Cover

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Front Matter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Because I live and work in France, I would not have been able to do the research necessary to complete this volume if I had not been able to stay for six months in Oklahoma, researching at Oklahoma University. Millie Audas, then director of Education Abroad and International Student Services, and Jack Hobson, then assistant...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-61

referring to his father, John Oskison, John Milton Oskison wrote in the first paragraph of his autobiography, “I could not tell my own story without first sketching his nomadic life, although I have little material, and no documentation whatever. I have known no one else as reticent about himself in talk as father; and...

Part One. Autobiography

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A Tale of the Old I.T.: An Autobiography by John Milton Oskison

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pp. 76-132

i have thought of myself sometimes as a replica in temperament of my restless, nervous, short-tempered father. I could not tell my own story without first sketching his nomadic life, although I have little material, and no documentation whatever. I have known...

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A Trip to Yosemite Valley: Graphic Picture of Grand Scenery Drawn by a Vinita Boy

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pp. 133-136

“ho for Yosemite!” and four of us college boys echoed the refrain while raking up blankets, old camping clothes, guns, snake medicine, and other necessary things for a four weeks’ camping trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On the first of June, a few days...

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A Letter to His Father: John Milton Oskison Writes of His Visit in Europe

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pp. 137-138

Dear Father: — If I remember correctly, I have not written to you since I left Naples, about a month ago, and am beginning to think I would do well to send word that I am still alive and healthy. I left Naples on June 12th and went to Rome, where I stayed five days. There I met the son of the man who is now editor of the Post and who has been...

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An Autobiographical Letter to Journalist Frederick S. Barde

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pp. 139-143

I went away from Vinita in 1894 to find out what a college — a real college — was. In some magazine I’d read an illustrated article about Leland Stanford Junior University out in California and the romantic circumstances of its founding. That...

Part Two. Fiction

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I Match You: You Match Me

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pp. 147-151

conformant to the laws of natural selection, there are a number of students who leave college before their course is ended; and it is often a matter of speculation as to the probable cause, when a few of his friends notice such a student’s absence and meet to discuss matters of common interest on a Saturday evening. I heard...

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Tookh Steh’s Mistake

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pp. 152-157

Tookh Steh was a full-blood, and his convictions concerning things were very strong. But Tookh had something of right on his side, when he made the one foolish move of his life, as this story is written to show....

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A Schoolmaster’s Dissipation

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pp. 158-164

Scrupp himself said that his story was not worth telling, but Scrupp was then a world-weary, hopeless, stooping old man. We knew that he had been tried, and were anxious to hear his story of the trying. I told my friend that I believed I could get Scrupp to tell me, because I made it a habit to sit on the old schoolmaster’s doorstep...

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“Only the Master Shall Praise”

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pp. 165-176

On the cattle ranges of the Indian Territory ten years ago he was known as “the Runt,” because he was several inches shorter than the average puncher. His other title of “Hanner” had been fastened upon him by a ludicrous incident in his youth. “Hanner the Runt” was a half-breed Cherokee cowboy who combined with the stoicism...

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When the Grass Grew Long

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pp. 177-181

ten years ago every cowboy in the northern part of the Indian Territory knew “Sermon Billy” Wilson, for he was such a slouchy, tireless, moody, and altogether strange figure that one did not forget his face after once seeing it. Everybody knew that one of Billy’s hips was dislocated, and that he walked with a difficult side-swing of his right leg, but...

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The Biologist’s Quest

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pp. 182-191

Lake was a collector of small mammal skins for the Smithsonian authorities in Washington and for the British Museum. His work had been done mainly in the mountains of southern California and on the big stretches of Arizona deserts. In the winter of 1895 there was a good deal of heated discussion between Professor McLean of the Pennsylvania Scientific Society and one of the scientists at Washington...

I Saw an Eagle Strike

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pp. 192-193

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To “Youngers’ Bend”

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pp. 194-202

Around the little station of Gad’s Hill the shadows of the pines were lengthening, and the last day of January 1874 was drawing to a close. In the boxlike shanty that served as ticket office, baggage room, waiting room, and storehouse the single official of the Iron Mountain Railroad was polishing his switch lights and cursing the raw Missouri winter. The Little Rock Express was not due for half an hour, but...

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A Border Judge and His Court

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pp. 203-211

A man who sentenced 172 criminals to death, 88 of whom were hanged;33 an upright judge, holding sway for twenty-one years over seventy-four thousand square miles of the most lawless territory in the United States; a stern, just judge whose name became a terror to evildoers; a very kindly, sympathetic gentleman and public-spirited...

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Working for Fame

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pp. 212-220

There was also the case of Caesar, which is well known. Bob Dalton’s history is not so familiar, but it may be said in the beginning that it was an overreaching ambition that led to his downfall. “I’ll see Jesse James and go him one better,” said the ambitious Bob. The student...

