The European Slave Trade was thrived in North Carolina and in South Carolina long before it reached Oklahoma. The English, of the American colonies, sold Native and African slaves. English captives from Native tribes were sold locally and to slave plantations in the Caribbean. Slavery was a thriving agricultural industry that became a part of Indian communities across the country due to forced assimilation and acculturation.
As tribes became acculturated many native families adopted white customs including slavery. This is commonly found in many histories of Native families in Oklahoma. Tribes that were the earliest to encounter Europeans are some of the most fully assimilated today yet still honor their heritage and many continue to balance both walks of life. Red, Black and White families formed families which produced communities that grew into statehood. Creolization is the deepest root of Oklahoma history. Over the years racial blending has removed some of the identifiable features once recognized but we know who we are and embrace our multi-cultural history more than ever before.
The connection between forced assimilation, assimilation by white society, and adopted oppression are topics Jai continues researching. Jai was born in 1963 and recalls being a little girl going to the cotton fields with her grandmother, Tink Rogers. Tink and the other Indian people worked alongside Black cottonpickers in the fields of Oklahoma.
Although, slavery is researched as an institution in past history Jai argues the psychological affects of slavery and of forced assimilation manifest as racial biases intertribally, intratribally and remain evident within Oklahoma families and society today.
An example of global influence on racial ethnicity and cultural diversity is found in the family of the author of this page. Jai Rogers is Cherokee and Choctaw with African American and Anglo ancestries. However, her family was grown in to a wealth of ethnicities with the birth of each new generation. Her family now includes and ethnoscape of Iranian, El Salvadorian and Polynesian heritage.
The Perryman family is an iconic representation of racial and cultural diversity not only in Oklahoma history but Native American history, and U.S. history. They are an invaluable source for research in American Studies, Cultural Studies and Ethnic Studies. Explore American history with a trained eye to discover early narratives have overlooked the rich voices of non-white experiences in the making of the United States.