About This Place
Okemah is a city in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, United States. It is the county seat of Okfuskee County. It is the birthplace of folk music legend Woody Guthrie. Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, a federally recognized Muscogee Indian tribe, is headquartered in Okemah. The population was 3,038 at the 2000 census and about 23 percent of the residents identified as American Indian.
Historically occupied by the Osage and Quapaw, who ceded their lands to the United States by 1825, after Indian Removal of tribes from the Southeast United States in the 1830s, this area was assigned to the Creek Nation and specifically, the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town.
Okemah was named after a Kickapoo Indian chief named Chief Okemah. In March 1902, Chief Okemah built a bark house in his tribe's traditional fashion. He had come to await the opening of the townsite which took his name April 22, 1902. In the Kickapoo language, okemah means "things up high," such as highly placed person or town or high ground. Okemah had the chief's name to live up to in leadership.