When Life For The Osage Should Have Become Easier
|Perhaps The Flower Moon (image courtesy of Pixabay.com)|
The allotment system had been dismissed by the government for quite a long time in the early 20th century. There was a push to get the "heathens" to better assimilate into the white culture and it finally became the Osage Indians turn to get serious about leaving their old ways. What the government did not know but the Osage did was that there was oil on their land. In a rather clever set of negotiations between the government and the tribe, a deal was struck. The Osage would agree to the allotment system but (and this is a huge BUT) they wanted the sole rights to the minerals on the land. And that my friends is where the Osage pulled one over on the men who thought they were pulling one over on them. After the agreement was signed, the Osage announced the discovery of oil. It would appear that the Osage had won!
Suddenly, the Osage people were rich, filthy rich! They built mansions, they drove brand new automobiles, they dressed in fine clothing and they hired servants. In the eyes of many white men this was absolutely unacceptable! So, it was declared that the Indians were not smart enough to handle their own money. The whites couldn't take the oil rich land away but they could control the money and keep a lot of it for themselves. It gets worse!
Mr. Grann walks us through the events of a time known as The Reign of Terror by the Osage. He tells of the deceit and wicked ways that many followed to get that money from the Osage people. Some married an Osage in order to get their grimy hands on the oil money. Some, even systematically ended the lives of the Osage so that the division of the monies grew as there were less to receive it.
This is not a pretty story. It is a factual one and a heartbreaking one but it is not pretty. If you like to read about real history, this might be a book that you will find fascinating. It is often times difficult to read about the dark side of humanity; however, it can also be enlightening.
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