A Guide to Resources at the Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives


Because of the relationship between the United States government and Native Americans, some members of Congress have played prominent roles in Indian policy and legislation, especially when their states or districts are home to tribal headquarters and Native populations. These legislators conduct research, sponsor bills, sit on Indian affairs committees and subcommittees, monitor the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and other agencies, and communicate with tribal leaders. Oklahoma has traditionally had one of the largest Indian populations in the country, and its representatives have always been keenly interested in policy affecting Native Americans.

The Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives at the University of Oklahoma holds the papers of 51 former members of Congress, and over 30 of these collections constitute an important resource for the study of Native American policy, status, and conditions. All but a few of these legislators were Oklahomans, and at least four—Robert L. Owen, William Stigler, Thomas Chandler, and Jack Nichols—were of Indian descent. Most date from the twentieth century, particularly the 1930s to the 1970s. The only nineteenth century collection is that of Kansas representative Sidney Clarke. A few documents remain from New Mexico Senator Carl Hatch. Many collections are extensive, such as those of Carl Albert, Fred Harris, Tom Steed, and Elmer Thomas, but even the smaller ones may contain a rich array of documents.

This guide identifies materials for the study of Native American issues. Persons interested in general discussions of the collections are referred to A Guide to the Carl Albert Center Congressional Archives. Printed inventories and a computer database are used at the Center to pinpoint relevant boxes, folders, and, sometimes, documents. The archival staff has worked considerably with the collections and will gladly advise researchers.

Pertinent documents include correspondence, legislation, reports, hearing transcripts, meeting minutes, clippings, publications, speeches, maps, and photographs. They are generally located in folders titled “Indian Affairs” and “Indian Claims,” but some may be filed under “Interior,” “Health, Education, and Welfare,” “Housing and Urban Development,” “Office of Economic Opportunity,” or similar headings. For most collections, these materials are found in the Legislative, Departmental, Subject, and General series, but some papers may be uniquely arranged.

Researchers will find in these documents information on the government’s evolving policy toward Native Americans, from creation of reservations to allotment of land to reorganization of tribes to termination to self-determination. Substantial materials exist on land, claims, tribal activities, federal jurisdiction, health, education, and economic development. Most focus on Indians of Oklahoma, but some concern those of other parts of the United States. Not every subject can be discussed in this guide, but the collection descriptions indicate the more prominent ones.


Collection Title  Dates of Native American Materials
Albert, Carl 1946-1976
Bartlett, Dewey 1973-1978
Belcher, Page 1951-1972
Boren, Lyle 1937-1946
Camp, John “Happy”  1969-1974
Cartwright, Wilburn  1917-1942
Chandler, Thomas  1917-1919 
Clarke, Sidney  1864-1890s
Garber, Milton  1928-1932
Gassaway, P. L 1935-1936
Gensman, L. M.  1921-1922
Gore, T. P.  1910s, 1930s
Harris, Fred  1964-1972
Hatch, Carl  1933-1944
Johnson, Jed  1927-1947 
Kerr, Robert S.  1941-1962
McClintic, James  1915-1934
Monroney, Mike  1962-1968
Morgan, Dick T.  1880-1920
Morris, Toby  1946-1960
Murray, William “Alfalfa Bill”  1899-1945 
Nichols, Jack  1935-1943
Owen, Robert L.  1912-1947
Peden, Preston  1947-1949
Pine, W. B.  1929
Schwabe, George  1945-1952
Steed, Tom  1951-1980
Stewart, Paul  ca. 1943
Stigler, William  1944-1952
Thomas, Elmer  1921-1950, 1954
Weaver, Claude  1910s 
Wickersham, Victor  1951-1956
Wilson, George Howard  1949-1950


During his distinguished and lengthy career in the House of Representatives from 1947 to 1976, Carl Albert served the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole of Oklahoma’s Third District. His collection contains materials on these tribes, as well as the Creek, Comanche, Osage, Cherokee, Kaw, Miami, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Navajo, and Sioux. Topics other than those listed below include construction of low-income housing, roads through tribal lands, the BIA Arts and Crafts Board, use of eagle feathers, exemption or inclusion of Native Americans under general federal programs, loans, taxation, agriculture, and irrigation and water projects. For a lengthier discussion of Native American resources in the Albert Collection, see W. Dale Mason, "The Carl Albert Collection: Resources Relating to Indian Policy, 1963-1968,” Chronicles of Oklahoma, 71 (Winter 1993-4), 422-437.


The controversy over the Choctaw and Chickasaw coal and asphalt lands is prominent. Also represented are the dispute over the Arkansas River bed, removal of restrictions on land, leasing of restricted land, issues of inheritance, and land held by individual tribes.


Most files on this topic focus on funding or continuance of medical facilities and Indian Health Service (IHS) programs in Oklahoma. Among the hospitals represented are Talihina, Kiowa, Claremore, and Holdenville. In the Departmental Series are several folders titled "Health, Education, and Welfare—Sula Goodman." These date from the mid-1960s to the 1970s, contain correspondence and newsletters from this officer of the Division of Indian Health in Oklahoma City, and provide a look at Indian health activities in the state during that time. Also documented here are water and sanitation systems in Indian communities.


Several files address funding, programs, and sometimes closing of Indian schools, especially Carter Seminary, Jones Academy, Chilocco School, Ft. Sill School, Riverside School, and Wheelock Academy. In addition, there is information on education programs, such as vocational and technical training in Oklahoma.


During his years in Congress, Carl Albert corresponded with tribal leaders and members of such organizations as the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes. The letters in his collection contain information on activities of tribes and selection of their leaders, especially Choctaw Principal Chief Harry Belvin and Chickasaw Governor Overton James. Other documents cover appropriation and disbursement of funds and judgments. There are materials on enrollment claims and lists of enrolled living members, particularly of the Choctaw and Chickasaw. Occasionally, jurisdiction over crimes appears in these documents.

