My Choctaw ancestors owned slaves dating back to their time in Mississippi. Peter Pitchlynn, my sixth-great uncle—who led two exoduses from Mississippi, helped create the Choctaw school system in the the new Indian Territory, and would become the Chief of the Choctaw Nation (okhistory.org)—is also recorded as owning more than sixty slaves at one census in 1860 (see below).
His daughter, Lavinia Pitchlynn Harkins, witnessed (and perhaps instigated) the lynching (burning alive) of her slave in 1858, mentioned in the above quote (Choctaws in Oklahoma 30).
In the midst of fighting for his own people and their rights, Peter Pitchlynn also fought to own the rights of others.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, the Choctaw Nation joined the Confederacy to defend slave ownership and their land. Peter Pitchlynn, who remained a Unionist, watched as three of his sons and tribe joined the fight for the South (New York Times).
He, and the tribe, were left with the quandary of fighting for their freedom as well as the continued bondage of others.
Both my fourth-great grandfather and my third-great grandfather, Chester Ashley Wright and Perry Russell, fought for the Confederacy. Perry’s wife Margaret would be given land in the Dawes act, and it would be on this land my great-grandfather would find arrowheads.
She, along with her husband Perry, her father Chester, and my sixth-great uncle Peter, were both subject to victimization and were victimizers themselves.
I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t know how I should feel.