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HAROLD MAKTIN TROPER The Creek-Negroes ofOklahoma andCanadian Immigration, 1909-11 IN HISOUTLINE OFCANADIAN IMMIGRATION published in AdamShortt's I9I 4 multi-volumework, Canada And Its Provinces,William Duncan Scott, superintendent of immigration underFrankOliver,noted:'At notimehas the immigrationof [Negroes] beenencouraged by the [Canadian]government ...'• At theturn of the centurynot onlywereCanadianimmigration officials reluctantto assist AmericanNegroes in migratingto Canada,but resisted anyattempts byblacks totakeadvantage ofCanada's liberalcustoms, homestead, andcitizenship regulations. •'WhiletheImmigration Branch of theDepartment oftheInteriormaintained anactive network ofimmigration agencies in the United States, the Americanblackswerecovertly excluded frompromotional work?In I899 departmental assistant secretary in charge x William DuncanScott,'Immigrationand Population,'CanadaAnd Its Provinces, va, Adam Shortt,ed. (Toronto I914) , 531 2 Amongmorerecentworksdealingwith Negroimmigrationare RobinW. Winks, The Blacksin Canada:A History(New Haven 1971 ); TrevorW. Sessing, 'How They Kept CanadaAlmostLily White,'SaturdayNight, IXXXV,Sept.I97O , 30-2. Two submissions to the RoyalCommission onBilingualism andBiculturalism are, at thetimeof thiswriting,stillrestricted frompublicview;however, theirrelease for publicexamination isexpected in thenearfuture.NormaE. Walmsley, 'Some Aspects ofCanada's Immigration Policy'(unpublished essay prepared fortheRoyalCommission onBilingualism and Biculturalism, April 1966); Harold H. Potterand DanielG. Hill, 'NegroSettlement in Canada,1628-1965:A Survey'(unpublished essay preparedfor the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, April I966). 3 Canadian immigration activityin theUnited States hasreceived scant attention. The fewpublished exceptions include:PaulFrederickSharp,'The American FarmerandtheLastBest West,' Agricultural History, x.x•,i947,65-74;'When OurWestMovedNorth,'American Historical Review,IV, 195o , 286-3oo; James B. Vol. ranNo 3 September I972 IMMIGRATION OF OKLAHOMA CREEK-NEGROES 273 of immigration, LynwoodPereira,advised the Canadiangovernment agent in Kansas City,James S.Crawford,'... it isnotdesired thatanynegroimmigrantsshouldarrivein WesternCanada,underthe auspices of our Department ,orthatsuch immigration should bepromoted byouragents. '4 Usingan alleged inabilityof Negroes to acclimatize themselves to 'rather severe'Canadian prairie wintersas a partial rational, the Immigration Branchwas able to smotherwould-beblack settlementproposals for ten years. However,despite departmental hostility toblacksettlers, anditsrefusal to co-operate in any Negrosettlement programmes, the blackproblemrefused todisappear. eSolongasblacks could legally cross theborder, withor withoutdepartmental sanction, Inspector of UnitedStates Agencies William J. White warned the Minister of the Interior in x9o9, individual black settlers wouldcontinue tofindtheirwayintotheCanadianwest: Notwithstanding ourbestefforts to guardcarefullytheclass of people,whogo toCentralCanada,wefindthecase ofthenegroprobablythemostdifficultto dealwith.If givena freehandandtheprivilegetoabsolutely refuse togivea certificate entitlinghimto[reduced railway]settlers' rates, we couldmeetit. Whetherit isadvisable to refusethecolouredman thiscertificateisa question thatbothers usconsiderably. Thereisa fairly largecoloured votein Eastern Canada,mostofwhichisLiberalandif it comes to theirnoticethat theirpeople werediscriminated against, it mightleadto theiropposition. On theotherhand I knowthat thepeoplein theWestdonotcaretohavethem in theirneighbourhood ...In some cases wherewehavethoughtit safe, wehaveabsolutely refused togivecertificates; in othercases wehaveadvised themof special rateswhich Hedges, BuildingtheCanadian West(NewYork •939), PP.•6-4•; MarcusL. Hansen andJohnBartlettBrebner, The Minglingo[ the CanadianandAmerican Peoples (New Haven•94o), pp.2•9-4o; threearticles byKarel DenisBicha: 'The North DakotaFarmer and the CanadianWest, •896-•9•4,' North Dakota History,xxax,•96•, •97-3o•; 'The AmericanFarmerandthe CanadianWest,•896- •9•4: A Revised View,' AgriculturalHistory,xxxvn•,•964, 43-6; 'The Plains FarmerandthePrairieProvinceFrontier,•897-•9•4,' Proceedings o[ theAmerican Philosophical Society, era,•965, 398-44o.This lastarticlehasbeenrepublished in bookformasThe AmericanFarmerandthe CanadianWest•896-•9•4 (Lawrence •968). 4 L. Pereirato J.S. Crawford,•3 Jan. •899 [copy].PublicArchivesof Canada, Ottawa, RecordGroup76, box • •5, file 7•55•-•. Hereaftermaterialfrom the RecordGroup76 collection iscitedby boxandfile numbers. 5 L.M. Fortierto Rev.W.A. Lamb-Campbell, •o Sept.•9o6[copy],••5/7•55•-•. Muchof theCanadian government's earlypublicityworkin theUnitedStates was devotedin largepart to combating the widespread impression of Canadaasa land of perpetualwinter.SeeWilliam R. Stewart,'The Americanization of the CanadianNorthwest ,' Cosmopolitan, xxx•v,•9o3,605. 274• THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW canbesecured onspecial daysandwhichtheycantakeadvantage of. This, however isonlyamakeshift andislikelytoberesented ... I wishyoutobearin mindthat therefusalof theDepartmentto helpthemsecure a ratewill not keepthemfromcoming? Whiletheminister oftheinterior, FrankOliver,pondered whatsteps could betakentorestrict blackentryintowestern Canada, theNegroimmigration problem tookona newdimension. By t9to theredeveloped fearof a mass northward migration of Negroes outof Oklahoma anda resulting backlash amongwhitesin the Canadianwest.It wasthisissue of Oklahoma's blacks whichfinallycrystalized departmental thinkingon the black settlerand resulted inthevirtualclosing ofthebordertoAmerican Negroes. The undetermined degreeof interestin westernCanadawhich coalesced among Negroes of Oklahoma wastiedto thepeculiar plightof a significant segment of that community anditsrelationship to Oklahoma's rapidlydeveloping social structure. Thoseblacks considering a moveto Canada,CreekNegroes , wereconcentrated in theeastern portionof Oklahoma,thecounties ofwhichhadbeencarved outoflandspreviously heldby theCreekIndians, one of the Five Civilized Tribes. The Indians had lost their tribal lands as punishment for alleged support of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 272-288
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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