Federal recognition of Indian tribes is well presented in the Albert Collection. In the Legislative Series, some folders from the 1950s cover bills "to terminate U. S. supervision over tribes," including the Klamath of Oregon and the Choctaw of Oklahoma. Albert helped draft the Choctaw Termination Act of 1959, but he also worked for its repeal in 1970.


As part of President Johnson's Great Society, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of Economic Development administered grants, training and employment programs, and business development, and Albert kept tabs on these activities in Oklahoma. Specifically documented are the Creek Nation Neighborhood Youth Corps, Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity (OIO), and Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO).

Additional information on the Carl Albert Collection


An Oklahoma senator from 1973 to 1978, Bartlett sponsored legislation affecting Native Americans and served as the ranking minority member of the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs. Eleven boxes of his collection are labeled "Indian Files" and form a substantial portion of the Subject Series. They are arranged alphabetically by topic and include documents on Arkansas River bed negotiations, health (including specific hospitals and tribal programs), eagle feather use, housing (including several folders on Indian Affairs Subcommittee hearings in Oklahoma), and Small Business Administration loans. There is substantial constituent correspondence on the incident at Wounded Knee and a proposed reservoir for central Arizona Indians. Scattered throughout is correspondence to Bartlett from Don Bluejacket, one of the senator’s Tulsa office field representatives who provided background information on activities and opinions at home. The Legislative Files contain a smaller number of documents on business loans, economic development, bilingual election procedures, funding, and claims.


Several folders exist on BIA reorganization and the agency offices in Muskogee and Anadarko, Oklahoma. Additional files are on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and contain memos with Chair James Abourezk and staffer Hazel Elbert. Documents on making the committee permanent, a GAO report on IHS research and sterilization programs, and the bill for the American Indian Religious Freedom Act also exist here, as do Bartlett’s materials on legislation to create the American Indian Policy Commission, reports and publications by or about the commission, and the commission’s BIA management study. The Bartlett Collection also contains numerous materials on the shift from termination to self-determination policy.


There are folders on the reorganization of the Osage tribal government and distribution of judgment monies to the Seminole and Delaware. There are also numerous folders on the Creek government, Sac and Fox claims, and government land trusts.


Information on Riverside and Concho schools in Oklahoma can be found in the Bartlett Collection, as can reports on the use of Johnson-O'Malley funds in Oklahoma and other states. Several files concern the creation of the Department of Education and the intended transfer to it of Indian education programs, a proposal that prompted negative reaction from many of Bartlett’s Indian constituents.

Additional information on the Dewey Bartlett Collection


Although Belcher did not sit on the pertinent committees, his collection nevertheless contains a substantial amount of Indian affairs material for the years 1951-1972. Topics include employment, business development, health care, Claremore Hospital, peyote, the OIO, the Indian Business Development Fund, and social issues. There is information on the following Indian nations: Black Hill Sioux, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Chickasaw, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, Delaware, Yuchi (Euchee), Iowa, Kaw, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Klamath, Miami, Menominee, Missouri, Navajo, Osage, Otoe, Pawnee, Peoria, Ponca, Potawatomi, Quapaw, Seneca, Shawnee, Wyandotte, and Wichita.


A variety of subtopics on Indian lands can be explored in the Belcher Collection. Issues specific to Oklahoma Indians include homestead allotments; the Arkansas River bed; Pawnee land titles; Osage, Otoe, Ponca, and Choctaw mineral rights; Yuchi land leases and bounty land warrants; and Absentee Shawnee trust lands. There are also numerous documents on the Klamath Forest, land for emigrant New York Indians, and Alaskan homesteading and mineral matters.


Belcher’s files dating from the 1960s contain documents on such schools as Chilocco, Pawnee, Eufaula, Red Rock, St. Labre, Ft. Sill, Indian Mission, and Concho, as well as Murrow Indian Orphans Home. Also documented are scholarships, vocational training programs, Oglala Sioux education programs, and the Neighborhood Youth Corps.


This collection contains constitutions of various Indian nations and correspondence with leaders of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and other tribes. There are also materials on the Indian Claims Commission, reports on the investigation of the BIA, and documents on that agency’s reorganization. Among the pieces of legislation is a bill for disposition of judgment monies to the Iowa. Also here are case files dealing with inheritance, roll identification, and claims.

Additional information on the Page Belcher Collection


A small amount of Native American material exists in the papers of this congressman who served from 1937 to 1946. Boren’s district encompassed the boundaries of the Seminole Nation, and in his collection are documents on issues pertaining to the tribal affairs: per capita payments to tribal members, the demolition and construction of buildings at Mekasukey Mission, a legal suit concerning oil and gas mining leases, and sale of illegally taxed land. The collection contains correspondence with John Burgess of the Seminole Indian Council. Topics involving other Indians include the Arkansas River bed dispute in Pawnee County, Oklahoma; requests for a claims commission; continuance of schools, such as Eufaula and Euchee; Thlopthlocco Town; Shawnee Sanatorium; investigation of BIA activities in eastern Oklahoma; hospitals in Oklahoma; Creek tribal requests for a hospital; sale of Chickasaw-owned dormitories; sale of 3.2 beer to Oklahoma Indians; and BIA employment of Oklahoma Indians.

Additional information on the Lyle Boren Collection


Camp represented Oklahoma's Sixth District—the westernmost in the state—in the U. S. House from 1969 to 1974 and sat on the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. Numerous files on policy and activities affecting Native Americans in Oklahoma, Alaska, and other states can be found under the usual headings as well as "Civil Rights," "Oklahoma Colleges," and "Revenue Sharing.” Topics include financial assistance, half-breed Kaw heirs, BIA reorganization and policy changes, economic development, education, health care, Claremore Hospital, the BIA’s Anadarko office, claims, and selection of tribal leaders. Among the tribes mentioned are Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Delaware, Pawnee, and Ponca.

