Stevie Wonder’s “FRONTPAGE”, the U.S. 1866 Indian Territory Treaty and Fixico
Today is May 3rd, 2016, this morning I called in to Mr. Stevie Wonder’s radio station, KJLH 102.3 during “FRONTPAGE”. It continues to be the number one Black morning Talk Show in Southern California. The award winning show is hosted by , none other than the brilliant Ms. Dominique DiPrima. Her father now deceased was Mr. Amiri Bararka/Leroy Jones who has been rated by some Historians as one of America’s top Cultural Activists.
Below is a transcript of my call to the show. Today’s broadcast theme was entitled: “HOT TOPIC TUESDAY”:
” Good morning Dominique , Frontpage Family and Mr. Stevie Wonder. Today I would like to inform the community that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the 1866 U.S. Indian Territory treaty. For Black Indians and Indian Freedmen this treaty was equal to the 13th , 14th and the 15th amendment. It was also meant to give them “Full Indian Rights”. They earned these benefits by remaining loyal and fighting for the Union during the U.S. Civil War. they were also the first Warriors of Color to battle against White Confederate troops and “Disloyal Indians”of their parent nations, who were Confederate Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole.
One year earlier in 1865, it was the Fort Smith Truce that ended Civil War hostilities in Indian Territory and laid out the terms for the 1866 Treaty. Of the four black Indian translators that signed the original truce three of them were my ancestors, one being my great-grandfather and two others were my great uncles by marriage.
Some Reparation Advocates suggest using this treaty as a paradigm for reparations. However, in truth everything that was promised in the treaty has not been delivered”. End of statement.
I’m paraphasing here based on memory, Dominic then asked me about other treaties being kept. I said that : “there is a saying in Indian Country that, the only promise that was kept was that …they promised to take the land and they kept that promise”. My answer is in some ways out of context with what has happened concerning the 1866 Treaty. What has happened with the status of the Full Indian Rights for citizens of color in these Indian Nations is that some benefits were never realized and others have become a shadow of the original stated intent.
History has proven that Black Indians and Black Freedmen in the Nations mentioned have no legal remedy to their second-class status because the Indian Nations can’t be forced to join a lawsuit since they are protected by the their own Sovereignty. It is easy to forget historical alliances with money and benefits on the table.
Needless to say ,there must have been caring and fair-minded people who worked to put these treaties together to insure equality for everyone. For example, Seminole Historian Angie Debo, in describing Harry Island, one of the Black translators, said: “He was a shrewd Creek Negro who served as an Interpreter and apparently looked after the interests of his race”. The four Interpreters for the Creek and Seminole people were , Caesar Bruner, Cow Tom, Harry Island and Robert Johnson. They were all known to be Men of great Courage and Integrity. I am proud to be connected to all of them.
Honor and Respect, Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant , Private Sector Partner for National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom 1998 Act , President and Founder of the Semiroon Historical Society and North American Maroon Representative to Suriname’s 2015 Maroon Day.