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The Salt Lake tribune. [volume] (Salt Lake City, Utah) 1890-current, July 21, 1907, SUNDAY MAGAZINE, Image 34

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045396/1907-07-21/ed-1/seq-34/

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I
THE SALT BAS&
I' PAWIIUSKA, Ok., July 20 Probably
tho most unique contest in Ihc entire
history of ilia world closed on the
night of Juno .'10 among the Osage ln
diu.'iH. Tt was no less than a contest to
SCO which family could produce the
greatest number of children having
Quago blood, because each child boru
beforo that date would, by act of Con
gress, immediately become worth $20,--000.
Tho lucky man who had twins
bovu to him during this last week is
' today $40,000 richer than if the happy
ovent had been delayed, and the poor
" lndinn who had throe children boru to
two wives on July 4 is out on tho war
path. This strange condition comes aboiu
'from the fact that a new law has gone
into ctrect. by which the wealth of the
Osago Indiana is at last to be divided
' up among the members of the tribe.
Tt is not going too far to &ay that this
community is probably the wealthiest
in tho entire world, for the nor capita
wealth is estimated to be about $20,000
for every man, woman and child having
Osage blood in his veins, and tho an
nual income of each is in the neighbor
hood of $oO) per year. Here is an ideal
socialistic conditiou, for the lone
bachelor of (10, who has loafed all his
life, is just as wealthy as and no more
than the new born babe who comes into
the world mid or these circumstances,
Willi no fear of having lo descend to
the degrading level of work unless,
after this allotment and the Indian
comes into possession of his inherited
wealth, some shrewd Yankee or half
breed trots it away from him.
m
H The Osage Nation today consists of
1 about 2200 people, of whom about 1000
H nrc full-blooded blanket Indians, speak-
H inn- no English and living in very much
H of the primitive manner of their fore-
H .fathers. The other J200 arc of various j
H degrees of Osago blood, from one-half j
H to one-sixty-fourth, but under the law,
H every individual having any Osage
H blood is enrolled as a nation and conse-
H quently entitled to his share of the di-
Hj vision of wealth. Away back in the
H first part of the last century the French
K traders eamo down this way from St.
Hj Louis, as well as a considerable num-
H her of enterprising Irishmen, and their
H intermarriage with the native maidens
H created a mixture that has been grow-
H ing continuously over since, although
H until about ten years ago, there wns a
H long period when marriages between a
H while man and an Indian woman of this
H tribe was practically interdicted. Mar-
H riages between white men and half or
H quarter-bred Indians have continued,
Ht and during the Inst ten years a consid-
Hj crablc number of enterprising young
H white men of the East and North, hav-
H ing heard of the wealth ofjfctlic Osage
H maidens, have taken up their residence
H here, wooed and won these favored
children of wealth. Others, not bo en
terprising, have contented themselves !
with writing letters to the Indian agent ,
at Pawhuska, asking how the desired
end might be accomplished, and have
scarcely received encouragement m
their ambition. One of these letters,
addressed to the postmaster at Faw
hupka, was referred to the present
Chief Ne-kal-wash-ha-ion-kab. His re
ply when translated nroved to be tell
the young man to end big chief car
load ponies Tell young man to send
big chief many present?. Toll young ,
i man to send much present: he get. trirl;
j but. young man make promise. oung
J inan promisc he no work."
I There are probably loL of young
! men who would welcome that, prospect
and make that promise without, any
mental reservation, just as there arc a
great many on tho reservation today
who, without having mado that prom
ise, are sticking to it religiously. For
that is what tho Osage Nation is, a j
community without tho necessity of .
work. When the Osage had their res
ervation in Kansas, the land became so
valuable for wheat and for agriculture
that, an arrangement was made by
which their entire holdings were taken
over by the government at $1.25 an
acre, and with that money a smaller
reservation, aggregating in all about
1.500.000 acres, was purchased for ;
them in Oklahoma, at 70 cents an acre.
The balance of this money, amounting
to nearly $9,000,000. was placed to the
credit of the nation by the Federal
government and 5 per cent per annum
guaranteed to them thereon.
I'rom this income, certain tribal ex
penses are paid, that of the support of
the agency and of the Osage school,
and the balance is paid over quarterly
to the enrolled members of the tribe.
Hut their income does not cease here.
Luck of a financial kind seems to have
followed the Osages. Moved as they
were from lands that had become val
uable for agriculture to lands that
could then be bought cheaply, they
were unwittingly deposited on new
lands that have since been proved to
be rich in oil and minerals, as well as
extremely fertile for agricultural pur
poses. The richness of this oil conn