John Happy Camp did not author major bills, but he was interested in Native American issues. In his collection the files labeled “Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs” contain information gathered for the Alaska Native Land Claims bill and include materials from the Arctic Slope Native Association and the Alaska Federation of Natives. A box titled "Indian Affairs" covers such topics as the Wounded Knee incident, Taos Indian’s Blue Lake, and the Navaho-Hopi dispute. The series Camp Bills reveals other legislative accomplishments.

Additional information on the John “Happy” Camp Collection


Cartwright influenced numerous issues involving Indian lands, health care, relief efforts, and education from 1927 to 1942, when he represented Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, home to many Chickasaw and Choctaw. During this time he also sat on the Indian Affairs Committee. Over 60 files in his collection document this work.


The Wilburn Cartwright Collection contains documents on the extension of leases for mineral rights, tax relief, and Chickasaw and Choctaw coal and asphalt lands. Typescripts exist describing the effect on Indians of oil, coal, and gas extraction during the early 1900s. Some documents discuss the sale and leasing of lands of eastern Oklahoma’s five major tribes. Other materials focus on the lands of the Ute, Otoe, Missouri, Mississippi Choctaw, and Sioux Indians.


These papers contain materials on federal programs to distribute grants and loans or provide vocational training to Oklahoma Indians during the 1930s, and there are materials on Red Cross relief efforts for destitute Indians. Also documented are the effects of severe droughts and floods on Native American lands. The Photograph Collection contains over 150 images from “Pictorial Report of Activities in Oklahoma-Kansas Area, U. S. Indian Service” (1939). Hospital construction was another area of federal involvement, and the collection contains documents and photographs on Talihina and other Oklahoma hospitals. Additional information on holdings concerning the Great Depression can be found on another Carl Albert Center Web page.



Ben Dwight, principal chief of the Choctaw tribe, corresponded frequently with the congressman, and he advocated day schools and care of Indian orphans by Native American families. Also within the Cartwright files are five issues of the magazine The Oklahoma Indian School (all1932). Included in the Photograph Collection are 50 images of Oklahoma Indian schools during the 1930s.


Besides the Dwight correspondence, the collection also contains letters with James Buchanan, Charles W. Burke, John J. Cochran, John Collier, Melvin Cornish, Homer Cummings, Ben Cravens, Charles Curtis, Edwin L. Davis, William Fuller, Harold L. Ickes, Lynn J. Frazier, Milton Garber, T. P. Gore, J. W. Harreld, W. W. Hastings, Edgar Howard, Patrick Hurley, Royal C. Johnson, Charles J. Kappler, Robert S. Kerr, Josh Lee, “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, Robert L. Owen, Charles J. Rhoads, Will Rogers, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Scott Leavitt, Thomas D. McKeown, W. B. Pine, F. B. Swank, William Stigler, Edward Taylor, Elmer Thomas, Claude Weaver, Burton Wheeler, and Ray L. Wilbur.

Additional information on the Wilburn Cartwright Collection


Thomas Chandler, full-blooded Cherokee Indian, was born in Indian Territory in 1871 and served two terms (1917-1919, 1921-1923) as representative of northeastern Oklahoma’s First District. While in the House, he sat on the Committee for Indian Affairs, and he once wrote a constituent “as long as I am in congress the full blood Indian will always have a friend.” This small collection contains approximately 30 pieces of constituent correspondence on Native American issues dating 1917-1919. They discuss affairs of the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole; Osage oil and gas royalties; division of lands; military service; the Osage Progressive Party; Indian and freedmen claims; an Indian delegation trip to Washington, D.C.; the Sequoyah statue in the Capitol Building’s Statuary Hall; congressional appropriations; and alleged buried treasure of the Cherokee.

Additional information on the Thomas Chandler Collection.


Sidney Clarke settled on the Kansas frontier in 1859, served in Congress from 1865 to 1871, advocated the opening of Indian Territory lands in the 1880s, moved to Oklahoma in 1889, and became Oklahoma City’s mayor shortly thereafter. His papers contain over 200 files on nineteenth century Native American issues.


With passage of the Dawes Act of 1887 and subsequent legislation, federal policy dictated the dismantling of reservations, allotting of land to individual Native Americans, and opening of unallotted land to homesteaders. The Clarke Collection contains numerous materials on legislation allowing for homesteading on Indian land, removal of restrictions, and sale of Kansas trust lands. Several documents concern development of Indian lands by railroads and settlers. There is correspondence on the leasing of public lands for Christian missions and educational functions.


A unique aspect of the Clarke Collection is the numerous documents on the negotiations, drafting, and implementation of treaties between the federal government and the Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, Otoe, Missouri, Neosho, Osage, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Kaw, Quapaw, Black Bob, Potawatomi, Ottawa, Seneca, Confederated Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, Piankashaw, Miami, Kiowa, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Creek, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Ponca. These papers document constituent and newspaper reactions to the treaties and removal of Indians from Kansas after the Civil War.


Located within the constituent correspondence is information on relations between Native Americans, settlers, and ranchers on the Kansas frontier. These documents provide an interesting and sometimes colorful look into the social divisions of the late nineteenth century. There are claims made by settlers against Indians, such as the capture and treatment of a Mrs. Kelly and the theft of cattle, and there are also claims made by Indians against settlers and ranchers. Crime in the territories and on Indian lands is also documented. Correspondents include Captain John J. Boyd, Edwin H. Grant, Thomas F. Cook, Susan B. Anthony, Stephen A. Cobb, Henry Laurens Dawes, James B. Weaver, Daniel W. Voorhees, William M. Springer, William Butterfield, and William Graham Sumner.

Additional information on the Sidney Clarke Collection.


