Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Mississippi Choctaw

Family of Mississippi Choctaws Dressed in Traditional Clothing

For the Five Civilized Tribes, the time of the allotment process was similar to their Removal in the suffering and injustices that were inflicted on them. I can't begin to list all the examples of greed, prejudice and cruelty that have been recorded, but perhaps a few examples will give you a feeling for the period. The first story I want to tell concerns the "Mississippi Choctaw." 

In the Choctaw removal treaty of 1830, The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Choctaw were given the option of remaining in Mississippi and subjecting themselves to the white man's laws, or of removing to Indian Territory. Much to the surprise and disappointment of the Mississippi whites, about 1/3 of the tribe decided to stay in their homeland. According to the treaty they were to be given allotments and U.S. citizenship. In an attempt to force the recalcitrants to remove, the Choctaw agent in Mississippi, William Ward, neglected to file the Choctaws' applications for allotment, and when they complained he threatened them. Meanwhile white settlers overran the Choctaw land, and drove the people from their homes with or without a legal deed.  

Each year after the official removal, which took place in 1832, more and more Choctaws migrated west to join their relatives in Indian Territory. Over the years the federal government and also the Choctaw Nation sent several delegations to visit the Mississippi Choctaws to convince them to join their brethren in Indian Territory, but these efforts met with only limited success.  

The following is an excerpt from a reply given by Chief Cobb of the Mississippi Choctaws in 1843 to Capt. J. J. McRae, during a visit with tribal leaders urging them to move to Indian Territory. 

Brother: When you were young we were strong; we fought by your side; but our arms are now broken. You have grown large. My people have become small.

Brother: My voice is weak; you can scarcely hear me; it is not the shout of a warrior but the wail of an infant. I have lost it in mourning over the misfortunes of my people. These are their graves, and in those aged pines you hear the ghosts of the departed. - Their ashes are here, and we have been left to protect them. Our warriors are nearly all gone to the far country west; but here are our dead. Shall we go too, and give their bones to the wolves?


Brother: Our hearts are full. Twelve winters ago our chiefs sold our country. Every warrior that you see here was opposed to the treaty. If the dead could have counted, it could never have been made, but alas! though they stood around, they could not be seen or heard. Their tears came in the raindrops, and their voices in the wailing wind, but the pale faces knew it not, and our land was taken away.

….. When you took our country, you promised us land. There is your promise in the book. Twelve times have the trees dropped their leaves, and yet we have received no land. Our houses have been taken from us. The white man's plow turns up the bones of our fathers. We dare not kindle our fires; and yet you said we might remain and you would give us land.

Footnote: The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Nation. Angie Debo, P 70

At the time of the allotment process, several thousand Choctaws still remained in Mississippi, eking out a living by working on cotton plantations.  

While the tribal rolls were being compiled, two tribal citizens, Robert Owen and Charles Winton devised a scheme to profit from the plight of the Mississippi Choctaw. They secured the support of Mississippi congressman John Sharp Williams, who represented the district where most of the Choctaw lived, and through Williams submitted memorials to Congress requesting land in Indian Territory for these unfortunate Indians. Then they  went to Mississippi and made contracts with 1000 Choctaw families to obtain allotments for them for a 50% contingency fee. If the plan had succeeded it would have meant that several million dollars worth of Choctaw property would have been deeded to the Mississippi Choctaws. Then 50% would have gone to Owens and Winton, and most of the rest to Williams and his white constituents, as soon as they were able to swindle the trusting Indians out of their property.  

Fortunately the Dawes Commission didn't fall for this scheme, but Owen and Winton later won a judgment for $175,000 for these contracts which was paid for out of the Choctaw trust fund.   

Footnote: And Still the Waters Run. Angie Debo. P 42 - 44 

In 1898 when the Curtis Act was passed, the Dawes Commission was directed to include the Mississippi Choctaws on their rolls, making them eligible for allotments. This opened up another opportunity for unscrupulous whites.  

Congress had appropriated $20,000 to bring the Mississippi Choctaws to Indian Territory. Once there each family was to be assigned an allotment, and provided with food, a tent, and tools with which to build a house and to begin farming. Unfortunately this project was handled much like the Removal. Bids for the appropriation were won by land companies whose only interest was to swindle the Indians out of their land. It was the Removal all over again. Poor Choctaw families were crowded into boxcars like cattle, and then housed in unsanitary barracks while real estate agents worked on them to sign away their allotments.

