“Buffalo Soldiers . . . It’s Time to Refuse to Ride”

Indigenous Resistance, Third World Radicalism, and Tyree Scott’s Black Radical Political Education


  • Michael Schulze-Oechtering Castañeda


This paper examines the multiracial coalition politics of Tyree Scott, one of Seattle’s preeminent Black radicals during the 1970s. A former construction contractor who became a community organizer in the late 1960s, Scott blossomed into one of the most vocal proponents of Third World solidarity in Seattle from the 1970s until his untimely death in 2003. By drawing on an archival collection of materials left by Scott including letters, reports, essays, and speeches, I unpack an analogue that he continually referenced throughout his long life as an activist: the “New Buffalo Soldier.” In Scott’s writings, he presented activists of color who neglected the plight of other aggrieved racial groups as yet another manifestation of Black soldiers who fought on the side of Manifest Destiny in the 1800s. To give further context to Scott’s analysis, this article pays particular attention to his interactions with Indigenous activists in the Pacific Northwest, as well as members of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). Moreover, it situates Scott’s analysis of past and present Buffalo Soldiers as a critical element of his local organizing, which, by the mid-1970s, sought to link struggles against institutionalized racism in the Seattle construction industry, the legal repression of local activists, and Third World decolonization. While critiques of settler colonialism remain an understudied aspect of the history of Black radicalism, this article shows that at least for Scott, political education around settler colonialism played a critical role in shaping a radical coalition politics.





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