One of the first settlers in Oklahoma’s Cherokee Strip in 1893, Garber represented the state’s Eighth Congressional District from 1923 to 1932, and he served on the House Indian Affairs Committee. Among the collection’s 7.5 cubic feet, only a few files (1928-1932) in the Subject Series pertain to Indians, and they hold information on the Cherokee, Otoe, and Missouri tribes; Chilocco School and education; and 1930 Oklahoma census data. Additional information on the Milton Garber Collection.


This small collection of a one-term congressman (1935-1936) contains scattered correspondence on tribal matters and federal policy. Included is a resolution from the Mexican Kickapoo opposing Gassaway’s bill affecting title to their land.
Additional information on the P.L. Gassaway Collection.


These documents from Gensman’s congressional service, 1921-1922, cover land, education, monetary claims, and peyote. Correspondence on the last topic indicates a diversity of opinion on usage for religious purposes. Gensman represented Oklahoma’s Sixth Congressional District, and his papers contain documents regarding the Osage, Kiowa, Apache, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, White Earth, Wichita, Choctaw, and Chickasaw.
Additional information on the L.M. Gensman Collection.


Gore represented Oklahoma in the Senate, 1907-1921 and 1931-1936. In a scrapbook recording his career are clippings on a 1910 scandal in which the senator exposed a bribery scam concerning Chickasaw land deals. In addition, the collection contains a 1935 photo of Gore with Chief Albert Attocknie and Comanche and Kiowa leaders as well as a speech on Indians titled “Sovereign People of Oklahoma.”

Additional information on the T.P. Gore Collection.


Harris served in the U. S. Senate from 1965 to 1972 and was a presidential candidate twice during the 1970s. He was interested in race relations and uniquely aware of issues involving Native Americans. His years as senator bridged the administrations of presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and the contrasting affects on Indian policy are well represented in his papers.

LaDonna Harris, the wife of Fred Harris during this time, was an active member of the Comanche tribe. She organized an Indian education project at the University of Oklahoma that grew into Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity (OIO), for which she served as president. President Johnson appointed her to the National Council on Indian Opportunity, and she later helped found and lead Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO). The Fred Harris Collection contains some papers resulting from these projects.


The collection contains letters from teachers, administrators, and tribal officials, who supported the Johnson administration’s efforts to recruit highly qualified teachers. These people wrote about the isolation, cultural and language barriers, and alienation that educators noticed among Indian students. Later, during the Nixon administration, they complained about budget cuts and pay reductions for certain teachers.

Numerous documents also concern specific Oklahoma schools, such as Ft. Sill and Eufaula, and a proposal for an American Indian College at Pawnee, Oklahoma. Schools in other states are also documented, including St. Francis Indian Mission on the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota; the Southwest Indian Foundation in Gallup, New Mexico; numerous Navajo schools; and the Phoenix, Arizona, BIA high school.

Other topics are addressed. There are materials on physical fitness, fine arts programs, special education, library centers, and lowered teacher-pupil ratios. Some files specifically concern higher education and associated scholarships, special programs, and matriculation problems. The Indian Law Opportunities Program at the University of New Mexico and special scholarships at the University of Oklahoma are also represented.


The Harris Collection contains information on a variety of social, economic, and cultural subjects. There are materials on the transfer of responsibilities from the Fish and Wildlife Service to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Confrontations between the federal government and Native Americans over religious use of peyote and feathers from bald eagles and scissor-tailed flycatchers are documented in correspondence and legislation. The LaDonna Harris materials contain information on economic opportunities and anti-poverty and nutrition campaigns. Reports on Indian health programs can also be found here.


This collection contains materials on the claims of individuals and tribes as well as inheritance issues. Among the tribal land issues discussed are those in Oklahoma, Alaska, Washington, and New Mexico, including Colville Reservation and Blue Lake. There are numerous documents concerning Native American homesteading on public forest lands.


Activities of the following tribal governments can be found in the Harris Collection: Navajo, Delaware, Ponca, Pawnee, Seminole, Choctaw, Crow, Creek, Weott, Cherokee, Paiute, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Seneca, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Waco, Arawak, Caddo, Lumbee, Sac and Fox, Cheyenne, Alabama, Coushatta, Catawba, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Yakima, Osage, Chickasaw, Arapaho, Kaw, Kickapoo, Miami, Omaha, Otoe, Missouri, Ottawa, Taos, Oglala Sioux, Peoria, Ponca, Potawatomi, and Tiwa.


The Harrises corresponded with many Native Americans and prominent non-Indians about Indian issues. Indian correspondents include Joe Attocknie, author of “A Life Sketch of Ten Bears"; B. Frank Belvin, president of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes; Wilbur S. Nye, autobiographer of Jason Belzinez; and such tribal leaders as Overton James, Fred Bushyhead, and Ben Whiteshield. There are also numerous letters to politicians and concerned citizens, such as Stewart Udall, Stanley Draper, Charles P. Corkey, Paul F. Sharp, Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy, Tom Payne, Tom Steed, Ed Edmondson, Carl Hayden, Virgil Harrington, and Fisher Muldrow. Harris also corresponded with Indian Affairs commissioners James E. Officer, Robert L. Bennett, and Louis R. Bruce.

Additional information on the Fred Harris Collection.


Hatch represented New Mexico in the Senate from 1933 to 1942. All that remains of his papers are three bound volumes summarizing bills he introduced. Pertinent ones concern land for Acoma Pueblo, grants to compensate non-Indians dispossessed at Nambe Pueblo, purchase of lands for the Mescalero Apache reservation, and payments to the San Felipe Pueblo and Taos Pueblo’s Alberta Cruz. Additional information on the Carl Hatch Collection.


