Sequoyah, the Stillborn State for Native Americans
President Theodore Roosevelt vetoed the idea.
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
The U.S. state of Oklahoma almost entered the Union as two states – Oklahoma and Sequoyah. The latter is the name of a failed, early 20th-century attempt at state formation by Native Americans, who constituted a large part of the population in eastern Oklahoma at the time, as they still do.
Most of Oklahoma was part of the Louisiana Purchase, the vast territory acquired by the U.S. from France in 1803. The Oklahoma Panhandle came into U.S. possession only after the Mexican-American war of 1846-’48. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 set aside most of present-day Oklahoma (minus the panhandle) as Indian Territory – a resettlement zone for native Americans removed from their homes east of the Mississippi.
In 1866, the U.S. government forced new treaties on the tribes living there and the Indian Territory was roughly halved. The western and central parts of Indian Territory became government land. From the 1870s onward, prospective settlers began to push for opening these lands for Euro-American settlement under the 1862 Homestead Act. Even though the government resisted, in an attempt to honour the 1866 treaties, the settlers’ pressure became too great to resist. In 1884, a court in Kansas ruled that settling on these lands wasn’t a crime.
Congress followed by authorising settlement via the Dawes (General Allotment) Act of 1887. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison opened up 8,000 sq. km of so-called Unassigned Lands (in central Oklahoma) for white settlement by means of a land run. This involved dividing up the land on a first-come basis. In total, there were five major land runs in Oklahoma, although most of the rushes after the one of 1889 involved a lottery to counter cheating (some of the settlers were called ‘Sooners’, because they had already literally staked their claim before the land was opened for settlement).
In 1890, the 1866 treaty lands plus (then known rather romantically as No Man’s Land) were joined into the Oklahoma Territory. The eastern part of present-day Oklahoma remained Indian Territory. In a convention at Eufaula in 1902, representatives of the so-called Five Civilized Tribes started a drive towards statehood for the Indian Territory. The name for their proposed state was Sequoyah, after the prominent Cherokee leader who devised the Cherokee alphabet.
In 1903, the delegates met again to organise a constitutional convention. This convention met at Muskogee in 1905, presided over by General Pleasant Porter, Principal Chief of the Creek Nation. Vice-presidents were the high representatives of each of the five aforementioned tribes: William C. Rogers (Cherokee), William H. Murray (Chickasaw), Green McCurtain (Choctaw), John Brown (Seminole) and Charles N. Haskell (Creek).
If Sequoyah never achieved statehood, it wasn’t for the efforts of the Convention: it drafted a constitution, established county boundaries for the new state, elected delegates to petition Congress for statehood and saw its proposals overwhelmingly endorsed by a referendum held in Indian Territory. However, Eastern politicians pressured then-president Theodore Roosevelt against admitting two Western states (Sequoyah and Oklahoma) into the Union, fearing this would disproportionally diminish Eastern states’ political influence. Roosevelt then decided both territories could only enter the Union as a single state.
Having already laid the groundwork for their own state, Indian Territory representatives had a big influence in establishing Oklahoma. The constitution of Oklahoma, admitted as the 46th state in 1907, is based largely on that of Sequoyah.
The tantalising concept of an ‘Indian’ state of the Union was recycled by alternate history writer Harry Turtledove, in whose novel ‘How Few Remain’ the Indian Territory enters the Confederate States of America as the Confederate State of Sequoyah.
Nowadays, Oklahoma is the 20th-largest, 28th-most populous (3.45 million) state of the Union. Its name, chosen by Chief Allen Wright of the Choctaw Nation during the 1866 treaty negotiations means Red People in his native language. That name applied at first only to the aforementioned Unassigned Lands, in central Oklahoma.
Oklahoma today is a blend of Western and Native cultures. The state has the nation’s second-largest Native American population, both percentage-wise (11,4% compared with Alaska’s 19%) and in absolute terms (about 400,000, compared with California’s 680,000). Additionally, a quarter of the state’s white and black populations have some Native American ancestry.
Oklahoma is home to about 50 Native tribal headquarters, more than any other state. Ten of the Native languages spoken in Oklahoma have over 10,000 speakers. Tahlequah in eastern Oklahoma, where Native Americans predominate, is the Capital of the Cherokee Nation.
This map of the ‘State of Sequoyah’ – complete with a proposed State Seal – was compiled from the USGS Map of Indian Territory (1902), revised to include the county divisions made under direction of Sequoyah Statehood Convention (1905), by D.W. Bolich, a civil engineer at Muskogee. It was found at here at Wikimedia Commons, where it can be seen in greater detail.
Strange Maps #147
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Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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