Oklahoma landrush brought thousands of new white settlers to Indian country.
The Indian Territory
set aside in the 1830s for the Five Civilized Tribes that were
forcibly removed from southern states - land that guaranteed to
them 'for as long as the grass grows and water flows' - was opened
to white settlement with the passage of the Dawes Act. click here for more on the land rush
In the first of several 'runs'
on 'surplus lands,' more than 50,000 settlers claimed two million
acres. Months later, Congress established the Territory of
Oklahoma, and the commissioner of Indian affairs persuaded Congress
that these steps were necessary to force the Indian to assimilate
into mainstream society: "The Indian must conform to the white
man's ways, peaceably if they will, forcibly if they must...tribal
relations should be broken up...and the family and the autonomy of
the individual substituted" for tribal life.