The Senate passed the Indian Removal Act, which forced the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians, known as the Five Civilized Tribes, out of their lands east of the Mississippi River and into the west. In what came to be known as the Trail of Tears, federal troops marched the Indians into the eastern part of the future state of Oklahoma for permanent settlement.
The Senate passed legislation establishing the Indian Territory in much of what is today known as Oklahoma. The Five Civilized Tribes are now represented on the state flag of Oklahoma.
The Senate passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. As adopted on May 30, the law set the southern border of Kansas and thus, the northern border of Oklahoma at the 37th parallel.
Congress passed the Dawes Act, dividing Indian lands, including most of Oklahoma, into individual allotments for sale to tribal members. This division forced the government to recognize Native Americans as individuals separate from the tribal unit, thus reshaping the government’s Indian policy.
The Oklahoma Territorial Act, passed by the Senate on April 23, took effect, covering part of the area of the present state. The law provided for a territorial government, a legislature elected by the people, and an executive appointment by the president. Oklahoma was the last territory to be formed within the continental United States.
The Senate and House passed and the president signed the Curtis Act, reducing the authority of Native American tribal governments and allowing individual land allotments to be sold to whites for settlement. This law resulted in a renewed land rush by settlers to the Oklahoma Territory.
The Senate passed the Oklahoma Statehood Enabling Act, which passed both houses on June 16. It allowed the people of the Oklahoma and Indian territories to draft a state constitution and petition Congress for admission to the Union as one state.
Oklahoma was admitted to the Union as the 46th state. On December 11, Oklahoma’s legislature elected the state’s first two senators: Robert L. Owen, a Democrat of Muskogee, and Thomas P. Gore, Democrat of Lawton. Gore was completely blind.
Robert L. Owen and Thomas P. Gore presented their credentials, took the oath of office, and were seated in the United States Senate. The senators then drew lots to determine their class assignments. Senator Owen drew Class 2 with a term to expire March 3, 1913. Senator Gore drew Class 3, with a term to expire March 3, 1909.
At the start of the 63rd Congress the Senate created the Senate Committee on Banking (now the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs). Robert L. Owen became its first chairman. In this capacity he cosponsored the Glass-Owen Bill--the landmark legislation that created the Federal Reserve Bank.
A statue of Sequoya was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol as Oklahoma's first contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection. Sequoya was famous for his leadership in the Cherokee Indian tribe, particularly for his efforts at promoting literacy.
President Harry Truman signed into law the the Legislative Reorganization Act, co-sponsored by Oklahoma representative and future senator Almer Stillwell “Mike” Monroney of Oklahoma City. The act reformed the legislative process by, among other things, reducing the number of Senate committees.
Senator Mike Monroney denounced the investigatory authority of Joseph McCarthy’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Monroney successfully tried to amend the Senate rules to prevent McCarthy's investigation of Central Intelligence Agency personnel.
Senator Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma City helped shepherd through Congress funding for a navigation project that eventually was named the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. This created an economic boom in northeastern Oklahoma.
Robert Kerr became chairman of the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, (today's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation). This committee was crucial in providing support for the space program.
After losing a bruising election fight, Edmond A. Edmondson, son of former senator J. Howard Edmondson, filed a petition with the United States Senate to prevent incumbent senator Henry L. Bellmon of Red Rock from being seated. Citing irregularities in the vote totals, he challenged the legitimacy of the electoral result. The Senate ruled on March 4, 1976, in favor of Senator Bellmon.
Donald L. Nickles of Ponca City was elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a position he held until 1991 when he took over as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee He served in that position until 1996.
Kelly D. Johnston of Oklahoma became the 28th secretary of the Senate. Johnston served until September 30, 1996.