How to Write the Great American Indian Novel
How Native Were the First Americans?
Some European History…
Back to America!
Early Confrontations: 1600-1750
The Pequot War 1634-38
King Philip’s War (1675)
Dutch-Indian Wars (1626-1664)
The Beaver Wars (1638-1684)
Transition to the French and Indian War (1685-1748)
French and Indian War: 1749-1763
Seven Years War (1756-1763)
Pontiac and the Revolutions (1762-1778)
19th Century Battles
Little Turtle and the Westward Reconnaissance- (1790-1810)
Tecumseh and the War of 1812
The Creeks and Seminoles- (1813-1832)
Osceola and the Seminoles- (1835-1847)
Black Hawk and the Sauk (1830-1837)
Trail of Tears (1829-1835)
Conquest of the West (1846-1887)
Civil War (1862-1865)
Southwest Revolts and the Sand Creek Massacre (1864-1867)
Red Cloud at Powder River (1865-1868)
The Reservation Policy (1869-1872)
Modoc War and the Sioux and Cheyenne Uprising (1872-1881)
Little Big Horn
Last Stands (Nez Perce, Bannocks, Apache—1873-1890)
Wounded Knee and the Sioux “armed” Conflict (1890)
People of the Sun (Rage Against the Machine)
5th Sun Predictions (open forum)
How to Write the Great American Indian Novel
Sherman Alexie (Spokane/ Coeur D’Alene)
All of the Indians must have tragic features: tragic noses, eyes, and arms. Their hands and fingers must be tragic when they reach for tragic food.
The hero must be a half-breed, half-white and half Indian, preferably from a horse culture. He should often weep alone. That is mandatory.
If the hero is an Indian woman, she is beautiful. She must be slender and in love with a white man. But if she loves an Indian man
Then he must be a half-breed, preferably from a horse culture. If the Indian woman loves a white man, then he has to be so white
That we can see the blue veins running through his skin like rivers. When the Indian woman steps out of her dress, the white man gasps
At the endless beauty of her brown skin. She should be compared to nature: brown hills, mountains, fertile valleys, dewy grass, wind, and clear water.
If she is compared to murky water, however, then she must have a secret. Indians always have secrets, which are carefully and slowly revealed.
Yet, Indian secrets can be disclosed suddenly, like a storm. Indian men, of course, are storms. They should destroy the lives
Of any white women who choose to love them. All white women love Indian men. That is always the case. White women feign disgust
At the savage in blue jeans and t-shirt, but secretly lust after him. White women dream about half-breed Indian men from horse cultures.
Indian men are horses, smelling wild and gamey. When the Indian man unbuttons his pants, the white woman should think of topsoil.
There must be one murder, one suicide, one attempted rape. Alcohol should be consumed. Cars must be driven at high speeds.
Indians must see visions. White people can have the same visions if they are in love with Indians. If a white person loves an Indian
Then the white person is Indian by proximity. White people must carry an Indian deep inside themselves. Those interior Indians are half-breed
And obviously from horse cultures. If the interior Indian is male then he must be a warrior, especially if he is inside a white man.
If the interior Indian is female, then she must be a healer, especially if she is inside a white woman. Sometimes there are complications.
An Indian man can be hidden inside a white woman. An Indian woman can be hidden inside a white man. In those rare instances,
Everybody is a half-breed struggling to learn about their horse culture. There must be redemption, of course, and sins must be forgiven.
For this, we need children. A white child and an Indian child, gender not important, should express deep affection in a child-like way.
We should all be reminded that we are children. We should learn about geometry: circles and squares, parallel lines and intersections.
In the Great American Indian novel, when it is finally written, all of the white people will be Indians and all of the Indians will be ghosts.
In summarizing 500+ years of bloody history, often pieced together from scholars writing with their own subjective preconceptions and prejudices, it is my intention NOT to provide a comprehensive history to contextualize the controversial situation of a particular people. Rather, my personal ambition is to present such an incomplete iconoclast of cultural amnesia as to inflame a deep seeded and indignant rage that might provoke others into conducting their own investigations, so as to contradict and nullify this particular stab in the dark. In so doing, I apologize only that such a scant skeleton—nay, backbone (if that)— might portray my own vendetta against such a contemptible story of fear and hatred that has culminated in the necessity of this class being offered for us today, an outrage that should constantly remind us of how completely irrational the past will undoubtedly prove itself to be.
Unsure of how to categorize this so-called “American Indian Tragedy,” I have cherry-picked those details of most interest to me so as to better frame my own thesis: that we should dismiss the entirety of the Past as a lesson in how not to be, to never again march down the same path which, as will likely become clear, has induced the social milieu of possible (indeed, probable) extinction we find ourselves faced with today. It is my hope that the resulting integrated meshwork of sources establishes a template from which to denounce the physical and metaphysical forces that extend into our present to plague a global society today.
On that happy note, let us proceed…
How Native Were the First Americans?
While the earliest human records, identified by stone tools, scrapers, points, and axes have been found in Palestine, China, Japan, Siberia, Russia, Turkestan, Southeastern Asian, Brazil, Venezuela, and Oceana, the earliest known date for peoples in North America is found from the hearth charcoal remains on Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of California at the same time, at least 30,000 years ago. Only humans light fires, and as these charcoal remains can be carbon-dated, they provide the best evidence of migration patterns of early ancestors.
Pleistocene glacial advances (est. 28,000-10,000 BCE) enabled the floor of the Bering Sea to emerge, with Asian hunters following migrations of big game herds (Mastadons, Woolly Mammoths, Bison, great Stags…) from Siberia into Alaska along the land bridge called Berengia. As the last Ice Age ended circa 10,000 years ago, this area disappeared under the ocean, covering up the California coastline with about 300 feet of water. Many of those who migrated across the Bering Strait adapted to the climate and stayed in modern day Alaska, including ancestors of Aleuts, Inuits, Yupiks, and Eskimos, while others spread South and East, with settlements discovered in New Mexico dating from 25,000 BCE. By 12,000 BCE, Paleo-Indians had settled in those corners of both North and South America not glaciated, with Colorado settled in 11,000 BCE, and Massachusetts and Mexico City settled in 10,000 BCE (Human fossil remains found near pyramids of Teotihuacan). The melting of the final Ice Age marked the end of the mass migrations from Siberia, and over the next few thousand years climate change corresponded with shifts in vegetation and habitat for big-game species, affecting shifts in settlement patterns.
Several theories (for instance, Jeffery Goodman’s book “American Genesis,” and Vine Deloria, Jr.’s “Red Earth, White Lies”) contend that Modern Man existed in North America at least 50,000 years ago (particularly Southern California) and that, while the land bridge did exist, it involved the migration of Modern Man FROM America, moving north into Asia and then Europe to displace the Neanderthals. There are certainly many contradicting theories and it will no doubt take a concerted synergy of multiple sources to compile a Theory worthy of our regard.
At the same time permanent settlements began in the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Mesopotamia), agriculture began in Mexico, with people keeping seeds of a wild grass called teosinte, germinating new strains that eventually evolved into maize, or corn. Settlements throughout North America (Pittsburgh, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Massachusetts) sprouted where early bison multiplied into enormous herds on the prairies as a result of their early predators dying out (lions, tigers, bears).
World Population is estimated to be 5 million people (8,000 BCE) at this point, with a great variety of tools, trade goods, and burial relics found at different settlements. Salmon fishing tools were found in Columbia River sites in Oregon, with Southern California settled by the Encinitas culture in 5,500 BCE, whose economy was based on sea and farming marine resources, until about 1,000 BCE.
In 5,000 BCE, we see the first cultivation of maize it the Tehuacan Valley in central Mexico. The Cochise culture in Arizona and New Mexico displayed skill at harvesting wild plants and seeds, seasonally migrating and building homes in cliffs, caves and desert valleys, and laying the groundwork for agricultural development for later peoples in the region. Northern California was settled in 4,500 BCE, first with semi-subterranean earth lodges, then as the climate warmed, to lighter surface shelters made of brush. Mayans in Mexico and Guatemala developed their own particular astronomical calculation calendars, with the first day beginning on 3,372 BCE (no one knows what this date marks). By 3,000 BCE the Tehuacan Valley (Mexico), Southern California (whose fishing culture was replaced by hunting and trading), Arizona and New Mexico were all occupied, with maize, beans, and squash cultivated. 2,000 BCE saw the ancestors of modern-day Inuits move as far east as Greenland where they established settlements, and Corn became a staple crop for the Olmecs in Mexico. Squash, sunflowers, mash elder (a berry producing shrub), and a thick-leafed herb called Chenpodium were all cultivated around Poverty Point, Louisiana.