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The Fall of King Chris

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pp. 221-231

Chris Farrell was to rope at Bluejacket on the Fourth!63 That was the news that ran about the ranches in the Cherokee country days before June had yielded its verdant freshness to the sultry grip of July. It was sufficient to stir the anticipations of the sport-loving cowboys and urged them to “practice ropin’ and throwin’” among their own herds and in the privacy of their own cow pastures. For others — many others — were...

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“The Quality of Mercy”

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pp. 232-239

Miss Venita Churchfield took up eagerly the fresh, neatly folded copy of the Sachem which a small half-breed Indian boy, with the singular little war-whoop that invariably announced his weekly delivery, had just thrown across the picket fence. Going indoors, she smiled at the three columns of cattle brands displayed on splotchy...

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The Greater Appeal

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pp. 240-247

she was no novice at the game and knew Marks for a thief catcher as soon as she set foot on the station platform at Muscogee. No man among the criminal horde that infested Indian Territory in the early eighties knew better than this woman how relentless “Jim” Marks was...

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The Problem of Old Harjo

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pp. 248-254

The spirit of the Lord had descended upon old Harjo. From the new missionary, just out from New York, he had learned that he was a sinner. The fire in the new missionary’s eyes and her gracious appeal had convinced old Harjo that this was the time to repent and be saved. He was very much in earnest, and he assured Miss...

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Young Henry and the Old Man

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pp. 255-261

The ranchman and I were discussing courage. I had that day seen young Henry Thomas mount and ride a horse that had bucked in a way to impress the imagination. I spoke of it....

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Koenig’s Discovery

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pp. 262-271

When Koenig came over the mountains in September, the ugly word concerning Doña Koenig was dropped into his ears. Koenig had first seen Palos two years before, through the dust of a freight outfit that was crawling across the desert to Santa Fe. He had driven the third wagon from the lead. It had been a stiff pull across the Taos...

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Out of the Night That Covers

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pp. 272-280

Simple Jim of the slow smile rewound the machine vigorously, changed the record, and sat back to enjoy his dream. It came from a tenor ballad sung into the receiving horn in a New Jersey workshop; it stirred the printer of a cow-town weekly in Oklahoma. Editor, proprietor,...

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Walla Tenaka — Creek

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pp. 281-288

The paragraph was a tiny item in the day’s accretion of news: it was only one of many tablet tales of crime that went out into the world as that day’s report of life in a country where full-bloods, mixed-breeds, ragtag whites — men of abnormal appetites for excitement, and...

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The Apples of Hesperides,Kansas

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pp. 289-304

A cool, racing wind brought to their ears the sound of the locomotive’s whistle. It came to them across ten miles of level prairie, a thin, faint blast. It was the supper call to the graders and track-layers who were pushing the newest railroad across the short-grass country...

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The Man Who Interfered

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pp. 305-312

Until long after midnight Jim Freeman sat reading a battered,100 graceful old volume containing Troilus and Cressida and Julius Caesar — a book bound in leather for a gentleman of Virginia in 1771, and strayed from its mates of the set generations ago. Its type was bold and clear, fit for failing eyes to peruse....

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The Other Partner

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pp. 313-330

Though the night was young and Mrs. O’Field’s bootleg joint — where the bottles were cached under mattresses and the drinkers held cards in the “Boost Remus, Oklahoma’s Hope!” Club — was not yet crowded, Ben Wardall could no longer suppress his desire to praise

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The Singing Bird

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pp. 331-345

Thus Jim Blind-Wolfe dismissed his wife, Jennie, who was not old. With the fleetest glancing look he pushed her gently toward the back door of the firelit cabin, one huge outspread hand covering both of her erect shoulders....

Part Three. Essays

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Cherokee Migration

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pp. 349-352

In accordance with the policy of the United States in dealing with the Indians, and in pursuance of treaty stipulations entered into with a small fragment of the tribe, it was determined by the general government in 1838 to remove the Cherokees from the lands occupied...

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The President and the Indian: Rich Opportunity for the Red Man

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pp. 353-357

President Roosevelt’s word about the Indians in his message to Congress is an exceedingly intelligent one.6 In the necessarily limited space at command for a discussion of their affairs he hints at an unusual familiarity with Indian needs and a wise sympathy for their shortcomings. He has an intimate firsthand knowledge...

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The Outlook for the Indian

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pp. 358-361

Fortunately for the white race that has extended our frontiers, the “bad” Indian has long ago ceased to exist; fortunately for the Indian who must still face the problem of living, the time has passed when the lawless, cynical white man can appropriate his reservations with impunity and have him “suppressed” when he begins...

