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SOONERS were persons who illegally entered certain lands in the Indian Territory prior to the date set by the U.S. government for the opening of the lands to settlement. The term was first used in connection with the settlement of the so-called Oklahoma Lands in 1889. A proclamation issued by President Benjamin Harrison authorized settlement of these lands as of noon, 22 April, and forbade any person to enter them earlier. Those who did so came to be called "Sooners." The term was also used at later openings of Indian Territory lands to settlement.


Joyce, Davis D., ed. "An Oklahoma I Had Never Seen Before": Alternative Views of Oklahoma History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.

Edward EverettDale/a. r.

See alsoBoomer Movement ; Indian Policy, U.S., 1830–1900 ; Indian Territory .