Surplus crops transformed many hunting groups into sedentary, horticultural societies. Until then, settlements were estimated to have moved 30-40 years when the soil was exhausted. Copper was mined in the Great Lakes region, with the Adena Hopewell peoples building temple mounds in the Ohio Valley in 750 BCE, along with the Serpent Mound in 100 BCE. Huge settlements in Kansas City were constructed during this time period as well.
The World’s population at 1 CE is thought to be around 300 million. At this point, the City of Teotihuacan, the first great civilization to appear in Central Mexico, flourished in the Mexico basin. People from Mesoamerica migrated north to take permanent residence in the 4 corners of the Colorado Plateau (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico), becoming known as the Hohokam, Mogollon, and the Anasazi people (100 CE). Classic Maya civilization emerged around 300 CE, traditionally dated from the “long count” date of their timekeeping in 292 CE; and by 600 CE, the first settlers made their homes on a Red River site (running from Louisiana into Arkansas) in Oklahoma.
Teotihuacán became the 6th largest city in the world by 700-750 CE (200,000 population) before being invaded and reduced to rubble (possibly by the northern invaders, the Chichimecs), with the survivors moving to the city of Cahokia, Illinois and other centers in the Mississippi Valley where they recreated the temples and palaces of their destroyed city.
From the mid 800s to about 1000 CE peoples from Alaska migrated into the Pacific Northwest and Southwest and the center of the Mississippian culture was at its peak. The Anasazi people, cutting roof beams in 919 CE, constructed Pueblo Bonito in several phases, considered one of the highest expressions in Native American architecture. Tradition holds that in 987 CE, Quetzalcoatl, considered a God by the Toltecs (and later the Aztecs) represented by a plumed serpent, was banished from Tul.
1,300 CE is considered the point of peak North and Central American population: Mexico was believed to have over 30 million, Northern America 12-15 million, and South America over 20 million.
1,325 CE is considered the traditional date for the founding of the Aztec city, Tenochtitlan. The Delawares migrated from west to east; the Mississippians south; the Onondaga (in upstate New York) began to show change as well, while the Apachean peoples broke into the separate tribes of Navajo and Apache.
1,347 CE saw the first outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe, where over 20 million Europeans (1/3 of the world’s population) died; and at least one theory holds that it may have coincided with a similar epidemic in the Western Hemisphere. 1,390 CE is the traditional founding date of the Iroquois Confederacy, between the Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Mohawk, and Cayuga, of Ontario and upper New York State who formed a partnership economy between the 5 nations.
In 1400 CE the population of the Mississippi River system began to show signs of decline: the Sioux, originally a Mississippian people inhabiting the lower Ohio and Mississippi Valleys who referred to themselves as Dah-Kota (“alliance of friends”)—were dispersed and fragmented by unknown causes sometime in the 1400s, moving north to Wisconsin and northern Minnesota. The Aztec city-state of Tenochtitlan arose as the preeminent city in the central Mexico basin, with Itzcoatl becoming the ruler of the Aztecs in 1428 CE and led the city to great wealth and military power while dominating the much older and established tribes surrounding them.
Some European History…
Around this time (1410 CE) in Toledo (then considered to be the greatest intellectual center of Europe), the first translation of Ptolemy’s Geography revived the notion that the earth was round. Prince Henry sent explorers to the Madeira Islands, issuing permits for colonization, and revived the idea of reaching Asia by sailing westward. Joan of Arc, the heroine of the Hundred Years’ War, was burned at the stake in France in 1431 CE, and a year later Prince Henry sent another expedition to the Azores islands, a bit further west. 10 years later, the Portuguese explorer Joao Diaz rounded Cape Bojador and opened West Africa to the gold trade and slave raiding.
Pope Nicholas V authorized the Portuguese to “attack, subject, and reduce to perpetual slavery the Saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ southward from Cape Bajador…including all the coast of Guinea,” in 1450. By 1455, he had written a Papal Bull to King Alfonso V of Portugal called “Romanus Pontifex,” confirming to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands discovered and conquered during the Age of Discovery (so long as they were not Christian), effectively forbidding other Christian nations from infringing upon the Portuguese King’s right of trade and colonization; also cutting of supply items (weaponry, iron, and timber) to Muslim and pagan nations.
The end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453 was followed by Gutenberg’s movable type, producing the first printed Bible. In 1474, Queen Isabella succeeded to the Spanish Throne in Castile, followed 5 years later by her husband Ferdinand’s occupation of the thrones of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia; both then represented the most powerful royal house in Europe and by Royal Decree deprived the land holding aristocracy of their rights, possessions, and lands. Their institution of the Spanish Inquisition in coordination with the pope and under the Spanish Catholic Church in 1478 led to the persecution of all religious and ethnic minorities (Jews, Moors…), confiscating their properties through the joint direction of Church and State, who divided the land between them.
2 priests in Germany published the Malleus Maleficarum in 1486, which offered a systematic instruction on the arrest, torture, conviction and execution of witches so as to take land from specific groups—later accepted by Catholics and Protestants alike as an authoritative text on Satanism and sorcery, and leading (over the next two centuries) to an estimated death of three million “witches.” [One theory speculates that due to the eradication of knowledge of birth control and midwifery, the 1600-1700s saw a population increase which outstripped the agricultural capacity of Europe.]
Christopher Columbus, an Italian Sailor, burst onto the scene when, after two unsuccessful proposals (1483, 1486) for financing an expedition to the west to reach India, he was finally approved to make the journey just as Spain conquered the last Moorish stronghold at Granada, ending 700 years of war between Christian Spain and the Islamic Moors. Using the Inquisition to expel the Moors along with 200,000 Jews (if they did not convert) and confiscate their properties, the Spanish thus set the stage for the coming holy wars of fanaticism and intolerance that would culminate in the Crusades and conquest of the New World.
Columbus’ ship, the “Santa Maria,” hit a coral reef off the north coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and needed to be rescued by an Arawak Chief in 1492. Perhaps as many as 6 million Arawaks populated the Island that the Spanish called “Hispianola,” who were skilled boat builders and navigators. Migrants hailing from South America (possibly Mesoamerica) populated all of the Caribbean islands and all spoke a variety of Arawak and Caribbean languages. Their complex agricultural/trading society produced crops 3 times a year, growing root vegetables, yams and sweet potatoes, maize, beans, and squashes. They had ball courts and a political system divided into 5 separate chiefdoms.
The Chief who saved Columbus and his men gave them masks, plates, belts, head ornaments, and objects of gold [trade was not tribute, but a form of interaction] and Columbus assumed he had made it to India, calling the local people “los Indios,” and enslaving 2 dozen Arawaks to take back to Spain as proof of his success. He did this after giving the chief a red cape and decided the Chief had recognized European superiority and was offering his submission. Those Spaniards remaining on the island forced the Arawaks to pan gold and work in the mines, exterminated for their cruelty in 1493.
When Columbus (who had received 17 more ships, 1,200 colonists, 300 soldiers, 34 horses and assorted animals from the King and Queen) returned to the island and told by the Chief who had saved him earlier what had happened, he ordered his soldiers to invade the villages, round up whole populations, and kill or ship them to the slave market in Spain. Those resisting had their ears and noses cut off, were burned alive or hanged. Every Arawak over the age of 14 was ordered to pay a tribute of gold every 3 months and when many of the Natives became ill from strange diseases, Columbus rounded 500 Arawaks for his return voyage to sell in the slave markets again.
In June 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a line of demarcation about halfway between the Cape Verde Islands (Portuguese’s property) and the islands discovered by Columbus (claimed for Spain). The Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI decreed this treaty, intending to resolve the dispute that an earlier papal Bull had created (given all land south of the Canary Islands to Portugal). When Columbus returned (sailing for Spain), all lands west and south of any of the Azores or Cape Verde Islands were given to Spain, effectively dividing Latin America and establishing Spanish Rule in the western Pacific, until the declining powers of both nations could no longer control any of the claimed territories, so that any European power was able to establish colonies in the new world…
Back to America!