The scheme didn't work for either the Choctaws or the swindlers. Since the land was inalienable, the contracts obtained by the real estate agents were illegal. As for the Mississippi Choctaws. 2534 were enrolled; 1578 came to Indian Territory, but many of those abandoned their allotments and returned to Mississippi.  

Footnote: And Still the Waters Run, Angie Debo. P 44, and P 97-8.

In 1903 the Choctaw Nation managed to present a bill creating a commission to assist their fullbloods in choosing allotments but President Roosevelt vetoed the bill.

Footnote: Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Nation, Angie Debo. P 277.

Over the years the Mississippi Choctaws were used in many schemes to extract money or property from the Choctaw estate. One was through wills. The swindler would get a signature on a will bequeathing the Indian's allotment to him. For example in one will written in 1906 a Mississippi Choctaw bequeathed five dollars "to my dear wife," and to the swindler, "the balance of my allotment." Instead of waiting for a natural death many of these Indians were murdered. About 1000 such wills were declared invalid by District Judge Hosea Townsend in 1907, but after Oklahoma statehood his decision was reversed by a state court, and that decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court, so these fraudulent wills stood.

Footnote: And Still the Waters Run, Angie Debo. P 113-4 

After the assignment of allotments, there was still something like $30 mil in property and trust accounts belonging to the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, so again the Mississippi Choctaws became pawns of white men in an attempt to get at this wealth. The basis for all these schemes was the assumption that once the property or money was given to the Indians, they could easily be cheated out of it. The Mississippi Choctaws, whose ancestors were shrewd and educated, had lived through two generations of poverty, so they were uneducated and gullible, especially ripe targets for the swindlers.  

The Mississippi congressional delegation was particularly active in these schemes because of the presence of the Mississippi Choctaws in their midst. During the 1912 - 13 legislative session the Mississippi delegation, led by John Sharp Williams, the same Congressman involved in the 1896 Mississippi Choctaw allotment scheme, made many impassioned pleas on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives in behalf of the Mississippi Choctaw to obtain access to the Choctaw trust fund.  

These efforts were allegedly made in behalf of the fullbloods but the bills were worded to include anyone who could was remotely related by blood or marriage to a Choctaw citizen. These scams might have been successful were it not for research done by the Choctaw attorney, Patrick J. Hurley. He produced evidence that during 1910 and 11 speculators had secured thousands of contracts with a contingency fee of 30% from claimants to Indian citizenship. These companies then sold shares for $25 for twenty contracts. If the scheme worked, assuming that Choctaw citizenship was worth $8000, the 30% contingency fee would be divided between the attorney and the investor, so each would realize a profit of $23,000 on an investment of $500. Another company promised a $120 return for every dollar invested. As ludicrous as these schemes were, the Congressional debate on the issue delayed payment of per capita distributions to legitimate Choctaw tribal members for several years.   

Footnote: And Still: P 267 - 270 

In spite of all these efforts by their "defenders," the Mississippi Choctaws remained in poverty, the victims of isolation and prejudice into the twentieth century. In 1934 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed The Indian Reorganization Act, which enabled the Mississippi Choctaw to become a recognized tribe. In 1944, after writing a constitution and forming a government, the Mississippi Choctaw were recognized as a separate tribe and in 1945 they were given 18,000 acres in Neshoba County, Mississippi, for a reservation. In spite of attempts during the 1950's by federal and local governments to terminate tribal governments, the Mississippi Choctaws survived. Since then Native Americans have gradually won the right to develop both culturally and economically, and now the Mississippi Choctaws are one of the largest employers in Mississippi.

In 2008 the Nanih Waiya mound, according to tradition the site of origin of the Choctaw Tribe, was turned over by the State of Mississippi to the Mississippi Choctaws.
(see post of 10/30/2010, Choctaw and Chickasaw Origins)    

Monday, November 14, 2011

Three Killings in the Family

                                                       Joe Paul

Sam Paul and his oldest son Joe had never been close. Joe spent much of his childhood with his Uncle Tecumseh, and his Aunt Mary. Joe was close to his two younger brothers, Bill and Buck though, and my grandfather Bill said that if it weren't for Joe they would have starved while their father was in prison.  

