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That land and the allotments were held in trust by the federal government for the tribe and so were legally “Indian country.” All else was declared “surplus land” and opened for white settlement.Reservations were rural with agricultural economies. There were few big cities in Oklahoma as, come to think of it, there are not all that many today.(Traditions differ on how long you have to wait before it’s not stealing to use a dead car for parts. Once in a blue moon, an English roadster would pass through on Route 66.It’s best to ask around on the particular rez.) Photo credit: Steve Russell Foreign cars made few appearances where I lived, in recently stolen Indian country, where there were tribal headquarters buildings for each rez before the Great Theft of 1907 that made Oklahoma. The Mother Road was our main street in Bristow, OK, literally.As a matter of habit, many rural Indians still referred to their former reservation boundaries as “the rez” even though the tribal governments used the legal jargon, “jurisdictional areas.” Somehow, in Bristow we never developed the habit of saying, “Do you want to ride over to the Sac & Fox jurisdictional area and get some of that deadly coffee at The Rock Café?” It didn’t help break the verbal habit when the state of Oklahoma put up signs on the road about “entering the Sac & Fox Reservation.” Another contributor to the ahistorical “rez” remarks was the rise of the powwow.Free popcorn and peanuts and Coca-Cola and a Corvette up close and personal. Nobody who took Consumer Reports seriously — and I do to this day — could do otherwise.
That was my first notice of car buying as a political act.
Renaults and Simcas were sold in Tulsa, but we seldom saw them.
So my world was divided among Fords and Chevys and Mo Par, principally the first two. I came from a family that would rather push a Ford than drive a Chevy. Every year, the local Chevy dealer got the loan of a Corvette during an open house to introduce the new models. Then I discovered foreign cars and pretty much swore off Detroit Iron for years.
I understood his feelings and did not criticize them.
My closest friendships are from the military and from the civil rights movement, for similar reasons. The movement project that took up the most space in my life was the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, although they were UFWOC when I first saddled up for the fight.