Sunday, September 2, 2007

So, okay, I can't spell 'villain'.
Does anybody know any good Civil War or Indian Territory sites? Let me hear from you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hi. The purpose of this blog is to discuss aspects of the Civil War in Indian Territory. I have been researching this area for three years in preperation for my historical novel 'A Confederate War Bonnet', to be published by iUniverse in November, 2007.

I am Jack Shakely, a fourth-generation Oklahoman now residing in California. I am of Creek (Muskogee) descent, but as Will Rogers said, have more than enough white blood not to be trusted. I am a retired journalist whose family over the years owned newspapers in the Oklahoma towns of Okemah, Okmulgee, Tahlequah, Weleetka, Dustin and Hanna. For six years I served on the Los Angeles City and County Native American Indian Commission, and chaired the commission from 1994 to 1996. For twenty-five years I was the president of The California Community Foundation, named by Forbes magazine as 'one of the ten best-managed nonprofit organizations in America'.

Enough about me. In my extensive research about the Civil War in Indian Territory, I found many gaps, inconsistancies, and downright contradictions. For example, was Colonel William Phillips, the Federal Commander at Fort Gibson, a ruthless killer whose Sherman-like 'scortched earth' campaign in 1864 ripped the Creek and Choctaw nations apart, as writer Steve Cotrell claims, or was he a respected and able administrator who had the Indians' best interests at heart, as historian Annie Abel asserts? Was Stand Watie a hero or villian? And just how do you spell the old Creek Chief Opathle Yohola, or is it Yahalo, or Yoholo, or Huepothleyahola? Chances are he didn't know or care, because he could neither read nor write.

I'd love to hear from you about Indian Territory and the Civil War. There is so much research that is still waiting to be done, one example being the relationship amoung the various Civilized Tribes (I know, I know, but that's what they called themselves) and the freedmen, during and just after the war.

From time to time I'll be posting excerpts from my book, and I'd enjoy your comments.

Let me hear from you. -Jack Shakely