Advertise:   712.224.5420

Author documents fleecing of Oklahoma tribes

An author from Oklahoma has published a book that examines how the federal government strong-armed tribes into giving up their land for pennies on the dollar.

William T. Hagan, a retired professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, spent years researching "Taking Indian Lands." In it, he details the work of the Cherokee Commission, also known as the Jerome Commission after Chairman David Jerome.

According to Hagan, the commission went after the Iowa Tribe first because the tribe only had 86 members. After the commission threatened to withhold allotments, the tribe sold 228,418 acres for 28 cents an acre.

The Cherokee Nation tried to protect its $200,000 yearly grazing leases but the commission had the cattle removed from the land. The Cherokees ended up selling for $1.29 an acre although the Indian Claims Commission later ruled the tribe should have been paid $3.75 an acre.

According to Hagan, the commission ended up acquiring a total of 15 million acres of Cherokee and other Indian lands between 1889 and 1893.

Get the Story:
Author's research chronicles Indians' plight (The Norman Transcript 9/26)