This small collection dates from Johnson’s tenure in the House, 1927-1947. Among these files are clippings about his legislative proposals concerning the Kiowa Indian Hospital and the Concho, Riverside, and Ft. Sill schools. There is also a report on his proposed $50 per capita distribution of Red River oil money to members of the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache.

Additional information on the Jed Johnson Collection.


A one-term governor (1943-1947) and three-term senator (1949-1963), Kerr was more interested in the exploration of space and development of water resources than in conditions and status of Native Americans. Nevertheless, his papers contain substantial amounts of correspondence, bills, speeches, and press releases on the topic. Most materials are filed in the Legislative (over four boxes) and Departmental (over two boxes) files, but some are located in the Topical, Speech, and Printed series. Some speeches date to 1941, but most documents were generated during Kerr’s senatorial years. A variety of topics are covered: Choctaw and Chickasaw coal and asphalt lands, tribal rolls, tribal elections and appointments, removal of restrictions on land, Indian hospitals (such as Shawnee Sanatorium), Indian education (in Oklahoma) and schools (such as Eufaula and Riverside schools), federal termination policy, Goodland Indian Orphanage, Ft. Reno lands, claims, money judgments, rehabilitation of particular tribes, and exploration of Indian mounds. Filed in various boxes are documents on the BIA, especially its Oklahoma offices, and the commissioners of Indian Affairs.

There is substantial material on practically all of Oklahoma’s tribes and a lesser amount exists on such others as the Chippewa (Ojibwa), Yakima, Navajo, and Sioux. The Osage Indians are particularly well represented, with materials on the proposed termination of their mineral reservation, extension of the tribal council, and reopening of tribal rolls. A listing of other tribes follows: Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Quapaw, Otoe, Missouri, Seneca (Cayuga), Sac and Fox, Shawnee, Kickapoo, Pawnee, Ponca, Wyandotte, Caddo, Potawatomi, Delaware, Kaw, Wichita, and Yuchi (Euchee).

Additional information on the Robert S. Kerr Collection.


McClintic served as representative from Oklahoma’s Seventh District from 1915 to 1934. His collection contains a limited number of case files on Native Americans, such as one on Indian scout Bear Bow’s claim for back pay and pension from the federal government. A few other documents refer to Indian legislation and decisions on certain Indian wards.

Additional information on the James McClintic Collection.


Although Monroney’s congressional career lasted from 1938 to 1968, the bulk of his papers date 1962-1968. Nearly 15 cubic feet of files contain some documents on Native American issues.


There are documents on Oklahoma Indian land laws and on the lands of the Apache, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chickasaw, Comanche, Kaw, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Quapaw, Sac and Fox, Shawnee, and Wyandotte. Other materials describe claims of Native Americans from Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Much correspondence concerns estate cases and heirs.

In Box 17 of the collection is one folder on 1962 legislation to allocate $14,000,000 as payment for Cherokee land claims. Correspondents of this issue included Cherokee Principal Chief W. W. Keeler and counsels Jesse L. Ballard, Earl Boyd Pierce, Dennis Bushyhead, and George E. Norvell.


The Monroney papers contain information on the Indian Health Program (IHP) among the Osage and the impact of the Shawnee Sanatorium on Oklahoma Indians. In addition, there are numerous documents discussing the education of Indians of Oklahoma and other states. The collection contains brochures and other documents about Holy Rosary Mission in South Dakota, Ft. Sill and Chilocco schools in Oklahoma, St. Labre School in Montana, and the Santa Fe Indian Arts Institute in New Mexico.


During the 1960s the Area Redevelopment Administration (ARA) and Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) established programs in Oklahoma’s poorer rural counties and provided assistance to organizations aiding Native Americans. The Monroney Collection contains materials documenting the Oklahoma Indian Council, Head Start, industrial projects, and other programs that sprang from this.

Additional information on the Mike Monroney Collection.


Morgan settled in Oklahoma in 1889, successfully ran for a congressional seat in 1908, and served until his death in 1920. Only a few documents in his papers relate to Native American issues: “Morgan’s Manual on the Rosebud Reservation,” “Morgan’s Quarter Sectional Map of the Kiowa, Comanche and Wichita Reservation [1901],” “Morgan’s Manual of Indian Territory Land Laws,” and a proclamation on the opening of Kiowa-Comanche lands.

Additional information on the Dick T. Morgan Collection.


Toby Morris sporadically represented western Oklahoma’s Sixth Congressional District from 1947 to 1960. He served on the Public Lands Committee. His papers hold a substantial amount of material on Native Americans of Oklahoma, Alaska, other states, and Canada. Topics are described below. Important correspondents are historian Angie Debo, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Glenn L. Emmons, and President Dwight Eisenhower. There are letters to and from Harris Ellsworth, Reva Beck Bosone, Wayne N. Aspinall, John R. Murdock, Frank T. Bow, and Wesley A. D’Ewart.


Within the collection is a 1947 Indian Service pamphlet titled “Ten Years of Tribal Government Under the I. R. A.” Additional correspondence and literature from Morris’s congressional tenure also concerns this topic. Materials exist on the transfer to tribal governments of power over asset disposition. Some documents concern tribal control over resources and development of economic enterprises. Others are on the right to hire counsels; negotiate with federal, state, and local governments; obtain information on appropriation estimates; and draft constitutions. Legislation introduced by Morris and other members of Congress cover topics from land use to social security privileges. Several bills concern “rehabilitation” of tribes, including Morris’s “to promote the rehabilitation of the Navajo and Hopi Tribes of Indians and the better utilization of the resources of the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations.” Additional documents refer to policies on burial interments and administration of Talihina Indian Hospital.


