As I work through teaching my 12th grade son his required Oklahoma History Course, I am reminded of understanding I have been given through studying the Cherokee History course, and studies we did as a family about the Tulsa Race Massacre that occurred here in Tulsa in 1921, and after over 3 decades of immersing myself in Gods Word, I see a vision for this state that could potentially be replicated across USA to bring authentic healing, restoration and revival to this entire nation.
From my studies in the topic of Christian leadership, I wrote an article: https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2015/02/let-your-spirit-free in this article, a business owner discovers the power of franchising her precious operation, to replicate her incredible cuisine. I had the thought: What if we the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, did such a great job of reconciliation and healing the historic wounds of our state, that the portrait of our reconciliation could be copied and used in other states who suffer similar foundational brokenness.
Lets look at the big picture:
America was expanding and our federal government, in order to stop bloodshed and wars with Native Americans wrote treaties with every native American tribe governing how our nation would work with Indian tribes. These treaties are protected by our constitution, yet every single one of them has been broken.
In the midst of this mess, several Indian tribes sided with the South in our civil war, as they too owned plantations and slaves.
The land we call Oklahoma was part of a region recognized by treaty as ‘Indian Territory’, and the county where Davis, Oklahoma is located, belonged to the Chickasaw tribe. When the bench mark and surveyors stake that allowed for the land survey system was driven into the ground 8 miles west of Davis, it was the equivalent of driving a state through the heart of all Indian treaties in this nation, including the one upheld by the US Supreme court in the case of Cherokee vs Georgia. https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2020/07/sacred-council-fire-3
Big picture: All the treaties were broken by our government, and lands arbitrarily taken from tribes and new states were formed. Many atrocities occurred during this time. Notably the Sand Creek massacre, the Wounded Knee massacre, and others recorded in Dee Browns famous book ‘Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee’.https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2017/02/the-first-nations-mandate-pray
As if that was not enough for a fledgling nation to bear, we had the civil war that ended slavery, at the cost of an estimated 620,000 lost lives
The federal govenement then ruled against Indian tribes in this manner. Faced with the difficult decision on what to do with the freed slaves all over the south, these new US citizens were designated as ‘freedmen’ and granted land in what is now known as the state of Oklahoma.
The tribes responded in one of two ways:
- Some tribes recognized that their strength was so weakened by the civil war and other depredations that they decided to formally ‘adopt’ freemen entering their lands as full tribal citizens resulting in some interesting cultural dynamics like the ‘Oklahoma black Apache’ and other wonderful expressions from the blending of these two people groups.
- Some tribes were still bitter from the war, and did not approve of them losing even more land by federal government decree, which resulted in racial discrimination from native americans towards blacks.
In the midst of that, former white slave owners, united in the Democratic political party, and formed the KKK that created the infamous Jim Crow laws that resulted in horrific racial segregation that birthed our civil rights movement. And more recently in the Black Lives Matter (BLM)movement.
I recall attending a native American prayer event in Talequah, Oklahoma named ‘The Cry’ where I met one of the leaders from the BLM movement, visiting our state from Los Angeles. In our conversation I said: ‘Sir it is good to meet you, and while I respect your battle to provide justice for black americans, my question to you is very simple-what about justice for ‘red’ americans. Though we had the dark chapter of US historic slavery, then lynchings, and racial discrimination, we have had a civil war and a civil rights movement so at least the voice of black americans is heard in this land of the free and homw of the brave, but what about red americans? Historically, any where, any time, a native leader has stood up for the rights of their people, the policy of white has been ‘Shoot, shovel and Shut up’, and they have been killed quickly, and as quietly as possible.
This BLM leader humbled himself and asked forgiveness from native elders for not standing with them and supporting them, and for his blindness to their particular plight.
So this is the direction my research and thrust will go for this article.
We, the church of the living God need to cry out to God for His mercy for our nation for our mistreatment of Native Americans and advocate for their equal treatment under our laws, that they might experience the American dream of freedom, liberty, justice for all, and the pursuit of happiness, as all free American must.
My position is simple yet difficult. In our constitution we hold a precious gift from God, the gift of freedom. Our freedom does not give us freedom to do evil, but with it is clear moral responsibility towards God and our fellow man. The amazing thing about this nation is not the horrors of our mistakes historically, rather, the incredibly beautiful ways we have corrected our errors and become stronger because of it.
To be continued….