Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Short Essay - Answer Key

David Grann
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1. What is the meaning of the book's title, Killers of the Flower Moon?

Within the Osage territory in Oklahoma, April brings "millions of tiny flowers spread over the blackjack hills and vast prairies" (5). But in May, taller plants begin to overtake the flowers and eventually, the "necks of the smaller flowers break and their petals flutter away, and before long they are buried underground. This is why the Osage Indians refer to May as the time of the flower-killing moon" (5). The title is drawing a connection between the deaths of the flowers every year and the heinous murders committed during The Reign of Terror.

2. What happened in the 1870s that eventually resulted in great wealth for the Osage people?

In the 1870s, the Osage tribe was driven off of their land in Kansas by the U.S. government. They were then forcibly moved to some rocky and infertile land in Oklahoma, where decades later, they discovered that the land was rich in oil deposits. Because the Osage had insisted upon a clause within the allotment process contract that allowed for them to retain the rights to any minerals or natural resources of any kind that lay beneath the ground, the tribe became the wealthiest people per capita "in the world" (6).

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