Book Review: Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers book cover

If you’re a reader, you’ve probably heard the buzz about the recently published book by David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. If you haven’t heard of the book, you may consider adding it to your summer reading list. It’s a true crime tale of greed, racism, discrimination and injustice, set in our very own backyard. In short, Killers of the Flower Moon tells the story of an important, albeit, dark chapter of Oklahoma’s past that, until now, has been widely omitted from the history Oklahoma children learn in school.

After decades of being forced off their native and ancestral land, in the 1870s the Osage tribe settled on a rocky, undesirable parcel of land in northeast Oklahoma. They purchased the land that was considered unsuitable for cultivation for one million dollars and negotiated ownership of the mineral rights. Forty years later, the Osage tribe found themselves millionaires as a result of the discovery of a lucrative oil reserve under their reservation land (in the Pawhuska area of modern day Osage County). In 1923 alone, the tribe earned 30 million dollars (roughly the equivalent of 400 million dollars today).

Shortly after their collective wealth exploded in the 1920s, members of the tribe began dying under mysterious circumstances — gunshot wounds, bombings, and suspicious illnesses, believed to be poisonings. Local law enforcement was rife with corruption, which blocked any real investigation into the murders. The killings continued, including nearly wiping out the entire family of Mollie Burkhart, the central character in the book. The US Government prevented the Osage from managing their own wealth and assets, which contributed to the collusion and fraud tribe members were subjected to by greedy guardians. When the murder rate became too great to be ignored, a young J. Edgar Hoover was forced to send in federal agents from the then-named Bureau of Investigation to investigate the crimes and bring the killers to justice. The Bureau was a young agency and the Osage murders was the first real test of its abilities.

It’s a tale that seems too Hollywood to be true. There are good guys in white hats (one of the central heroes is a Texan named White) and extraordinarily evil guys who used any means necessary to embezzle and steal from the Osage. The book traces the history, the murders, the investigation, and the dramatic court proceedings that ultimately brought justice to this embattled tribe.

Grann, an investigative reporter for The New Yorker magazine (and author of The Lost City of Z, currently in movie theaters), spent five years investigating the Osage murders. Much of that time was spent in Oklahoma and the federal archives in Fort Worth, Texas. I had the opportunity to hear Grann speak about the book and his research process at a standing room only event in Tulsa last month. Many descendants of the Osage tribe were present, as well as a descendant of one of the killers. It was fascinating to hear from those whose family history was so dramatically affected by this sad tale. Grann’s reporting is deeply factual, supported by extensive documentary research and interviews with survivors and their descendants.

Lisa Stone, ACP
Communications Officer and NALA Liaison, TAPA Board of Directors

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My First NALA Conference

Christian Chicas, ACP
Treasurer, TAPA Board of Directors

It was the summer of 2015. The NALA Conference was being held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I had no excuse for not attending the conference since it was being held only a few minutes away from my workplace. It was my first NALA Conference. I did not know what to expect. I was nervous.

It was the first day of the conference, and thankfully, I found the NALA Conference signs in the hotel lobby instructing me where to go. I went up to the registration table, picked up my packet, put on my lanyard, and walked into the meeting room. The audience was clapping as the keynote speaker was being announced. “Please give a warm welcome to Noma Gurich, the Vice-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma,” I heard upon entering the meeting room. I decided to sit in the back row with the rest of the late attenders.

Her appearance immediately caught my attention. I anticipated the stereotypical Judge to stand in front of us, but Vice-Chief Noma Gurich broke the stereotype. She had the balance of professionalism, charm, charisma, and spunk. I will never forget her classic vintage retro cat-eye style glasses she wore while on stage. She wore them well. As she shared her knowledge and stories with us, the room filled with everyone’s unfiltered laughter. Her persona was refreshing because she is not only successful, but she also has not lost the fun of enjoying life every single day. She encouraged everyone to try new things, to step out of their comfort zone, and to have fun in the midst of stressful situations. She was uplifting.

As the NALA Conference progressed, my uneasiness faded away. I learned about the LEAP (Leadership Enhancement and Preparation) Program organized by NALA and connected with several Tulsa paralegals. Flash forward to today, I am a LEAP graduate after completing the twelve month program, I am serving as TAPA’s (Tulsa Area Paralegal Association) 2017 Treasurer, and I am working on obtaining my ACP (Advanced Accreditation Paralegal) designation.

As I am preparing and anticipating my third NALA Conference this summer, I encourage everyone who is waiting until the last minute to make a decision about whether they should attend the conference to do so now. Plan to attend because open doors, new friendships, and endless opportunities are waiting for you.

For more information about the 2017 NALA Conference in Orlando, July 19-21, visit the NALA website.

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TAPA Honors the Lindsey House Mothers

You may re13987431_1067856243300312_1826981919189952794_ocall that in 2016, TAPA selected the Lindsey House for our community outreach focus.  We were so pleased with the relationship that we chose to work with Lindsey House again in 2017.

Our first project of the year was to assemble and deliver baskets of personal care items for the 13 mothers that reside in Lindsey House, in honor of Mother’s Day.   Donated items and money were gathered at the Spring Seminar and brightly-colored, reusable baskets were assembled by Jaime McKay (Community Outreach Committee Chair) and Lisa Stone (Communications Officer).

