Angela Walton-Raji on mapping enslaved people in Indian Territory using Freedmen’s Bureau records:
“Now it can be said that the number of enslaved people in Indian Territory was not as high as it was in states like Mississippi, or Alabama. And one might be able to say that the old maps are not wholly inaccurate since there may have been less than 10 percent of the total population was enslaved in Indian Territory. However–that percentage, also cannot be proven, because only free whites and free blacks were recorded in Indian Territory in the 1860 population census. And the Indian population was not tabulated at all in the regular population census at that time. But–there was a census made of the enslaved population–and the slave holders–the Indian slaveholders were listed along with the people whom they enslaved. And the communities were they lived are shown. They were included as part of the Arkansas Slave schedules.
“The Arkansas Slave schedule is found on National Archive microfilm population M653 Roll 54. All of the Arkansas counties are listed on the reel of microfilm. Following Yell county, the list of enslaved people in Indian Territory begins.
“There are 865 images on that reel of microfilm. On that record, there were slave holders such as Cherokee Chief John Ross, or Choctaw leader Robert Jones who owned hundreds of Black people as slaves….”