Skip to main content

tv   Killers of the Flower Moon  CSPAN  August 25, 2017 2:39am-3:32am EDT

2:39 am
2:40 am
flower moon: the osage murders and the birth of the fbi". he spoke at kansas city public library about the fbi investigation into the murders. [inaudible conversations] >> good evening everyone! i am kaite mediatore stover, director of reader services welcome to the kansas city public library. thank you for your patience and flexibility and thank you rainy day books for setting land speed records to get david grann care. these are circumstances out of everyone's control. his airplane was delayed, you may answer your own airline joke here. [laughter] >> but tonight david grann will talk about his book, "killers
2:41 am
of the flower moon: the osage murders and the birth of the fbi". a story of an unspeakable historical crime of greed, fear, anger and racial slanging. it is part political history, and in the book it will generate conversation long after david catches his next airplane. it is easy to read this book because david tells the story in a riveting, detailed and rich suspenseful way. it is hard to read this book because it is true and devastating and maddening but david grann is a magnificent storyteller. he is a writer for the new the new yorker. -- and the lost city of z is in movie theaters window. you cannot take the word then how about us supreme court justice briar?
2:42 am
he cited one of his pieces in one of his opinions. so please welcome, david grann. [applause] >> thank you so much. my first book i do not know if your fill -- very familiar with it. it is about ancient civilization. it is of the foolish and tried to follow in the steps to try to find the ancient city and i can say that after leaving nashville at 9:00 a.m. this morning to get to kansas, it was a lot easier to trek through the jungle than it is to fly today. [laughter] but i did come straight here. with no pause and to see you all waiting here is really just amazing so thank you. i'm here to talk about my new book, "killers of the flower
2:43 am
moon: the osage murders and the birth of the fbi". the project began more than five years ago when i made a visit out to the osage nation in northeast oklahoma.and when i was there visited the osage nation museum. and so on the wall this panoramic photograph. this is just a fraction of it. it was an enormous picture and went all the way across the wall. in fact, he could see the portrait on the title page of the book. it looked very innocent. it was taken into 1924 shows members of the osage nation. it looked like it had taken scissors to the left part. i asked the director that would later be my friend, what happened to the missing portrait? she said it contained a figure suffering she decided to remove it. she then pointed to the missing
2:44 am
panel and said that the devil was standing right there. and the book, i try to understand who the figure was and the anguishing history that he embodied. and it led me to what i would come to realize was one of the most sinister crimes in american history. when i believe tells much larger story about this country. the crimes took place in the beginning of the 20th century. the early part of the 20th century. and to understand that you first need to understand that the osage indians back then were millionaires. because of oil deposits under their land in northeast oklahoma.to extract the oil, prospectors had to pay the osage for leases and royalties. initially around 1908 and 1910, there were about 2000 osage and they would receive a check every four months and it was for maybe $100. then a few years later the amount grew to 1000.
2:45 am
and a few more years it accumulated into the millions of dollars. as more oil was attacked just to give you some sense in 1923, in that year alone there was 2000 or so osage collectively receive what would be worth today more than $400 million. now, a report of the time said he went out to osage territory and said, low and behold, the reporter was from new york. the indians are starving to death and they enjoyed the steady income that turns bankers green with envy. the osage had become the wealthiest people per capita in the world. and the public because of prejudice, because of envy became transfixed by the osage wealth which belied these long-standing stereotypes of native americans that can be traced back to the contact -- and reporters will go out to osage territory and talk about
2:46 am
stories and the quote - unquote read millionaires with their terra-cotta mansions and their chauffeured cars and their servants. many of whom were white. it was said at the time as one american might own a car, each osage on the 11th of them. in this picture, is revealing because it shows the traditional osage mother with her daughters in the 1920s addressed as flappers. this is i think more remarkable. i found recently this old footage that was shot in the 1920s. it was actually taken by an osage that had an early movie motion picture camera. it was found and restored.you can see here it will give you a sense of what these towns look like. actually look like in the 1920s. now, the tangled history of how the osage had gotten a hold of
2:47 am
this oil-rich land goes all the way back to the 17th century. when the osage controlled much of the central part of the country. an area that stretched from what is now kansas and missouri, all the way to the edge of the rockies. president thomas jefferson referred to the osage in 1803 as the great nation. and the following year he actually met with a delegation of osage chiefs whom he described as the finest men he had seen. and he promised and assured the osage that they would know the us government only has friends and benefactors. but within a few years he began to drive them off of their land. within a few decades, the osage were forced to -- over 100 million acres of their ancestral lands.
