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Slavery once divided America. It also divided Indigenous nations

a historical marker on the trail of tears
J. Stephen Conn
Flickr Creative Commons
A historical marker for the Trail of Tears at Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, Cherokee County, Okla.

The question of slavery that once divided America also divided Indigenous nations. Many nations, including the Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Muscogee — known as the Five Civilized Tribes — owned slaves, many of whom were also forced to march the Trail of Tears.

Today, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States identify as Black and Indigenous, but little of their history is widely known or discussed. Many people attribute that to continued anti-Black racism amongst some tribal nation leaders who have kept Black members from having full citizenship.

On Cincinnati Edition, we learn more about the Afro-Indigenous community, its history, and how the Urban Native Collective is building a coalition in the Tri-State that recognizes all members of the American Indigenous community.


  • Jae Merica, farmer, artist and Urban Native Collective community member
  • Leilani Clark, artist, performer and Urban Native Collective community member

Ways to listen to this show:

  • Tune in live at noon ET M-F. Call 513-419-7100 or email  to have your voice heard on today’s topic.
  • Catch the replay on 91.7 WVXU and 88.5 WMUB at 8 p.m. ET M-F.
  • Listen on-demand. Audio for this segment will be uploaded to this page by 4 p.m. ET., or subscribe to our podcast.
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