This Happened? In America? Less Than 100 Years Ago? Yikes

David Grann's book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI is a tough story in more ways than one; it's a detailed account of two dozen (or possibly more) murders of Osage Indians, who relocated from the Cherokee territory in south Kansas (the ending point for many tribes after enduring the Trail of Tears) to a hardscrabble land of rocks and hills in Oklahoma because they thought the white man would never bother them in such lonely wicked country . . . but once oil was discovered under the Osage land, the white man came in droves, the Osage got filthy rich with headrights to the Osage Mineral Estate, and the atrocities followed one after another-- many of the murders masterminded by William King Hale-- who took advantage of the fact that some of the Osage married outside the family . . . it's impossible to summarize the rest, as the book has a huge cast of characters and also delves into the birth of the FBI, the methods of J. Edgar Hoover, and the storied biography of Tom White, who eventually ran Leavenworth Prison, and while the plot might be a bit byzantine for beach reading, the images of the richest Indians in America-- riding in chauffeured limousines to pow-wows, flying private planes to campfires, and sending their children to the finest European boarding schools, while still being under the corrupt auspice of government guardians and managers-- and these same Indians falling prey to a compromised criminal justice system, while being fleeced and often killed by number of greedy and conniving white men, with the lure of black gold looming in the Oklahoma hills, this all makes for an epic and embarrassing story from recent American history, and there's some new findings at the end, that Grann uncovered in his copious research-- so while this book isn't as fun as The Lost City of Z, it's much more significant, and in the end you will agree that-- as God told Cain-- "the blood cries out from the ground."


zman said...

So Daniel Plainview was involved.

rob said...

there was a reference to this incident in mother jones this month. now i guess i'm obligated to read the book.

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