I had only heard part of this story myself until recent years, because it was considered a scandal in the family. It wasn't spoken about. But now, the people involved and those that knew them are long gone, so it probably doesn't matter so much anymore. 

I've added to what my mother told me about these events by reading accounts written by Mike Tower, in his book, Outlaw Statesman, about Sam's nephew Fred Waite; by Moman Pruiett in his memoirs, Moman Pruiett, Criminal Lawyer; and by Bill and Cindy Paul in Shadow of an Indian Star, which is written as fiction but from what I can gather is taken mostly from historical research.   

When Sam Paul got out of prison in 1884 he sent his son Joe to college and then went about the business of rebuilding his life. By the time Joe returned, Sam had remarried and had regained his prominence in the community. When Joe began drinking and getting into trouble, he had several run ins with his father, even to the point of gun fire. Finally Joe left Pauls Valley and joined his grandfather Smith Paul in California. The reason is unclear, but there was a rumor that Joe had an affair with his father's wife, Jennie, and that Sam had threatened to kill him.  

Anyway, Joe stayed in California long enough to get married and have a child. I actually met one of his great grandchildren last year at a Chickasaw gathering. I'm not sure of the details, but from what my distant cousin told me, Joe was only married a short time before he deserted his California wife. Smith Paul also decided to leave his California family about that time, about 1890, and so they returned to Indian Territory together.  

When Joe returned the feud between father and son didn't start up again for a while, but when Joe continued to drink and to get into fights, his father warned him to control himself. Joe responded by going around town boasting that the next time he saw his father he was going to kill him, so they both got ready for a show down. There were at least two encounters between the two, and in one Joe was shot in the chest. It took several months for him to recover from this injury, but soon afterwards, he walked into a café where his father was eating and shot him twice in the back with a Winchester rifle.  

According to the story I was told by my mother, Tecumseh McClure, Sam's older brother,  instigated the killing. She said that she was told by her father that Tecumseh had Joe worked up into a frenzy over the threat his father posed to traditional Chickasaw customs, so the murder was actually politically motivated. Of course Joe may not have needed much encouragement.  

My mother also said that her father didn't blame his brother Joe for what he had done because of the mistreatment and neglect he had suffered because of their father. Our family and Joe's were always friends. It was actually a conflict between Joe and Tecumseh that led to the next family killing.  

After Sam Paul's murder Joe was arrested and sent to Paris, Texas, for trial, but because he and Sam were both Indians, the court decided it did not have jurisdiction, therefore Joe returned home a free man. The Chickasaw courts didn't take up the matter either, further evidence that the murder was politically motivated. Joe Paul was even appointed as a judge in the Chickasaw court.

During the next three years Joe led for him a respectable life, he got married to a full blood Chickasaw lady named Maulsey Stewart, and performed his duties as judge, but the quick temper that he had inherited from his father caught up with him. One night he got into an argument with one of his drinking buddies that ended in a gun fight. Joe was arrested and he spent the night in jail. The next day his uncle Tecumseh bailed him out and lectured him about his disgraceful behavior. Joe then slapped Tecumseh in the face and walked off. Two months later Tecumseh's son Jennison killed Joe in the same café where Joe had killed his father Sam. 

                                 Jennison, Tecumseh, and Imon McClure

The Pull-backs were still in control of the Chickasaw government - in 1884 Tecumseh McClure had even served as governor - so Jennison was acquitted of Joe Paul's murder, but he wouldn't remain free for long. Three months after the trial he was found dead on the railroad tracks, run over by a train.  

Moman Pruiett described the incident in his book, Moman Pruiett, Criminal Lawyer. He wrote that he was playing poker with Jennison McClure until late the night of Jennison's death. At one point in the evening:  

a squatty half breed sidled in. He stood beside the table for several minutes, watching the play indifferently, before he spoke.

"Bill Paul in town; I just seen him," the half breed said.

The players exchanged significant glances and continued their play. When the hand was finished Jennison McClure pushed his stack of chips toward Weaver, who was banking, and arched his eyebrows.

"You quittin'?"

"I go home now," he said.

"It's almost daylight, Mac," Pruiett suggested. "Hadn't you better play a couple more before you leave?" (Pruiett refers to himself in the third person in his book)

"I go home now," he repeated.

"Look here, now, Jennison," Weaver said. "It ain't hardly safe to be runnin' around here in the dark, without knowin' where he is. Why don't you stick around a little longer. You know damn well he ain't comin' up here."

