Douglas Henry Johnston was governor of the Chickasaw Nation from 1898 to 1902 and from 1904 to 1939. His tenure in this position is the longest of any American Indian chief executive. In this much-anticipated biography, Michael Lovegrove chronicles Johnston’s remarkable political life, telling the story of how he led his people—with diplomacy and efficiency—through the devastating dissolution of tribal lands at the beginning of the twentieth century and through the contentious struggles in the three decades that followed.Drawing on a range of sources, Lovegrove shows the enormous impact Governor Johnston had on the development of the Chickasaw Nation.
A mild-mannered, intellectually gifted statesman, he stood steadfast at the helm of his people, helping them navigate federal allotment during the Dawes Commission era at the turn of the century. In his capacity as the federally appointed Chickasaw governor after Oklahoma statehood in 1907, Johnston led the Chickasaw and Choctaw Treaty Rights Association, which successfully fought the State of Oklahoma’s efforts to tax allotment lands.
The governor and his colleagues vigorously challenged these taxation initiatives in federal court, arguing that they violated the Dawes Act of 1887, the Atoka Agreement of 1897, and the Curtis Act of 1898. Fortunately, Johnston lived and led his people long enough to see new hope emerge in the Indian New Deal of the 1930s.A valuable addition to the history of the Chickasaw Nation, this richly textured historical narrative reveals the tribulations and accomplishments of a great statesman.