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 Post subject: Bug Creek Indian Camp
PostPosted: Thu May 19th, 2011 pm31 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 20th, 2011 pm31 10:33 pm
Posts: 251
Location: Ralston, Oklahoma
The Bug Creek Indian Camp took several attempts to reach. I was using a 1931 map, which was actually surveyed in 1929, and according to it, there where three roads which passed near the camp. They were "unimproved" roads, and in 1929, this meant bad. Really, really bad.

Unfortunately, I found that two of these road simply no longer existed. The third ended up in an elderly farmers front yard, though I could see that it continued into the woods, at least faintly. It took a few attempts to finally catch the farmer at home, and he confirmed the road did go to the old camp, but it was "pretty rough", eyeing my little Ford Ranger with disdain. I puffed out my chest and advised him I was confident it would make the journey.

The old gentleman said that first gate was locked, so he would have to let me through, but the other gates didn't have any locks, at least he didn't think so. I asked if he had been to the camp, and he said yes, but it had been years, though the Osage Indians still owned the land and visited the site occasionally.

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During my research on the camp, I came across an old contact survey by an Oklahoma historical preservation team from the mid 80's which had visited the camp, though it didn't mention anything about the roads I'd talked to the Osage county historical society and they were unfamiliar with the camp, and though I had planned to visit the Osage Nation museum in Pawhuska, I hadn't made it back to do so. So, off I went with 25 year old information, and an 80 year old map to see anything still existed. Cell phone coverage was a joke, so if I didn't make it, I'd have to walk out for help, though the farmer had a tractor which reassured me somewhat. Preparation (and 8 ply tires with 2 spares) is the key! A snippet of the map.

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A VERY brief history of the Osage Nation. The Osage people where "moved" from Kansas to the Indian Territory in the 1860s. The current Osage county essentially marks the original reservation boundries. The tribe settled in three primary areas based upon their branches. Pawhuska was settled by "Dwellers in the Thorny Thickets", Hominy by "Dwellers in the Upland Forest" and Grayhorse by "Dwellers on the Hilltop". The U.S. goverment purchased the land from the Cherokees and the Osages were paid for their land in Kansas. These monies, in addition to leasing the rich grazing lands, provided the Osage people with enough money that the tribe, while far from rich, was not destitute like many others. This of course all changed when oil was discovered on Osage lands.

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The Bug Creek Indian Camp, named for the nearby creek, was first settled by Big Elk, a member of the Claremore band of Osage Indians. The exact date is unknown, but it was prior to 1870. The Claremore band was part of the Upland Forest people who settled near Hominy.

By the late 1800s, several homes where built, including a large feast arbor, and well was dug. A round house style church was added in 1901. All that remains today is the church and a house built in 1890, with some additions added to it before 1900, the feast arbor, and the old well. The site now appears to be for traditional dances and feasts, but doesn't appear to receive much use. Each of the original locations of Pawhuska, Hominy, and Gray Horse hold dances and feasts every year. The dancers are spectacular in their traditional dress and the food is excellent, especially the spicy meat pies. Some early photos of Osage dancers.

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[IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt11/Suprademon/BugCreek/OsageIndianDancers.jpg[/IMG

The gate to the remainder of the old road.

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The road was rough and washed out and rocky in some areas. I was glad I had the 8 ply
tires. It was slow but passible with only one other gate, which wasn't locked. The creek
bed gave me pause, but it had a rock bottom with a ledge just wide enough for the truck. The sand on the other side almost got me, but I had just enough momentum to make it through.

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Just after the creek, I came to the remains of the camp.

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A view through the window. Note the dirt floor and rocks for fires. The building was built
with excellent ventallation.

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The church was in continual use until the last church leader died in 1976. The structures
have been at least partially preserved, with shingle replacement and paint, though both
buildings are definately showing their age. I didn't enter the structures, just looked
through the windows.

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The original 1890 home.

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The later additions and the well. Originally stone, it had been encased in concrete with an

iron pipe for the bucket pulley.

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The original stones. The well was quite deep.

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The feast arbor. The roofing had been replaced with plywood, but was in need or repair
again.

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It looks as if the property hasn't been used in some time, and with the road conditions to
reach the property, I can understand why. Electric lines have been extended to the house, which must have been a challenge with the road condition and rocky terrain.

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The only occupants were the barn swallows. They waited patiently until I left.

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_________________
"Ruins, the fate of all cities."


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 Post subject: Re: Bug Creek Indian Camp
PostPosted: Thu May 19th, 2011 pm31 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 4th, 2010 am30 11:11 am
Posts: 37
Location: East Tulsa
Awesome as usual DW.

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There must be a hundred ways to get blood from a stone, that's if you can find a stone that bleeds.


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 Post subject: Re: Bug Creek Indian Camp
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 pm30 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 28th, 2012 pm30 10:12 pm
Posts: 2
The close up of the house porch scared me for a sec, I thought I saw a tiny child inside the door looking out, then I saw it was your reflection! Nice pics!


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 Post subject: Re: Bug Creek Indian Camp
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16th, 2015 pm31 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16th, 2015 pm31 10:20 pm
Posts: 1
That is great. I live that area. Where did you find that old map of Bug Creek. I could use a link. I'm doing some research on the "Rocky Ford" that lays somewhere to the south of Bug Creek. An old man told me about it when I was a kid.


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