FEBRUARY 8, 1936

KAW MEMBER CHARLES CURTIS DIED– FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT

Born January 25, 1860, in Topeka, Kansas, Curtis was a member of the Kaw Tribe.  At age 8, he trekked on foot to seek help after a Cheyenne raid on the Kaw Reservation.  Curtis jockied in his teens before moving to Topeka for school.  Admitted to the bar, he served as a county prosecuting attorney.  Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892, he served there until 1907 before moving to the U.S. Senate (1907-13 and 1915-29), eventually becoming Majority Leader.  He is best known for the 1898 Curtis Act which abrogated treaty rights, abolished tribal courts, and gave the government control over mineral leases on Indian lands.  It also included allotments to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole, previously exempt from the Dawes Act of 1887.  In 1928, Herbert Hoover, no friend of Curtis’, chose him as running mate and then ignored him.  Leaving office, Curtis practiced law in Washington until his death.  In 2012, he received a place on Kansas’ Walk of Honor.

Sources:  Scott McKie, "Charles Curtis: America's Indian Vice President," Cherokee One Feather, 2/4/2014.  Retrieved 12/14/2019, https://www.theonefeather.com/2014/02/charles-curtis-americas-indian-vice-president/
 "Charles Curtis, 31st Vice President (1929–1933)," U.S. Senate: Art & History. US Senate.gov.  Retrieved 12/14/2019, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/VP_Charles_Curtis.htm
Photo:  Strauss Peyton, 6/12/1931.  Public Domain.

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