My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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TULSA, Okla., Tuesday—We left at four o'clock yesterday afternoon for Muskogee after a short drive around the City of Tulsa. The thing that impresses anyone from the East is the amount of space there is out here, and the fact that houses built within the last ten years, close to the city, still have large grounds around them. It is interesting too, to see Italian houses and French houses, every type of architecture in fact here in practically the center of the United States. They fit into the landscape however and look quite at home!

My press conference in Muskogee was interesting because for the first time some Indians attended. Two of the younger ones were from the only Indian college in the United States, Bacone. Some Creek women, the older ones of the tribe, came to meet me and left with me a letter explaining some of their difficulties which will have to be referred to the Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Ickes, in Washington as of course, I can do nothing but pass it along.

An evening lecture, back in Tulsa by eleven-thirty. Rapidly to bed for we were to leave at nine this morning for Pawhuska in the Osage Country. Mrs. Ruth Witt and Miss Dorothy McBirney called for us and we started out. The Osage country is hilly, much of the land is stony though in the bottoms it looks extremely fertile. However, one can not help wondering how the Indians were originally expected to get enough from the fertile land available to feed an entire tribe. The Osages are the second largest tribe in the country because they seem to have had a wise chief who arranged with the government that they could never sell their mineral rights which are owned by the entire tribe. Oil and gas are everywhere [unclear term marked] land.

Chief and Mrs. Lockout with their little grandson met us just as we got to the town and we drove through the streets together in an [unclear term marked] escorted by two very beautifully dressed Indians in full regalia on their ponies.

We reached the Indian Council House and after a speech of welcome by the Chief, the young braves did some dances for me. More beautiful costumes I have never seen and I was presented with two blankets, one of them embroidered in beads by Mrs. Lockout's niece for me. She put it around my shoulders so I could sit in the Council House with the blanket about me and look like one of their own women! It was certainly a great comfort and I was glad to add a blanket given me by Chief Lookout over my knees!

Mrs. May Todd Aaron gave me a most charming woodcut of the Osage dance, and what with a cake, flowers and books added to these, I returned to Tulsa laden down. The chief spoke his welcome in his own tongue and it had to be translated but I listened with great interest because I had never heard a long speech in any Indian language before. I could not, however, distinguish any words as such, they all seemed like guttural sounds which flowed into each other rather rhythmically but had to me no beginning and no end. I am particularly glad to have the history of the people by John Joseph Mathews which I shall read with interest. Back in Tulsa a little after one and a lecture this afternoon at three o'clock.

E.R.
TMsd 16 March 1937, AERP, FDRL