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THE ORIGINAL OKIE NATION. Muskogee is a burly, bootstrapping town that believes living right and being free is worth fighting for. A crossroads of everything, Muskogee brought together cowboys and Indians, outlaws and lawmen, slaves and Freedmen, oil tycoons and roughnecks, even hippies and manly men. Okie Nation is a place where it's hip to be real, whoever you are.
Muskogee is rich in Okie Pride and shares that pride with the world through a song - "Okie from Muskogee." Muskogee is known for its beautiful azalea gardens that bloom in a glorious profusion of color each April and sparkle with Christmas color each December for the Garden of Lights and Christmas Kingdom.
Muskogee's history stretches back thousands of years to the native people who built their villages and burial mounds along the three rivers- the Arkansas, the Grand, and the Verdigris. European and American explorers and fur traders built some of the West's first trading posts along these three rivers.
Known as the Three Forks, this region was the hub for the settlement and development of what became Indian Territory. The Five Civilized Tribes ended their "Trail of Tears" at this fort in one of America's most poignant dramas here at Fort Gibson, the western military outpost. During the Civil War, Union troops including the First Kansas (Colored) Infantry occupied Fort Gibson and faced the cannons of the Cherokee Mounted Rifles at Confederate Fort Davis just across the Arkansas River.
Muskogee was born in 1872 when the Missouri-Kansas & Texas Railroad became the first rail line to cross Indian Territory. Named for the Creek Tribe, this dusty, raucous cow town rapidly grew into Indian Territory's most important city. Its unique position, on navigable rivers crossed by the Texas Road and the KATY Railroad, made Muskogee a hub of travel and commerce. Muskogee's port can claim to have seen travelers such as the great Sequoyah, Sam Houston, and Zachary Taylor.
The government made Muskogee the unofficial capital of Indian Territory in 1875 when it established the Union Agency here, and then in 1889 added a federal court. Muskogee became the political center of the Territory and its citizens built new homes and businesses that now grace the National Register of Historic Places.
The Dawes Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes was headquartered in Muskogee to enroll the Indians and allot their land in 1894. In 1905 the Tribes gathered in Muskogee to write a constitution for the State of Sequoyah; Muskogee hoped to be the capital of this "Indian State." Denied admission to the Union, Indian Territory then joined with Oklahoma Territory to form the great state of Oklahoma and Okie pride was born.
Oklahoma also holds the distinction of having more historically black towns than any other state. Visitors can learn about their unique place in history where African Americans of a century ago came to find a better life in the "Promised Land."