Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1906

Constitutional Convention

November 20, 1906 After the Enabling Act of 1906 allowed Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory to become a single state, 112 elected delegates met in Guthrie from November 20, 1906 until March 15, 1907. The delegates, led by William “Alfalfa Bill” H. Murray, drafted a constitution which the public approved in September 1907. The Internet…

University of Oklahoma 1907

State Colleges and Universities Founded

December 19, 1890 Only months after the Organic Act established Indian and Oklahoma Territories, the First Oklahoma Territorial Legislature founded three public universities- the University of Oklahoma in Norman on Dec. 19, 1890, Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) in Stillwater on Dec. 25, 1890, and Central State Normal School (now the University of Central…

Map of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories, 1892

Organic Act of 1890

May 2, 1890 The Organic Act of 1890 created separate Oklahoma and Indian Territories, outlined the provisions of a territorial government, and set aside land in every township for public schools. The full text of the Organic Act is available on the Library of Congress’ website. The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture has an…

Land Run of 1889

Land Run of 1889

April 22, 1889 The land run of 1889 began the legal opening of federally held land to white settlement. President Benjamin Harrison authorized the settlement of the Unassigned Lands of Indian Territory to whites, setting the stage for similar openings of land that had been granted to tribes. This land run set the stage for…

Henry Dawes and the Dawes Act of 1887

Dawes Act

February 8, 1887 The Dawes Severalty Act, also known as the General Allotment Act, was a law championed by Senator Henry Dawes of Massachusetts that gave the federal government the power to break up communally held Native land and allocate it to tribal individuals. It was approved on February 8, 1887. Some reformers saw this…

Kiowa Chief Lone Wolf and Comanche Chief Quanah Parker

Red River War

June 27, 1874 (1874-1875) The Red River War was the last major military conflict between the United States government and the southern Plains Indians. While many tribes had been forced into agreeing to live on reservations, they were often poorly run, with rations and materials being too small for the needs of the tribes. Raids…

Washington Irving: A Tour of the Prairies

Washington Irving’s Tour on the Prairies

October 8, 1832 In autumn 1832, author Washington Irving embarked on a month-long journey through Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Irving, author of well known stories such as Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, described details about his trek in the book he called A Tour on the Prairies. Irving and his crew first arrived…

Trail of Tears, painting by Robert Lindneux, 1942

Indian Removal Act

May 28, 1830 The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands which is today’s southeastern United States. This act led to the infamous Cherokee Trail of Tears. Other tribes that were…

Native Camps

Native Peoples of Oklahoma

Prior to May 28, 1830 Before the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and other legislated removals forced many tribes into Indian Territory, many other tribes already called the land that is now Oklahoma home. The Apache, Arapaho, Caddo, Comanche, Kiowa, Osage, and Wichita tribes all lived out their distinct ways of life before removal and…