Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Indian International Fair

INDIAN INTERNATIONAL FAIR.

The Indian International Fair resembled contemporary agricultural fairs. Held annually in Muskogee, Indian Territory, in September or October from 1875 to about 1900, the week-long event featured produce and domestic exhibits in a barn-like pavilion. These displays, horse racing on the adjacent track, a merry-go-round, and commercial vendors attracted many Indians and non-Indians from the Indian Territory and neighboring states. Indian policemen tried to suppress horse theft, alcohol consumption, and illicit games of chance. The fair was a much-anticipated occasion for visiting and family reunions.

As an outgrowth of the Okmulgee Constitutional Convention of the early 1870s, the fair served several purposes. Founders of the Indian International Fair Association included Muskogee's white and Indian businessmen, who believed it would boost the town and territory. Federal officials supported it as a means of "civilizing" Indians. They and some members of the Five Civilized Tribes used fair exhibits to impress upon visiting Plains Indians the benefits of and need for adopting the sedentary, agricultural, "progressive" lifestyle demanded by Anglo-Americans. At the 1879 fair Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz stunned his multitribal audience with the first warning that, in spite of their treaties, allotment of their lands and opening the territory for homesteading was inevitable.

Mary Jane Warde

See also: FAIRS, INDIAN TERRITORY, SETTLEMENT PATTERNS

Bibliography

Angie Debo, The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941).

Ella Robinson, "Indian International Fair," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 17 (December 1939).

Mary Jane Warde, George Washington Grayson and the Creek Nation, 1843–1920 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Mary Jane Warde, "Indian International Fair," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 17, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia