Killers of The Flower Moon Book Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Killers of the Flower Moon' is a book by David Grann that tells the true story of the Osage Reign of Terror in Oklahoma during the early 1900s. This asset provides discussion questions about this book.

Killers of the Flower Moon

David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon is a non-fiction account of the murders of Osage Indians in the early 1900s for oil money. The book describes the exploitation of Native Americans by the U.S. government and the corruption in the oil and gas industry, where financial gain was prioritized over human lives. The following questions support high school students' discussions about this book.

The Osage

  • Why did the author choose this title? In what ways is a flower-killing moon a metaphor for the Osage Reign of Terror?
  • What are some specific ways the Osage tribe is exploited prior to finding oil on Osage land? What are some ways Mollie Burkhart tries to retain her cultural heritage while assimilating into 'white' culture? What impact does assimilation have on Mollie and her family?
  • Consider the dynamic between race and power from a historical perspective. How does the sudden wealth of the Osage tribe change the dynamic? How does the public react to this shift in power? What motivates the government policies related to financial guardianship? How do these policies contribute to crimes against the Osage people?
  • What are some challenges to the murder investigations? Compare the investigative techniques that were used to modern techniques. What do the murders have in common? Why does Mollie suspect she will be a target? What would you do if you were Mollie?
  • Describe Mollie and Ernest's marriage. What are some challenges they face? How does the power dynamic influence their family?

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