"I go home now," McClure said, without changing tone or expression.

"Pay him off," said Pruiett. "He says he go home."

The squatty informer was already dozing in a chair. New hands were dealt and McClure walked carelessly out the side door.

"It's getting light, now, as sure as hell," Pruiett observed. "let's go an' get some breakfast after this hand. How long's Jennison been gone?"


"That was a shot!" Pruiett whispered.

There was a short silence, than two more shots. The players glanced toward the little half-breed Indian, who slouched low in his chair with his dirty hands folded peacefully across his pot belly. His eyes opened wide and understandingly. With a significant shrug of his shoulders he closed them again and began to nod.

"Damn it," Pruiett gritted. "I'm out. If you two fellows want to play any more it's all right, but I'm quittin'. What the hell's that?" He jumped and started.

"You're all upset," Weaver laughed. "It's just a train whistle. It's the mornin' Santa Fe. I'm out too."

"Come on, Shorty; coffee." Pruiett called to the little Indian. He was close at the heels of the quartet as it reached the bottom of the staircase which ran up the side of the stone building. A woman hurried up Paul Avenue from the east, from the direction of the Santa Fe Depot. "Is Doc Young up here?" she inquired, breathlessly.

"No, he ain't," one of the men said. "What's wrong?"

"The mornin' train just ran over a man," she said. "You want Doc for professional service, or official service?" Pruiett asked. Young was the mayor and chief magistrate, as well as the principal M.D.

"It ain't for treatment," she answered. "He's mince meat. We just want him there for the identification, an' to watch the pickin' up." 

Pruiett describes walking over to the tracks, seeing the body, and recognizing the shirt
Jennison had been wearing. Then Jennison's father Tecumseh arrived: 

Ex-Governor Tecumseh McClure of the Chickasaw Nation, who was the father of Jennison McClure who had just been killed, appeared upon the scene, looked all around and said, "Jennison he's cut up bad. Well, he's all right. He, Fred Waite, Sam and Joe Paul, all now in Injun's Happy Hunting Ground."  

Moman Pruiett tended to dramatize things. Indian's didn't really talk like that, and they didn't refer to the after life as the "Happy Hunting Ground" either, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was true that my grandfather and his brother killed Jennison McClure. My grandmother always denied it, saying that Bill and Buck were in school at the time in Sherman, Texas, but it would have been possible for them to ride down one day, kill their cousin, and ride back the next. They were loyal to their brother Joe, and revenge was a strong tradition among the Chickasaw.

                     Body of Jennison McClure on Railroad Tracks, 1897

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sam Paul, Part Eight

Sam and Jenny Paul at Mt Vernon in Washington DC during Sam's visit to testify before Congressional Committee on Indian Affairs (Front row, fourth and fifth from right.)  

When Sam Paul was chosen as the leader of the Chickasaw Progressive Party, his life took on a new purpose. I can't say he was a changed man. He had the same fiery temper and the same ruthless determination as before, but instead of chasing criminals (and women) he decided to lead his people into the future.  

His first action was to travel to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the Progressive cause. (See post of Oct. 29, 2011, Sam Paul, Part Seven) In a speech before the Joint Congressional Committee of Indian Affairs he pointed out that the recent laws disenfranchising intermarried white citizens went against the Chickasaw constitution.  

On his return to Indian Territory Sam Paul bought a newspaper, The Chickasaw Enterprise, whose previous owner was being forced to sell because of intimidation by the Chickasaw Government. Sam installed his nephew, Fred Waite, who was currently constable of Pauls Valley, as editor, and they proceeded to publish articles supporting individual ownership of land and rights for white citizens.  

This statement of the newspaper's position was published in October of 1889: 

The Enterprise is an Indian newspaper and is owned and edited by an Indian. And, we do with the best interests of our people at heart say we shall continue to further advocate the speedy acceptation by our citizens of their land in severalty and the inauguration of a territorial form of government.(The Outlaw Statesman, by Mike Tower, P 89 ) 

Fred was no easier to intimidate than his uncle Sam. He was not only a constable, he had previously been one of Sam's deputies, and had before that ridden with Billy the Kid's "Regulators" in New Mexico. Fred had a college education and soon would be elected to the Chickasaw legislature and later be named Attorney General. The story of Fred Waite is told in the book, Outlaw Statesman, by Mike Tower.

