This introductory chapter explains that writing history consists of arranging elements into storylines, and that constructing a storyline for the history of an Afro-Cherokee family in the contexts of colonialism, slavery, and nation-building can be quite challenging. As a result, the book narrates two stories at once. One storyline is the arc of Cherokee history: federal and local challenges to Cherokee nationalism, forced removal, and the rebuilding of the Cherokee Nation in the West. The second storyline is the history of black slaves in Native America, a significant location in the African diaspora that many slavery studies overlook. This bifurcation of narratives is magnified by a conflicting recognition by members of different communities of the relative importance of historical events.
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