Available in PAPERBACK, November 1, 2020.

University of New Mexico Press

Also available on:  Amazon

As featured on C-SPAN American History

New Books Network Podcast Interview


This is the story of my people, a people whose racial, economic, social, cultural, and political identity was forged during the Allotment Period.  It is an authentic American tale of how our government divided up Indian Territory, assigning acreage according to a dual system of blood quantum.  In 1887, the Dawes Commission used a sliding scale for Indians of varying purity and another for those associated with the tribes whose blood ran Red, White, and Black.

The year was 1887 when the Allotment Era began.  It would end in 1934 leaving behind the refuse of broken promises, racial divides, and tribal shifts that are little understood and scarcely touched upon in our historical canon.  My people remember.  I will tell you who we are.

2020 Guest Lecture, Brown University, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice
One of five final nominees for the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures (ASAIL) 2019 Electa Quinney Awards for Published Stories
Required reading for “Black Indians”: The Making of an Identity, a Harvard University seminar taught by Tiya Miles, Harvard Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Fall 2019
Featured Author at the 2019 Oklahoma Book Festival, September 21, Boathouse District, Oklahoma City (https://okbookfest.org)


“…chronicles a moving personal quest and a surprising family saga that contribute new insights for Indian Territory and Oklahoma histories…original and thought-provoking contribution to the literature…a smooth and accessible read…arguing for the ‘authenticity’ and ‘unique value’ of mixed-race families like hers to the broader American story…courageous…a labor of love by an author for her family, enriches a growing academic and public conversation about Afro-Native histories and experiences.”
Tiya Miles, History Professor, Harvard University
NAIS, Journal of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Vol. 7.1--2020
The “book is part family genealogy, part academic text and a completely sobering look at how former black slaves of Native American tribes, and mixed-race descendants, have been treated…the study is a fascinating exercise in personal identity and how we regard who we are.”
Neely Tucker, the Washington Post
“…the author uses phrases like ‘brining to light,’ when discussing sources, and views her research an act of uncovering history. These phrases are more than metaphors, the language and the methodology clearly link this book to what was once called ‘the new social history.’ Maybe it is time to revisit ‘the new’ and see the outcomes of that intellectual movement in how we ‘do’ and how we understand history. Untangling a Red, White, and Black Heritage would be a good place to start.”
The appended “interviews and documents…will be a treasure trove to anyone teaching public history methods, procedures, ethics, and objectivity…
Amy Absher, The Independent Scholar, Vol. 5 (online 22 January 2019).
“This book offers a phenomenal and unique approach to culture and land-based race relations during the Allotment Era and how they affect [Darnella’s] family. Her years of formal research and family oral histories make this book extraordinary and invaluable.”
Ron Welburn, Professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“Davis’ work makes clear that individual people can find key parts of their family story hidden in archives, waiting to be reengaged in the effort to find personal identity and also to understand the arbitrary and contradictory nature of racialization in America.”
Bruce Granville Miller, Professor of Anthropology, University of British Columbia
“Among the things I learned from Davis’ book: that some Native Americans owned African American slaves. In fact, that issue was a topic of a symposium at the National Museum of the American Indian last spring. I applaud Davis for shining light on this and other little-known aspects of our shared history.”
Citizen Cartwright, www.citizencartwright.com
“…entered in the non-fiction category for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Awards.”
Oklahoma Center for the Book, Oklahoma Department of Libraries