American Indian and Alaska Native Newspapers and Periodicals, 1826-1924 - Vol. 1

By Daniel F. Littlefield Jr.; James W. Parins | Go to book overview

During the 1890s, the Indian Chieftain advocated the allotment of land in severalty to the American Indians, but opposed restricted allotments. The paper opposed the "eminent domain" bills in Congress that threatened Indian lands and supported the efforts of the Women's Christian Temperance Union against the whiskey trade. Democratic in politics, the newspaper opposed the war with Spain in 1898 and was against statehood for Indian Territory with or without Oklahoma.

During the first five years of this century, the Chieftain underwent changes. On February 15, 1900, Marrs became both editor and publisher, and M. E. Milford's name was removed from the masthead. Milford's health had dictated that he give up the newspaper business, and Marrs had bought his interest in the Chieftain. H. Lee Clotworthy became associate editor on September 19, 1901. On December 25, 1902, the title of the newspaper became the Vinita Weekly Chieftain, and on September 7, 1905, it became The Weekly Chieftain.

During this period, the Chieftain chronicled the events leading to the dissolution of the Cherokee and other tribal governments. It covered in detail the events surrounding the enrollment of tribal members, the allotment of lands, the federal assumption of responsibility for education, and the lame-duck tribal elections after 1900. As Oklahoma statehood approached, it monitored the events related to the constitutional convention, local and state elections, and the beginning of county and state government. After statehood, the Indian emphasis dramatically decreased. The Weekly Chieftain ceased publication, apparently in late 1912.

The Weekly Chieftain was one of the most influential newspapers edited by American Indians at a crucial stage of Indian history. During the 1890s, it published a great deal of news, commentary, and background information about the Dawes Commission and about the allotment issue, topics important to the student of Indian affairs.


Notes
1.
Grace Ernestine Ray, Early Oklahoma Newspapers ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1928), 94.
2.
After his connection with the Indian Chieftain, Ivey held editorships on several newspapers including the Tahlequah Telephone,* the Stilwell Standard,* The Sallisaw Star,* and the Sallisaw Gazette.* He also served as the associate editor of The New Era* at Stilwell. Ivey had other interests as well. He served as postmaster for a time at Vinita and raised cattle. It was as a stockman that he got involved in the dispute concerning the leasing of the Cherokee Strip; Ivey denounced this practice before a committee of the U.S. Senate in 1884. He was active politically, serving as an observer in the Cherokee legislature and as a delegate to the Oklahoma Statehood Convention in 1901. Later in life, Ivey suffered from mental illness and was treated at the Northeastern State Hospital in Vinita, where he died. Stilwell Standard, December 13, 1906; Carolyn Thomas Foreman , Oklahoma Imprints, 1835-1907 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1936), 69, 75, 81, 83, 92, 94, 165.
3.
Ray, Early Oklahoma Newspapers, 70.

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