Encyclopedia Article


Oklahoma is a Choctaw Indian word that means “red people” and is derived from the words for people (okla) and red (humma). Currently, 39 individual tribes have their headquarters in Oklahoma including the Apaches, the Cherokee Nation, the Comanche Nation, the Kiowa, and the Seminoles, many of whose original homelands are long distances from this region. In 1803, the land that became Oklahoma was added to the U.S. as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Before statehood, these lands were used as relocation territory under Indian Removal Act, 30 tribes were relocated, and the region became known as "Indian territory." After statehood in 1907, the U.S. government recaptured the territories previously assigned to relocated indigenous groups. Oklahoma is a major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural goods for the rest of the United States. In 1995, Oklahoma City, the state capital and most populated city in the state was the site of a fatal domestic terrorist act orchestrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The Oklahoma City bombings made international news when 168 people were killed and 680 others wounded at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

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"Oklahoma Sunrise, 2015" by Jack Gray is licensed under CC BY.

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