Fred Waite, about 1880

Sam Paul took his mission seriously. He bought another newspaper in Ardmore, Oklahoma, The Chickasaw Chieftain, which he edited himself, quite an accomplishment for an Indian whose education had consisted of tutoring by itinerant teachers. Sam enlisted the help of his sons Bill and Buck in gathering news.  

Sam also opened a law practice in Pauls Valley and I suspect he had little trouble getting white clients needing someone to represent them in Chickasaw courts.  

Sam made speeches throughout the territory, advocating eventual statehood with equal rights for both Indians and whites, and when the first land was opened to white settlement in the famous land run of 1889, it was Sam Paul who fired the gun to start the race. He believed so fervently in the benefits of white settlement that he made trips to Texas and Arkansas to invite families to come to Indian Territory.  

Being a politician in the Chickasaw Nation wasn't for the faint of heart. Sam Paul was shot at once during a speech before a large crowd in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. He ducked down behind the podium momentarily, and then stood back up and finished his speech. On another occasion he rode into a meeting of Pull-backs with an armed escort, and delivered a speech to them while his men trained guns on the crowd.  

                                                          Sam Paul

I have the complete text of one of my great grandfather's speeches, which was published in the Chickasaw Chieftain. The speech was delivered in 1891 at a Fourth of July celebration in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, before a crowd of 1000 white men and Indians. Sam Paul's voice was weak due to a throat "affection" which "compelled him to pause and drink water at frequent intervals," but his delivery was "eloquent and forcible." He spoke without notes: 

Ladies and Gentlemen: I have been invited by the committee to come here today and speak on the issues which are now agitating the people of the Chickasaw Nation. I hardly know how to properly address an audience of this kind at a Fourth of July picnic. My speechmaking has been confined to political gatherings of my own countrymen during election campaigns and before the council of the nation. I must ask the indulgence of you all for I have not made sufficient preparation to do justice to the occasion. 

I shall talk to you on the subject of progression, touching upon the allotment question. 

I shall go back as far as 1830. At that time the Choctaws and Chickasaws were located east of the Mississippi River, and owing to the state of laws being extended over them, they became very much dissatisfied, because they could not understand or obey the white man's law, and as they believed, could not prosper under such circumstances. The chiefs and head men of the tribes appealed to the President of the United States to protect them against the laws of the white man; but to their great surprise and sorrow, the President said: "I cannot stop the operation of the laws of the states over your people." Then the Choctaws, becoming convinced that they would have to be governed by the state laws, expressed their desire to cede their country to the United States and secure a new home across the Mississippi. Accordingly, they purchased this land from the United States government and received therefor a patent. In 1837 the Chickasaws made an agreement with the Choctaws to locate within the Choctaw Nation and to have certain rights and privileges. After living in this manner for several years, the Chickasaws became dissatisfied with their dependent relations with the Choctaws, and in 1855 the two tribes, with the consent and under the direction of the United States government, readjusted their relationship, the Chickasaws being given their own district over which they were allowed to establish a government of their own. In addition to $530,000 already paid by the Chickasaws to the Choctaws for a one-fourth interest in their land, they paid $150,000 more for the right of independent government.  

I simply refer to this for the information of those who may not understand the status of the Chickasaws in this country. After all this had been done, the Chickasaws adopted a constitution after the fashion of the United States. Then the Chickasaws were independent of the Choctaws having their own government. There were very few white people among the Chickasaws at that time and such a thing as politics was almost unknown among them. They lived harmoniously, looking forward to the welfare and prosperity of the whole people and they were prospering. The few years they were here in this country they had accumulated herds of horses, cattle and hogs and were opening up small farms on the rich bottoms of the Blue, Boggy, Washita, Canadian, and Red Rivers, and other streams too numerous to mention. But alas! The great Civil War, with its disastrous influence, put a clog in the wheels of the progress of these people. The North on one hand, the South on the other - what were they to do? They were forced to take one side or the other. The result was that a part went to the North and a part to the South. Their little homes were destroyed and their herds confiscated or driven away. When the war was over in 1866, a treaty was made with the United States government, reaffirming all former treaties, with a few exceptions. 

Now we will come down to where it is most interesting. After the war there became two factions among the Chickasaw people. They did not have that friendly and brotherly feeling they had before the war. There arose strife, difficulties, discontent and in many instances there was bloodshed. They became prejudiced toward each other and toward the white settlers and that prejudice had been growing stronger and stronger ever since and has taken a firm root in the politics of the nation as well as in the social life of our people.  