Anywhere the Spaniards landed from 1495-1496 disease broke out: variations of measles, smallpox, scarlet fever, etc for which the Natives had no immunities. Tens of thousands died in Puerto Rico and among the Arawaks, declining numbers intensified due to famine, disease, Spanish cruelty, and suicide to escape Spanish rule. A 20-year resistance was organized, though it took less than fifty years for the Spanish to render the Arawaks virtually extinct, replacing them with black slaves brought in chains from Africa.
1500 CE marked the beginning of the European movement known as the High Renaissance, with world population estimated at around 400 million. A royal Spanish decree declared Indians of the New World “vassals of the crown” and established the Encomienda labor system through which natives were instructed in Spanish language and Catholic faith, exacting tribute in the form of gold, food, and livestock. Similarly, the text of the Spanish Requirement of 1513, “El Requerimiento,” ordered that the natives:
“acknowledge the Church as the ruler and superior of the whole world…or we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can…and shall make slaves of you…and shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can…and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us.”
In this light, the Europeans thought that the natives were savages and barbarians, and knew of no reason to apply and rules of honor to them. Even so, Columbus was put on trial in Spain for excessive cruelty to the natives, though he was found innocent and given permission for a 4th voyage. Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), a Florentine sailing in the service of Portugal, proposed that the new lands were not part of Asia, but a new world, and later the land was renamed “America.”
As the Spanish made more and more contact, millions of people died of diseases, replaced by at least ten million black slaves shipped directly from Africa to the New World (with several million dying en route) once the slave trade was established in 1509 with slave markets set up in Hispaniola (now Haiti). Genocide in the Western Indies all but exterminated the Arawaks. The Doctrine of Discovery was extended and applied to the Oceans by Nunex de Balboa in 1513.
The capital of New Spain was moved from Havana, Cuba to Mexico City, after which Hernando Cortes renounced the Governor of Cuba for the authority of Charles V when decided to not only explore the mainland of Mexico in 1519, but conquer it as well. Leading 400 men, Cortez defeated an empire of 200,000 Aztecs (with 50,000 men at arms) using disease, alliances with Aztec enemies, and conceptual differences in warfare by 1521. 90% of the populations that came into contact with European invaders (Cortes in Mexico, De Soto in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi; Coronado in Arizona and New Mexico) were eliminated by epidemics.
For the next several decades, slave rebellions (Hispaniola) and Indian repulsions (Florida, Mexico) broke out, while the French began to establish trade relations with the Iroquois nations around 1535-41. As the Spanish invaded from the south, taking over the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast, and the American Southwest so far as California, the French invaded from the north to control what is now Canada, establishing several settlements of French Huguenots on the Carolina coast.
A demand for Chocolate, Tobacco and Silver increased forced labor until by 1568 the Spanish Crown ordered a review of military tactics in New Spain, since too many natives killed (diminishing slave inventory). By 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh began his first attempt to establish an English colony on the North Carolina coast (termed the “lost colony”) as Spain formed an “invincible” Spanish Armada to invade Protestant England (1587) who defeated them in 1588. At the same time, the French King Henry III began to grant fur-trade monopolies in Canada and by the turn of the century permanent colonies were established almost simultaneously by the Spaniards, French, English, and Dutch north of Mexico, providing a European foothold with which to further the white man’s encroachment into the new territories.
Early Confrontations: 1600-1750
While the Spanish came up from the south through Mexico, Florida, and eventually the Southwest by 1540, invading the Pueblo peoples in (now) New Mexico to establish their regional capital in Santa Fe in 1609, the French came from the North, moving from Canada down the Mississippi River, establishing their settlement of Quebec on an old Iroquois village called Stadacona in 1608, eventually raising trading posts and claiming the lands on either side of the Mississippi as Louisiana—named for King Louis XIV (1638-1715).
The English came to the New World from the East along the Atlantic Coast and negotiated for lands in Virginia with the Powhatans (1607), establishing Jamestown (after King James I); and later with the Wampanoags in Massachusetts for the lands that would be called Plymouth in 1621. The Dutch founded the city of New Amsterdam in 1626 in what is today Manhattan. Treaties with “Sovereign Indian Nations” were therefore used to legitimize European land claims and boundaries between New Spain, New France, New England, New Netherlands, and New Sweden (all based on alliances with the Indian inhabitants).
Early stories include the meeting of Captain John Smith with the Powhatan Chief, since the early colony of Jamestown might have been slaughtered by the powerful Algonquin Confederacy (33 tribes, 200+ villages) if not for their relationship. The Chief, renamed Powhatan, was crowned king of the territory in 1609, and his daughter’s marriage to John Rolfe probably contributed to the peace treaty signed in 1613. After the Chief’s death in 1618, his brother Opechancanough, hating the English, ascended to power and the truce ended.
War came about after an English settler seeking trade relations with the tribe was never seen again. Several of his kinsmen believed a prominent Indian had killed him, summarily dispatching their suspect after which the Chief vowed revenge. In 1622, Opechancanough led the tribes of the Confederacy to attack the Jamestown colony (which had spread 140 miles along the bay of the James River), destroying 72 of the 80 settlements and massacring 347 men, women and children in a single hour.
However, he left survivors and after recovering from the shock, the colonists pretended to seek peace, inviting the chief and others to a proposed treaty council where they poisoned 200 Indians, slaughtering them in retribution. Opechancanough escaped, and after 22 years struck with his forces to kill 500 settlers. However by this time there were too many settlers and in a counterattack, the chief was captured and taken to Jamestown, where hating crowds spat on and humiliated him. Before being shot in the back and dying, the Chief, 100 years old, pointed his finger at the Governor crying “If it had been my fortune to take [the governor] prisoner, I would not have meanly exposed him as a show to my people.”
The governor was later forced out of the position and a series of new interim leaders refused to enforce any treaties. After many skirmishes, 5 chiefs who came to parley with a Virginia militia (authorized to remove the “foreign Indians”) were executed. By 1671, the Powatan people, once numbering 10,000 people, had been reduced to three or four thousand, out of which perhaps 750 were warriors.
A bit earlier, Squanto aided the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth, helping to grow crops and build homes (1620). Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoags had sanctioned his brother Squanto to aid the struggling Mayflower colonists, signing a treaty in 1621 that freely gave land to settlers (since those who had previously occupied the space were killed off by various diseases). Along with the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, the Connecticut, New Haven, and New Hampshire colonies grew by 1636 as well as the Providence Plantations in 1643 in Rhode Island along Narragansett Bay. This spread started to invade the Pequot Indian Territories, who found themselves caught between two encroaching Dutch and English colonies, and the original Wampanoag treaty started to disintegrate.
The Pequot War (1634-1638)
Beginning in 1636 with a naval engagement between two fishing boats (one had been captured by a group of Indians), the Pequots (an Algonquian tribe) found themselves the victims of a war started by another tribe altogether, a group of western Niantics. In Boston, Governor Vane falsely concluded that the Pequots were invading and sent 90 militiamen to Block Island. They killed every Indian who stayed and burned the town without a single loss to themselves. The Pequots, outgunned and outmatched, unsuccessfully tried to forge an alliance with their enemies, the Narragansetts, and resorted to sniping guerrilla tactics, murdering and pillaging the various settlements in Connecticut, who in turn appealed to Massachusetts for help. The latter colony sent John Mason with 80 colonists and 100 Mohican allies to put down the uprising, doing so by flinging a burning branch over the 12-foot high stockade at the Pequot fort onto a wigwam; then ordering his men to shoot the 600-1,000 mostly old men, women, and children that ran out.
On their way back they encountered the war party of 300 Pequots (the bulk of the remaining nation) and exterminated them in accordance with their orders, hunting down the remaining ones and selling the captives into slavery. For 30 years thereafter, an unsettled peace reigned between Indians and the colonists of New England until after various conflicts instigated by colonists, another war began, this time led by Chief Massasoit’s son Philip, in 1675.
King Philip’s War (1675)
In the decades following the Pequot War, white settlements continued to encroach upon Indian lands along with cheating traders, forcing unilateral treaties and a general hatred which antagonized the various tribes around New England. In 1661, the death of the Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoags (a longtime friend of the English) started a chain reaction that led to war in 1675. When his son Wamsutta, a.k.a. Alexander to the English, took over, the tribe divided their loyalties between both Rhode Island and Plymouth who were actively engaged in purchasing Indian lands (to establish a protectorate over the tribe so as to bolster their charters, considered void due to unauthorized settlements—Plymouth was too far north and Rhode Island was questioned by England’s Restoration government as well as Massachusetts).
