16 Sept 1966.... I was born
16 Sept 1893.... World's largest scramble for free land
than 100,000 homesteaders descend on the 7,000,000-acre 226-mile wide Cherokee
Strip in Oklahoma to stake their claim on land that had originally been set
aside for the Cherokee Indians.
OKLAHOMA CITY — On a sizzling September day in 1893, a volley of gunshots sent more than 100,000 people surging across imaginary lines in the largest scramble for free land the world had ever seen.
They came on foot and horseback, in wagons, on bicycles and by train, hoping to stake a homestead in the fabled Cherokee Strip, 7 million acres that were home to buffalo and Indians.
Oklahoma's buffalo are mostly gone now, except for a small herd in a government refuge. But Indians remain (the last census showed Oklahoma with the largest Indian population of any state), and many are outspoken in their criticism of the current celebration commemorating the land run.
"To us, it's analogous to the Germans celebrating the Holocaust," said Sherman Bold Warrior, administrative assistant to chairman Genevieve Pollak of the Ponca tribe. "It amounts to the same thing. In the western movement of the dominant culture, 95% of the native population was wiped out."
"It was devastating to the native people in Oklahoma," said Wilma Mankiller, chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. "That is being totally overlooked. I don't think that ever occurs to people because they don't think of Oklahoma as being Indian territory where many different native peoples lived before statehood."
Dr. John Ogle, an Enid physician and president of the Cherokee Strip Centennial Foundation, said the point of the centennial was to mark history, not celebrate.
"History is history," Ogle said. "We can't change it. We need to make sure it is told as accurately as it can be, and now we need to go on and deal with issues today that would help all our citizens."
Chief Charley Dawes of the Ottawa tribe agrees on that point.
"It's a historic event," Dawes said. "Like any centennial, it should be noted."
But Dawes also joined other Indians in a protest of a life-size statue for Ponca City that depicts a man who has just leaped from his horse squatting down as he drives a claim stake into the ground.
The original title was, "This Land is Mine." After protests by the Poncas, Ottawas and Cherokees, it was changed to "Holding the Claim."
By 1893, members of the Cherokee tribe had been removed from their homeland in the southeastern United States, some voluntarily in 1828, others by force over the Trail of Tears in 1838, and resettled in what is now northeastern Oklahoma.
The 226-mile-wide Cherokee Strip, technically the Cherokee Outlet, had been set aside by the federal government to give the Cherokees a way to get to the buffalo-rich plains.
In 1866, the federal government asked the Cherokees to sell portions of the strip to "friendly" Indians. By the time of the land run 27 years later, the fourth of five such events that lured settlers to Indian Territory, the strip was home to the Osage, Pawnee, Kaw, Ponca, Tonkawa, Otoe and Missouria tribes.
When white man arrived in North America, there were about 5,000,000 native red indians. After 20 years of European occupation, several wars and deliberate hunting and destruction of most of the buffalo herds (the Indian's primary food supply)... this population dropped to only about 250,000 native Indians.
When white Europeans landed in Australia, they killed over 40,000 native black aborigines in a deliberate campaign of genocide and slaughter.
During World War 1, over 21 million people died for no good reason.
During World War 2, over 50 million people died, also for no good reason. Who do you think paid for Hitler's rise to power, and who PAID for the growth of his army?
Given some of these facts, ask yourself: Which RACE of human beings has proven itself to be the most aggressive, violent and harmful compared to other races of people? Which RACE has been involved in more killing and imperial military invasions and occupations of other countries than any other RACE?
Definition of homestead (n)
- house, outbuildings, and land: a house, especially a farmhouse, with its dependent buildings and land, considered as a whole
- land claimed by settler: formerly, a piece of land occupied by a settler or squatter under the terms of the U.S. Homestead Act or the Canadian Dominion Lands Act
- residence exempt from forced sale: a house, adjoining land, and buildings declared as the owner's fixed residence and therefore exempt from seizure and forced sale for the recovery of debts