During his seven month-stay in New Mexico, D.H. Lawrence (1885 – 1930), pen-pushing British rhapsodist and highly lauded versifier in the 20th century's republic of letters, was baffled to find that the Natives of America were held in total contempt and largely confined to isolated swaths of land. Arriving in Taos in September of 1922, it didn't take him long to recognize the admirable qualities inherit within their culture and the injustices that had been done to them. His restrained response was expressed in these three brief paragraphs that appeared in THE NEW REPUBLIC toward the middle of December of that year.
Living, as we do, in the age of Indian gaming casinos it seems rather quaint to talk about which tribe was considered the richest of them all back in the Thirties. Nonetheless, this 1936 article tells the tale of the Osage Indians (Missouri) and the great wealth that was thrust upon them when oil was discovered on their tribal lands:
"In 1935, some 3,500 Osage Indians proved their right to the title of "wealthiest Indian tribe in America" by drawing an income of $5,000,000 from their oil and gas leases...The members of Chief Fred Lookout's tribe were not stingy with their new wealth. They bought clothes, big cars lavishly ornate homes..."
"Idolized, publicized, dramatized, picturesque members of a fast diminishing aboriginal race, they were the white man's heroes. But the white man's adulations and his indulgences helped write 'finis' prematurely on the records of some of them even as his vices quickened the racial degeneration of their stock."
"Sockalexis, Thorpe, Bender, Longboat and Meyers! There were scores of other notable Indian athletes from '93 to 1915, but the names of those five were household words in the early days of the new century."