On This Date in History: In the long, sad history of the United States and its eradication and relocation of the continent’s native (Indian) tribes, the area now known as Oklahoma became somewhat of a clearing house area of the tribes. Andrew Jackson had been a big Indian fighter in Georgia and Florida. His methods were often suggested to be cruel and inhuman. When he was elected President, his first message to Congress in December 1829 made mention of his intention to remove the native tribes from their land. By 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act and his successor, Martin Van Buren, followed through on Jackson’s policy and enforced the Removal Act and some following treaties by taking the Cherokees and some other tribes to the newly acquire territory north of what was then Mexico. It was probably the only thing Van Buren did of note as president and it pretty much sucked. Thousands of men, women and children died of various causes from the long walk to the newly designated Indian Territory. It was known as the Trail of Tears.
This land was supposed to be where all of the Indian tribes would be placed and eventually, they were told it would become an Indian State. But, as usual, what the Indians were told is not what Uncle Sam did. The Indians settled in much of the territory except for an area in the center. The railroads started crossing the territory with white men coming in to work and some wished to settle there. Some illegally took over Indian homes and land. Meanwhile, in Texas, the cattle industry boomed and the ranchers needed to get their beef to the East Coast markets. The only way to do that was to get the cattle to the closest railheads which where in Kansas. So, the ranchers illegally drove their mainly Longhorn cattle across the lush plains of the Indian Territory on the trek to Kansas. People who tried to get into the land or coveted the land were known as Boomers. Everyone took notice of the land in the center of the territory that became known as the “Unassigned Land,” but the 1887 Dawes Act was supposed to protect the Indian people. The US Government tried to enforce the laws but eventually just gave in and acquired the “Unassigned Land” with an eye toward opening it to settlement.
On this date in 1889 at noon, the land became officially opened for settlement and thousands of whites rushed in to grab their stake. But, a number of people wanted to cheat…and they were called Sooners, just like the football team. They were people who went into the area to stake a claim sooner than they were supposed to. Some even soaped up their horses to make it look like that they had rushed in that day to stake their claim. By 1890,there were over 100,000 Whites, 18,000 Blacks and 50,000 Indians in what became known to be the Oklahoma Territory. In 1906, the Indians attempted to create their own state, as had been promised, but the effort failed and on November 16, 1907 the Indian Territories and what had been the Unassigned Land to form the new state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the Choctaw word for Red People. You don’t suppose those good folks at the Oklahoma University chose their team colors because of that, do you? Naw…they’re so sensitive which is why they will probably be distraught when the ‘Horns put it too them again in October. Here are additional Oklahoma Land Rush Images.
One might apply the “Sooner” label to the United Nations and Earth Day
Earth Day has a history that stretches back to 1970. But, if you read below, you will find that there was a battle between Earth Days at that time, sorta like the battle between Beta and VHS. The video battle for home use was won by VHS and the Earth Day battle was won by the April 22 crowd and not the United Nations,which had designated the first day of Spring as Earth Day. Over time, it was determined that giving the Earth just one day was not sufficient so now we have Earth Week. Apparently, several cities began taking up the time from April 16 to April 22 as an opportunity to promote energy saving ideas, recycling and other stuff that will save the world. However, it seems that there may be a battle brewing over this as well. Seems that UC Berkley, has designated the calendar week for its activities. Last year, I heared Oprah promoting Earth Week. Something tells me that Earth Week of the calendar week of April 22 will win out over April 16-April 22. In recent years, critics as well as environmental groups have opposed the commercialization of Earth Day. There are also those, like the National Center for Policy Analysis that ridicule Earth Day for past predictions that have not come to fruition. Not sure where’s the beef. I mean, its not like our planet couldn’t use some cleaning up.
The image from above was from Apollo 17, the final moon mission. I like it because it’s not some doctored up picture and shows the earth as it really is (was). Earth Day is rather interesting because there are two people who get credit for its invention. If you look up International Earth Day, you will find that John McConnell claims to have introduced the idea to the UN in September of 1969. He said that nature provided the perfect day on the Spring Equinox. The first UN sanctioned Earth day was on March 21, 1970. The UN Peace Bell is rung on every UN earth day. Their website says that the purpose of Earth Day is “to celebrate Earth’s life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends.”
But, the media has grabbed on to another Earth Day, April 22. This first Earth Day was held on this date in 1970. This was the brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who said, “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” I guess he had the most juice because most people think of April 22 as Earth Day and political aims seem to have been met in July of 1970, when President Nixon by Executive Order established the Environmental Protection Agency, which some would find ironic. But there are several ironies regarding Earth Day with one including Nixon himself.
Ironic historical notes about Earth Day:
April 22, 1915: The German Army first introduced the use of poison gas on the battlefield as they fired 150 tons of Chlorine into Allied lines. Happy Earth Day.
April 22, 1992: More than 200 people were killed and 1000 buildings damaged when the sewers exploded in Guadalajara, Mexico after natural gas filled the lines. The warning signs were there but
apparently the government nor the government controlled national oil company did anything about it. Happy Earth Day.
April 22, 1994: The guy who was perhaps spurred by the first Earth Day, President Nixon, to create the Environmental Protection Agency….died.
BTW…I still think we should be focusing the attention on water pollution more than climate change…but alas…there doesn’t seem to be any money in that.
Weather Bottom Line: I’ve been telling you for the past week that things might get interesting. The reason was that it looked like a big storm would be ejecting from the West. Yesterday, I showed how the SPC had a fairly bullish assessment of a severe potential for the lower Mississippi Valley for Saturday morning through Sunday morning. It’s a shade unusual for them to say that a wide spread severe event is likely for a specified area 4 days out. But, I had suggested that they may ultimately expand that region of concern northward to cover our region and, they have now done so.
It’s a pretty complex situation because this guy is going to be breaking up. I would surmise that one might suggest that our rain chances Thursday night and Friday are a reflection of small pieces coming through the flow. As we get to the weekend, the storm comes out from the plains and makes its presence known. It’s going to be interesting to see how things shake out here. My suspicion is that Saturday afternoon that there will be storms developing out west and a few of them may hold together to cause some problems Saturday evening and night. I’m not sold on the idea that there is no risk at all on Sunday, though it seems less likely than Saturday. Thing is, this guy kinda goes pokey on us and seems to be progged to hang around on Sunday, which means we should at least keep an eye on things. It does not appear that Saturday’s stuff will be a widespread event as that should be reserved for the lower Mississippi Valley, though the potential for a few troublemakers is there.