try is scarcely believable to the east
erner. At what stands on the railroad
maps as the town of Kiefer, which is
in reality nothing hut a box car stand
ing on a siding of the Frisco railroad,
the freight receipts in that box car of
fice have been, during the past month,
over .$1-10,000, due entirely to the bring
ing in of the various machinery and
implements for oil wells. This is not
far distant from the Osago Nation, and
its million and a half acres arc tapped
throughout by oil wells which are
yielding enormously. Ten years ago a
blanket lease was made by the United
States Government of all the oil lands
of the Osage Indians. That is, lor
180 000 acres. And last year this was ,
renewed for a period of ten vcars on :
tho basis that tho Indians should re
ceive $50 for every well that was
driven and yielded, as well as 1-
per cent of all that was realized from j
that oil. There arc now on the rcser
vation something over GOO of these
wells flowing 15,000 barrels per day, (
and the total income from them is j
about $240,000 per month, of which ,
the Indians' share is $.10,000. In addi
tion to this, grazing rights are leased,
and these net $200,000 per annum more,
while all over tho reservation are
farms and farm lands which arc rented
by their Indian owners to white farm
ers at $2.50 or $3 per acre per year.
Thus the total income of the nation
for the vear ending Jnne 30, 1000, was
$1,228,458, and this was divided among
the enrolled members of tho tribe. Thus,
if tho Indian had two wives, which is
not an uncommon thing, and ten chil
dren, which is no loss common, he
would draw, as the head of the family,
a pro rata share for twelve people, live
in his little tepee or small cottage,
wrap himself in his blanket, cat heavi
ly of boef, grow fat in contentment on
liis $0000 income, and lease out his land
to the hated paleface, who cultivates
it ns a tenant of his lordly master. It
is small wonder, thon, that there has
been an influx of whites to the Terri
tory seeking Indian wives who could
bring them such opulent charms, but
the mixture is not looked upon with
favor by the full-bloods, whose chief 1
endeavor at the present limo is lo j
brim: about an allotment that will ,
eliminato some of these of mixed blood.
The department's rulings stand, how- ,
ever, and up to June 30, 1007, when the j
rolls wero closed, any child bora of
such a union stood on an equal fooling
with the full-blooded, Osago in the mat- j
ter of the division of this wealth.
Some curious results were seen work
ing out from this situation. The time
was when tho Osage braves were
among the most dignified, mental)
acnto and famous as hunters of all the I
Indians. Their traditions arc full of
poetry and nobility of thought. Their
annals are tilled with bravo deeds -in
hunting and their chases of the buf
falo have been sung in story aud song. !
Todav the full-bloods, as a rule, are j
nnibitionless aud obese, spending their
time wrapped in their blankets, posing
before the doors of the Citi
zens' National bank of Paw
huska, whero the cash their
checks and draw their dividends. Tho
rest of the time, when they arc not
slowly pacing the streets in front of the
Agency, meekly followed by their equal
ly obeso wives, they arc" sleeping, or
feeding, living in dogkeuMfc
gambling, or quietly srsaia
cigars which have taken
their peace pipes. 0nt U
beautiful tradition, by
called upon the dove, tij'j
peace, to intercede for &
their shortcomings Mrith the (
it, but their old iclirion lm
planted within tho list &
something which partaiaj
ture of a Avorakip of the w
tho product of that plait I
their .Mexican consinj
pulque. Your Osa$o Ici
chary about describing tke'
i this new religion Trhiti'
1 brought in among Uiem, btt
i as I. have been able to p
I there is still tho pretcuei
ping the Great Spirit lbmt
i ing. of this I)ean. As a am
; the beau niakc3 Uicra vjs
1 is as a result of this nam
! consider they have been rtB
! impurities of the spirit ud
1 Incidentally, the effect ofr)
(undoubtedly very similar 1
i hasheesh, because tbconh;
i been able to get regardiBj.
; is "uni see heap big viriw
' !
The intermarriage of 1
mixed blood has been gobf
I and the Indian blood hak
' in some cases to so stall.
I that it would hardly be m,
the president of the CiUKM
I instance, was on tlio roll
I more especially as he beanl
s Matthews, aud it is M W
full bloods and inc mac
tho politics of the tribe.w
son for being. Thelribt
a ejiief, an assistant chief M
of ten, who aro elected kbn
two years, and the tube xi
two political parties, tt U
and the Progressive iartjv
is, ns its name applies, t
the full bloods, who Trant ffl
the full bloods, and who m
tain something of their CM"
Tho Progressive party wj
vanccment and lor ino
tho people with tbeir k&
though the mixed bloods
nicrical majority, the M
still in a majonty apotfj
ing age, although .this sg
idly hanging. !
that a full Wood is ah
chief, for the reason tW.
grcssivi? party, or niitfj .m
nominate at their WW
as their candidate wJ
votes from the opposite PJ
;.
These mixed bloods art.
leaders of the Nation
ity and advancement.
Continued on Pg

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