Byline: Braden Harper/Reporter
TVLSE, Oklahoma – “Do you know where you come from?”. That was the main question on the table for Muscogee (Creek) Nation Citizens and attendees at the inaugural “An Investigation into the Allotment Era” Workshop. Hosted by the Lucinda Hickory Research Institute and the Tulsa City County Library, it was held at Zarrow Regional Library in West Tulsa Aug 2.
Tatianna Duncan is the founder and executive director of LHRI. Research into her own Mvskoke family’s land allotment history inspired her to help others.
The purpose of the lecture was to share the story of Lucinda Hickory’s family history, as well as educate MCN Citizens on how to properly research their family allotments. The LHRI is a 501c non-profit organization that is “dedicated to bringing about a collective conscience of the dispossession of Native American allotted lands during the allotment era”.
Duncan presented a thorough presentation with primary sources including medical reports, court filings and personal letters. These documents revealed decades of abuse, legal manipulation and stolen property of Mvskoke Indians. Many of these family allotment lands are located in what is now present day Tulsa.
The institute’s name comes from a young victim of the allotment era. According to Duncan, Lucinda Hickory was a thirteen year old Mvskoke girl who was killed for her land allotment due to the resources found there. “Dead. 8 months after discovering gas was on her land” Duncan said.
MCN Citizen Jackie Jackson was one of the speakers at the event. “Those who still have their allotments are very fortunate,” Jackson said. “We’re still here, we just don’t own our land anymore”
According to Duncan, many families’ allotments were taken from them by outside “guardians” that legally represented the Mvskoke families who did not speak English, or spoke very little. This was an easy way for non Mvskoke individuals to come in and legally obtain land rights.
“They didn’t speak english, didn’t write english, they didn’t read english, so we’re given land, people who didn’t know their family wanted to be their guardian because they wanted to control our assets, their land.” Jackson said.
The workshop provided resources for individuals that are interested in researching their own land allotment history. The sources provided involved ancestry.com, the Oklahoma Historical Society website, and the Tulsa County Library Digital Archives.
The LHRI continues to research and uncover the full picture of the Mvskoke People’s land allotment history and encourage others to discover where they come from through allotment history research.
Although the LHRI is a non-profit organization, they do accept grants and donations. To learn more about LHRI, visit: The Lucinda Hickory Research Institute – Honoring our ancestors as we continue the journey (wordpress.com)
To learn more about resources on Native American genealogy, allotment and the Dawes Rolls offered by TCCL, visit: American Indian Research | Tulsa Library