2:48 am
they were eventually confined to a reservation kansas. then in the 1860s they were once more under siege by white settlers. among those was none other than the family of laura ingalls wilder. who later wrote as i'm sure you all know, little house on the prairie. a novel loosely based on her experience. and in one scene she asked her mother, why don't you like indians? i just do not like them. and don't lick your fingers laura. this is indian country, isn't it laura said? what did becomes this country for if you do not like them? one evening, laura's father explains to her that the government will soon make the osage move away. that is why we are here laura. white people are going to settle all this country. we get the best land because we get here first and take our pick. in fact, many squatters began to seize the land by force.
2:49 am
massacring several osage. us government officials said at the time, the question will suggest itself which of these people are the savages. in the 1870s, the osage agreed to sell their land in kansas. they searched once more from a homeland. and it was then that this osage chief stood up in a tribal council meeting and a record of the statement stays today. he says that we should move to this territory what was then indian territory would later become oklahoma. the state of oklahoma. he said because the land was rocky and it was infertile, you could not farm on it and the white man would finally leave us alone. and so, even though the land was about the size of delaware, whites in fact considered it deemed worthless. so he said this would be a place in which the osage would finally be happy and at peace. so the osage purchased this land for $0.70 per acre. they had a deed to their own land.
2:50 am
and they migrated there. the forced migration had taken a tremendous toll on the tribe. there are only a few thousand left. about one third of what the population had been only 70 years earlier. here you can see an early camp, osage camp on the reservation. now, in 1906, before oklahoma was about to become a state. the us government forced upon the osage the culmination of its very brutal assimilation campaign. it was called -- i do not know how many of you are familiar with that. but this is a policy imposed on many american indian nations at the time. it would divvy up reservations and the parcels of land. each member of the tribe would receive an allotment and the rest of the land would be opened up to white settlers.
2:51 am
now the osage had seen what had happened to other territory that had been opened up near the reservation. this was an old -- this is an actual photograph of it. settlers raced to get the land. if they got to a partial first they would put a stake into it and then lay claim to the land. many were trampled in the process and a few were even shot. the concept of allotment was essentially to end the communal way of life. and to turn american indians into private property owners. the situation that not coincidentally, it would make it much easier to procure their land. but the osage, when they were negotiating the terms of allotment had more leverage than many other american indian nations. because they had a deed to the land that they had recently purchased it. what's more is, there was a race to make oklahoma state, the osage was the last tribe in the territory to be allotted.
2:52 am
and they were also led by one of the greatest achieves of the time. a man who spoke seven languages including latin, french and -- he and other leaders managed to slip into a tree agreement. a provision that at the time seemed rather curious. what essentialist advice, we shall maintain control of all the subsurface mineral rights to our land. now, the osage had some sense that there was at least a little bit of oil under the land. but nobody thought they were sitting up on a fortune. and so the osage managed to hold onto this very last realm of their land. around that they could not even see. and each member on the osage world was 2000 or so, receivables called a head right. which is essentially a shared in this collective mineral trust. after allotment, much of the surface territory quickly disappeared into the hands of whites.
2:53 am
but a head right cannot be bought or sold. it could only be inherited. and so the osage maintain control over what had become the world's first underground reservation. before long, the oil boom had begun. there was such demand for osage oil. especially by 1912 and 1913. as more deposits were found and soon it was discovered some of the largest deposits in the united states are sitting right under their earth. they would hold options for leases and so many of the oil bands that you have heard of, jp geddy and his family they would attend these options. -- they would arrive on a private railroad car.
