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HAT boy has not been thrilled by accounts of the Indians of pre-historic and colonial times? Old and young are familiar with their characteristics and manner of life. But of the Indian of the present we think and know little. Many who think of them at all, today, still picture them as savages, cowed by strict government control, who would scalp every white man within reach, were they not restrained by fear: others think of them as lazy, pampered pets of the government; while a very few think of them as a race that has been deeply wronged. But in whatever way they are regarded, civilized or half-civilized Indians never awaken as much interest as do the old time Warriors.

The day of the Indian Warrior, however, is past. The influences of civilization have produced great changes in the American Indians. Those most influenced have been the so called "Five Civilized Nations" -the Cherokees, the Creeks, the Seminoles, the Chickasaws, the Choctaws. Or perhaps it is only that the changes in these Nations have been more noticeable, because they were the farthest advanced in racial development, when the white men came among them, and so took up his ways more readily than some of the other tribes.

Of these five Nations-the Creeks are by no means the most wealthy or the best civilized. Yet their manner of life, customs, character, and education are subjects of interest and importance to those who desire to know life as it is.

By a special act of Congress they have been made citizens of the United States. They became citizens of Oklahoma when the State Government was organized. They are subject to the same laws as other citizens with exception of the restrictions placed on them in regard to the sale of their lands. The land interests of Indian minors are now looked after by the probate courts of Okla


The wealth of the Creeks consists almost entirely in land-since they no longer receive quarterly government payments for the land formerly taken from them. Each member of the tribe has ben allotted a hundred and sixty acres of land. On his selection and disposition of that allotment depends his present support and future welfare. The land, naturally, is of different grades and values. Much of it is coal land, which may be sold or leased with profit; some is oil or gas land, which is still more valuable; the greater part is only farm land; and some is hilly, rock and altogether unprofitable. By law a Creek, after he becomes of

age, is allowed to sell all but forty acres of his allotment, and, if he is not a full-blood, may get even that restriction removed. Few have any idea of the real value of their land. They ask the highest price for their wild berries and green apples, but of the larger values they have slight and childlike conceptions. In consequence they part with their land readily, not knowing that its value is increasing, or that the buyer or ninety-nine year lease-usually, is securing it because in his judgment it has underlying deposits of coal, oil or gas. Thus but few of those who have chosen rich allotments evenexcept those who have white husbands or are predominantly white themselves—ever become wealthy, wealthy, because they do not know how to develop their lands themselves and part with them too cheaply. Many Creeks now bid fair soon to be upon the world without land, without money, without any means of support. This condition does not arise from a lack of native shrewdness, but from an ignorance of market values and the business methods of civilized men. Their ancestors taught them how to cope with nature in securing a living-not with



The manner of life of the majority of the Creeks is simple, being not very unlike that of our own "poor whites." Most, except the more educated, live on their land-or, if they have sold their own, on that of their children; for although they derive pleasure from going to town, yet the free life of the country is more native to them. Their homes are for the most part rudely constructed log huts, often without windows, frequently with only a blanket curtain for a door. Some,

however, have neat frame dwellings. All have a desire for pretty things. True, their belongings seldom remain nice, for few know how to take

care of or to make the most of— what they have. But poverty is all that keeps them from possessing fine houses, furniture, clothing and other equipment. After the cotton is marketed, the Indians may be seen carrying such articles as chairs, dressers, and carriages homeward; while bright colored new cloths are everywhere in evidence.

The men buy new boots, which they decorate with spurs-bright colored ostrich tips for their cowboy hats, and gaudy silk handkerchiefs for their necks; the women secure a supply of new combs-the girls new ribbons for their hair, and if they can afford it-shoes, and hats with large red roses. The poorer women frequently go barehead and barefoot

in summer-the men never. Both men and women buy many cheap grade, ready-made garments; though some of the women toggle together their own and the children's calico and outing frocks, in which case a child of four years is apt to appear in a slip resembling that of a woman in cut. But such a description by no means applies to all. There are a few elegant and refined Creeks who show elegance and taste in their dress, and who are well fitted to appear in good society—which they not infrequently do.

The occupation of the majority, as has been indicated, is farming. Most of the Creeks are slack farmers, but no more so than some of their white neighbors. If their allotment lies in the timbered country, they simply blaze the trees, then plough around the trunks and stumps-for grubbing is hard work. Corn and cotton are the chief crops raised. The corn suffices for the ponies; the cotton, when sold, supplies the needs of the family. The men take charge of the farming, but the women and children usually help. One white woman, who married a Creek, has been heard to say that her husband works better when she stays in the field with him and helps a little: and he is no ex

ception to the rule. Yet the men do not put the brunt of the work on the women as many suppose.

Not all are farmers. A minority are engaged in the various other professions and pursuits of civilized men. A number of them were formerly employed as teachers in the Indian schools. Some engage in the real estate business, thus assisting his brother Creek to dispose of his land. Others are lawyers and are not unskillful in the profession. A few are engaged in various business enterprises.


