Relations between African Americans and Native Americans have been complex. While some nations enslaved black men and women; others welcomed runaways in their villages and towns. African Americans were integrated into and fought alongside the Seminoles in Florida; but Buffalo Soldiers battled American Indians after the Civil War. All along mixed families were formed, embraced, or rejected.
On April 21, 2016, Anthropologist Robert Collins and historian Tiya Miles helped us explore and understand the complexities, tensions, intimacies, alliances, and legacies of the interrelated histories of African Americans and Native Americans.
Robert Collins, of African and Choctaw descent teaches American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University. He is a co-curator of the Smithsonian exhibition IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, which explores the lives and experiences of people who share African American and Native American ancestry.
Tiya Miles, a professor at the University of Michigan, received a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2011 for her work on relations between Africans and Cherokees. She is the author of The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story ;Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in
Slavery and Freedom ; and the co-editor ofCrossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country. Her latest books are Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts, and Tales From the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era.
Watch the video
Tiya Miles on how her family history shaped her academic research