2:54 am
and these were members of the phillips company arriving on the private chain known as the millionaires special and in good weather, the option was held outside under this large stately tree. a single lease for about 160 acres itself is much as $2 million. the tree became known as the million dollar elm. now, as the osage wealth increase, many americans began to express, because of prejudice, alarm. and the osage began to be scapegoated for their money. there was the 1920s, a period of the great gatsby. but somehow the osage wealth became a concern. and members of the u.s. congress would literally sit in these mahogany paneled rooms. and debate, what are we going to do about all this osage money? how can all of these osage have
2:55 am
all of this morning? and they went so far as to pass legislation requiring many osage to have white guardians. this was white i mean it was racist in every way. in fact, it was based on the quantum of osage blood. so, if you are a full-blooded osage he was suddenly deemed incompetent.you are given a guardian to oversee your finances. here you could be in osage chief leading a great nation and have millions of dollars in your trust. and you can have some local prominent white citizen telling which car to buy and whether you can get that toothpaste at the corner store. not only was the system racist it would also create a one of the largest state and federally sanctioned criminal enterprises.
2:56 am
as many osage, as many guardians would direct purchases at friends stores or they would then get kickbacks. they would skim money and embezzle millions and millions of dollars. this osage chief testified at a hearing before congress. i just want to be to what he said because it is very striking. he said, the white have us down the rock as part of the country thinking it would drive the indians down to it is a big pile of rock and put them there in that corner. now that the polygraphs had turned out to be millions of dollars every wants to get in here and get some of that money. -- no it was more profoundly affected by the family this woman, molly burkart. molly is a remarkable woman. she grew up, she was born in the 1880s.
2:57 am
she grew up on a wig lamb like you saw in the early picture. one of the osage caps. speaking only osage, practicing osage tradition. she was then just the tender age of seven, forced by the us government to be operated by her home and placed in a boarding school. to learn the white man's ways. she had to suddenly remove her blanket, had to speak only english and is not allowed to speak osage. within a few decades because of the osage oil money she was living in a mansion. she married a white settler from texas named ernest burkart. in many ways molly straddled not only two centuries but two civilizations. now - in may of 1921, molly had a sister named anna brown. that day she came over to molly's house.
2:58 am
molly like to entertain. she was having a party that there with relatives and friends. her older sister anna, you can see a picture of her, left the house. she was not seen again. she vanished. molly looked everywhere for her. she had a family looked everywhere for her.one week later, molly was found in a ravine. a picture that was later taken by fbi investigator. she had been shot in the back of the head. and was dead. it was the first, that molly's family as well as the tribe have become a prime target of a criminal conspiracy. literally within days molly sister jaime molly's mother lizzie, began to grow mysteriously sick. so you can see a picture of lizzie, her mother in the middle, anna brown off to the left. that was her older sister. and molly is to the right. molly's mother seemed to grow
2:59 am
in substantial each day as if she was withering away. within two months, she stopped breathing. evidence would later suggest that she had been poisoned. so within the span of two months, molly had lost her sister anna and her mother, lizzie. molly had another sister named rita smith. rita was so frightened by these debts that she stayed with her white husband. she moved closer to molly and she moved thinking that they would be safe. then one night, will actually very early in the morning, three in the morning, molly heard a loud explosion. frightened, she got up and went to the window. she looked in the direction of her sister's house. and all she could see was an orange ball rising into the sky. it looked as if the sun had
3:00 am
burst violently into the night. and there was no longer a house there. somebody had planted a bomb underneath it. killing molly sister, her sister's husband, and the 18-year-old maid who left behind two young children. now, molly and many osage campaigned for justice. two - to pursue the killers. but because the authorities of the neglect of the crimes because the victims were native americans. what shocked me is how corrupt much of the justice system was. how flawless the country still was back in the 1920s. especially in this remnant of the frontier. many law men had very little training. it was often easy if you are powerful to buy off a law man.
