Joseph Bruner - Biographical


            Joseph Bruner (Joe) was born September 20, 1872, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to John and Lucy Bruner.  He lived his entire life in the Creek Nation, mostly in Sapulpa.  Bruner received his education at Indian Mission School and later at Baptist Indian University.  After completing college and after receiving a 160-acre allotment from the government in 1899, he went into the oil and gas business.  Bruner was a prominent real estate dealer and capitalist; he invested greatly in eastern Oklahoma which was developing agriculturally and industrially. 

            At sixteen years old, Joe was elected into the House of Warriors, which is the Creek legislature.  He served as one of the members of the tribe’s delegation of the Creek Nation to Washington D.C.  In 1924, he served as Creek representative in Federal Court of Claims, and, in 1933, he was elected as Principal Chief of the National Indian Confederacy.  Later he became the first president of the American Indian Federation.  He addressed many common problems by fostering tribal cooperation, and he was influential in refuting the Wheeler-Howard Bill.  As an advocate for the rights of Indians and an adviser to the Five Civilized Tribes, Joe was fondly referred to as “Fatcher Johka,” which means “honest Joe.”  And when he was writing and publishing his stories, his simplicity was a stylistic trait that made him great.

            Joseph and his wife Marguerite E. Dart (Maggie), whom he married in 1892, had one daughter named Josephine.  Some of Mr. Bruner’s simple, honest stories were published in The American Indian in 1927.