Grades 5 and 8 Reference Resources
 

YOU'LL LOVE OKLAHOMA by Larry T. B. Sunderland

      Oral cultures, including Native American, often relied on stories for teaching, and more often than not, the stories were in poetry form. This can be demonstrated by using a story to learn about the Removal Act. The following story/poem "You’ll Love Oklahoma" relates the historical experience of many of the tribes removed. The narrator is President Andrew Jackson. He is trying to convince the various tribes to remove to the Indian Territory, later called Oklahoma. (Take turns reading the verses out loud individually and have your entire group or class call out "You’ll love Oklahoma." when it is called for.)

 

The Removal Act was passed for you
Knowing what you’d be going through
With people who want to steal your land.
This country owes you a helping hand.
The Removal Act was passed for the benefit of southern slave owning settlers. The settlers wanted Indian lands for farming and gold prospecting, and the tribes destabilized slavery by often providing a haven for escaped slaves.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Cherokee folks, we have nothing to hide.
We’ll build you comfortable boats to ride.
Sit back, relax, all the way
We’ll flip the bill. You won’t have to pay.
The Cherokee were promised boats but, instead, were forced to march through winter to the Indian Territory. More than 4,000 died along the "Trail of Tears."
You’ll love Oklahoma!
If you’re Choctaw, the place for you
Is the Red River Valley with soil so fine
You’ll think you’re in the land
Of honey and wine.
The Choctaw had their own "Trail of Tears", and experienced famine in the mostly dry outlaw ridden Red River Valley of southeast Oklahoma.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Modocs fought for lava beds.
We’re giving you good farmland instead.
You can’t grow corn out of basalt.
f you don’t like it here ... it’s your fault.
The Modoc indeed fought for their California lava bed homeland and their chief Captain Jack and three others were hanged. Much of the rest of the tribe were taken to Oklahomawhile other were taken to Oregon. The Modocs did not grow corn.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Shawnee sure moved around a lot.
Trust me now you’ve found your spot.
Here’s the prettiest place you’ve ever been.
You’ll never want to move again.
The Shawnee indeed moved a lot due to pressure from the Beaver Wars and later White settlers.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
Couldn’t let you Nez Perce go to Canada
When we had such a wonderful place for ya.
Once you’ve basked in the Oklahoma sun,
You’ll never want to see Oregon.
The U.S. Army chased the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph from Oregon to Montana in a running war. The tribe was removed to Oklahoma where they suffered greatly before some were allowed to return to Idaho.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Apache folks with Geronimo,
We gave you quite a chase.
We weren’t trying to be bellicose.
We’re just trying to tell you about this place.
Geronimo’s Chiricahua Apache fought the U.S. Army for many years before being interned at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma
You’ll love Oklahoma!
That horrible day with Chivington
You Cheyenne really took it on the chin.
Come to Oklahoma. You’ll be safe.
Nothin’ like that will ever happen again.
The Southern Cheyenne under Black Kettle had a reservation at Sand Creek, Colorado when they were attacked by Chivington and about 200 were massacred. They were promised a safe place in Oklahoma, but General George Custer’s cavalry massacred 200 more including Black Kettle.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
As along as the sun goes across the sky.
As long as the rivers don’t run dry,
This land will forever be yours,
And there won’t be any more wars.
The White man will forever stay
Off your land an out of your way.
Many of the treaties make this reference to the sun crossing the sky and the rivers not running dry. But using the excuse that because some of the tribes supported the south during the Civil War, the Indian lands of Oklahoma were soon opened up to White settlement and most of the tribes were terminated with the Dawes Act.
You’ll love Oklahoma!