Okla Hannali

Okla Hannali was first written in 1963. It was a torturous undertaking even though it wasn’t much more than an overflowing of crammed notebooks: I wasn’t a very good novel writer at that time. It has since been completely rewritten twice. In the various writings of it and studies for it, I have picked up quite a bit of the non-Indian history of my own region also.

—R. A. Lafferty
Tulsa, Oklahoma


"This curious and wonderful tall tale contributes to the apocalyptic revision of American history that began with LITTLE BIG MAN and BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. It's the tale of Hannali Innominee, a 'Mingo' or natural lord of the 19th-century Choctaw Indian [and] a capacious, indomitable giant of the ilk of Paul Bunyan [...] Lafferty tells it straight: how the Choctaw nation, once removed, reconstituted itself and thrived in Indian territory [...] how there came a schism between the rich, part-white, slave-owning, moneylending Choctaws and the 'feudal, compassionate, chauvinistic' full-blooded freeholders like Hannali; and how during the Cilv War, the Indians were manipulated divide-and-conquer fashion in helping destroy each other."


"[OKLA HANNALI] is elemental Americana and a great deal of fun."

Wall Street Journal

"The use of the epic form is unusual and effective, and Lafferty's humor is both subtle and boisterous: he writes with warmth and sympathy for the Indian. This is a valuable addition to the growing literature on the subject."

Library Journal

“It’s an American classic.”

Voice Literary Supplement

The history of the Choctaw Indians has been told before and is still being told, but it has never been told in the way Lafferty tells it [...] Hannali is a buffalo bull of a man who should become on of the enduring characters in the literature of the American Indian.

Dee Brown, historian and author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Awards & Accolades