Until The Frost Hit


indian medicines were made
from roots and herbs
which the creeks called angelica
was used for a purgative
and likewise button snakeroot
used for the same purpose
dogwood root and butterfly root
including goldenrod were used
as you would use quinine to break a
frost root
and a root they called doctor
dick root was used as a medicine

in eighteen eighty one
there was a smallpox epidemic
at okmulgee indian territory
and it came near wiping out the
entire population of this village


i have seen grass so tall here
that you could ride through it
on a horse and it would be
over your head in places
when they made hay on some farms
they would cut until the frost hit
this was certainly fine land
for cattle ranches

we raised a little corn and cotton
we had horses that
did not know what corn was
in fact they would not eat it
we pastured some cattle
for years and at one time my husband
helped handle seven thousand head
for mister brown

in nineteen o seven
oil was discovered near morris
the first well was drilled
north of here

Drawn from interviews with Muscogee (Creek) Indians conducted in 1937-38 and archived in the Indian-Pioneer Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma: I. Jake Simmons, born 1865; II. Leona Moore, born 1885. Submitted by James Treat.


Spring Is Wild Onion Time In Oklahoma

February until April, gathering wild onions is big event for many members of Five Civilized tribes in Oklahoma. Wild onion dinners are the fruits of their labor. The dinners are traditionally held in homes, community centers and churches. Wild onions are sometimes prepared with scrambled eggs (although not always) and poke sallet.

Some dinners have been served in the same place for nearly a century-like Haikey Chapel in Tulsa. On a recent Saturday, there was a line about a hundred deep waiting to eat wild onions with scrambled eggs, salt pork, beans, corn, fry bread and grape dumplings. Some have attended this dinner since they were kids, others were in line for the first time. Many said it was the cooking that kept them coming back.

Haikey Chapel has a long history in the community and many descendants of the original family attend church here-one was even doing the cooking on Saturday-Sunrise Tiger Ross. As she sauteed onions alongside her sister and cousin in a tent near the church she said, “Hopefully our grandmothers are happy with what we’re serving today.”

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