For many of Oklahoma’s Native Americans, the 1940s and 1950s were difficult times. In 1951 Angie Debo wrote to Morris, “the Indians, who less than fifty years ago owned half of what is now the State of Oklahoma, live in appalling poverty . . . . Misrepresentation, power of attorney, forgery, kidnaping, even murder were employed to obtain their land, or they were placed under guardianship and plundered through the probate courts.” Among the land issues addressed in the collection are inheritance, allotment, mineral rights, dam construction, soil conservation, and wildlife disposition. There are documents on Cheyenne-Arapaho land taken for the Canton Dam in Oklahoma and Ft. Berthold Reservation land for the Garrison Dam in North Dakota. Also discussed here are properties of numerous Oklahoma and non-Oklahoma Indians: Navajo, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Caddo, Eastern Cherokee, Sac and Fox, Potawatomi (Canada), Klamath, Delaware, Yuchi (Euchee), Hopi, Crow, Shoshone, Wyandotte, and Sioux. Dating 1947-1948, there is one file under “Public Lands” on claims made by the heirs of White Antelope, the Cheyenne Chief killed in the Sand Creek Massacre.


Debo also wrote to Morris about problems with education and boarding schools in which more than 2000 eastern Oklahoma Indians were enrolled: “At present the Indian service is concentrating on a more degraded class; . . . these new enrollees reveal unspeakably sordid conditions of parental—and incipient juvenile—delinquency.” Her suggestion to Morris was to “work out a policy of prevention rather than salvage. There is something wrong about the reckless propagation of children that become a public charge and can be rescued from delinquency only by expensive and specialized training.” During the late 1940s and early 1950s, reduction of the Interior Department’s budget threatened the closing of Oklahoma’s Goodland Indian Orphanage and Concho, Riverside, and Ft. Sill schools. The files contain much legislation and correspondence on this as well as on the Navajo Reservation education system. Also included are public documents indicating statistical analysis of costs and success of various educational policies and tribal manifestations. The Morris Collection also contains constituent correspondence on such health topics as tuberculosis, epidemics of social disease, and the need for nurses.

Additional information on the Toby Morris Collection.


In the 1890s Alfalfa Bill became legal advisor to Chickasaw Governor Douglas Johnston, and in 1899 he married the boss's niece Alice. While in Congress during the 1910s, he sat on the Indian Affairs Committee and worked on legislation affecting Native Americans. Little remains on Native Americans in the Murray papers, however. Much of what does exist is his formal or published views on Indian topics. From the 1910s are Congressional Record remarks and speech typescripts on Indian legislation. Most concern appropriations to eastern Oklahoma tribes and allotment of their land. There is also a speech against opening the Choctaw rolls to include Mississippi Choctaw and one on disposition of the Choctaw and Chickasaw coal and asphalt lands. In addition, filed under "Memoirs of Governor Murray and a True History of Oklahoma," is Murray's research for this 1945 book; it contains information on the early Indian history of Oklahoma.

Scattered throughout the collection are materials on miscellaneous topics. These include a 1929 clipping on proposals to replace Johnston as Chickasaw governor and a 1929 speech by Johnston at a Chickasaw convention. There is also a typed copy of a charter for the establishment of Couch College in the Chickasaw Nation (1899), correspondence on a speech Murray gave before the American Indian Federation (1939), and a letter from Johnston to Alice Murray about congressional legislation (1936).

Additional information on the William "Alfalfa Bill" Murray Collection.


Nichols represented Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District from 1935 to 1943. His collection contains correspondence with Commissioner John Collier, former Senator Robert L. Owen, and Creek chiefs Alex Noon and Roly Leonard. There is also an informational scrapbook which describes his opposition to the Thomas-Rogers bill (Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act).

Additional information on the Jack Nichols Collection.


Although Owen was part Cherokee and his career involved him in the affairs of eastern Oklahoma tribes, his papers contain little on Native Americans. A 1947 tribute to him by historian Grant Foreman does recount his career as Muskogee Indian agent during the 1880s. The collection also holds an abstract of Edward E. Keso’s biography. It indicates Owen played a role in the 1901 act granting U. S. citizenship to Native Americans in Indian Territory. There is also a 1912 Senate speech by the senator calling for immediate sale of Choctaw and Chickasaw coal and asphalt lands.

Additional information on the Robert L. Owen Collection.


The collection of Peden, one-term member of Congress from Altus, Oklahoma, contains only a few folders on Native Americans, and these are dated 1947-1948. They include one of correspondence between the congressman and J. H. Belvin concerning the funding of Indian schools in Oklahoma, the leasing of coal and asphalt lands, and the leaders of the Chickasaw and Choctaw. A couple of folders labeled "Cheyenne-Arapaho" deal with federal acquisition of Indian land for the reservoir at Canton, Oklahoma, and Indian claims to land at Ft. Reno, Oklahoma. The final folder is titled "Public Lands Committee: Indian Affairs" and contains documents on miscellaneous topics, including the coal and asphalt lands and proposals to terminate federal supervision of Native Americans.

Additional information on the Preston Peden Collection.


This collection contains only one 1929 newspaper clipping on the Choctaw principal chief. Additional information on the W.B. Pine Collection.


Schwabe represented northern Oklahoma’s First Congressional District, 1945-1948 and 1951-1952. His collection contains materials on the affairs of such tribes as Apache, Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, Delaware, Hopi, Kaskaskia, Kiowa, Miami, Missouri, Navajo, Osage, Otoe,Ottawa, Pawnee, Peoria, Piankashaw, Potawatomi, Quapaw, Seneca, Shawnee, and Wyandotte. Numerous documents concern appropriations for payments to the Osage. Some detail the distribution of monies by the BIA to various tribes. Others contain information on removal of restrictions on land, homestead allotments, oil and gas leases, sale of land, estates, highway rights-of-way, inheritance, eye disease, alleged communist infiltration of reservations, peyote use, and the burning of records of the Five Civilized Tribes. Correspondents include Ray McNaughton, William Brophy, Freddie Washington, Elmer Thomas, William Stigler, George Sanchez, and Joseph Shunkahmolah. The collection also houses ten folders originally from the files of Schwabe’s predecessor, Wesley E. Disney. Dating 1920-1939, they focus on the Osage Civilization Fund bill and Pawnee claims.

