State of Sequoyah

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State of Sequoyah
Sequoyahstateseal.png
The State Seal
Sequoyah map.jpg
Proposed State of Sequoyah
Constitutional convention: August 21, 1905
Convention President: Pleasant Porter
Vice President(s)

William C. Rogers, Cherokee
William H. Murray, Chickasaw
Green McCurtain, Choctaw
John Brown, Seminole

Contents

Charles N. Haskell, Creek
Statehood
Approved 1905 by referendum.
Denied by United States Congress.
Became part of State of Oklahoma in 1907.

The State of Sequoyah was a proposed state to be established from the Indian Territory in the eastern part of present-day Oklahoma. In 1905, with the end of tribal governments looming (as prescribed by the Curtis Act of 1898), [1] Native Americans of the Five Civilized Tribes—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole—in Indian Territory proposed to create a state as a means to retain control of their lands. Their intention was to have a state under Native American constitution and governance. [2] The proposed state was to be named in honor of Sequoyah, the Cherokee who created a writing system in 1825 for the Cherokee language.

U.S. state constituent political entity sharing sovereignty as the United States of America

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Indian Territory U.S. 17th-, 18th- and early-20th-century territory set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of the indigenous peoples of the Americas

As general terms, Indian Territory, the Indian Territories, or Indian country describe an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of Native Americans who held aboriginal title to their land. In general, the tribes ceded land they occupied in exchange for land grants in 1803. The concept of an Indian Territory was an outcome of the 18th- and 19th-century policy of Indian removal. After the Civil War (1861–1865), the policy of the government was one of assimilation.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Background

Oklahoma and Indian Territories, 1890s Okterritory.png
Oklahoma and Indian Territories, 1890s

Starting in 1890, when Congress passed the Oklahoma Organic Act, the land that now forms the State of Oklahoma was made up of two separate territories: Oklahoma Territory to the west and the Indian Territory to the east. The Indian Territory had a large Native American population. The territory had been reduced by required land cessions after the Civil War, land runs, and other treaties with the United States. In the 1900 US Census, Native Americans composed 13.4 percent of the population in the future state. In 1905, the Five Civilized Tribes had a total of about 60,000 persons in the Indian Territory out of a total population of 600,000. [3]

Oklahoma Organic Act

An Organic Act is a generic name for a statute used by the United States Congress to describe a territory, in anticipation of being admitted to the Union as a state. Because of Oklahoma's unique history,, an explanation of the Oklahoma Organic Act needs a historic perspective. In general, the Oklahoma Organic Act may be viewed as one of a series of legislative acts, from the time of Reconstruction, enacted by Congress in preparation for the creation of a unified State of Oklahoma. The Organic Act created Oklahoma Territory, and Indian Territory that were Organized incorporated territories of the United States out of the old "unorganized" Indian Territory. The Oklahoma Organic Act was one of several acts whose intent was the assimilation of the tribes in Oklahoma and Indian Territories through the elimination of tribal reservations and the elimination of the tribes' communal ownership of property.

Oklahoma Territory territory of the USA between 1890-1907

The Territory of Oklahoma was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 2, 1890, until November 16, 1907, when it was joined with the Indian Territory under a new constitution and admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

Until 1903, the Five Civilized Tribes and other tribes in Indian Territory had generally opposed all local and national efforts for statehood, whether they were single or joint with Oklahoma Territory. That changed as the date set by Congress (March 4, 1906) for the breakup of tribal governments and communal lands in the territory approached. The desire of tribal leaders to retain their historic authority and for the territory to be admitted as a single state, apart from Oklahoma Territory, culminated at the Sequoyah Convention, which met as a whole in 1905 on August 21 and 22 and September 5 to 8. [1]

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Admission to the Union

The Admission to the Union Clause of the United States Constitution, often called the New States Clause, found at Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1, authorizes the Congress to admit new states into the United States beyond the thirteen already in existence at the time the Constitution went into effect.

The constitutional convention

The Sequoyah Constitutional Convention met in Muskogee, on August 21, 1905. General Pleasant Porter, Principal Chief of the Creek Nation, was selected as president of the convention. The elected delegates decided that the executive officers of the Five Civilized Tribes would also be appointed as vice-presidents: William C. Rogers, Principal Chief of the Cherokees; William H. Murray, appointed by Chickasaw Governor Douglas H. Johnston to represent the Chickasaws; Chief Green McCurtain of the Choctaws; Chief John Brown of the Seminoles; and Charles N. Haskell, selected to represent the Creeks (as General Porter had been elected President). Muscogee journalist Alexander Posey served as secretary. [4]

The Sequoyah Constitutional Convention was an American Indian-led attempt to secure statehood for Indian Territory as an Indian-controlled jurisdiction, separate from the Oklahoma Territory. The proposed state was to be called the State of Sequoyah.

Muskogee, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Muskogee is a city in and the county seat of Muskogee County, Oklahoma, United States. Home to Bacone College, it lies approximately 48 miles southeast of Tulsa. The population of the city was 39,223 as of the 2010 census, a 2.4 percent increase from 38,310 at the 2000 census, making it the eleventh-largest city in Oklahoma.

