American Indian Expo
The town of Lawton was founded August 6, 1901, when the last of the Indian lands in the Oklahoma Territory, the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache reservation, was opened by the federal government for settlement. In contrast to land runs used in other parts of the Territory, a lottery was established to distribute the land in 160-acre plots. A person wanting a claim had to register for the drawing. On July 10, 1901, registration opened at Fort Sill and at El Reno, Oklahoma. About 29,000 “wannabe” homesteaders from all over the United States journeyed into the southwest Oklahoma Territory to register at Fort Sill during the 16 days registration was open. Another 135,000 registered at El Reno. Lottery planners in Washington, D.C. had not foreseen so many people wanting land in that part of the country. The drawing began July 29th at El Reno, and only 6,500 were lucky enough to be selected for a homestead in each of three districts, one of which was Lawton.
Our picture takes us back to the 1974 American Indian Expo parade in Anadarko, OK. Does anyone recognize the man marching with the Comanche contingent? That’s champion dancer and artist, the late George “Woogie” Watchetaker. Comanche