Additional information on the George Schwabe Collection.


Although this Shawnee, Oklahoma, representative never served on an Indian Affairs Committee nor focused on legislation affecting Native Americans, his papers constitute a valuable resource. Dating 1951-1980, many files concern the activities, interests, and legal battles of Oklahoma tribes. Documents are located under the usual headings in the typical series, as well as under "Banking and Currency, Indian Housing;" "Appropriations, Interior, Indian Affairs;" and "Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity.” The Information Files contain additional materials.


Many documents in the Departmental and Legislative series concern tribal claims, judgments, awards, payments, and distributions. Tribes include the Loyal Creek, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Otoe, Missouri, Sac and Fox, Delaware, Potawatomi, Ft. Sill Apache, Seminole, Kaw, Seneca (Cayuga), and Cherokee. The General Files contain three folders on claims made by the Yuchi (Euchee) and one on those of the Potawatomi.


Many folders document health care, and a frequent topic is Oklahoma hospitals and clinics. These include the Lawton Hospital (in Legislative Files); the Shawnee Sanatorium (in the General Files); and the Shawnee, Concho, and Claremore facilities (Departmental Files). The Information Files hold a 1957 report on Oklahoma public health services.


Several series contain documents on Oklahoma Indian schools and education programs, particularly those at Chilocco, Concho, Ft. Sill, and Riverside. Numerous materials on construction projects at Riverside School during the 1970s can be found in the General Files.


Steed communicated frequently with tribal leaders, and the collection’s correspondence cover economic development, water rights, election or appointment of leaders, and proposed projects. Correspondents include chiefs of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and other tribes. There are also letters between Steed, the BIA, and non-governmental organizations. Of interest in the Information Files is a 1975 position paper by the United Tribes of Western Oklahoma and Kansas.

The Departmental Series contains materials on tribal membership. A number of folders from the 1950s and 1960s concern the opening of Sac and Fox rolls. Information on the Cherokee rolls can also be found in a least one folder.

There are documents on the 1950s BIA termination policy, especially applied to the Ft. Sill Apache, Choctaw, and Osage. The Legislative Files hold resolutions by Indians and a letter by Angie Debo against the policy. In the Information Files is a report on 1953 hearings on termination of federal supervision over the Osage; in Departmental is a contemporary statement from tribal leader George Labadie.


Tribal attempts to sell or acquire land is the topic of scattered documents in the Legislative Series. Included are Ft. Reno, Cheyenne-Arapaho, and Kiowa-Comanche-Apache lands. Problems with inheritance is another issue repeatedly found in files dating 1960s-1970s.

Additional information on the Tom Steed Collection.


The only pertinent item in this collection is the circa 1943 “Patriotic Indians” by Walter Colbert, chair of the American Indian Federation of Southern Oklahoma. It lists contributions of eastern Oklahoma Indians to World War I Liberty Loan drives and advocates sale of Choctaw and Chickasaw coal lands to generate resources for World War II.

Additional information on the Paul Stewart Collection.


Stigler was of Choctaw descent and his papers reveal his interest in Native Americans while he represented Oklahoma's Second District in Congress from 1944 to his death in 1952. Over seven cubic feet of files comprise the Indian Affairs Series, and additional correspondence, speeches, newsletters, and legislation can be found in the Legislative and Subject files.


In one of his first congressional acts, Stigler introduced a bill for the federal government’s purchase of Choctaw and Chickasaw coal and asphalt lands, and his papers contain substantial correspondence and other documents on this and subsequent legislation, negotiations for the sale, and per capita claims of the tribes. The collection also has information on other issues: validation of land titles, restrictions on land, Cheyenne-Arapaho claims to Ft. Reno land, and former Indian lands at Camp Gruber.


These papers primarily document eastern Oklahoma tribes. There are numerous materials on the Cherokee, including the principal chief, claims of the eastern and western Cherokee, and federal recognition of the Keetoowah Society. Several files exist on the Chickasaw and the Quapaw. Materials can also be found on the selection of the Choctaw principal chief; claims of the Loyal Creek; and oil royalties, claims, and tribal leadership of the Osage.


Numerous documents concern the government's oversight of Indian affairs. Among the topics are treaty obligations to the Choctaw, creation and extension of the Indian Claims Commission, and "emancipation" or termination of jurisdiction over tribes, particularly the Osage. There are several files on the Indian affairs commissioner, the BIA, and the district offices, particularly "Five Civilized Tribes" agency and its personnel.


The Stigler Collection also contains materials on "rehabilitation" (economic assistance) of eastern Oklahoma Indians, the Indian Credit Association, education, Devi Dja (wife of artist Acee Blue Eagle), and Sequoyah weavers. In addition, there are nearly two cubic feet of Indian case files and twenty-five photographs depicting Chippewa (Ojibwa) at the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota during the 1930s.

Additional information on the William Stigler Collection.


The Thomas Collection is an excellent resource for materials on early twentieth century Indian issues. Thomas represented Oklahoma in the U. S. House (1923-1927) and Senate (1927-1951), and he chaired the Senate Indian Affairs Committee during the 1930s. His unpublished memoirs, “Forty Years a Legislator,” and over three hundred files document Native Americans of Oklahoma and his legislative work affecting them. This material exists in the Legislative, Subject, Project, Resource, Special Correspondence, and Speech series.