3:01 am
molly and other osage turned to private investigators. they had a much larger prominent role in society back then. they had to fill this void. but the problem is they often have criminal backgrounds and were available to the highest bidder.the boundaries between a good man into bed men were extremely porous. and many of the private investigators who were working the case seemed to be concealing evidence. rather than unearthing it.and while this was going on, it wasn't only molly's family that was being systematically targeted. other osage were dying also. there was a champion steel roper who got a call one day and he left his house and when he came back, he dropped dead. frothing at the mouth. evidence later indicated that he also had been poisoned. most likely with strychnine.
3:02 am
for those of you familiar with agatha christie mysteries, it is an absolutely awful poison. it causes the whole body to convulse as if like with electricity. and you slowly suffocate while your conscious and so you mercifully die. one of the reasons poison was so common back then to kelly osage is because even though scientists knew how to detect poison, the local law men would not perform toxicology busy because of the go to the local drugstore or the grocery store and pick out some form of poison and give it to somebody or spiked liquor or - it was an easy way to kill somebody and be undetected. i 1923, other people who had also were trying to catch the killers were also being killed. there was one man, a lawyer who started to gather evidence. one day, he received a call
3:03 am
from an osage who was dying of poisoning in oklahoma city. they took a train there, he told his wife before he left, he had 10 children. that i have evidence in this hiding spot. if anything happens to me make sure you get it and give it to the authorities.he then went to oklahoma city, met with the osage, gathered evidence. after the osage had died of poison he called local authority and said i have enough evidence to catch the killers. i'm coming back to osage county. i am getting on the next train. but when the train arrived, he wasn't there. he did not get off.they sent out the bloodhounds looking for him. there were local boy scout troops in the area that took up the search. he was eventually found, his body lying by the railroad tracks. someone had thrown him from the train. when his wife then went to the hiding spot, someone had already gotten there and cleaned out all of the evidence. as well as the money that he had left for her and the 10
3:04 am
children who were left destitute. many of the children were then raised by osage family. there was another man, and oilman who was a friend of the osage. and he went to washington d.c. to hopefully get federal authorities to investigate these cases. especially given local corruption. and he got to a boardinghouse in the capital. he checked in. he received a telegram from an associate thus to be careful. he carried a bible and a pistol. that evening he left the boardinghouse, was abducted. at some point someone wrapped a burlap sack around his head. he was found the next morning and a culvert. he had been beaten to death and stabbed more than 20 times. the "washington post" at the time said in a headline with the osage has long already knew. a conspiracy to kill rich indians.
3:05 am
finally in 1923, after official death toll more than 24 osage, the osage tribal council issued a resolution. pleading and demand for federal authorities untainted by corruption to intervene. it was then that the case was taken up by a rather obscure branch of the justice department be one that would not seem obscure on this day in particular. it was then called the bureau of investigation and would later be named the fbi. it is somewhat fitting the state to talk about the bureau a little. because it is on a lot of people's minds. the bureau back then was really a ragtag operation. it had only a smattering of agents. they were not authorized to carry guns. if they wanted to arrest somebody that had to get a
3:06 am
local lawman to make the arrest. they had very limited jurisdiction over crime but they had jurisdiction over american indian reservation. and so that is why the osage murders became one of the fbi's first major homicide cases. in 1925, the new boss man, j edgar hoover, summoned tom white to washington. he said he needed to see him right away. tom white is also a remarkable man. in many ways he is like molly. he reflects and embodies the transformation of the country. he was born in a cabin. in texas on the frontier. he was from essentially a tribe of law men. his father was a sheriff. he grew up, he saw people being hung. he became a texas ranger as in many of his brothers.
3:07 am
he practiced law on a horse with a pearl handled gun. at a time when justice was often carried out with the smoking barrel of a gun. in the 1920s hoover suddenly summoned him to washington. he had to learn to adapt techniques like fingerprinting, handwriting analysis would become an important part of the case. he has to file paperwork, which he cannot stand. when he gets the bureau he does not know why hoover has summoned him. but hoover at the timed was replacing some of the old frontier lawman with a new grade of agents. these college boys we type faster than a shot. the old timers liked to mark them as boy scouts. in fact, they have very little criminal experience. and so hoover had kept on the role, just a few frontier lawman like white. they were known as the cowboys. this is actually a picture of hoover.
