Skip Navigation
Edmon Low Library

Indians, Outlaws & Angie Debo

Born in 1890, Angie Debo was only nine years old when she moved with her family to the community of Marshall in Oklahoma Territory. She had an interest in history from an early age and began her career as a teacher at some of the rural schools near her hometown. Battling limited educational opportunities posed by both geography and her gender, Debo ultimately went on to earn her master's from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from the University of Oklahoma, choosing to focus her work largely on the plight of Oklahoma's Native American population. She worked in a number of positions, including as an interviewer and editor for the WPA (Works Progress Administration), before becoming a curator of maps at the Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) Library in the mid-1940s.

Debo was a scholar who was not afraid to speak her mind, and her research often ruffled the feathers of the establishment, particularly when she wrote about the ways in which Oklahoma leaders had worked to strip the state's Indians of their rights to their lands and oil revenues. The documentary Indians, Outlaws, and Angie Debo traces Debo's journey from her early days in Marshall to a time later in her life when she finally began to receive the acclaim she so richly deserved, including being the first woman honored by having her portrait hung in the Oklahoma Capitol and the first woman to be given the Award for Scholarly Distinction by the American Historical Association.