A Desire for Revenge Ignited this Land Rush in Oklahoma


Elias Boudinot: Revenge is not a pretty thing

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Cherokee lawyer stirs up settlers with big talk

The Boomer movement and the Oklahoma Land Run were sparked by an article published in the Chicago Tribune in 1879 by Elias C. Boudinot.

His article claimed that 2 million acres in Indian Territory were unassigned to any tribe and therefore open to homesteading. This triggered a frenzy of interest among settlers hoping to claim their own piece of land.

However, the origins of Boudinot's article were rooted in a deep-seated desire for revenge.

He really wanted revenge for his father's murder

Elias C. Boudinot was a half-blood Cherokee whose father had been murdered by tribal leaders in 1839. His father had ceded Eastern Cherokee lands to the federal government in exchange for Western lands, a decision that angered tribal leaders.

His father was killed when Elias was very young, so he grew up with a strong desire for revenge against those who had killed his father and against the Cherokee Nation as a whole.

Boudinot saw an opportunity to strike at the Cherokee Nation with his article in the Chicago Tribune.

By promoting the idea of unassigned land in Indian Territory, he hoped to attract settlers to the area and thereby undermine the power of the Cherokee Nation. His plan worked, as thousands of people flocked to Oklahoma to stake their claim on the newly opened land.

Elias is a part of Oklahoma's history now

While Boudinot's actions were motivated by revenge, the Boomer movement and the Oklahoma Land Run had far-reaching consequences that transformed the region.

The arrival of settlers led to the displacement of Native American tribes and the eventual formation of the state of Oklahoma. Today, the legacy of this turbulent time in history is still felt by many in the region.


Hi, I'm Judy! I love bringing a magnifying glass to where psychology and history cross. What makes people do what they do? Why did they make that choice? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and share this article on social media and with family and friends, if you'd like.

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Judy Derby has worked in the surrounding communities as a social worker and advocate. providing resources and information to help local families meet their basic needs. She's been writing about social issues and related topics for over 10 years.

Antlers, OK

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