Black Indian Lives of the Past and Present: A Dialogue

Dr. Tiya Miles signing copies of her books

Tiya Miles signing copies of her book Ties that Bind.

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.



Attendees mingling.


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.




ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 12: Tiya Miles, Associate Professor, American Culture, Afroamerican & African Studies, History, Native American Studies, University of Michigan, works in her office and the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, Monday, September 12, 2011. (Jeffrey Sauger/Getty Images for MacArthur Foundation)

Jeffrey Sauger/Getty Images for MacArthur Foundation

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 CountryHer latest books are Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghostsand 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


Seminole War, Florida

Seminole War, Florida

Black Seminoles photos and prints 

Books on Black Seminoles 

Choctaw and Afro-Choctaw photos and prints

Books on Black Choctaws

Books on African Americans and Cherokees

Books on Relations between African Americans and Native Americans