Despite the voluminous literature treating black slavery in America, significant omissions remain. Areas that have not been adequately investigated include the ownership of slaves by several tribes of American Indians, including the Cherokees. No comprehensive and documented treatment of black slavery in the Cherokee Nation has ever appeared in print, and primary source materials are now scarce, scanty, and scattered. Available information mostly concerns plantation owners who were large slaveholders. These were the men of influence who left wills, diaries, letters, and other papers and whose names appeared in newspapers, in missionaries, and Indian Agents' correspondence, and in the laws of the Cherokee Nation.
Although there are numerous works treating the tribe, a definitive history of the Cherokees is yet to be written. Existing volumes barely mention or entirely omit the institution of black slavery. Southern histories, such as the ten-volume History of the South, provide virtually no information about slavery among the Cherokees.1 One of the best works on black history, John Hope Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom, is void of material on this topic.2 Oklahoma history textbooks, even the multi- volume compendiums, are also virtually silent about black slavery in the Cherokee Nation.
There are several works on the general topic of relations between Indians and blacks in the United States. Some have specifically treated