The Plymouth colony assumed Alexander was plotting war and seized him at gunpoint, taking him back to answer conspiracy charges and prove his loyalty to Plymouth by selling land to the colony. However, during his capture Alexander contracted a fever and died on his journey home. His brother Metacomet (Phillip to the English) succeeded him and was similarly summoned to Plymouth to answer charges of conspiracy against the colony. He denied the charges but signed a document saying he would seek the colony’s permission before selling or exchanging land to others. Philip began forging anti-English alliances with the Nipmucks and Narragansetts, and after an English spy was found dead, the accused Indians were brought to trial and hanged.
20,000 Indians (Narragansetts, Nipmucks, Wampanoags, and other scattered tribes) faced about 32,000 settlers (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Plymouth, and Rhode Island citizens) who seemed to be crushing them from the East against the massive Iroquois Confederacy to the West. The outraged tribes swarmed over Swansea, Massachusetts in 1675, overrunning the town (killing 9 settlers) to get to the peninsula of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Taunton, Middleborough and Dartmouth were targeted next before survivors alerted Plymouth and Boston who sent 110 men to disperse the attackers. Surprising a group of Indians, a young lieutenant killed several and scalped them (the first of the war), sending the trophies back to Boston as evidence.
After pursuing the Indians and nearly trapping them (though King Philip escaped several times), the English saved a besieged Brookfield with 50 mounted men after every house in the village had been burned, killing 80 Nipmucks. A force of over 1,000 settlers and some reluctant Mohicans attacked a Narragansett fort, torching 600 Indian habitations and killing 600, including 20 chiefs. At this time Phillip had planted crops in the deserted fields of Deerfield and 100 soldiers were sent in a surprise attack that cost the Chief 300 men with only a single loss to the militia. However, a war party attacked them as they left for home, killing a third of the English, along with the captain.
After much back and forth, Philip’s wife and son were captured by a group of militia as 130 Indians were killed or taken prisoner. Philip, who had escaped once more, clubbed to death a brave who suggested that he surrender; the brother of the slain Indian guided a party of English to his hiding spot and on August 12, 1676, an Indian shot the Chief who had caused such destruction.
The final price of the skirmishes to the colonists was several thousand killed, 12 settlements burned, and 100,000 pounds of debt incurred. On the Indian side, not only had they lost the war, numerous homes, warriors and a great leader, but the more important right to live freely. As for the implications of the war, New England had mostly pushed valuable allies into the arms of the French and the two European nations soon struggled for dominance in North America.
Dutch-Indian Wars (1626-1664)
While the Spanish moved into the New World as conquerors and treated the natives as conquered people, the English (arriving in much smaller numbers) acted in a more tentative, albeit distrustful and contemptible manner. The Dutch on the other hand shifted their position between ambivalent, cruel, and timid. They armed the Mohawks against the French and their Indian allies but did not outright rival the English: while they claimed the Connecticut Valley and displaced the Swedes along the Delaware River, they submitted to dispossession without a fight. They struck a trade deal in 1618 with a surrounding group of Mahicans, not for territory, but trapping. The Mohawks eventually launched a war against the Mahicans to take control of the Dutch trade, so that while New England existed in perpetual war, the Dutch enjoyed a prosperous and profitable relationship with the natives.
With the depletion of beaver in the area more settlers became farmers instead of trappers. In 1639 the new governor of New Netherland realized that acquiring territory had become important and imposed hefty taxes on the Algonquian tribes, claiming such tribute was necessary to defend them against “hostiles.” This led to Mohawks—still trading partners of the Dutch—to travel down the Hudson and extort tribute from the Wappinger tribe. The Wappingers fled to Pavonia (modern day Jersey City, NJ) and New Amsterdam where they asked the governor to protect them. Not only did he refuse, he had the Mohawks kill 70 of them, enslaving others before sending his own troop in to finish off the rest (mostly women and children, whom the Mohawks had been reluctant to harm). The soldiers returned to New Amsterdam with 80 severed heads, which citizens and soldiers used as footballs on the city streets. 30 prisoners were also tortured to death for public amusement.
This plunged the settlement into war with 11 Indian tribes and though the governor parleyed with the Chiefs, the young warriors bent on destroying the Dutch went to war on October 1, 1643. Under friendly pretenses, the tribes killed several soldiers and a farmer, eventually laying siege to New Amsterdam for more than a year. The Dutch hired Captain John Underhill, a distinguished soldier in the Pequot War, to lead Dutch and English soldiers alike against the Indians, burning villages and crops. By 1644, the Indians could no longer stand against the war of attrition and agreed to a peace. Sporadic violence continued until 1664, when the English officially took possession of the province and renamed it New York.
The Beaver Wars (1638-1684)
The 5 nations of the Iroquois Confederation (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca tribes) fought in a series of conflicts against the Huron, Tobaccos, Neutrals, Erie, Ottawa, Mahican, Illinois, Miami, Susquehannock, Nipissing, Potawatomi, Delaware, and Sokoki tribes, so as to establish control over the Beaver trade. The Iroquois territory extended from the Hudson Valley in the east to Lake Ontario in the west, consolidating power that would come into play during the French-Indian wars and the American Revolution. The English inherited the Mohawk alliance after taking over New Amsterdam and some Hurons sided with the Iroquois to destroy the “Black Robes,” French Jesuit missionaries who had instilled dependence and dissension among their people, also bringing smallpox.
Battles during this time included forces of hundreds of warriors destroying towns of thousands, until tribes like the Neutrals, numbering around 10,000 in the early 1600s, were left with about 800 by 1653. The Iroquois harassed their French enemies and their Indian counterparts until, in an effort to minimize Mohawk domination over Dutch trade, the confederacy signed several peace treaties at Montreal in late 1653.
The Iroquois conquered and usurped a majority of the hunting and trapping grounds while the Hurons, Tobaccos, Neutrals, and Eries emerged from the conflicts no longer nations. By 1656, the fall of the Erie consolidated Iroquois power from the Ottawa River (north) to the Cumberland (south) into Maine (east) and Lake Ontario (west), though they could never establish a monopoly in the west. The result of 30 years war gained more for the Europeans however, since decades of devastating combat weakened any resistance Indian tribes might have mustered in a unified opposition.
Transition to the French and Indian War (1685-1748)
The Five Nations (soon to be six with the inclusion of the Tuscaroras—rulers of a territory from Albany to the Great Lakes) considered themselves surrounded by enemies, and often fought against the various Algonquin language tribes whose “empire,” which had no political or military organization, spreading over northeastern U.S. and Canada from Nova Scotia to the upper Great Lakes, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, New England, and back to Nova Scotia. Those tribes that remained after King Philip’s War (Mohicans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Wampanoags, Massachusetts and Penacooks) were all controlled by one of the five nations, the Mohawks, who kept them terrified. In the west, the mighty Illinois confederation established a respectful peace with the Iroquois, confining themselves only to occasional raids.
The Iroquois strength had been cut in half due to the Beaver Wars and with the French pressing down from the north as the English came from the south and east, they found themselves in a precarious position. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 acknowledged the Five Nations to be British subjects and ceded Arcadia, Newfoundland, and the Hudson Bay Territory to England. The Confederacy itself had not been consulted on the matter, but no serious objections were raised.
The aim of the treaty was to define the boundary between the colonies and French Canada, though it failed and skirmishes continued until 1744 when King George’s War (War of the Austrian Succession) erupted with the French and their Indian allies pillaging and killing in the northern settlements. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 restored land to both countries, but the colonists were enraged by the turn of events since they had successfully assaulted a French fortress then considered to be impregnable. Perhaps the most important blunder was not dealing with ownership of the rich valleys of the Ohio and the Mississippi, setting the stage for real war between the two nations.
French and Indian War: 1749-1763
The name given to this period of warfare reflects the two main enemies of the British, from whose eyes the battles are often described. By the end of the conflict Great Britain would have conquered Canada, reducing France’s presence in the New World to a mere colonial presence north of the Caribbean in the tiny islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. French Louisiana, west of the Mississippi, would be ceded to their Spanish allies, who lost Florida to the English too.
