Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Rosalea Barker: Oklahoma

Oklahoma

by Rosalea Barker

The word “Oklahoma” conjures up musical theatre, dust bowls, domestic terrorism, and the final corralling place of many of North America’s native tribes displaced during the United States’ relentless westward expansion during the 19th century. From just 16 states at the beginning of that century, the US had swollen to 45 by the end, largely through the acquisition and settlement of vast areas of the continent formerly laid claim to by Great Britain, France and Spain.

This article on the Oklahoma Historical Society’s website, explains how the process of allotting parcels of land to individual members of tribes paved the way to admission as the 46th state in 1907:

“Allotment, the federal policy of dividing communally held Indian tribal lands into individually owned private property, was the culmination of American attempts to destroy tribes and their governments and to open Indian lands to settlement by non-Indians and to development by railroads. It was a necessary prelude to statehood for Oklahoma and Indian territories. Tribes were removed from other parts of the country to Indian Territory (present Oklahoma) from the 1830s through the 1870s. They signed treaties with the U.S. government. These generally guaranteed that they would be undisturbed on lands the government granted them from those it had acquired by treaties with other tribes. Following a congressional initiative for a transcontinental railroad in 1849, pressure began to build for the extension of federal jurisdiction over Indian Territory.”

Initially, there were hopes for two states—Sequoyah, formed from Indian Territory, and one formed from Oklahoma Territory. However, the issue was complicated by plans to admit the territories of Arizona and New Mexico as one state. In the end, Congress decided the latter would only happen if the residents of both those territories voted in separate elections to be one state. The residents of the Oklahoma and Indian Territories got no such opportunity: Congress passed an Enabling Act in June, 1906, that provided for the admission of a single state called Oklahoma once a constitution was written and ratified by the people. The vote on the state constitution took place on September 17, 1907—120 years to the day after the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia had signed the U.S. Constitution.

I spent a few days in Oklahoma City in the summer of 2003 and was not impressed by it; a friend recently drove through the state and when I asked what she thought of it, replied, “You can see why they moved all the Indians there.” But it’s not what’s on the surface of the land that’s important—Oklahoma is home to a huge energy industry that provides about 25 percent of the state’s tax base.

One last thing—for your entertainment rather than your enlightenment. A couple of years back, the Oklahoma state legislature authorized an on-line vote for the ten finalists in a competition to find the official state rock song of Oklahoma. According to Wikipedia,

“out of 21,000 votes cast, nearly 51 percent were for Do You Realize?? [by the Flaming Lips]. The Oklahoma Senate approved this choice unanimously. However, on April 23, 2009, a vote in the Oklahoma House of Representatives fell three votes short of the 51 votes necessary to ratify the resolution: one state legislator attacked the band for its use of offensive language, while another said he opposed the song because band member Michael Ivins had worn a red T-shirt with a yellow sickle and hammer when the band came to the state Capitol for the announcement in March. Governor Brad Henry subsequently announced that he would issue an executive order in lieu of the resolution rejected by the Oklahoma House.”

To read about and listen to the ten finalists for official state rock song, go here. It’s an eclectic little playlist. The official state (non-rock) song is, of course, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

*************

--PEACE—
rosalea.barker@gmail.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

UN Rights Declaration At 70: We Are All Born Free And Equal

On Article 1 of the UDHR: Dignity is the foundation of all human rights. Human beings have rights, and should be treated with utmost care, precisely because each one possesses intrinsic worth. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The (Delayed) Judgment Day For Theresa May

When under stress, British PM Theresa May reportedly eats peanut butter straight from the jar. Crunch time is looming... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Politely Fake Political Obituaries (And The Paris Discord)

One unfortunate side effect of “personality politics” is that when prominent politicians die, the niceties we observe at the death of private individuals get automatically extended to them as well... More>>

ALSO:

Unique And Vanishing: NZ Biodiversity Losses Match Global Crisis

One might think that it is buffered from some of the effects of biological erosion, especially since people only arrived less than 800 years ago. But as we show, the impact on wildlife has been catastrophic. More>>

Your Name Here(ish): Sponsor A Section On Scoop.co.nz!

Scoop.co.nz has just launched Section Sponsorships - the newest way for you to gain exposure for your brand to Scoop’s high value audience of 500,000 monthly readers. More>>

ALSO:

You Did It! The Scoop 3.0 PledgeMe Closes

Update: The Scoop 3.0 Crowdsale and Crowdfunding Campaign met its target with a total of $36,024 pledged. It looks like it has all been worthwhile. We are nearly there and Scoop.co.nz will ride again in 2019, our 20th year of operations. Moreover the past week has brought a number of inquiries from larger organisations, many of which have till now failed to respond to our messages... More>>

ALSO: