Defeating the Giants
A professional team of Indians from various tribes, playing together as the Hominy Indians (from Hominy, Oklahoma), took on the 1927 World Champion New York Giants in an exhibition game that many assumed would be rather dominating for the champions. The Giants had just gone 11-1 during the regular season, absolutely dismantling most of their competition. Over their twelve games, the champions scored a total of 197 points and held their opponents to just 20 points over that stretch.
On December 27, the Indians and Giants engaged in a ferocious contest in front of over 2,000 fans. The Hominy squad defeated the NFL champions and won by a score of 13 to 6, in what became one of the most unexpected upsets in football history. [Look at a trailer of a documentary film about the Hominy Indians vs. NY Giants game- Playground of the Native Son (Official Trailer) https://vimeo.com/88536157
Making the unlikely defeat of the Giants by an American Indian team all the more startling is the story of the reign of terror against the Osage that was taking place at the same time! The New York Times bestseller Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann tells the terrible true story of how a vast oil deposit found on an Indian reservation in the 1920s precipitated fraud and murder. The Osage had become the richest people per capita in the world. But the U.S. government -- supposedly to protect the Osage from mismanaging their new-found wealth -- assigned white guardians to oversee the oil revenues. Abuse and fraud became rampant, as did homicide. One-by-one, it seemed, the Osage were being murdered. It became known as the Reign of Terror. "There were shootings, there were poisonings, one man was thrown off a speeding train, there was a bombing," said Grann. "The terror was enormous, because nobody knew who would be next. But also, nobody was doing anything to stop it". See a CBS News piece https://www.cbsnews.com/news/killers-of-the-flower-moon-revisiting-the-reign-of-terror-on-the-osage-nation/. There is a Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Robert De Niro based on the story in the works.
A word about Hominy:
Osage Chief Pawhuska was responsible for naming the settlement called Hominy though he almost certainly intended to have the town named Harmony but was misunderstood. The chief grew up next to a mission founded in 1821 by the United Foreign Missionary Society of N.Y., supported by Presbyterian, Congregational, and Dutch Reformed churches. The name of the mission was Harmony and the 41 members of the mission family (25 adults, 16 children), were teachers, mechanics, farmers, and ministers who sought to bear witness to God’s intention for people to live harmoniously in community together.
A word about Pawhuska:
About 20 years ago, I pastored the Presbyterian churches in Hominy and Pawhuska, so both of the above stories shocked me when I first heard them. You may know of Pawhuska since it's become famous again as home to Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman, an award-winning American blogger, New York Times bestselling author, food writer, and television personality http://thepioneerwoman.com. During my years in Pawhuska I had a number of extraordinary experiences as God's people impacted the community in powerful ways. In the late 1990s pastors in the community began praying together. Soon there were communitywide praise services, cooperative youth initiatives, a Holy Week Passover Seder meal attended by nearly 15% of the town's population, and an outreach mission called “Hearts and Hands: Putting Love into Action.” Since then, over 50 low income homeowners have had their houses repaired and safety issues addressed by church and community members every April. Truly a mission of HARMONY!
The world we live in is desperate for change! Pinnacle’s Wednesday series on Transformation made it clear that one way the world changes is when people in community live outwardly in ways Jesus calls his followers to live. Our nation and world need God’s people to live out a mission of harmony perhaps as much now as anytime in recent history. Do you believe that a small band of Jesus’ followers can change the world? I do! Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
There are giant obstacles to peace and harmony in the world - terrorist acts, mass violence of all kinds, our own political leaders instigating people against one another. But, we must believe that peace is indeed possible and the Spirit will show us the way to live in peace and harmony wherever we are. I believe that with God’s help, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can defeat the GIANTS in the land… by at least 13-6.