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Friends of the Indian

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pp. 362-364

At last year’s “Lake Mohonk Conference of Friends of the Indian and Other Dependent Peoples,” Mr. Bonaparte quoted a naval officer as once declaring that “the service would never be worth a —— until all the wellmeaning people in it had been hanged.”16 He hinted that something of the same tenor might have been...

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Lake Mohonk Conference

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pp. 365-368

The presiding officer of the twenty-third annual “Lake Mohonk Conference of Friends of the Indian and Other Dependent Peoples” in his opening speech foreshadowed the course of the discussion....

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The Need of Publicity in Indian Affairs

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pp. 369-371

You are all ready enough to act as religious instructors, teachers, and doctors, if necessary, to the Indians; now would you like to become press agent on behalf of the Indian?...

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Remaining Causes of Indian Discontent

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pp. 372-379

When the White River Utes left their reservation in Utah recently in angry protest against the government’s allotment of their land, they attracted attention to a vanishing type of discontented Indian.32

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Making an Individual of the Indian

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pp. 380-390

A new series of Indian portraits is needed. The “noble red man” of Fenimore Cooper and of Catlin, the fierce figure in war paint and feathers, lost his romantic interest when he was confined to a reservation and fed on rations. He became of no more interest than any...

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A Carlisle Commencement

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pp. 391-398

At the government Indian school at Carlisle, graduation week began this year with a baccalaureate sermon by President Faunce of Brown University and ended with the public performance of a comic opera in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.48 Between came school drills, exhibitions of shop work, a lacrosse game, a track meet, three...

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The Indian in the Professions

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pp. 399-403

My business, or profession, is writing and editing. In my small way, I’ve tried to make myself an interpreter to the world, of the modern, progressive Indian. The greatest handicap I have is my enthusiasm. I know a lot of Indians who are making good; I know how sturdily...

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The Enduring Qualities of the Indian

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pp. 404-406

My friends, I am an Indian; I was born and raised among them; but it has taken me a long time to figure out a satisfactory explanation of my interest in them. Naturally, we are not very much interested in people we are familiar with. I find this interest growing all the time. For an...

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The Little Mother of the Pueblos

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pp. 407-410

Ten years ago Clara D. True went to teach an Indian day school at the Santa Clara Pueblo, in New Mexico. Six years she labored there, under the direction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and was then sent to Morongo, in southern California, as agent for a number of groups of demoralized “Mission” Indians. After two years of regenerative work, under conditions so difficult that they could no longer...

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An Apache Problem

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pp. 411-416

Geronimo, the old war chief of the Apaches, died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, two years ago.78 With his passing, public interest in the prisoner Apaches at Fort Sill died to gray ashes. A few months ago, through certain newspaper stories, it was fanned to a feeble glow. Those stories said that at last the Apaches who have been held, technically,...

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Acquiring a Standard of Value

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pp. 417-420

The Indian wins success — and I am thinking more especially of material success, money success — by coming into contact with people who can give him a standard. I think the “Harveyizing” process along the Santa Fe Railroad, from a commercial standpoint, a material standpoint, is going to be a mighty good thing for the...

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Arizona and Forty Thousand Indians

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pp. 421-428

It came upon me gradually, as I made my first pilgrimage last fall among the western Navahos, the Pimas and Maricopas, and the Apaches of Arizona, that this western state has the greatest variety of live Indian problems on its hands that confront any of our organized communities....

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The Closing Chapter: Passing of the Old Indian

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pp. 429-436

Though the reports of agents and superintendents confirm the census figures which show that the number of Indians in the United States is slowly increasing, the real Indians are disappearing. There are 305,000 individuals classified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as Indians, though...

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A Bigger Load for Educated Indians

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pp. 437-440

Much of the trouble between the superintendent, the Indian Bureau, and the Indian is due to the fact that the Indian, whose human and property rights are so vitally affected, has no accurate information. He has not been given, or has had no access to, a reliable and complete account of his tribal rights and claims. Most generally, it is...

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In Governing the Indian, Use the Indian!

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pp. 441-447

One of my fellow tribesmen, now a member of Congress from Oklahoma, helped me to form my ideas of the ability of the Indian to understand his own problems, and to fight effectively for their right solution. He was the attorney of my people in the days when the Dawes Commission was at work on the complicated business of settling...

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The New Indian Leadership

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pp. 448-456

They don’t even call it a council anymore! Today when you go to talk with the Indians, and listen to what they have to say, you simply attend a “meeting.” First, the old man who bears the now purely honorary title of chief walks solemnly over to speak a few words to some Indian under forty who wears a black suit, more carefully...

Source Acknowledgments

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pp. 457-459

Notes

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pp. 461-627

Bibliography

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pp. 629-665