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended King George’s war, bringing a short peace but by no means guaranteeing a lasting stability. King George II granted huge land tracts to a powerful syndicate of British traders and speculators in Ohio, demanding within 7 years the company build a fort and plant a settlement of 100 families. This renewed enmity with France, who believed the charter encroached upon their lands. The battle lines were drawn along a frontier stretching from Quebec to the Ohio Valley and the fight to see if the New World would be English and Protestant, or French and Catholic, was begun.
France sent 1,500 men to secure the Ohio, alarming the Governor of Virginia who sent a young major of the militia, the eventual president of the United States George Washington, with a message demanding French withdrawal. Neither of the Englishmen realized that the French truly believed the land belonged to them by Right of Discovery, since the explorer La Salle had claimed practically all of Eastern America for the French king in the previous century. Washington returned to Williamsburg with news of the French defiance and was again sent into the field, now as Lieutenant-Colonel of militia to oust the French from their position at Duquesne, killing the French Commander Jumonville and 9 of his men—a skirmish that would directly lead to the “Seven Years’ War” two years later.
The French called Washington an assassin since Jumonville had been leading a “Peace Mission” and the commander’s brother assembled an expedition to punish the English, amassing an alliance with the Huron, Abenaki, Iroquois, Nipissing, Algonquin, Ottawa, and Delaware tribes. The English surrendered to the French at Fort Necessity due to inadequate supplies on July 4, 1754. At this point, between the disorganization of the colonies and their inept relations with the Indians, the English did nothing while the French allied with the Senecas and Onondagas as well. To add to the list of problems, the Dutch angered the Mohawks while the English angered the Mohawk Chief Hendrick, and the colonists eventually had to ask the Crown to save them from the French.
Seven Years War (1756-1763)
Though most of the Iroquois nations sided with the French, the Mohawks stayed allied to the English. The Delaware and other eastern tribes feared dispossession from their lands and sided with the French, supported by the Shawnees in the West, the Abnakis in the Northeast, and the Ojibwas, Ottawas, and Potawatomis, known in Ohio country as the Three Fires, who were linked to the French through marriages and trade. The French were often more respectful of the Indian culture than the arrogant and disdainful attitudes of the English; and often, only one or two Frenchmen were needed to lead Indian war parties against their enemies.
The French and Indian War soon became part of an even greater struggle, the Seven Years’ War, involving large portions of Europe and their colonies with Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Hanover fighting France, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Spain. Though France seemed to be prevailing in the initial years of the war, with British disasters relinquishing territory and losing men, by 1759 Quebec had surrendered, essentially ending French power in North America, formally ceding outposts and giving up possession of Detroit. The Seneca planned an Iroquoian uprising, encouraged by the French, though the English divided them against each other so a Union was soon rendered impractical.
Further south, the Cherokee, who had been fighting for the English, found themselves victims of the very people they had been helping. Virginia frontiersmen attacked and scalped several members (claiming they were hostiles), eventually sending a larger army of Carolina rangers to bring total war to their country, burning villages and crops alike. The Cherokees ceded much of their eastern land in 1762 and agreed to a boundary separating them from English settlers, though the boundary did not last long.
As the British captured Spain’s Martinique, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Havana, and Manilla, France concluded the Secret Treaty of San Ildefonso with Spain, ceding all of its territory west of the Mississippi and the isle of Orleans in Louisiana. Finally, the Treaty of Paris (February 10, 1763) ceded all of Louisiana to Spain with the rest of its North American holdings to Great Britain. However, the Indian tribes did not acknowledge the treaty and the Ottawa, Delaware, Iroquois (mostly the Seneca) and Shawnee began attacks on the outposts France had just given up to the English.
Pontiac and the Revolutions (1762-1778)
Pontiac was traditionally held to be the son of an Ottawa mother and Chippewa father, born in an Ottawa village between 1720 and 1725. He was one of the chiefs during the fall of Montreal who met the English Major when he took over the French fort in 1760. Unlike the French, the British sold them neither rum nor much gunpowder, which had become a necessity for hunting. After the Seneca tried to organize a conspiracy against the British, Pontiac allied himself with a Delaware Prophet who appeared in the Ohio Valley preaching a religion of self-sufficiency in 1762, which he said would give Indians strength to push out the whites.
In 1763 Pontiac organized a series of attacks on several key English strongholds in the West and with a force of 460 Ottawa, Potawatomie, and some Huron warriors, assaulted Fort Detroit, cutting it off completely. Fort Sandusky along with other outposts were attacked too: Fort St. Joseph near Niles, Michigan; Fort Miami, now Fort Wayne, Indiana; Fort Ouiatenon, now Lafayette, Indiana; and Fort Michilimackinac on the straits between upper and lower Michigan (by pretending to play a peaceful game of lacrosse outside the walls, letting their ball go through an open stockade gate, and uncovering guns to massacre those within) until no British forts remained in the western Great Lakes, except for the sieged Detroit. The Delaware, Mingoes, Senecas, Ottawas, Huron, and Chippewa aligned themselves with Pontiac, brutally murdering (and sometimes eating) their enemies. A Swiss Captain Ecuyer in command of Fort Pitt saved the stronghold by presenting two blankets and a handkerchief from the smallpox hospital as presents to the Indians, which resulted in an epidemic that raged for nearly a year among the Delawares, Mingoes, and Shawnees, decimating their nations and removing them from battle.
The British believed they faced a large Indian uprising and in London, the King’s ministers established boundaries along the Appalachians to separate Indian and colonist lands, making it official policy in 1763, though no one observed the proclamation. After a 2 months siege on Detroit, Sir Jeffrey Amherst brought 220 men with a party of Rangers to fight off Pontiac’s men, but they were beaten and the captain in command’s head was put on a stick by the braves. Reinforcements eventually routed the Indians, condemned every prisoner to death, and offered a 200-pound reward to whoever killed Pontiac.
The French urged the tribes to bury the hatchet and live in Peace with the English as they intended, while defections along with an approaching winter disintegrated much of Pontiac’s remaining force. The chief had counted on the French for support, eventually signing a Peace in 1765 that more or less asserted that the English did not consider the Indians to have any rights. Pontiac however did much to subdue any lingering resistance, aiding the British in many of their pursuits. This alienated him from his people and a brave named Black Dog assassinated the Chief when he was peaceably trading in the village of Cahokia. Today, seven towns and a lake, along with one of the Nation’s best-known automobiles, are named after this man.
Colonial warfare more or less ended and the new Indian enemy became the new Army of the United States, since the various tribes tended to ally with the Monarchy in the Revolution: Pontiac’s treaty essentially ended loyalties with the French king and transferred their affections to the “Great White Father” in London.
One of the major mistakes of the crown was not arming, organizing and commanding the Indians to effectively coordinate an attack on the Rebels, so the Indians relied basically upon a strategy of unorganized terrorism, reflected in the Declaration of Independence which accused George III of “endeavoring to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
One story depicts a turn of events morally destructive to the British which inflamed the Colonists hatred of their perceived oppressors. On July 27, 1777 a Wyandot warrior arrived with a white woman’s scalp and tried to sell it in a British camp. The 23-year old girl named Jenny had been killed as a prisoner, engaged to a Tory Lieutenant in the British camp. The commanding officer, “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne, decided that he would lose an entire contingent of Indians if this one was sentenced to death, releasing the Wyandot. The story spread everywhere, dismaying Tories, the Parliament back in England, and the British army alike. The story became a major propaganda weapon for the American troops, possibly affecting the outcome of a battle of Saratoga where the British army surrendered to the enemy in one of two decisive battles of the Revolution.
In 1778, the “Wyoming Massacre” was carried out on defenseless towns when men had gone off to fight for General Washington. 500 Senecas and 900 Tories annihilated the opposition (consisting of mostly boys and old men), killing 227 out of 300 and burning a thousand homes, before moving on to neighboring houses and fields, destroying mills, and torturing and burning those who remained. In turn, the settlers of the German Flats burned down the Seneca town of Unadilla located 50 miles away.
Washington planned a full-scale assault against the Iroquois, explicitly instructing his men that he wanted “the total destruction of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible,” demanding the Iroquois country not only be “overrun but destroyed.” 4,000 troops met 1,000 Indians (under Chief Joseph Brant) and 500 Tories, ambushing them and using artillery to completely destroy their forces. After the encounter, several Indians were skinned from their hips down for bootlegs.