3:08 am
taken just a few months - before - this is exactly what he looked like. he was only 29 years old when he came director. he was not yet an autocratic redhead autocratic power. over the next several decades that he would have.he was new to his job. and he was still insecure about his power. the funny thing about hoover was he hated taller agents. and so taller agents hated to be summoned to headquarters because they were fitted he thought they were talking might fire them. and hoover also kept a diet speech on his desk that he could stand on it so he could seem taller. so he summoned white. white stood six feet, four inches. what more, even though he had on the new suit he was supposed where he was finally wearing a cowboy hat which violated all new protocol.
3:09 am
here he was looming over hoover. and hoover begins to tell him about the osage murder cases. and the bureau at that time was working on the case for two years. the results were completely disastrous. that only have agents failed to make any arrests during that time, they had gotten outlaw, constant, out of prison. the insured states authorities don't worry we're going to use him as an informant. we have discovered. shortly after he got out of prison he robbed a bank and killed a police officer. now he would later meet his own unfortunate fate after he tried to escape from prison and was gunned down. but hoover again, hard to believe was insecure about his power back then. and he feared a scandal could end his dreams to build a bureaucratic empire. the bureau had just been entangled in a teapot scandal which was in the oil corruption scandal involving kickback,
3:10 am
coverups and instructions of evidence. he feared that if there was another scandal he might be ousted. and so when white get there he realized that he has not been summoned to be fired for purchase.the work was in fact summoned him to save his own tail. he needs one of the countless, one of the experience frontier lawman to help try to take over the osage case. white realizes the danger, that the only way to try and crack the and she put together an undercover sleep - he recruits some of the frontier lawman. this is a picture of one of them. most interestingly, american indian agent. to my knowledge there were no statistics that but i think it
3:11 am
is fair to say that he was the only american agent and hoover's bureau at the time. and going undercover. they infiltrated the region. they had posed as kalman, insurance salesman and according to the record, actually sold insurance policy. i have no idea what happened to them. [laughter] investigation, had to learn these techniques which i discussed like fingerprinting and handwriting analysis. and in any way the case marked and track the evolution of law enforcement and most importantly, the professionalism and professionalizing of law enforcement.and the cases, many twists and turns. in many ways it resembled a criminal investigation that of an espionage case. there were moles, double agents, possible a triple agents. it was impossible to know who to trust in power, who was conspiring against you. the agents were followed and tales. reports were leaked. they carried guns even though
3:12 am
they were not authorized to because of the dangers. i will not reveal all of the ins and outs of the investigation because i think it is more powerful to read about it in context. because it is very multilayer, but ultimately what the agents do is follow the money. and the money leads them to, they tried to track and see who is profiting from these crimes. in particular, who is profiting from the murders of molly burkart and her family members? and it leads them to a very prominent white settler. what's more, the settler times out to be somebody who molly trusted. and who many of the osage trusted. and one of the things that made these crimes so sinister, was that two still the osage oilman involved the equaled cognitive closet often unfolded over years. and involved people pretending
3:13 am
to love you. pretending to be intimate with you. while all the time, plotting and scheming and conspiring to kill you and your family members. in my own ways i cannot find the words to quite capture the level of deception. but there is a quote - from shakespeare from julius caesar which i think comes closest to this level of betrayal. the quote - from julius caesar, we will not find a cabin dark enough to mask - hide it in smiles and affability. now after and visited the osage nation, and so that picture on the wall, the museum director had gone into the basement and retrieved an image of the missing panel. she brought it up to show me.
3:14 am
and there appearing in the corner was one of the masterminds, the prominent settler whom the bureau had arrested. he was a so-called double. and it occurs to me that the osage had removed that photograph. not to forget as so many americans had what had happened, but because they cannot forget. now, i just want to say a quick word about the way i structured the story. because it is in a way i've never structured one in the past. it is told in three chronicles. lodgers from the point of view of a different individual. in the first chronicles it is told largely from the perspective of molly burkart. here is a picture before she died. she was a very remarkable woman and even though i do not say so explicitly in the book, one of the things that really struck me was her courage.
