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History of Keetoowah
In 1859, the full-blood Keetoowah organized and adopted their first written constitution. Calling themselves the Keetoowah Society, only full-bloods were eligible for membership. After the Civil War, in which the Keetoowah fought for the Union against the mixed-blood Cherokee, they became a political organizaton that rigorously sought full-blood equality. Years later, Congress passed the Dawes Act, dividing Indian lands into individual parcels.
The Keetoowah Society was in opposition to this legislation, and in 1901, they split over a vote on the issue of land allotments. One group was the Keetoowah Nighthawks, led by Redbird Smith. In 1905, the Keetoowah Society Council requested and were granted incorporation in Tahlequah. The Keetoowah Society, Inc. divided in 1939 and formed a group who later became known as The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB). In 1950, the two political groups of Keetoowah merged and were federally recognized.