With this battle, Indian resistance crumbled. Iroquois villagers and fields of corn, necessary to live through the winter, were set on fire. Detroit remained the British stronghold in the Northwest, but Colonel Marunus Willett crushed Chief Brant’s warriors and their Tory allies at Johnstown in the Mohawk Valley in 1783, effectively ending the Indian phase of war in the region. After a hostage Shawnee chief was murdered with 90 Christian Indians by a group of Pennsylvanians (who had murdered every man, woman and child in the neighboring town), the largest Indian war party of the Revolution, 1,100 braves swept into Kentucky, hacking a party of 300 men to pieces. 800 warriors left upon hearing a formidable Captain was coming to intercept them (the brother of William Clark, the partner of Meriwether Lewis in the famous expedition) and the remaining 300 met Colonel Daniel Boone, defeating the band of Kentucky frontiersmen thoroughly. Clark later burned the Shawnee town of Chillicothe to the ground, along with 5 other villages as well as corn and provisions which took the tribe out for the rest of the war.
This meant the end of Indian participation in the Revolutionary War when it officially closed at Yorktown, though the British still held Detroit in the Northwest. Clark controlled everything south and east of it and the treaty John Jay signed with the British ceded all Northwest Territory to the new United States. Indians had again fought on the losing side and were without any ally (all had removed from the continent almost completely). Not trusting anyone, they resorted to rebuilding their villages before participating in the looming 19th century battles.
19th Century Battles
Between 1783 and 1790 the guerilla armies of the Indians succeeded in killing, wounding and imprisoning about 1,500 men, women and children, had stolen 2,000 horses and committed $50,000 worth of property damage. Indian power shifted from the Six Nations to the tribes along the Miami and Wabash rivers who often harassed river traffic. President Washington concluded to punish these transgressors in the expedition of 1790, and militiamen and regulars faced a powerful coalition of Miamis from Ohio and Indiana; the hatred of the Shawnees; the Potawatomis from Illinois and lower Lake Michigan; and the Cheppewas from east Lake Huron and northern Michigan, all of whom had a leader in Little Turtle.
Little Turtle and the Westward Reconnaissance- (1790-1810)
Michikinikwa, or Little Turtle as he was known, was a military strategist following in the wake of Joseph Brant, Pontiac, and other Indian leaders. Facing 1,133 militia and 320 Federal troops in 1790, the new leader induced the approaching Army to follow him, flanking it and killing 183 men. Congress authorized the 2nd infantry unit, but desertions brought the soldiers’ strength from 2,000 to 1,400. 1,100 screaming Indians destroyed a Kentucky militia patrol and Little Turtle soon surrounded the rest of the Army, cutting it down as well. 580 survivors proved it the worst defeat of white men at the hands of Indians since the French and Indian war, and congress passed a Militia Act that enlisted all free white citizens 18-45 in a “non-federal” army.
Indians demanded the boundary of the frontier be the Ohio River (after the council at Fort Stanwix in 1768 proclaimed), an impossible demand for the new nation, who believed it was theirs by Right of Conquest from the British. Little Turtle, who by this time had excited jealously and envy among his people, was more or less impeached by the other chiefs and Chief Turkey Foot, a man of lesser genius, was instated. 2,000 warriors attacked Fort Recovery prematurely and without organization, eventually destroyed by a 3,000 strong army after the British sided with the Americans against them. Indian villages and fields of crops were destroyed, crushing Indian resistance for twenty years. The result was a 1795 treaty at Fort Greensville, with Indians giving up the entire state of Ohio and much of Indiana. Little Turtle was a signatory and became a peacemaker for the U.S.
After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the expanded territory of the whites included the Oregon Territory, bringing the nation into dispute with England and Russia. Spain became bitter as well because California and the Southwest down to the Rio Grande were threatened. Lewis and Clark came back from their reconnaissance mission while Zebulon Pike had led two other expeditions, one north and one south. The Sioux were persuaded into selling 100,000 acres of land for $2,000, and the Pawnees let the Americans into Spanish territory, opening up strategic routes for Southwestern conquest.
Tecumseh and the War of 1812
In 1811, Tecumseh, a warrior who had fought with Turkey Foot, realized it would take an alliance between all the tribes of the Mississippi Valley to push the whites back to the Hudson. He and his brother, a fanatic known as the Prophet, established a utopian community on the Wabash River near Tippecanoe, with Tecumseh traveling from Minnesota to the Gulf seeking to establish a confederacy.
The Treaty of Greenville had agreed to grant land to all, under the logic that land was not owned by a single tribe but belonged to all equally and could thus not be sold or ceded unilaterally. Unfortunately, this amounted to little more than a mistake in the language on the part of the U.S. government; and the Indians, finding they could not unify, were only manipulated by the British for their own scheming designs amounting to the War of 1812.
At Tippecanoe, the Indian leader had a collection of a thousand Shawnees, Delawares, Wyandots, Ottawas, Ojibwas and Kickappoos. General Harrison, the U.S. antagonist, employed a strategy of splitting the tribes apart by negotiating separate land deals, clearly violating the Treaty of Greenville when he succeeded in buying 3,000,000 acres of Wabash River land from the Indians (who had no concept of what it was valued at) for $10,550 in cash and annuities.
The furious Tecumseh, backed by British guns and ammunition, took 300 braves and established an uneasy peace in the winter of 1810-1811 and journeyed to the southern tribes (Creeks, Choctaws, Seminoles, and Chickasaws) to request allegiance. General Harrison received word and attacked Tippecanoe with more than 1,000 men. The Prophet meanwhile assembled 100 braves, casting a spell that would protect them as they went on a special mission to kill the General. Their plan failed and the Indians were psychologically defeated when their magic didn’t work.
Tecumseh was forced to abandon his master plan, turning towards his last resort, the British, in Canada. The tribes of the Lakes and Ohio Valley were drawn to the British cause and the Chief devastated the Americans in several battles. 3,000 men marched out of a U.S. controlled Detroit and Tecumseh ambushed it, capturing several dispatches, cutting off its communications and stealing its supplies. Eventually 2,500 surrendered to the Chief who marched them into Canada as prisoners of war.
Detroit was back in British hands and Tecumseh now had 1,500 warriors, along with 522 British regulars and 461 Canadian militiamen. A general massacre killed 500 Kentuckian militiamen and Indians swarmed in from every part of the Northwest to support the successful Chief, bringing the British force numbers up to 5,000. A newly raised American Army of 10,000 soldiers (including 260 friendly Indians) opposed them, and on October 5, 1813, the British and Indians made their stand. Tecumseh was killed and the natives fled. Resistance in the Northwest collapsed and Canada clearly stood open.
Tecumseh’s dream had died, but the cost to the American government reached 5 million dollars, activating around 20,000 soldiers. While the tribes of the South had not been compelled to join Tecumseh’s fight, his expeditions had inspired revolt in this last pocket of resistance to white oppression in the East; and the Creeks and Seminoles soon battled the machine of the American government, whose Army dwindled from 33,000 to less than 7,500.
The Creeks and Seminoles- (1813-1832)
Though more assimilated than other Indians, the Creeks nevertheless listened to Tecumseh when he spoke to them. Settlers had invaded for some time and land not ceded in treaties was taken away anyway. The honest Indian agent Colonel Benjamin Hawkins worried he could not prevent the 24,000 natives from fighting back to defend their 100 or so towns. Chief William Weatherford had taken a natural position of leadership and with 1,000 braves, overtook 70 Louisiana militiamen at Fort Mims who were protecting 500 French, African, Spanish and half-creek refugees, most of whom were planters and farmers. Going up against guns with bows and flaming arrows, the Creeks massacred all but 36, including men, women, and children, scalping many.
The United States called on General Andrew Jackson, who had no sympathy for Indians whatsoever, to put down the uprising. He sent out 500 dragoons (cavalry) and followed with 3,000 infantry. The General intended to not only defeat the Creeks, but moved into Florida to eliminate any Spanish or British outpost supplying the Creeks with weapons and ammunition. Along the way he spotted a Cherokee chief named Pathkiller who complained about the threatening Creeks, and vowed he would end their hostilities. The army moved into Alabama and reached Tallassahtchee, where Weatherford’s warriors were staying. One of Jackson’s soldiers, Davy Crockett, wrote of the encounter that they had shot the Indians like dogs. 186 Indians died; 5 Americans had been killed, with 41 injured. Jackson next marched 1,200 men and 800 Cavalry to where Weatherford was terrorizing a town of Indians friendly to the whites, and 290 Creeks were killed with 700 escaping. Jackson lost 15 with 85 wounded.
