Oklahoma Skins: ‘Red People’ –

The history of Oklahoma—a Choctaw word meaning “Red People”—has done everything it could to finish the job the U.S. started in destroying American Indian government, politics, jurisdictions and economics, while at the same time exploiting our culture.

What is now Oklahoma was originally divided into two parts: Indian and Oklahoma Territories. In the early 1900s there were two movements to create two new states, both Indian. Indian Territory was to become the State of Sequoyah; Oklahoma Territory, while less developed, was to be the state of Quanah. The Sequoyah Constitutional Convention of 1905 was led by the Five Civilized Tribes, whose efforts were blocked by Theodore Roosevelt for political reasons. He believed it would create another two Democratic states and tip the balance of power in Congress. On June 16, 1906, Roosevelt signed the Oklahoma Enabling Act, which ruled that the Indian and Oklahoma territories would be granted statehood only as a combined state. The following year the Five Tribes joined the Constitutional Convention and brought with them not only the experience, but the Sequoyah Constitution that is the basis for the constitution of the state of Oklahoma today. The tribes had already designed and constructed a great seal that became the seal of Oklahoma in its entirety.

You would think Oklahoma would be rich in American Indian politicians and cultural knowledge—but you would be wrong. Shortly after the establishment of Oklahoma the leadership went about a task of systematically removing American Indians in state government. Oklahoma strongly supported separation of the races with 18 Jim Crow laws passed from statehood until 1957. Oklahomans didn’t want to only suppress Indian politics, they were out to oppress Indians. Two laws were passed that restricted voting rights for people of other races. In 1908 the Education Statute passed, whereby public schools within Oklahoma were to be operated under a plan of separation between the white and colored races. There were $10 and $50 fines for teachers for violating the law, and their certificate canceled for one year. Corporations that operated schools that did not comply with the law were guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined between $100 and $500. White students who attended a colored school could be fined between $5 and $20 daily. And the state legislature didn’t just stop at politics and education; in 1921 Oklahoma passed the Miscegenation Statute, which prohibited marriage between Indians and Negroes.

The attacks on American Indians continued. Thousands of acres of tribal lands were lost when the state transferred titles of from United States trust status to simple-fee state status. The state of Oklahoma had declared all-out war on American Indians, in what appeared to be an attempt to finish the job the U.S. government had left undone. Oklahoma never embraced any of the 35 beautiful cultures here. Oklahoma had gone out of its way to diminish any form of American Indian culture and history. So, the following news was a surprise:

FULL ARTICLE HERE: Oklahoma Skins: ‘Red People’ –

About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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