Sequoyah, the Stillborn State for Native Americans
President Theodore Roosevelt vetoed the idea.
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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What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
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- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
- Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.
Is this proof of a dramatic shift?
- Map details dramatic shift from CNN to Fox News over 10-year period
- Does it show the triumph of "fake news" — or, rather, its defeat?
- A closer look at the map's legend allows for more complex analyses
Dramatic and misleading
Image: Reddit / SICResearch
The situation today: CNN pushed back to the edges of the country.
Over the course of no more than a decade, America has radically switched favorites when it comes to cable news networks. As this sequence of maps showing TMAs (Television Market Areas) suggests, CNN is out, Fox News is in.
The maps are certainly dramatic, but also a bit misleading. They nevertheless provide some insight into the state of journalism and the public's attitudes toward the press in the US.
Let's zoom in:
- It's 2008, on the eve of the Obama Era. CNN (blue) dominates the cable news landscape across America. Fox News (red) is an upstart (°1996) with a few regional bastions in the South.
- By 2010, Fox News has broken out of its southern heartland, colonizing markets in the Midwest and the Northwest — and even northern Maine and southern Alaska.
- Two years later, Fox News has lost those two outliers, but has filled up in the middle: it now boasts two large, contiguous blocks in the southeast and northwest, almost touching.
- In 2014, Fox News seems past its prime. The northwestern block has shrunk, the southeastern one has fragmented.
- Energised by Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Fox News is back with a vengeance. Not only have Maine and Alaska gone from entirely blue to entirely red, so has most of the rest of the U.S. Fox News has plugged the Nebraska Gap: it's no longer possible to walk from coast to coast across CNN territory.
- By 2018, the fortunes from a decade earlier have almost reversed. Fox News rules the roost. CNN clings on to the Pacific Coast, New Mexico, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast — plus a smattering of metropolitan areas in the South and Midwest.
Image source: Reddit / SICResearch
This sequence of maps, showing America turning from blue to red, elicited strong reactions on the Reddit forum where it was published last week. For some, the takeover by Fox News illustrates the demise of all that's good and fair about news journalism. Among the comments?
- "The end is near."
- "The idiocracy grows."
- "(It's) like a spreading disease."
- "One of the more frightening maps I've seen."
- "LOL that's what happens when you're fake news!"
- "CNN went down the toilet on quality."
- "A Minecraft YouTuber could beat CNN's numbers."
- "CNN has become more like a high-school production of a news show."
Not a few find fault with both channels, even if not always to the same degree:
- "That anybody considers either of those networks good news sources is troubling."
- "Both leave you understanding less rather than more."
- "This is what happens when you spout bullsh-- for two years straight. People find an alternative — even if it's just different bullsh--."
- "CNN is sh-- but it's nowhere close to the outright bullsh-- and baseless propaganda Fox News spews."
"Old people learning to Google"
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox News search terms (200!-2018)
But what do the maps actually show? Created by SICResearch, they do show a huge evolution, but not of both cable news networks' audience size (i.e. Nielsen ratings). The dramatic shift is one in Google search trends. In other words, it shows how often people type in "CNN" or "Fox News" when surfing the web. And that does not necessarily reflect the relative popularity of both networks. As some commenters suggest:
- "I can't remember the last time that I've searched for a news channel on Google. Is it really that difficult for people to type 'cnn.com'?"
- "More than anything else, these maps show smart phone proliferation (among older people) more than anything else."
- "This is a map of how old people and rural areas have learned to use Google in the last decade."
- "This is basically a map of people who don't understand how the internet works, and it's no surprise that it leans conservative."
A visual image as strong as this map sequence looks designed to elicit a vehement response — and its lack of context offers viewers little new information to challenge their preconceptions. Like the news itself, cartography pretends to be objective, but always has an agenda of its own, even if just by the selection of its topics.
The trick is not to despair of maps (or news) but to get a good sense of the parameters that are in play. And, as is often the case (with both maps and news), what's left out is at least as significant as what's actually shown.
One important point: while Fox News is the sole major purveyor of news and opinion with a conservative/right-wing slant, CNN has more competition in the center/left part of the spectrum, notably from MSNBC.
Another: the average age of cable news viewers — whether they watch CNN or Fox News — is in the mid-60s. As a result of a shift in generational habits, TV viewing is down across the board. Younger people are more comfortable with a "cafeteria" approach to their news menu, selecting alternative and online sources for their information.
It should also be noted, however, that Fox News, according to Harvard's Nieman Lab, dominates Facebook when it comes to engagement among news outlets.
CNN, Fox and MSNBC
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox (without the 'News'; may include searches for actual foxes). See MSNBC (in yellow) for comparison
For the record, here are the Nielsen ratings for average daily viewer total for the three main cable news networks, for 2018 (compared to 2017):
- Fox News: 1,425,000 (-5%)
- MSNBC: 994,000 (+12%)
- CNN: 706,000 (-9%)
And according to this recent overview, the top 50 of the most popular websites in the U.S. includes cnn.com in 28th place, and foxnews.com in... 27th place.The top 5, in descending order, consists of google.com, youtube.com, facebook.com, amazon.com and yahoo.com — the latter being the highest-placed website in the News and Media category.
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