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Bringing Home the Bacon

April 23, 2003

Historian's Notes

The "Smoked Meat Rebellion" is a fascinating look into the Creek culture during this period. The Creek full blood resistance is something of legend in Oklahoma and there is a lot written about it. Within the Creek movement to maintain traditional ways you can vividly see the pain, frustration and humiliation faced by Native American tribes as they became acculturated into white society.

Resources

All information for this Almanac came from the Angie Debo collection at OSU Special Collections and her book And Still the Waters Run.

Almanac Transcript

Bringing home the bacon this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, Iím Steven Knoche Kite.

One of the final stages of humiliation dumped on the Native Americans after their move to Oklahoma was the Allotment Act. Their land, given to them for perpetuity and held in common by all members of the tribe, was now being taken away and divided up into 160 acre lots, one of which was given to every to every member of the tribe, and the rest, the vast majority of the land, open for white settlement. It was no secret that allotment had to take place to break the solidity and homogeneity of the various tribes. As long as they held their land in common and lived communally resistance against the US government would occur, but by separating each family out onto individual farms assimilation into the Euro-American culture would be easier and quicker.

Among the variety of groups protesting the allotment were the great majority of the Creek full bloods. Led by Chitta Harjo, whose name is Creek for "Crazy Snake," those full-bloods who opposed white intervention into their affairs not only refused to accept their allotments, but they broke away from the old Creek Tribe forming their own government and locating the seat of that government at the old Creek tribal headquarters known as "The Hickory Ground." The first uprising by Harjo and his followers became known as the "Snake Rebellion" and lasted for period of time ending in 1901. Although there was really no actual peace during the interim, in 1909 another uprising occurred this time spelling the end of Creek full-blood resistance.

Known as the "Smoked Meat Rebellion," it was in this week of 1909 that 1000 pounds of smoked bacon disappeared from a Creek storage house. Who stole it or why was never known, but the incident gave law enforcement officials the excuse they needed to put down once and for all the full-blood Creek resistance. A posse of Creek lawmen, using the bacon theft as their excuse, invaded the Hickory Ground intent on killing or capturing the followers of Harjo. Not only did they succeed in rounding up a number of rebel Creeks, Harjo himself received an injury from which he never recovered. The Smoked Meat Rebellion of the Creek Tribe started this week in 1909.

Someone lost their bacon and the Creeks lost their land this week on the Almanac.

I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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