Many files concern land issues of tribes in Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, and other states. These include Catawba, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Pawnee, Cherokee, Pueblo, Shawnee, Modoc, Sac and Fox, Kiowa, Osage, Quapaw, Ute, Seminole, Otoe, Missouri, Wichita, Seneca, Creek, Comanche, Apache, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Muskogee, Crow, Delaware, Kickapoo, Flathead, Sioux, Winnebago, Omaha, Papago, Snake, Wyandotte, Yavapai, and Zuni. In “Forty Years a Legislator," chapter 51 discusses events leading up to the sale of Choctaw and Chickasaw coal and asphalt lands for approximately $8,500,000 in the 1940s.

Thomas's files also document individual property cases, particularly that of Jackson Barnett, “the world’s richest Indian.” The government impounded his wealth after he married a white woman, and many people contested the estate after his death. During the late 1920s and 1930s, Thomas was drawn into the dispute between the BIA, Barnett’s wife, and the Indian heirs, and the collection contains correspondence on this, as well as the wife’s chronicle of events.


Many documents in the Elmer Thomas Collection describe health and living conditions of the Native Americans, as well as the situation at particular health care institutions. Various aspects of medical care are addressed, from the quarantining of boarding school children with tuberculosis to the employing of Indians afflicted with venereal disease. Hearing transcripts detail medical conditions. Some materials concern Oklahoma hospitals, especially the Talihina, Kiowa, Ft. Sill, and Claremore facilities. Many individual claims for health care are also documented.


“Oklahoma has over one hundred and forty thousand Indian citizens, many of whom because of the drouth [sic] have raised nothing and are unable to collect rentals on allotments because the lessee tenants have likewise suffered complete crop failures . . . . [I] urge that liberal allotment of funds be made direct to the Indian Bureau for use in relieving distress among our Indian wards,” requested Thomas in a telegram to President Roosevelt on September 22, 1936. The senator’s collection contains numerous documents on economic conditions during the Great Depression and relief efforts of the federal government. The Project and Subject files hold information on payments to individual Native Americans as well as employment on Indian service irrigation, flood control, road construction, and school construction projects. Additional information on holdings concerning the Great Depression can be found on another Carl Albert Center Web page.


The Elmer Thomas Collection contains many documents about tribal affairs, organization, and jurisdiction. These include the legislation allowing tribal self-government and economic enterprises and providing for administrative and economic training. Prominent are materials on the Indian Reorganization Act (Wheeler-Howard Act). The Subject Files hold transcripts of hearings that Thomas held (and Commissioner John Collier occasionally attended) to gauge reaction of Oklahoma Indians to this law. This fact-finding tour resulted in the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936.


In 1931, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee instructed the BIA to provide school facilities to Native American children, encourage attendance, establish occupational and professional training programs, and employ competent and sympathetic people. The Thomas papers gauge the agency’s success over the next 20 years. Materials exist on tuition for schools and universities and appropriations for construction of schools. Particularly abundant are reports and legislation on Oklahoma’s Ft. Sill, Goodland, and Riverside schools. There are also reports describing brutal treatment of some children at boarding schools.


Elmer Thomas corresponded with numerous people concerning Native American issues: James Buchanan, Charles W. Burke, John J. Cochran, John Collier, Melvin Cornish, Homer Cummings, Ben Cravens, Charles Curtis, Edwin L. Davis, Ben Dwight, William Fuller, Harold L. Ickes, Lynn J. Frazier, Milton Garber, Pearl I. Glass, T. P. Gore, J. W. Harreld, Morton Harrison, W. W. Hastings, Edgar Howard, Patrick Hurley, Royal C. Johnson, Charles J. Kappler, Robert S. Kerr, Thomas Leahy, Josh Lee, “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, Robert L. Owen, Charles J. Rhoads, Will Rogers, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Scott Leavitt, Thomas D. McKeown, W. B. Pine, F. B. Swank, William Stigler, Edward Taylor, Claude Weaver, Burton Wheeler, and Ray L. Wilbur.


The Thomas Collection contains three pictorial reports on Native Americans. One depicts people, buildings, construction projects, and agricultural operations at southern California’s Mission Indian Reservation (1938). Another shows E.C.W. work and construction at Oklahoma’s Kiowa Indian Agency (ca. 1933). A third documents agricultural and home economics training conducted by Oklahoma A & M Extension Service (1929-1930). There are additional individual photos of various people, a Rosebud Sioux delegation, and a Senate-Blackfeet meeting.

Additional information on the Elmer Thomas Collection.


This collection contains only a few pertinent document, primarily speeches by Weaver and others on Indian issues, such as the 1914 “A Century of Progress: The Story of the Choctaw/Chickasaw Indians." There is also a typescript of “Death of an Indian Chief," a nineteenth century story about the capture of Ellen Burns by Apache in Texas and written by Weaver’s father.

Additional information on the Claude Weaver Collection.


Wickersham represented western Oklahoma in the U. S. House during various terms between 1948 and 1964. Pertinent materials in his papers date from 1951 to 1956 and are primarily housed in boxes three and four. The majority is constituent correspondence concerning claims, allotments, enrollment requests, sale and leasing of land, the BIA Anadarko office, and the Concho and Kiowa hospitals. Because Wickersham's districts encompassed former Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Kiowa reservations, many constituents belonged to these tribes. Other materials in the collection include Indian commissioner Glen Emmons's speeches and the BIA publication "The Osage People and Their Trust Property" (1953).

Additional information on the Victor Wickersham Collection.


The Subject Files of this congressional one-termer (1949-1950) contain three folders labeled “Indian Matters.” The best represented topics are Osage tribal matters and oil interests, Navajo tribal affairs and living conditions, and the Pawnee Indian School. There is also correspondence on Chilocco School and an Oklahoma state government report on Indian education. In a folder titled "Ft. Sill Reserve Land,” in the Committee Files, is a transcript of Indian Affairs Subcommittee hearings on the Ft. Reno Military Reservation.

Additional information on the George Howard Wilson Collection.

For more information on the archival holdings, please contact the Carl Albert Center.

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