After a brief period where new recruits replaced soldiers ending their military service, the General and Weatherford exchanged blows in several skirmishes, and the U.S. began a slow retreat. 5,000 new militiamen showed up, whipped into shape when Jackson courtmartialed and executed a 17-year-old boy for disobeying an officer. He took 2,000 men to attack a fort of 900 warriors at Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River, stealing their canoes before charging them. 757 Indians died, with most others wounded; Jackson had 49 deaths, 157 wounded. Weatherford himself was not here either, but walked into Jackson’s quarters and surrendered himself several days later. The General ordered him to leave and prepare another army, but the Chief responded that Jackson had destroyed his nation and there was no one left. Jackson poured 2 cups of brandy and agreed to help the women and children if the Chief kept the peace.
A treaty was signed, taking most Creek territory away along with the land of those who helped the U.S, and Jackson was promoted and transferred, eventually ending the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans. Coming back in 1814, he announced that the war had been too expensive for the U.S. and the starving Creeks were responsible for paying for it by giving up 23,000,000 acres of land—amounting to 3/5 of Alabama and 1/5 of Georgia.
The Cherokee soon made peace with the Seminoles who were harassing the border as the U.S. and Spain negotiated the purchase of Florida. Finally in 1817 Jackson was given an army and told to “adopt the necessary measures” against the Indians as well as permission from President Monroe that he should take Florida if he could. Taking 800 regulars and 900 Georgia militia into Florida, Jackson used his forces to attack a Negro fort and catch slaves before beginning the first Seminole war. He burned every Seminole village and captured 2 Creek chiefs, hanging them without trial. He made his way to the Spanish fort at Pensacola and captured it in 3 days, confounding international law by annexing the area to the U.S, later capturing every other Spanish fort around before setting off for home. His actions sparked a diplomatic war between the two countries but the House refused to condemn Jackson’s actions. In 1821, Spain ceded Florida.
Jackson became President and the 1832 Treaty of Payne’s Landing was signed. The document proposed the Seminoles move to Oklahoma, where they would live on a reservation with the Creeks who were already there. Those slaves that had escaped to Florida were to be returned, with the Tribes paying fines if any were found. Worse, no Seminole who had Negro blood could go to Oklahoma but would have to stay to be sold into slavery.
Osceola and the Seminoles- (1835-1847)
Osceola had fought Jackson earlier and stepped into a leader role against him once more. He prepared those despising the treaty for all-out war and used guerilla tactics to destroy (with 180 braves) an approaching company of 112 soldiers. All but 3 were killed and the two who feigned death made their way to Fort King with word of defeat. Osceola attacked a house and promptly killed General Thompson, the man who had negotiated the treaty. 400 Seminoles, mostly women and children that had signed the treaty, were shipped off and in 1837 a Quartermaster General arrived, induced Osceola and 75 men into a council of truce, arrested them all and put them in federal prison. Osceola died 3 months later.
The Seminoles fully revolted but after a war of attrition started in 1841 by General William J. Worth, the hungry and homeless Seminoles were subdued after 6 years. The government had employed more than 30,000 troops and spent twenty million dollars to put the tribe down, with 1,466 killed of their own troops. More than 4,000 Seminoles were removed to Oklahoma.
Black Hawk and the Sauk (1830-1837)
The last leader of the Eastern tribes was a Sauk chief named Black Sparrow Hawk, whose famous battle was more of a rear-guard defense of a retreating people against soldiers like Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and the sons of Alexander Hamilton and Daniel Boone. The Chief had lived under the cruelty of the Spaniards and fought under Tecumseh earlier. Tecumseh’s conquerer, General Harrison negotiated with the Sauk and Fox nations in northwestern Illinois for their fertile land and a treaty ceded thousands of acres for promises the government had no intentions of keeping. Black Hawk believed land could not be sold and tried to establish a confederation of Indian tribes from the Rock River to Mexico, though by then Indians were mostly pacific and commercial, preferring instead to trade.
In 1830 the Chief ordered the white invaders to leave and burned down a few houses to make his point. Settlers turned to the Governor of Illinois who sent 700 militiamen, demanding Black Hawk remove his people. A third left their home and the rest stayed to fight. The tribe declared they had been stealing corn from their own fields at this point and in 1832 the Foxes tribe came to the Chief’s aid. 600 warriors were displayed and 1,800 militiamen were mounted. Black Hawk explained that the Sauks only wanted to plant and harvest their corn and the whites would have to attack him first if they wanted a war. At the site of an advance force of 270, the Chief sent 3 men under truce who were arrested and out of 5 that went looking for the original 3, 2 were killed. Blackhawk ambushed the soldiers and proceeded to attack frontier settlements.
American forces were decimated by disease at the time but after reinforcements were restored, 1,000 or more militia were sent to end Black Hawks reign, along with a company of 1,600 Mounted Volunteers, of which Captain Abraham Lincoln fought in. The government’s policy was extermination and Black Hawk, who was 70, could do little more but conduct a masterful retreat, which he did. Finally, the chief’s exhausted army along with the families they were protecting was massacred with at least 200 Indians killed, whereas the opposing general lost 20.
With this final battle, the Eastern tribes were destroyed. 10.6 million acres of land belonging to the Winnebagoes, Sauks and Foxes were purchased for $20,000 a year for thirty years. Black Hawk was imprisoned and later made public tours. In 1837, 26,500,000 acres were sold for 3 cents an acre and the chief died the same year.
Trail of Tears (1829-1835)
The Cherokee occupied the Valley of the Tennessee, about 40,000 square miles of rich land. After a removal bill was introduced in Congress in 1829, illegal laws passed in Georgia that led to settlers burning, killing, and stealing in their territory. The Indians took their case to the Supreme Court and in a historic decision in 1832, the Court found that Georgia was in the wrong and had no right to extend its laws to the Cherokee Nation.
President Jackson responded: “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” With this quote, permission to overrun the Indians was granted. The Indian newspaper was suppressed and in 1835, a treaty signed by no one of elected official title declared the Cherokee would give up everything they owned for $5 million, getting 7 million western acres and an option to purchase more later (though they would have to move themselves). Most refused to accept the treaty but after it was ratified by congress, 2,000 Cherokee left for the west. Others stayed and an army of 7,000 was commanded to load them into wagons and remove them by force. 4,000 Cherokee died on the way, facing what their mythology told them was the Wind of Death, blowing from the westward region.
Conquest of the West (1846-1887)
Whereas it took 3 centuries to eliminate the Eastern tribes, the Western tribes would be defeated in 30 years. For years fractured tribes had retaliated against racist settlers, with white governments destroying the native peoples completely through policies of annihilation. Treaties were enacted though citizens did not bother to heed them. By the decades leading up to the civil war, the Army had been given the task to police a 6,000-mile frontier stretching from Canada to Mexico. Trade routes needed protection from the Kiowas, Comanches, Pawnees and Apaches, who would scalp and loot the passing wagon trains.
The Mexican War of 1846 brought the new American Army of the West into contact with these Indians, one of its first assignments being to capture the Pueblo of Taos in New Mexico. An uprising occurred and it was put down so neighboring tribes would not do the same. After the Mexican War, the U.S. had grown to 1.2 million square miles that included mostly hostile Indians, with around 8,000 men in the Army. They faced the Navajos, Yumas, Mojaves and Apaches in the Southwest; the Comanches, Kiowas, Arapahoes and Sioux (totaling a quarter million Indians) on the great plains; and the Nez Perces, Modocs and Shoshones in the Northwest. Weapons trafficking developed between Indian Agents and braves who declared they needed them to hunt.
The Navajo raised sheep and cattle, farming as well as stealing. For a 20-year period until 1846, estimates had over 3,500 horses, 13,000 cattle and 294,500 sheep stolen. Seeing their economy threatened by the Mexican War, the tribe turned against the United States. Another worthless treaty was signed but when the Navajos realized how much had been signed away they declared the treaty void, forcibly removed in Colonel Kit Carson’s campaign of 1864.
