Boarding School and Land Allotment Eras 1879-1933


Timber barons create indentured servitude in Oklahoma

Timber barons are directly involved as Dawes allotment officials, determining blood quantum, land allotments, and competency hearings for control over Indian lands. In particular, “lands allotted to children of allottees, including valuable timberland, became a targeted focus of exploitation. Local courts routinely declared natural parents, particularly full bloods, incompetent and assigned whites as guardians for minor children…. Timber dealers acting as guardians would often select allotments in the choice timber region, then sell the timber at bargain basement rates, often to themselves, and finally retain most of the sales price as payment for their services” (Faiman-Silva, 1988). As the timber giants take the land, they set up supply stores in the region, creating debt servitude among the Choctaw still living in their own original lands. To pay off the debts, Choctaws in the southeastern timber region harvest and replant trees, never fully paying off the debt and living in indentured servitude for generations on their very own lands. Prior to the allotment period, Choctaws had collective ownership of timber through an elaborate system of tribal laws and protocols, based on traditions long held over generations.

Traumatic Event