August 4, 1865: On this day, African Creeks considered full citizens of the Creek Nation.
The Loyal Creek Council formally declared that African Creeks would be considered full citizens of the Creek Nation. African Creeks soon designated August 4 “Emancipation Day” and organized celebrations, including picnics, parades and speakers beginning as early as 1867, which continued through the Territorial days and early years of Oklahoma statehood.
The celebration fell into disuse as the African Creeks and other Indian freed people were increasingly marginalized in the twentieth century. The celebrations have been revived recently as the freed people of the various Indian nations struggle for tribal recognition.
The action of the Creek Council was nearly a year before the Creek Treaty of 1866 was ratified. Under Article II of that treaty, African Creeks were given full citizenship rights, including “rights to the soil” and the right to share equally in the division of tribal monies.
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