The World's Richest Indian: The Scandal over Jackson Barnett's Oil Fortune

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9780195162332: The World's Richest Indian: The Scandal over Jackson Barnett's Oil Fortune
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The first biography of Jackson Barnett, who gained unexpected wealth from oil found on his property. This book explores how control of his fortune was violently contested by his guardian, the state of Oklahoma, the Baptist Church, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and an adventuress who kidnapped and married him. Coming into national prominence as a case of Bureau of Indian Affairs mismanagement of Indian property, the litigation over Barnett's wealth lasted two decades and stimulated Congress to make long-overdue reforms in its policies towards Indians. Highlighting the paradoxical role played by the federal government as both purported protector and pilferer of Indian money, and replete with many of the major agents in twentieth-century Native American history, this remarkable story is not only captivating in its own right but highly symbolic of America's diseased and corrupt national Indian policy.

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About the Author:


Tanis C. Thorne is Half-time Lecturer and Director of Interdisciplinary Native American Minor, University of California, Irvine, and Part-time Lecturer at Sacramento State University.

Review:


"It vividly illuminates how the federal government of that period was "protecting" native peoples while at the same time tealing whatever they had of value."--John Burch, Campbellsville University Library


"An astounding tale, brilliantly told, of one man's simple dignity caught up in a hurricane of greed and chicanery."-- Mike Davis, author of Dead Cities and Other Tales


"A historical tour-de-force that dramatically and depressingly shows how a confluence of law, racial attitudes, scheming individuals, and bureaucratic institutions devastated the considerable rights and resources of Jackson Barnett, a Creek Nation citizen, and by extension the rights of other similarly situated indigenous people. Thorne's lucid account is a worthy and timely successor to Angie Debo's And Still the Waters Run, a penetrating analysis of the systematic fraud and dispossession that was perpetuated on the citizens of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma by similar forces. Finally, this work graphically shows that oil-its exploration and exploitation--has long played a major role in indigenous politics as well as in national and international politics."--David E. Wilkins, University of Minnesota


"For anyone interested in American Indians, this book is a must read about surviving cultural change for many traditionalists learning the ways of the white man in the early twentieth century."--Donald L. Fixico, University of Kansas


"Not just the life story of Jackson Barnett, this is a story of the government's failure to meet its trust responsibility to protect 'restricted' or 'incompetent' Indians from those who preyed upon them and their oil-generated wealth. It is the story of the culture of greed that gripped early Oklahoma--a complex, sad, and sometimes ugly story, masterfully told."-Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr., University of Arkansas at Little Rock


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Thorne, Tanis C.
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