The baskets were filled with bath gels, body lotions, soaps, hair products, nail care items, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and yummy chocolates.  Jaime, Lisa, and Jennifer Arnold (Board Member-At-Large) delivered the baskets to the Lindsey House administrative office the week before Mother’s Day, where they were hidden from the mothers’ view.  Over Mother’s Day weekend, the baskets were placed outside the door to each apartment as a surprise for these wonderful mothers.

TAPA is so honored to work with this wonderful organization.  There will be more activities and opportunities to support Lindsey House later this year.  To learn more about Lindsey House, visit their website and their Facebook page.

 

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My First NALA Conference

By Debbie Overstreet, ACP
NALA Treasurer and TAPA Member

I can vividly remember my first NALA Conference in Tampa, Florida. I had recently joined a paralegal association and a few of the members urged me to attend the conference, touting the many opportunities available to me, including the outstanding continuing education and networking with paralegals nationwide. The moment I walked into the hotel I was greeted by NALA members. It was as if they could tell I was a “newbie”! Everyone associated with NALA was so friendly, from the President to the newest members and the staff. I had the opportunity to experience the annual and affiliated associations meetings and, as promised, the educational and professional development sessions were exceptional. I was hooked on NALA!

That excitement – that familial feeling – has yet to wane. And now it is my turn to assure that all members experience the same warmth and passion for the profession that I felt when I attended my first NALA Conference. After a conference filled with exciting meetings, education, and professional development, I want each attendee to head home feeling more confident in their abilities as a paralegal and filled with enthusiasm and pride in our profession. So, get ready – I’ll be waiting for you in Orlando with a big smile!

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New Specifications for the Certified Paralegal Exam

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In March 2017, the Certifying Board of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) announced new specifications for the Certified Paralegal (CP) examination, to take effect in January 2018.

The CP exam in its current structure and format will be administered in the May 2017 and September 2017 testing windows.

The 2018 Certified Paralegal Exam will consist of two required sections, to be taken in the following order:  Knowledge Exam and Skills Exam.  Successful completion of both exams is required to obtain the Certified Paralegal credential.

The full announcement about the new exam, along with policies and specific requirements, can be found here.

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My NALA Conference Experience

By Jennifer Arnold, ACP
Member At Large, TAPA Board of Directors

I have been a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) for about two-and-a-half years. I went to my first NALA conference in 2015 in Tulsa. At the time, I was studying to take the Certified Paralegal exam so I attended every educational session that related to the exam. I believe those seminars helped tremendously, especially the one that Virginia Koerselman taught. I would highly recommend attending the conference and going to these seminars if you are planning to take the certification exam.

The next conference I attended was in Las Vegas in 2016.  For me, that conference was the best one I have been to so far. Since I was already a Certified Paralegal, I was able to focus on attending other educational sessions that interested me. NALA offers a wide variety of topics so that everything is covered, no matter what area you may work in. I loved being able to bond with other members of the TAPA Board. Our President (Tracy Mosz) and I even zip-lined over Fremont Street. That’s a memory that I will never forget.

NALA does an excellent job of putting on these conferences every year. I have made plans to attend this year’s conference in Orlando. If you have thought about attending one and haven’t yet I would say…just go for it! What have you got to lose? You will not regret it.

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Are You Following The TAPA Blog?

TAPA’s Blog is our new method for communicating with our members and people in the paralegal community that follow our association.  The blog replaces the quarterly newsletter and include announcements, news, events, features, articles and anything else of interest in a timely manner.

You may be an avid reader of other blogs and have a method for following new posts.  For those of you who may not be blog followers, we’ve put together a little primer for you.

“Following” The TAPA Blog

If you would like to get notice when a new post is published on the TAPA Blog, you may subscribe to receive an email.  On the right side of the home page of the Blog you may enter your email address.  That’s all you have to do!

Using A Blog Reader

People that follow multiple blogs typically use a blog reader program or app to track all of their blogs and new posts.  There are many blog readers available, all of which have varying features.  The readers typically work in an internet browser (such as Internet Explorer or Chrome) and have iOS and Android apps that will allow you to sync your blogs to your mobile devices.  While TAPA does not endorse or recommend any particular blog reader, the following is a list of some of the most popular ones:  Feedly, Newsify, Inoreader, and Digg Reader.

Once you’ve selected a reader, you typically set up an account, then enter the web address of the blogs you follow.  The reader will then follow those blog feeds and have some sort of indication in the reader program or app when there is a new post.

Commenting On The TAPA Blog

Our hope is that our members and followers will be interactive with our social media platforms, such as Facebook and the Blog.  We encourage comments and feedback!  The blog has a comment feature at the end of every post.  The comment does require an email address (which will be hidden when the comment is posted) and the name of the commenter.  The TAPA leadership has chosen to moderate and approve comments before they are published in order to avoid spam and any inappropriate material.

Content

Finally, we welcome suggestions and ideas for posts, including those of you who would like to write something for the Blog!  We would love to have our members write articles or features.  The Board reserves the right to approve, modify, or edit any material submitted for publication.

If you have any questions about how to follow or use the TAPA Blog, please do not hesitate to contact us at tapa@tulsaparalegals.org.

 

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