ERIC Number: ED370743
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Oklahoma Indians and the Cultural Deprivation of an Oklahoma Cherokee Family.
Shaver, Lynda Dixon
This paper summarizes the history of Oklahoma Indians, highlights the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and relates the story of the family of one Oklahoma Cherokee woman, Lou Jane Morgan Jernigan. Oklahoma is the state with the largest population of Indians, largely due to federal policy in the 19th century, which forced Indians into Oklahoma (or Indian) Territory. Federal policy sought to assimilate Indians into White culture, particularly by sending Indian children to boarding schools and relocating Indian families away from their tribes. Today, Oklahoma Indians represent a nondominant subculture. The history and culture of each tribe impact tribal members in varying degrees and diverse manners, as individuals experience assimilation to different extents, ranging from total to marginal. Indian students in White educational institutions often feel they must choose between cultures, and allegiance to family and home may lead to dropping out. The story of the Morgan-Jernigan family illustrates the dilemma of many Native people who live in an Anglo world and who must learn to survive in a different culture. The Cherokee Morgans intermarried, assimilated to a degree, and eventually moved to McIntosh County, Oklahoma. Lou Jane Morgan was born in Oklahoma and married Benjamin Harrison Jernigan. In the face of prevailing racism against Indians, she patterned her married life and raising of her nine children after the Irish culture into which she married. In her nineties she finally made peace with her Cherokee heritage when she attended the ceremony of the first Cherokee woman elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985. Her descendants are attempting to return to their Cherokee heritage. Contains 45 references. (KS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (79th, Miami, FL, November 18-21, 1993).