President of the McDonald Territory
Z.L. McGowan Meets with
Chief Henry Saugee of the Cherokee Indian Tribe

Z.L. McGowan and Chief Henry Saugee

Territorial President Z.L. McGowan, shown above in his traditional buckskin-fringed jacket, offers to give McDonald Territory back to the Indians,
meeting here with
Chief Henry Saugee from Indian Territory (Oklahoma) on an unknown date in 1961.  It is interesting to note that their manner of greeting one another (i.e. the "How" gesture we often observed in Cowboy and Indian movies of that era) in this obviously posed publicity shot might well be viewed as offensive in our day and time, and would be decried as smacking of political incorrectness and insensitivity.

The Associated Press had a story quoting Chief Saugee, whom they referred to as a Cherokee from nearby Jay, Oklahoma, as giving official recognition to McDonald Territory as a nation.  In a tongue-in-cheek response to the reporter, Saugee is reported to have said "Looking for new tribe territory. Hear Noel no more Missouri. Not on map.  Want big teepee on beautiful bluff at Big Bridge so can see all valley.  Look for elk on Elk River."

Those familiar with Noel will recognize this photo of McGowan and Saugee, taken on the west side of town near the bluffs.
I find it interesting in this whole series of "Indian Pictures" that McDonald Territory Provisional President McGowan
is dressed in a fringed buckskin jacket, while Chief Saugee appears to be wearing a regular shirt and khaki pants.
A bit ironic?

Here, Chief Saugee and Provisional President McGowan reconnoiter the Elk River Valley.
The City of Noel is seen at the upper right, the Elk River Bridge to the left.

In a wire story issued on April 12,1961 (the same day the Petition for Secession was filed in Jefferson City) United Press International reported that Chief Saugee was indeed a member of the Cherokee tribe, but that his claim to be a Chief and therefore acting in a capacity as an official representative of the tribe was not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Another humorous note is in the caption that went with the "peace pipe" photo.  Chief Saugee is alleged to have replied to McGowan's offer to return McDonald County to the Cherokees by saying "What (will) you throw in to boot?"

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Page last updated 22 March 2010 1703Z