November is National Native American Heritage Month! Visit our web page for resources on related records and how we are commemorating the month. Today’s post comes from Becca Watford of the National Archives History Office.
In his recent book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, journalist and bestselling author David Grann brings to light how money and greed led to the tragic murder of the Osage tribe of Oklahoma.
In the 1920s, after the discovery of the presence of millions of dollars in oil under the Osage reservation, a man named William Hale hatched a plot to kill Native Americans so he could take the profits for himself.
The Osage had “headrights,” meaning they received the money from the oil. Although he was behind the murders of at least 60 Native Americans—including nearly an entire family—Hale was put on trial for only one of his victims, Henry Roan.