Oh, what wonderful and grand things could have been accomplished in this nation if this prejudice had never existed. I am satisfied that had enterprise been encouraged, as before the war, we would today have one of the finest and richest countries in the world almost. If enterprise had been encouraged, we would not only boast of our rich lands and our free and independent government, but we could boast of our great flouring mills, cotton mills, woolen mills, iron works, machine shops, quartz mill coal mines, oil wells, railroads, colleges, magnificent churches and brick blocks and the hundred and one institutions that go to make up a perfect civilization. This country has better and a greater variety of natural resources than some of the most populous and powerful states in the union.  

About the year 1850 my father moved to Ft. Arbuckle. We were then on the extreme frontier. There were none but the Comanches and other savages west of us. It was very dangerous to live there, but my father was one of those hardy and fearless pioneers who blazed the way for civilization to follow. Many a time we would slip away from our little log cabin just before dark, seeking a hiding place for the night. Often on returning home the next morning, we would find footprints made by these wild Indians all over the yard. Often we would be forced to move within the fort for protection. In after years they became friendly and during the war the Comanches, Caddos, and Osages were located where the town of Paul's Valley now stands. We were also there; having moved from Fort Arbuckle in 1859. Many a scalp dance have I witnessed at Paul's Valley during the war. I have seen barbarity in its most degrading forms and been an eye witness of the transformation that a quarter of a century has wrought in this country. I simply refer to those days that I may contrast the present with the past.    

In spite of the stubborn fight of the Chickasaws against progress and the innovations of the white man, in spite of oppression and restrictive legislation by our government, the country is building up and is already nearly as far advanced in an agricultural sense as any farming community in the west. In spite of the bitter legislative opposition to the construction of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railroad through this nation, it was built, and instead of ruining this country, as was confidently predicted by the full bloods, it has proved a Godsend to the cause of progress among us. It seemed to put new life in the Indian. He became more energetic and began to acquire the white man's dollar and the white man's ways. 

I cannot recall a single instance where the Chickasaw Nation has encouraged enterprise. Who built the railroad through our land and put opportunities in our hands for gaining riches and contentment? The white man. Who opened up all of these rich and beautiful farms? The white man. Who built the churches and school houses of the nation? The white man. Who built the flouring mills, the cotton gins, the various industries we see on every hand? The white man. Who are the merchants, the mechanics, the agricultural toilers, the professional men - the brawn and brains of the land? White men. Now why is that we should be so bitter toward our brethren in white? In nearly every instance where an Indian is operating with a white man he is prosperous, be he a full blood or half breed; but where you find one who will not associate or have any dealings with the whites, you will find a pauper, when he might be among the well-to-do men of his tribe if he would just lay aside that little thing prejudice. Take the white man out of this nation and we Chickasaws wouldn't exist - well, say twelve months.  

Now this is the class that are in power today, the white haters. This is the class of men who have organized themselves into a militia force and are scouring the country and endeavoring to enforce laws that are an outrage upon an industrious and peaceable people. This is the class of men who are imposing fines and inflicting punishments upon their most intelligent and enterprising citizens. This is the class of men who disenfranchise and are endeavoring to prosecute the white brother whose blood and example have elevated the Indian from the scalp dance to the ways of civilization. This is the condition of affairs in this country today.  

Things have come to such a pass that I do not believe we will ever prosper until there is a change had in our government - a complete change. What I mean by a complete change is to change the tenure of our lands from a system of community to one of severalty and allow individualization to absorb the tribal relation. But as I was saying, the full bloods are so prejudiced toward the progressive half breeds and adopted whites that their eyes are blind to matters affecting their individual welfare and their national life. There is but one path out of the woods, but their foolish prejudice has made them so blind they will not see it.  

During Governor B. F. Overton's administration, he together with some of the men who are now figuring in our governmental affairs, laid a deep and well planned scheme which has worked quite successfully. They leased large tracts of valuable land to white men for a long term of years and at the next legislature passed a law making it a crime to negotiate land leases, providing however that those already made should stand. Thus they used the full bloods' prejudice to keep him in poverty, and they are still so prejudiced that they would rather go hungry than repeal that law. To show their prejudice is stronger than ever, they disenfranchised the white citizens who have built up our country, and the band of desperadoes and disreputable characters they call the militia is out today arresting citizens and worrying noncitizens for violating the Chickasaw laws, as they call it, but I call it for improving the country and trying to build up homes for themselves and their children. Why, a man cannot go into an enterprise of any kind without violating some of their obnoxious laws. The rights, privileges and immunities guaranteed to us by our treaties and constitution have been legislated away from us and we are now powerless to redress these wrongs.  

