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Hyundai Oklahoma, OK. Information Page

Oklahoma, OK.

Sooner State

Oklahoma is a South Central state of the United States (with strong Southern, Western, and Midwestern influences) and its U.S. postal abbreviation is OK; others abbreviate the state's name Okla. As of 2000, the population is 3,450,654.

Oklahoma was inhabited by Native American tribes including the Kitikiti'sh (Wichita) Quapaw, Caddo and Osage. Descendants of these peoples still live in the state. In the 16th century Spanish explorers became the first documented Europeans to visit the area (there is evidence to suggest that viking explorers passed through in the sixth century, but this has yet to be accepted widely by the scientific and historical community). Later, Oklahoma was part of the vast territorial swapping between European powers France and Spain. In the 1830s Oklahoma, as the Indian Territory, served as the relocation area for the policy of Indian Removal started by Andrew Jackson. The end of the Trail of Tears (Tsa La Gi) was "Indian Territory". There were already many tribes living in the territory, whites, and escaped slaves as well. The "Five Civilized Tribes," so named due to their early adaptations to Christianity and European clothing, technology, and trade, were not the only ones forced to Oklahoma. Nations such as the Delaware, from the northeast U.S., Kiowa, Comanche, and others were forced to move to Oklahoma. The name Oklahoma comes from the language of the Choctaw people, who were removed from Mississippi to "Indian Territory" by the United States Government in the early to mid-1800s. "Oklahoma" is a combination of two Choctaw words: okla which means "people," (as in the term "Miliki okla," which means "American people"), and homa, "homma," or "humma," various spellings of the Choctaw word which means, among other denotations, "red." The name was suggested by Allen Wright, Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation from 1866 to 1870. The "Five Civilized Tribes" set up towns such as Tulsa, Tahlequah, and Muskogee, which became some of the larger towns in the state. They also brought their African slaves to Oklahoma, which added to African-American population in the region. During the American Civil War many tribes were internally split between Confederates and the United States. However, in 1861 the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, Quapaws, Senecas, Caddos, Wichitas, Osage Nation, and Shawnees signed treaties of alliance with the Confederacy. There were several battles fought in Oklahoma. After the Civil War, in 1866, the federal government forced the tribes into new treaties. Most of the land in central and western Indian Territory was ceded to the government. Some of the land was given to other tribes, but the central part, the so-called Unassigned Lands, remained with the government. Another concession allowed railroads to cross Indian lands. Furthermore the practice of slavery was outlawed. Some nations were integrated racially and otherwise with their slaves, but other nations were extremely hostile to the former slaves and wanted them exiled from their territory. In the 1870s a movement began by people wanting to settle the government lands in the Indian Territory under the Homestead Act of 1862. They referred to the Unassigned Lands as Oklahoma and to themselves as Boomers. In the 1880s, early settlers of the state's very sparsely populated Panhandle region tried to form the Cimarron Territory, but lost a lawsuit against the federal government, prompting a judge in Paris, Texas, to unintentionally create a moniker for the area. "That is land that can be owned by no man," the judge said, and after that the panhandle was referred to as No Man's Land until statehood arrived decades later. In 1884, in United States vs. Payne, the United States District Court in Topeka, Kansas, ruled that settling on the lands ceded to the government by the Indians under the 1866 treaties was not a crime. The government at first resisted but the Congress soon enacted laws authorizing settlement. Congress passed the Dawes Act, or General Allotment Act, in 1887 requiring the government to negotiate agreements with the tribes to divide Indian lands into individual holdings. Under the allotment system, tribal lands left over would be surveyed for settlement by non-Indians. Following settlement, many whites accused Republican officials of giving preferential treatment to ex-slaves in land disputes.


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