Certain Native American tribes had close relations with African Americans, especially those in the Southeast, where slavery was prevalent. Members of the Five Civilized Tribes held enslaved blacks(over 10,000), who migrated with them to the West during Indian Removal 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 Black Indians were known as tribal Freedmen of the five civilized tribes (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Freedmen). In addition, some black maroon communities had been allied with the Seminole in Florida and intermarried. The Black Seminole included those with and without Indian ancestry. 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 Indian ancestor on the early 20th century Dawes Rolls. Lawsuits are pending.“I’m part Indian,” has been a stock phrase among southern African American families since emancipation….it’s not so much a lie pal & it is not a way to “better” the race, but the plain truth. rappers like to say it jokingly in their verses, but I say again it is the plain truth.
A lot of people do use it that way, though (from experience)