Angela Walton-Raji has been researching African-Native American genealogy for nearly 20 years and is the author of the book Black Indian Genealogy Research: African-American Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes. She recently presented a series of genealogy workshops at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the exhibit IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas.
Walton-Raji’s ancestors are Freedmen, African-Americans who were slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes – the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole Nations – in Indian Territory, which became Oklahoma in 1907. The Cherokee freed their slaves in 1863, and after the Civil War, the other tribes did the same. All but the Chickasaw eventually granted Freedmen full citizenship in their tribe. In preparation for Oklahoma statehood, the U.S. Congress created the Dawes Commission, which was charged with dissolving collective tribal land ownership and allotting land to individual tribal members. Thousands of Freedmen came before the commission to prove their tribal membership and their right to a share of land.
You can read an interview of Angela Walton-Raji in which she describes her work. Take a look at the Smithsonian Magazine at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/An-Ancestry-of-African-Native-Americans.html#ixzz0gb8WasXd.