Speaking of leasing lands, I always was in favor of the lease system, with certain restrictions guarding against monopoly and alien corporations. Under the present system a white man cannot feel as though he had a permanent home here. He is a transient squatter and a violator of law as it is. Would it not be better to have the whole of the territory in an advanced state of cultivation through a safe and equitable land tenure than in a raw, wild state? It seems to me it would be much better, so when the time for allotment has come, each Choctaw and Chickasaw could select a farm ready improved. Of course there should be just provisions made to pay for the improvements and satisfactorily adjust the claims of the men who have equities in the country without an interest in the domain.  

I am heartily in favor of allotment and have been for years, although I bowed to the will of the majority in the late political campaign. My plan of allotting is to class the land as 1, valley; 2, upland; 3, swamp; 4, mountain. I suppose there is good bottom land enough to give 160 acres to each individual, the remainder to be divided according to its value - we will say $5 for valley land; $3 upland, $2 for swamp and $1 for mountain land. So you see the person locating (in) the mountain tracts would have five acres to the valley man's one, reserving all the mineral interest for the benefit of the Chickasaw government - that is for the government to have the right to assess a royalty. After securing patents for our lands, we are to be privileged to dispose of all land in excess of 160 acres, which is inalienable for twenty-one years. Town sites, school and other public lands are provided for in the treaty of '66, the allotment plan of which could be easily modified to suit the condition of affairs in this country today. I believe this is the best and most amicable way by which the land can be allotted, giving to each and every individual his or her pro rata share. The treaty provides for taxes, though I believe it would be wise for us in making these changes to provide when we are to be taxed - say twenty one years from the date of allotment. You see the treaty only provides that there shall be money enough retained that the interest will be sufficient to defray the expenses of the government until such time as the president may see proper. Now the danger is that the president may see fit to assess the people at once, after turning over all monies belonging to the Choctaws and Chickasaws. While I am in favor of individualization of the land, opening the country to capital and encouraging all kinds of enterprise I want to protect the interest of the full bloods, although they regard me as their worst enemy They became prejudiced toward me because in the council of the nation and on every suitable occasion I advocated justice and freedom. Because I labored to repeal all of those obnoxious laws and enact good and wholesome ones - laws that would perpetuate and honor our government, they even threatened to take my life and would today had they the opportunity. Why, I cannot attend to my business at Tishomingo with safety, for fear of organized plots to assassinate me.  

Oh, it makes me shudder when I think of the man they murdered at Tishomingo while I was attending court there last winter. The poor fellow had been bushwhacked within sight of the capital, under the shadow of the court, and cut to pieces without a show for his life. There the body lay concealed in the brush, dragged to the light of day and public sight by the hogs that mutilated it shockingly. The murdered man and his murderers were members of the jury. When roll was called those red-handed assassins answered to their names, but their victim answered not. There they were with blood on their shirts, blood on their hats, blood on their pants - oh, I imagine I can see them now with blood dripping from the very end of their fingers! They did not even find a bill against them. They were turned loose to prey upon some other defenseless, innocent man. There were many cases the past year as heinous as this. 

I long to see the day when a man's life and property will be fully protected in this Chickasaw Nation. This is the class of men who stand between the more enterprising, intelligent and peaceable citizens and complete civilization and prosperity.  

I hope the day is not far off when the tomahawk will be buried and we can join hands in friendship. When we can more completely open up our lands to settlement, our country to capital and business, and give our brothers in white an opportunity to secure a permanent home among us and be our neighbors, elevating us to the highest standard of civilization. Then there will be peace and prosperity throughout "the land of the free and the home of the brave," and not 'til then.  

Sam Paul's proposal was remarkably similar to final agreement made by the Chickasaws  with the Dawes Commission nine years later, the Atoka Agreement, except that Sam's plan would have given more protection to the full bloods. Statehood for Indian Territory was Sam Paul's dream, but unfortunately, he didn't live to see it.