The U.S. government created Indian Territory in 18341 out of present day Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska--an area that, in 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act reduced in size to present-day Oklahoma.2 This territory was eventually settled by eastern tribes that had been expelled from their ancestral lands in the East (see Indian Removal Act below).
None of the periodicals in Farm, Field and Fireside goes back far enough to cover the creation of Indian Territory, and there is little treatment of the territory until the 1870s, when interest begins to swell among potential settlers. Try phrase searches like "indian territory", or "indian country".
In the 1870s, Americans began clammoring for access to land in Indian Territory, but the agriculture community was conflicted over whether or not Indian Territory should be opened for settlement. The cattle interest had already established itself in the Territory, leasing surplus land in the west from Indian tribes. The cattlemen opposed any action that would either restrict their access to these grazing lands, or lead to the conversion of pasture into arable by farming settlers.3 See for example the article The Cattlemen in Indian Territory. Other farmers, however, were eager to acquire new lands for cultivation.
Terms: "indian territory", "unassigned land*", "oklahoma district", "oklahoma strip" (or just oklahoma), "no man's land", "cherokee outlet", "public land strip", "sooners" (Be sure to use quoation marks around "sooners", or else the system will also retrieve articles that only have the owrd "soon").
Try general and specific terms. For example, in addition to "indian territory", try the names of specific tribes in Indian Territory: choctaw, chickasaw, creek, cherokee, seminole, shawnee, potawatomi, sauk, fox, kiowa, "apache of oklahoma", comanche, wichita, cheyenne, arapaho, pawnee, osage, kansa, ottawa, wyandot, seneca, quapaw, peoria, modoc, and shawnee.
For tribe names that are also common words in English, combine with a word like "Indian": creek AND indian*.
Try combining kewords that represent different concepts, like "indian territory" AND cattle*, "indian territory" AND settler*, or cherokee AND homesteader.
Portions of Indian Territory were finally opened for settlement by non-Indians on April 22, 1889 (see President Harrison's proclamation below), resulting in a rush for land by no less than 60,000 settlers on the very first day.4 Try limiting your search to different date ranges, like March 1889 (date of President Harrison's proclamation) and May 1889.
In 1893 Congress created the Dawes Commission, in an attempt to apply the principle of allotment, as set forth six years earlier in the Dawes Act (1887)--the tribes of Indian Territory having originally been exempted from the provisions of that act.5 Some would-be settlers were so eager to obtain land in Indian Territory that they contracted marriages with Indian women, so as to get hold of land as it was being allotted by the Commission (see the article Choctaw Courting).
Terms: "dawes commission", "commission to the five civilized tribes". Keep your searches simple. For example, instead of this last search, try commission AND "civilized tribes".
Debo, Angie. And Still the Waters Run: the Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1940.
Hagan, William T. Taking Indian Lands: The Cherokee (Jerome) Commission, 1889-1893. Norman, OK.: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.