Black Native Americans are people of African-American descent, usually with significant Native American ancestry, who also have strong ties to Native American culture, social, and historical traditions.
Certain Native American tribes had close relations with African Americans, especially those where slavery was prevalent. Members of the Five Civilized Tribes held enslaved blacks, who migrated with them to the West in 1830 and later. In peace treaties with the US after the American Civil War, the tribes, which had sided with the Confederacy, were required to emancipate slaves and give them full citizenship rights in their nations. The Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole have created controversy in recent decades as they tightened rules for membership in their nations and excluded Freedmen who did not have at least one Native American ancestor on the early 20th-century Dawes Rolls.
The earliest record of African and Native American contact occurred in April 1502, when the first enslaved African arrived in Hispaniola. Some escaped inland on Santo Domingo; those who survived and joined with the natives became the first circle of Black Native Americans. In addition, the first example of African slaves' escaping from European colonists and being absorbed by Native Americans was recorded in 1526. In June of that year, Lucas Vasquez de AyllÃ³n established a Spanish colony near the mouth of the Pee Dee River in what is now eastern South Carolina. The Spanish settlement was named San Miquel de Guadalupe. Among the inhabitants were 100 enslaved Africans. In 1526, the first enslaved African fled the colony and took refuge with local Native Americans.