Pleasant Porter American businessman

Pleasant Porter, was a respected American Indian statesman and the Principal Chief of the Creek Nation from 1899 until his death. He served with the Confederacy in the 1st Creek Mounted Volunteers, as Superintendent of Schools in the Creek Nation (1870), as commander of the Creek Light Horsemen (1883), and was many times the Creek delegate to the United States Congress. He was also President of the Sequoyah Constitutional Convention in 1905 during the attempt by Native American tribes to acquire statehood for the Indian Territory. Instead, their territory was made part of the state of Oklahoma.

The convention drafted a constitution, drew up a plan of organization for the government, put together a map showing the counties to be established, and elected delegates to go to the United States Congress to petition for statehood. On November 7, 1905, voters in the territory approved the constitution and statehood petition by 56,279 to 9,073. [1]

Failure to obtain statehood

Although territorial leaders realized that the Republican-led Congress was unlikely to admit the heavily-Democratic Indian Territory into the Union, early in the 59th Congress, Representative Arthur P. Murphy of Missouri and Senator Porter J. McCumber of North Dakota introduced Sequoyah statehood bills, which were defeated. [1]

Republican Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. The Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, and leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has also promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice.

59th United States Congress

The Fifty-ninth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1905, to March 4, 1907, during the fifth and sixth years of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Twelfth Census of the United States in 1900. Both chambers had a Republican majority.

President Theodore Roosevelt then proposed a compromise that would join Indian Territory with Oklahoma Territory to form a single state and resulted in passage of the Oklahoma Enabling Act, which he signed June 16, 1906. [5] [6] Oklahoma became the 46th state on November 16, 1907. [7]

Although the State of Sequoyah never came into existence, its constitution made an important contribution to Oklahoma history by its many similarities to the later Oklahoma Constitution. They shared an underlying populist distrust of elected officials. The convention also catapulted Haskell, Murray, and others further into the public arena, securing for Indian Territory a solid seat at the debate at the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention. [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Five Civilized Tribes Native American grouping

The term "Five Civilized Tribes" derives from the colonial and early federal period in the history of the United States. It refers to five Native American nations—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole. These are the first five tribes that Anglo-European settlers generally considered to be "civilized". Examples of colonial attributes adopted by these five tribes include Christianity, centralized governments, literacy, market participation, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and plantation slavery practices. The Five Civilized Tribes tended to maintain stable political relations with the Europeans.

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Alexander Posey Muscogee Creek poet, journalist, humorist, and politician from Indian Territory

Alexander Lawrence Posey was an American poet, humorist, journalist, and politician in the Creek Nation. He founded the Eufaula Indian Journal in 1901, the first Native American daily newspaper. For several years he published editorial letters known as the Fus Fixico Letters, written by a fictional figure who commented pointedly about Muscogee Nation, Indian Territory, and United States politics during the period of the dissolution of tribal governments and communal lands. He served as secretary to the Sequoyah Constitutional Convention and drafted much of the constitution for its proposed Native American state, but Congress rejected the proposal. Posey died young, drowned while trying to cross the flooding North Canadian River in Oklahoma.

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The Four Mothers Society or Four Mothers Nation is a religious, political, and traditionalist organization of Muscogee Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw people, as well as the Natchez people enrolled in these tribes, in Oklahoma. It was formed as an opposition movement to the allotment policies of the Dawes Commission and various US Congressional acts in the 1890s. The society is religious in nature and opposed allotment because dividing tribal lands broke up tribal communities and resulted in "surplus" lands being seized and made available to non-Natives.

Oklahoma Enabling Act

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On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, a significant number of Indigenous peoples of the Americas had been relocated from the Southeastern United States to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi. The inhabitants of the eastern part of the Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes, were suzerain nations with established tribal governments, well established cultures, and legal systems that allowed for slavery. Before European Contact these tribes were generally matriarchial societies, with agriculture being the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns with planned streets, residential and public areas. The people were ruled by complex hereditary chiefdoms of varying size and complexity with high levels of military organization.

Carpenter v. Murphy is a pending case before the Supreme Court of the United States and raises the question of whether Congress disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation. Although this question is specific to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Court’s decision is likely to also apply to reservations of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole Nations because all five nations have similar histories within the state of Oklahoma.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Mize, Richard (2009). "Sequoyah Convention". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  2. "Museum of the Red River - The Choctaw". Museum of the Red River. 2005. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  3. "THE STATE OF "SEQUOYAH."" (PDF). The New York Times (Archive). 5 October 1905. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  4. Wilson, Linda D. "Posey, Alexander Lawrence (1873—1908)," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 1, 2015.
  5. "Enabling Act 1906". Chickasaw History & Culture. Chickasaw.TV.
  6. Everett, Dianna. "Enabling Act (1906)". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Archived from the original on November 23, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  7. "Today in History: November 16". loc.gov. Library of Congress.

Coordinates: 35°00′N95°30′W / 35.0°N 95.5°W / 35.0; -95.5