tiya Miles, Professor of American Culture, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Native American Studies
University of Michigan

A controversy about identity has erupted in the race for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. News outlets revealed Democrat Elizabeth Warren claimed Cherokee ancestry during her academic career, and critics say Warren isn’t providing enough documentation to prove her identity. Host Michel Martin discusses just who is Native American.

Listen to the story here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

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Pain of ‘Trail of Tears’ shared by Blacks as well as Native Americans

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-02-26 22:08Z by Steven

Pain of ‘Trail of Tears’ shared by Blacks as well as Native Americans

Cable News Network (CNN)
In America: You define America. What defines you?
2012-02-25

Tiya Miles, Professor of American Culture, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Native American Studies
University of Michigan

Editor’s Note: Tiya Miles is chairwoman of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies, and professor of history and Native American studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of “Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom” and “The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story.”  She is also the winner of  a 2011 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation.

(CNN) – African American history, as it is often told, includes two monumental migration stories: the forced exodus of Africans to the Americas during the brutal Middle Passage of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the voluntary migration of Black residents who moved from southern farms and towns to northern cities in the early 1900s in search of “the warmth of other suns.” A third African-American migration story–just as epic, just as grave–hovers outside the familiar frame of our historical consciousness. The iconic tragedy of Indian Removal: the Cherokee Trail of Tears that relocated thousands of Cherokees to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), was also a Black migration. Slaves of Cherokees walked this trail along with their Indian owners.
 
In 1838, the U.S. military and Georgia militia expelled Cherokees from their homeland with little regard for Cherokee dignity or life. Families were rousted out of their cabins and directed at gunpoint by soldiers. Forced to leave most of their possessions behind, they witnessed white Georgians taking ownership of their cabins, looting and burning once cherished objects. Cherokees were loaded into “stockades” until the appointed time of their departure, when they were divided into thirteen groups of nearly 1,000 people, each with two appointed leaders. The travelers set out on multiple routes to cross Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas at 10 miles a day with meager supplies.
 
At points along the way, the straggling bands were charged fees by white farmers to cross privately owned land. The few wagons available were used to carry the sick, infant, and elderly. Most walked through the fall and into the harsh winter months, suffering the continual deaths of loved ones to cold, disease, and accident. Among these sojourners were African Americans and Cherokees of African descent. They, like thousands of other Cherokees, arrived in Indian Country in 1839 broken, depleted, and destitute…

Read the entire article here.

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Tribal Rights vs. Racial Justice: Was the Cherokee Nation’s expulsion of black Freedmen an act of tribal sovereignty or of racial discrimination?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2011-09-16 18:29Z by Steven

Tribal Rights vs. Racial Justice: Was the Cherokee Nation’s expulsion of black Freedmen an act of tribal sovereignty or of racial discrimination?

The New York Times
Room for Debate
2011-09-15

Kevin Maillard, Associate Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Matthew L. M. Fletcher, Professor of Law
Michigan State University

Cara Cowan-Watts, Acting Speaker
Cherokee Nation Tribal Council

Rose Cuison Villazor, Associate Professor of Law
Hofstra University

Heather Williams, Cherokee citizen and Freedman Descendent
Cherokee Nation Entertainment Cultural Tourism Department

Carla D. Pratt, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law

Tiya Miles, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies
University of Michigan

Joanne Barker (Lenape), Associate Professor of American Indian studies
San Francisco State University

Introduction

When the Cherokee were relocated from the South to present-day Oklahoma in the 1830s, their black slaves were moved with them. Though an 1866 treaty gave the descendants of the slaves full rights as tribal citizens, regardless of ancestry, the Cherokee Nation has tried to expel them because they lack “Indian blood.”

The battle has been long fought. A recent ruling by the Cherokee Supreme Court upheld the tribe’s right to oust 2,800 Freedmen, as they are known, and cut off their health care, food stipends and other aid in the process.

But federal officials told the tribe that they would not recognize the results of a tribal election later this month if the citizenship of the black members was not restored. Faced with a cutoff of federal aid, a tribal commission this week offered the Freedmen provisional ballots, a half-step denounced by the black members.

Is the effort to expel of people of African descent from Indian tribes an exercise of tribal sovereignty, as tribal leaders claim, or a reversion to Jim Crow, as the Freedmen argue? Kevin Noble Maillard, a professor of law at Syracuse University and a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, organized this discussion of the issue.

Read the entire debate here.

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IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Science, United States on 2010-09-26 20:08Z by Steven

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas

Smithsonian Institution
2009
256 pages
6 5/8 x 9 1/2 inches
115 color and black-and-white illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-58834-271-3

Twenty-seven passionate essays explore the complex history and contemporary lives of people with a dual heritage that is a little-known part of American culture. Authors from across the Americas share first-person accounts of struggle, adaptation, and survival and examine such diverse subjects as contemporary art, the Cherokee Freedmen issue, and the evolution of jazz and blues. This richly illustrated book brings to light an epic history that speaks to present-day struggles for racial identity and understanding.

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas accompanies the groundbreaking exhibition of the same title developed by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Through the concepts of policy, community, creative resistance, and lifeways, the exhibition and publication examine the long overlooked history of Native American and African American intersections in the Americas.

The book features a foreword by NMAI Director Kevin Gover and NMAAHC Director Lonnie G. Bunch, III, essays by leading scholars, and approximately 100 object images, documents, and photographs. IndiVisible illuminates a history fraught with colonial oppression, racial antagonism, and the loss of culture and identity. Uncovered within that history, however, are stories of cultural resurgence and the need to know one’s roots. Guided by NMAI historian Gabrielle Tayac, five Native scholars served as curatorial advisors for the exhibition and contributors for the publication: Angela A. Gonzales, Robert K. Collins, Judy Kertész, Penny Gamble-Williams, and Thunder Williams. In addition to the curatorial advisors, esteemed authors Theda Perdue, Tiya Miles, Richard Hill, Sr., Herman J. Viola, and Ron Welburn—among the book’s many expert voices—discuss race relations in the Jim Crow South, creative resistance, the relationship between African Americans and the Haudenosaunee, the famed buffalo soldiers of the American West, and the roots of jazz and blues. Taken together, the book’s essays and images create a portrait of a vital American subculture.

Read the forward here.

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