Jonah Raskin will discuss this article and related issues on Rag Radio, Friday, Nov. 24, 2-3 p.m. (CT) on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin or streamed at KOOP.org.
For the past 600 years and maybe far further back in time than that, indigenous people all over the world have taken a terrible beating, though they have also survived. Novelists, poets, painters, playwrights, and filmmakers have told that story of genocide and resistance in its many iterations over and over again, and still the wars go on. David Grann tells a small part of that global phenomenon in his nonfiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon, a bestseller. Now, famed director Martin Scorsese has adapted parts of Grann’s story for a long movie that describes the war that white settlers, businessmen, and lawmen waged in the 1920s in the state of Oklahoma against a Native American tribe called the Osage.
The Osage called the war that was waged against them a “Reign of Terror.” When oil was discovered in Osage territory in Oklahoma, the Indians suddenly became wealthy. In many ways they assimilated white values, without totally surrendering their own heritage and language. Both resistance and compliance went on at the same time.