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 The Beginning of Tulsa
By J. M. Hall (1927)

(c) Karolyn Kay Garland (1997)

Nothing here is free for the taking. This book is reproduced here with the permission of the copyright holder - see copyright statement.

 Page 43

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Mass Meeting Called (con't)

sending white men before the council to get Indian land struck the respectable gentleman and he opposed the motion. He didn't want to serve with the other fellow either. But there were loud calls made for a vote on the motion.
       The chairman was in high fettle by this time. He bellowed that all those in favor of the motion would indicate it by saying "yes" and that "those opposed will go home." Just at this juncture one man slapped another in the mouth and some one turned out the lights. Six-shooters clicked all over the hall as the hammers were pushed back. It looked like a black night - but only for a moment. Several were slightly hurt in the rush for the stairway.
       This agitation was the beginning of the townsite idea in the Creek nation.

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THE STOMP DANCES

       Real Creek Indian stomp dances featured the early days of Tulsa.
       The Indians, however, called the festival the green corn dance. Captains would send out many bundles of sticks to individual Indians, The sticks were thrown away, one a day. When the last stick was thrown, that was the signal for the dance.
       The nearest dance to the town of Tulsa was held in what is now Stonebreaker heights, about Thirteenth or Fourteenth streets and Boulder avenue. The rites would last about three days. The last was Medicine day. Certain roots were put into a barrel of water. The Indians drank freely of this potion and then they would put feathers down their throats to make the medicine come back.
       It was said that the Creeks brought fire with them from their Alabama home, keeping it alive from day to day over the long trail. Certainly fire featured the green corn dance. Men and women would circle the fire, following each other. The women attached rattles to their ankles. Besides the beating of the tom tom, a cow or deerskin stretched over a keg, the men would make a kind of music by following the leader who would call out in his tribal tongue. When the dancers would all be singing, 'ya, ya, ya ya' the sounds could be heard for a mile.

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DANCE FOR MEN ONLY

       The buffalo dance was reserved for the men only. They walked on their hands and feet, now and then throwing their hands upward and screaming like animals in distress.
       The stomp dance did not always close without disturbance. In the summer of 1883 during the progress of one dance the white settlers saw three Indians on some vacant lots near the business section. Two were on horses and the third afoot. Those on horses drew their knives and would speed by the man on foot, slashing him as their horses ran. They repeated this a number of times. The unfortunate third man was trailed by his blood to the river and it was believed that he couldn't possibly recover, but he did. All three of the Indians have since died.
       In order to help pay their expenses while they were in camp for the stomp dances the Indian would tax the merchants many sacks of flour and tobacco. To enjoy it as well as pay, W. E. Halsell, the Lynch boys, Lon Stansbery, T. E. Smiley and others would deck themselves from head to foot in bright colored ribbons and then proceed to dance like an Indian.
       It was often said that the stomp dance had a deep-religious meaning to the participants. This, as may be imagined, was not apparent to the white man who watched.
       A small settlement of Indians lived in the vicinity of what is now Sand Springs. Notable among these was Captain Adams, whose log house stood on the site of the present cotton mill. Big Bird, Meeko, Fixico, Siah were names of other families near him. A graveyard across the road from the Cotton mill of today was their burying ground. Siah was the Indian preacher. The writer attended one funeral he conducted. He made a talk in the Creek language, as any preacher of today speaks in English. It was the custom of the full bloods to place those things in the coffin that they felt the deceased would need. In the coffin of one Daniel Gooden they put a large cowboy hat, a fancy bridle for his horse and a lunch, besides many articles relatives had deposited.

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UNION ARMY OFFICER

       Captain Adams was a splendid old man. He had been a captain in the Union army during the Civil war. He possessed the hospitality of the old south. Once when the writer and a friend stopped at his home about noon he asked the women folks to prepare dinner. A tree had been cut down and the stump hollowed into a basin The women took some of the white corn raised on their farm, poured it into the stump and pulverized it with two clubs about the size and shape of baseball bats. This they

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