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Historical Background - "Killers of the Flower Moon"

The Osage Nation and the oil on Osage land

Excerpt from the website of the Osage Nation Foundation:


Osage Nation History

... Part of the Northern Plains tribes, the Osage were known for being bold warriors, skilled hunters and farmers, and preservers of family life.

Between 1808 and 1825, treaties with the United States resulted in the cessation of Osage tribal land across Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Osage traveled the Trail of Tears and settled in southeast Kansas on the Cherokee Strip. By the time they negotiated the treaty of 1865, to purchase land in Oklahoma, the Osages had reduced in population by 95%. Only 3000 Osage People walked across the Kansas border into their new land. Through an act of Congress in 1870, remaining tribal lands in Kansas were sold, and the Osage relocated to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, site of present-day Osage County.

Life was hard in Kansas and Oklahoma. Food, clothing and medical supplies were in short supply. In 1894, the tribe’s fortunes finally changed when crude oil was discovered under Osage land.
The Osage Allotment Act of 1906 ensured that the Osage would retain mineral rights to the land. ...


Excerpt from the website of the Osage Nation:

The Osage Nation Reservation 

... In 1871 and 1872 we relocated to a reservation described and confirmed by an Act of Congress approved June 5,1872 in Indian Territory. The Osage Reservation includes 1,470,559 acres. Contrary to popular belief that it was a gift from the United States Government to the Osage Nation, it was actually purchased from the Cherokee Nation by the Osage Nation. On June 14, 1883, the Cherokee Nation by its principal chief conveyed the land by deed to the United States to be placed in trust fore the Osage Nation for the sum of $1,099,137.41. This amount was paid from the Osage tribal funds representing the proceeds from the sale of the Osage Reservation in Kansas.

The lands purchased became the final and permanent home of the Osage people. ...

Link to the full text:

Excerpt from the website of the Osage Nation:

Did You Know?

... Owning the mineral rights meant that the Osage tribe would have to be paid royalties for any oil drilled in Osage County. Oil royalties paid to the Osage people, during the early 20th century, helped to make them one of the wealthiest groups of people in the world.

The first oil lease in Osage County was obtained in 1896 ...

... In 1916 the ITIO lost the blanket lease, and the tribe began selling leases individually to the highest bidder at lease auctions. These lease sales were held under the shade of a giant elm tree located atop Ki-He-Kah Hill in Pawhuska, which would later be named the Million Dollar Elm. ...

Link to the full text:

The collaboration with the Osage Nation