1889-1890 - Oklahoma land rush

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.