Indian-Pioneer Papers and Index

The Indian-Pioneer Papers is a collection of oral histories and typescripts gathered by federal writers of the 1930s Works Progress Administration, to learn about the life experiences of Native peoples and settlers residing in Indian Territory/Oklahoma.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Library and Archives holds a copy of the Grant Forman collection of Oklahoma Pioneer Histories. Grant Foreman (1869–1953), came to Oklahoma in 1899 as a field worker for the Dawes Commission. A resident of Muskogee, he led the acquisition of the three-million-document collection that became the Oklahoma Historical Society's Indian Archives. As part of the Work Progress Administration's Oklahoma branch of the Federal Writers' Project, he directed the work of the Historical Records Survey that compiled the 116-volume oral history comprising the Indian-Pioneer Papers, a major source for the history of early-twentieth-century Oklahoma.

The Indian-Pioneer Papers project was launched during the Great Depression to employ out-of-work writers. It began in 1936 and was one of many such programs designed to boost employment. The collection includes oral histories collected by the writers. Over 100 writers canvassed Oklahoma’s 77 counties, interviewing senior citizens and tribal elders, Indian and non-Indian alike, to record the stories of their lives.

The Oklahoma Historical Society has indexed this collection. Please see the external link to access the online index. The full online set of oral histories may be accessed through the University of Oklahoma Western History Collections. Indian-Pioneer Papers Collection

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