And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes

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Princeton University Press, 1972 - History - 417 pages
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Debo's classic work tells the tragic story of the spoliation of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole nations at the turn of the last century in what is now the state of Oklahoma. After their earlier forced removal from traditional lands in the southeastern states--culminating in the devastating 'trail of tears' march of the Cherokees--these five so-called Civilized Tribes held federal land grants in perpetuity, or "as long as the waters run, as long as the grass grows." Yet after passage of the Dawes Act in 1887, the land was purchased back from the tribes, whose members were then systematically swindled out of their private parcels.

The publication of Debo's book fundamentally changed the way historians viewed, and wrote about, American Indian history. Writers from Oliver LaFarge, who characterized it as "a work of art," to Vine Deloria, Jr., and Larry McMurtry acknowledge debts to Angie Debo. Fifty years after the book's publication, McMurtry praised Debo's work in the New York Review of Books: "The reader," he wrote, "is pulled along by her strength of mind and power of sympathy."

Because the book's findings implicated prominent state politicians and supporters of the University of Oklahoma, the university press there was forced to reject the book in .... for fear of libel suits and backlash against the university. Nonetheless, the director of the University of Oklahoma Press at the time, Joseph Brandt, invited Debo to publish her book with Princeton University Press, where he became director in 1938.

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About the author (1972)

Angie Debo was reared in a pioneer community, at Marshall, Oklahoma, where it has been her privilege to know from childhood the folkways of the Indians and the traditions of the western settlers. A member of her community high school's first graduating class, she later attended the University of Oklahoma, where she was a Phi Beta Kappa, and took her B.A. and later her Ph.D. degree; she received her master's degree from the University of Chicago. Her education was combined with intervals of teaching in country schools, starting at the age of sixteen.

Miss Debo's distinguished reputation as a regional scholar has been enhanced by her book, The Rise and. Fall of the Choctaw Republic, which won the John H. Dunning prize of the American Historical Society for the best book submitted in the field of United States history in 1934, and for her later, book, And Still the Waters Run. She has been a teacher in schools and colleges both in Oklahoma and Texas and was curator of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas. More recently she has been state director of the Federal Writers' Project in Oklahoma, in which capacity she edited Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State for the American Guide Series.