3:15 am
because she quietly crusade for justice when people waking him or her. in all of the while, she was putting a bull's-eye on her back. over the years i went through many archives trying to learn what her life was like. because of so many official accounts she was just a name or just a sentence. she had no agency. prospective had been obliterated in history. one of the documents i found very real feeling was shortly before she died, just two years before she died, i found a document she had appealed her incompetency. if my memory serves correct it was from 1934. the government and the legal system and finally deemed her confident. so here was this woman, two years before she died in 1934, being granted the full-fledged rights of a citizen. to be able to control her
3:16 am
fortune. and to control her own destiny. now the second chronicles told largely from the point of view of tom wait. and what's interesting about this photo you can see the transformation.the old cowboy once riding on a horse now dressed in a fedora and a suit and here you can see hoover with his general beginning to grow -- the final perspective is told in the present. from my vantage point, from the vantage point of a reporter or a historian. i do this so i can fill in gaps in the narrative. i can show what happened to the osage money today. many of the old towns were now ghost towns. this was a picture i saw of a bar boarded up in the town where anna brown was last seen before she disappeared that night. during the research i tracked
3:17 am
down descendents of both the murderers and the victim's. one of the most powerful experiences was speaking to these people. one of those descendents was margie burkart. she was the granddaughter of molly. she provided details of her family history. she told me what it was like to grow up without aunts and uncles. it was like for her father who grew up as a child amid this conspiracy. who was known as the osage reign of terror. he lived in houses with secrets. to not know if the perpetrators were your loved ones or not. and i was speaking to margie, that really drove home to me how living this history is and how it still reverberates to this day. she took me out to the cemetery where molly grew up. and there were so many murdered
3:18 am
osage including so many of molly's murdered siblings and relatives are. and what is amazing is when you walk through the graveyard where you walk through any graveyard in osage territory and to begin to look at the dates, you begin to notice so many deaths during this period. look at the agency how young they are. and you begin to realize that it was in many ways a genocide crime. one of the reasons i told the story this way is to try to show the elusiveness of history. especially when documenting a conspiracy. when people are coming up the crime. it is often only over time with more perspective, with more evidence that we get a full portrait of what happened. one of the things i tried to show in my chronicle based on records and interviews with descendents and evidence that they provided to me, is that there was a much deeper and
3:19 am
darker conspiracy. then the bureau ever exposed. i would be happy to answer any questions if you guys are still, if you still have energy. [laughter] applause. >> thank you. applause. >> folks, we are going to have the book signing on the stage. and since we are running so late we probably have time for about five questions at most. we will start with this gentleman here. >> go ahead, yes. >> in the 1950s, there was a movie called the fbi story with james stewart. and there, there was a segment dealing with mr. stewart assigned to a situation in i think in oklahoma. dealing with the oil situation, the bombings and killings, insurance and so forth.
3:20 am
was his best character based on tom wait and have you seen the movie and how accurate is it? >> thank you for the question. i wish i had a clip to show. there was excitement deals with this case. it is very fictionalized. it is not based on tom wait per se, it is kind of - who was version of a generic -- hoover was interesting. he never gave public credit to tom white for the undercover operatives who worked on the case.he used the case to cement and mythologized his own role and diversion told him that is very fictionalized.it is not very accurate. it has outlines an accurate but in many ways it is fictionalized. one of the ironies is that the only people i can find that publicly thanked tom wait and his undercover operatives by name was the osage tribe who issued a travel resolution
3:21 am
taking them by name. >> i was just wondering, not having read the book yet if you go into any detail about how many of those had rights even after the conspiracy was discovered, how they were never returned to the family? >> one of the things when i began the story i thought of it very much as kind of the lack of a better word, who did it? and i thought if it very much as kind of a typical traditional crime story where there a figure who has some accomplices. over time as i did more research i begin to see this much more is a story about who did not do it. and there were so many people who were getting rich. so many people complicit in these crimes. who were doctors, administering
3:22 am
poison. there were morticians covering up bullet ones. reporters who did not report what was happening. there were lawmen who were being bought out. they were politicians who were profiting from the crimes. so this really is a story about a culture of killing. and it is a much more frightening concept to think that the darkness might lurk, not just in one person's heart, but in so many seemingly ordinary people. and it gets to your question, which is many had rights were stolen. many were stolen and never recovered and many perpetrators were able to escape justice. >> thank you for a wonderful presentation. i do have one question that may be a bit off base. but in 1921, there is a destruction of black wall street. outside of tulsa. what was going on in oklahoma during this time?