In the main the Creeks are a happy, carefree people. If they ever worry, their state of mind is betrayed neither by word nor by action. When they have money, they spend it freely, when they have none they get along quite well without. Tobacco is the one thing needful for men, women and children-tobacco and a little meal or flour-for the rest, they can live on wild fruits and game if necessary. The great mass of them is what in our own race we call-shiftless.


They are a silent and somewhat undemonstrative people; yet, greatly pleased or displeased, their face and manner betray it readily. They can laugh with the merriest on occasion, or their dark eyes can vie with the fiercest. But, except when they give a shrill whoop, there is a quietness in their demeanor that is seldom surpassed. Their laugh is a chuckling, gurgling sound-never loud or boisterous; even in anger there is a great calmness in their conduct. An Indian boy who becomes enraged at a horse, does not jerk and fight it with the quick irritation common among white boys under similar circumstances, yet his quiet, steady, vengeful blows show that his feeling is just as intense. The most remarkable contrast between the two, however, lies in the fact that the Indian acts but says

nothing on such occasions. His silence has sometimes been partly attributed to the fact that there is no word in the Creek language by which he can be profane; but it is due more to race temperament. The Creek is silent on many occasions when he might be expected to speak. For instance, one group of men or women on meeting another group, will frequently exchange salutations by a general and somewhat formal hand shake, and then pass on without a word or a grunt. Many emotions are expressed by the single syllable"ugh" the shade of feeling being indicated by the inflection given, which ranges from a gruff bass-in disgust or annoyance-to a high prolonged tenor longed tenor note in surprise or pleasure. That one grunt frequently expresses what it would take many words to say. In examining articles displayed for sale, if the gruff tone is used, there will be no purchase the article does not meet with approval; if the other tone is usedthere will be a sale if there is money. Yes the Creeks are silent, but not unexpressive.

They have sometimes been called unaffectionate, too, but that accusation was by those who expected them to express their affections as we would ours. Not so. Their emotions are the same; their expression less demonstrative. The mother may not fondle her baby, but the gleam in her eye, when it is praised -betrays a true mother feeling; she may not scream or even sob, when she stands by the grave of her child, but the silent tears, that she tries to suppress, reveal the depth of her grief; the father may not caress his little son, but why does he return and take the youngster in his arms, if it cries after him as he stalks away? A man may walk by his wife's side as if she were a stick, yet there is companionship between them, or he would never divide his cherished plug of tobacco with her.

The Creek Indian knows how to

be a friend, too. His face beams with pleasure when he meets one who has treated him kindly. With frank and childlike words (not intended for flattery) he expresses his admiration for the favored one. If he can speak English, and there are few who cannot, he will converse freely with such a one, and will share all he has and knows with him. This speaking of English is a mark of great favor on his part; for, from some cause or other (likely from a fear of being laughed at) the average Creek is reluctant to speak any but his native tongue. Frequently, in the presence of strangers, he will feign that he can neither understand nor speak a word of English. It is related that the Supervisor of Creek Schools was once traveling through the country, and being uncertain of her road, inquired the route of an Indian whom she met. He grunted, looked blank, and did not seem to comprehend a word she was saying -until suddenly he recognized her as the woman who had once befriended him when he had a feverwhereupon he understood her perfectly and answered her in intelligible English. She was his friend.

One word more should be added in regard to the character of the Creek. His integrity has been frequently called in question, and with apparent justice. But let us not forget that all he is we have helped to make him-bad as well as good. We have given him a veneer of civilization, taught him Christianity, and sent him to school-all good-but on the other hand, we have taught him much by example that we are not pleased to have him follow. Before we came to him with our marvelous civilization-drunkenness was unknown among the Creeks, while theft and adultery were punishable When we condemn his by death. petty thefts and immorality, it might be well to recall at the same time, who gave him the wonderful civilization that has set aside all his old

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Most of the old Indian customs have slowly died out. There is seldom ever an Indian ball game any more-they now play baseball; their Council Meetings became practically a thing of the past at the advent of statehood; even the Stomp Dance is losing its popularity among them. But old customs die hard, especially those that have a religious significance, and consequently from year to year a number of the Creeks still assemble on their busk or stomping grounds, as they are called. On these grounds the arbors stand from year to year. A few tents and numerous wagons skirt them round on the occasions of the dances. One dance is held just as the green corn begins to ripen, and is often called the Green Corn Dance.

On the day of their arrival on the grounds, the Medicine-men dose them all with some emetic herb. The drinking of medicine and fasting are continued all the first night. Before morning their nausea and sickness is intense. The next day, after certain incantations from the medicine-men, they join in a feast, eating with reckless abandon in the belief that no harm can come to them after taking medicine.

On the evening of the second day the dance begins. On that night only the men dance. They make the night wierd with melancholy wailings an tom-toms. Unconsciously they agree with Byron when he says: "And this is in the night;-Most glorious night!

Thou wert not made for slumber! let me be

A sharer in thy fierce and far delight."

Gathering about the sacred fire, they dance with a slow trotting movement, chanting in indescribable sounds, and breaking the monotony

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