'O' is for Oklahoma
DISCLAIMER: For those who came looking for a snarky send-off of Oklahoma, you may be disappointed. While I had originally intended to poke fun at the Sooner State, the more I dug into its history, the more depressed I got. Even though I knew that it was originally called Indian Territory (by original, I mean the past couple hundred years), I never really stopped to think about that stark reality. So, instead of tossing a wisecrack here and a snide remark there, I thought I'd play it straight today.
Don't worry, tomorrow will be back to normal with a tale of "Popes."
THE FOLLOWING IS IN NO WAY MEANT TO DENIGRATE THE PEOPLE WHO NOW LIVE IN OKLAHOMA.
I'll save that kind of stuff for New Jersey.
Pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country
The name Oklahoma derives from the Choctaw "okla humma" which means "red people," but was set aside during the Andrew Jackson administration as Indian Territory. This was a region of the young United States designated to relocate the Five Civilized Tribes of Native American people (besides the Choctaw, this included the Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Cherokee).
Purported to be a voluntary act on the part of people whose only crime was living in prime cotton-growing land, it was nothing of the kind. The resulting move has been called the Trail of Tears due to the hundreds who perished along the way. Once settled in what to them was a foreign land, the Native Americans were promised that they could keep the land forever.
Or so said the Indian Removal Act of 1830, an excerpt of which I include here (italics mine):
"...that the United States will forever secure...the country so exchanged with them..."
POP QUESTION: Show of hands...how many people think Indian Territory was sweet beachfront property in 1830?
This all seemed real swell, as long as the Mississippi River seemed like the frikkin' Atlantic and there was barely enough people to fill Tennessee, for crying out loud. However, as Manifest Destiny compelled thousands of Americans to head west to seek their fortune, the land which was to be held in "perpetuity" proved mighty inconvenient. As well as its people.
Oil was discovered at Bartelsville and Burbank in 1897. This was followed by a discovery gusher known as Glenn Pool in 1905.
There goes the neighborhood.
Oklahoma was admitted as the 46th state in the Union on November 16, 1907.
Oh, as far as the Native Americans and the promise extended to them by the Great White Father? Well, I couldn't put it better than what Otter said to Flounder:
|"You fucked up. You trusted us."|