3:23 am
>> the question was about another very unknown or underreported story of the tulsa race riots. and they took place since 1921 the worst race riots in the country. the ku klux klan had a very large presence in oklahoma. and in other states as well. the frontier certainly had a lowest quality that when you read the documents, the prejudice was not unique to oklahoma. when you read even a congressional hearing debating what to do with the osage wealth, you get a sense of just how widespread the prejudice was. but, there were very fragile legal institutions at that time. i do not want to politicize the book in a sense today but what of the things that i realize the country was incredibly lawless.legal institutions were very fragile.
3:24 am
we spent many decades trying to build them up and create them. and we, if there was a central thing i took away from this book is how important it is that we are a country of laws. whether it is impartial -- is something that when you read what happened back then, why there was a race riot or within the osage murders, it really drives that home. it is something not to be taken for granted. >> i am a member of the osage tribe. i am curious if we can have a show of hands maybe how many in here are osage? >> any others? i have very bad eyesight. it has been wonderful that every event i had been to. applause not. there have been a great osage turn out. and it really has been amazing, the fact i have spent many days very recently with margie and
3:25 am
so many osage presenting the book to them. for me it was a rewarding experience. it helped me so much along the way. i gave an event in tulsa, margie came to the event, other members of the osage including a defendant of the murderer who actually stood up. the defendant of the devil -- a descendent of the devil. they expressed remorse and actually gave margie a hug. you can see how this history still reverberating. white is something we need to reckon with and what's amazing is, in these towns you have descendents of the murderers and the victim's still living side-by-side with their fate intertwined. it is still very much the story of america. >> these last two i think because -- >> i hope you do not want to give too much away about the
3:26 am
book but the men who was the central villain of the story, i know he was paroled from prison to sin. what was his life like, the rest of his life like and then also these killings, was there another sort of organizing figure, a person orchestrating this?once this, your central villain was sort of neutralized did the killing stop or were they are more killings, was there another person also behind? >> the first question was what happened to the devil. the devil, one of the stories is not just capturing them, even the bigger challenges actually bringing them to justice because it gets to that earlier question about what was going on with prejudice. it was so widespread. they were real questions about whether 12 white men jurors would convict a white man for killing a native american. what's more, you could buy jurors, you can corrupt the justice system.
3:27 am
and so that became a real challenge. he eventually did serve two decades. he was paroled early. he should have died in prison. at least the osage believe he was able to call in one last political favor. the conspiracy in many ways was that while this person was responsible for many deaths, there were killings going on in separate families. often it would be one person. and where the complicity came in was that nobody did anything to stop it. and people knew about it. too many people were getting wealthy. and so, this really was the story where there was a great deal of complicity. and many willing executioners. i think it is almost often easier to think of a central figure or essential to figures pulling all of the strings.
3:28 am
but really what happened in this case was that many seemingly ordinary people were perpetrating these crimes. for a single crime and another family perpetrated another single crime. and collectively what you got was a mass killing. [inaudible question] >> yes, very much so. when he came back to osage county. >> thank you all so much and thank you all for waiting. [applause] [inaudib
3:29 am
3:30 am
3:31 am
about his recent book, america's involvement in the vietnam war. >> good afternoon. good afternoon and welcome to the 33rd annual chicago tribune printers row lit fest. i'd like to give a shout out to our sponsors.

34 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on