The Yumas were superb archers, using spears, warclubs and long knives too. Lieutenant Thomas W. Sweeny, serving with distinction in the Sioux campaign of 1855-1856, burned villages and destroyed crops, seizing land and betraying through treaties the people he conquered, one time inviting a group of trusting Modocs to a poisoned feast. Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Fort Humboldt, California where he became an alcoholic before leaving; Major Phil Kearny briefly fought the Klamath Indians; and peaceful tribes like the Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Pelouse nations took up the fight after a sequence of injustice and abuse. After the Pelouse killed 2 miners over a quarrel, 157 infantry and cavalry (led by friendly Nez Perce scouts), met with 1,200 allies from Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Yakima tribes who forced the soldiers to retreat.
The blow was considered one to the Army’s prestige and a potential invitation to war against the U.S. government, so Colonel George Wright set out from Fort Walla Walla in 1858. Wright charged 500 Indians on horseback –who raised their lances in defiance—emerging victorious without a single man lost. The Indian forces broke and retreated, rallied again at Spokane Plain and were mostly killed. Wright’s men picked which horses they wanted and killed the remainder, later burning lodges and storehouses of the Indian village. All Indians not killed were tried and convicted for bringing about the war.
The Core of the revolt was still on the plains and the government negotiated with it in 1851 at a council in Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Cheyennes, Arapahos, Crows, Assiniboins, Hidatsas, Mandans, and Arikaras all came and agreed to the government’s idea of dividing themselves up and assigning territories for each tribe, in reality instituting the Reservations. Tribes were given $5000 a year for fifty years, in exchange for the U.S. to build roads and military posts but the Senate, appalled, reduced it to ten thousand, though still not expecting to enforce it. In 1859 settlers of the second gold rush violated the treaty, driving out the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, who had received most of Colorado and Western Kansas, taking whatever land they wanted for houses and farms.
In Sioux territory, 30 volunteers marched into a camp of 3 Sioux bands, abused tribal members, fired a shot, killed a Chief, and tried to retreat to the fort. They were cut off and killed, leading the newspapers to run the story as a massacre. Soon, the Sioux were surrounded and attacked, leaving 86 Indians dead, 5 wounded, most squaws and children, and all of their ponies. The attacking Colonel had lost 5 men, with 7 wounded.
The Sioux were labeled troublemakers and the U.S. Army fought them and other tribes in 22 small wars through the 1850’s, everywhere from Florida to Arizona and Missouri River to Oregon, while westward expansion began to systematically end Indian resistance. Divided tribal loyalties gave way to fierce opposition at white encroachment, and the United States realized it was now fighting a war on two fronts: with the Indians and the seceding States.
The Great Sioux Uprising began in Minnesota in 1862 when the tribe, led by Little Crow, mounted a slaughter on the surrounding settlers. Going hungry from ruined crops and starved by the government they had by then become dependent on, the Chief led a slaughter of 400 settlers, one of the bloodiest of the frontier. 40,000 refugees ensured a quick assembly of federal troops, who were laid siege to at Fort Ridgely. A relief force of 1,600 men confronted 700 braves and the Indians were routed by heavy artillery. 306 remaining Indians were convicted to hang and those captured were marched to Fort Snelling before another. Settlers lined up to assault the prisoners, snatching babies and dashing them on rocks. After the executions, Indian bodies were used for experiments and Little Crow, who had fled, returned in 1864 to be killed by a farmer. About 500 remaining refugees were slaughtered in a battle that lasted all day and those Indians who escaped went farther West to join the Cheyennes, fighting again later in the final battles of the Wars. The Sioux Uprising was put down for the remainder of the Civil War though they would fight again in one of the bloodiest last stands before their freedoms were lost.
Civil War (1862-1865)
As Federal troops were withdrawn from the frontier for the Union Army, Indians saw their chance for revenge and attacked villages where they could, leading to newspapers demanding their removal. The Apaches were one of these tribes, led by two chiefs, Mangas Coloradas and Cochise. So feared were they in northern Mexico that a warrior’s scalp was worth $100, a woman’s $50, and $25 for a child. In this light, these people would often be coerced into inebriation after which they would be jumped, killed, and scalped. So, they fought for their lives and the Army was compelled to exterminate them. In 1862, a California Column clearing out those Confederate forces remaining in Arizona and New Mexico met with 700 Indians laying in wait. A subsequent fight ensued, leaving 63 braves dead with the Column losing 2. The Army retreated and the Apache gave chase with 50 warriors.
The commanding officer enticed Chief Mangas into the camp on promise of truce and arrested him, his soldiers thrusting a bayonet into his leg and shooting him when he jumped. Against a guerrilla campaign, the Army struggled against the Apache as outbreaks of violence increased, forcing the government to send thousands of soldiers to ensure success.
Those tribes transplanted to the west (Creeks, Seminoles, Cherokees, Choctaws and Chickasaws) divided their loyalties between the North and the South, usually leaning towards the Confederacy since they too were slaveholders bringing slaves from Alabama, Georgia and Florida after displacement. Confederate Indian Agents stirred up resentment in the tribes and the Cherokee voted formally to secede from the union, though Chief John Ross led a faction along with a group of Upper Creeks who seceded from the seceders. As they left, confederate commanders chased after the 4,000 Indians and 1,700 warriors. By the 3rd attack the Cherokee refused to fight the Creeks anymore. Arriving reinforcements numbered 1,380 and killed 700 Creeks before the retreating tribe reached the Union-controlled Kansas.
1862 saw the battle at Elkhorn Tavern, where 10,500 Union soldiers under General Samuel R. Curtis fought against 16,000 men under Confederate General Earl Van Dorn. The Union army gained the high ground, a portion of Confederate Indians defected, and neither of the remaining tribes were willing to fight.
In the final days of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis held a peace council, persuading through a Creek brave the Osagas, Pawnees, Iowas, Kickapoos, Potawatomies, Wichitas, Kiowas, Comanches, Apaches, Southern Cheyenne, Arapahoes, Navajos, Mescalero Apaches, Northern Cheyennes, Unkpapas, Teton and Yankton Sioux, about 20,000 Indians together, to come to Washita River on May 1, 1865. Though the Civil War was over, no one had got the message and an agreement was secured that established peace.
Unfortunately, westward expansion ended the truce quickly and the new Army prepared to protect settlers along the 4 routes to the Pacific: the Sante Fe Trail; Kansas Trail, to Denver; the Oregon Trail, to Oregon and California through Nebraska and Salt Lake City; and the Bozeman Trail, from Wyoming to Montana. Between 1866 and 1875 more than 200 battles took place, most with the Sioux Nation. From 1875 to 1887, fewer battles were fought, mostly with the Apaches.
Southwest Revolts and the Sand Creek Massacre (1864-1867)
By 1864 the Arapahoes were starving in Colorado Territory and resorted to raiding ranches, burning and killing, threatening supply trains and trails, increasing food prices and cutting off the mail. The Navajo too were troublesome (numbering 10,000) and Colonel Christopher Carson was ordered to round them up to resettle them on the Bosque Redondo Reservation. 8,000 Navajo surrendered, the largest in the Wars, and were marched into exile to eastern New Mexico, a journey termed “The Long March.” They were hungry and subject to disease, eventually returned in 1867 though in horrendous condition.
Black Kettle, Chief of the Cheyennes, sought peace in 1864 with a Colonel from Denver, though the message was never received and over 300 natives were scalped (though only 26 were warriors). On the other side, 7 soldiers were killed and 47 wounded. A congressional investigation was conducted for the Sand Creek Massacre and the commander was summoned to appear for a courtmartial, though he resigned first.
The Comanche and Kiowas were targeted next, with 1,000 Indians soundly defeated. The Army was forced to retreat but with the end of the Civil War, Federal troops began to be stationed in the weakened garrisons again, ensuring the destruction of the Indians.
Red Cloud at Powder River (1865-1868)
After the Civil War, the Army moved in to Powder River country to secure the Bozeman Trail. Red Cloud was a Chief of the Oglalas, also leading the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes and was asked to agree to a truce. After seeing 2,000 troops making their way into the land, the Chief essentially declared war.
3,000 braves, many of whom remembered Sand Creek and the Sioux uprising, attacked a wagon caravan, cutting it off from the train. The wagons were drawn in a circle so as to hold the Indians off. A state of peace was later requested but Red Cloud, along with Crazy Horse and 2,000 warriors fell upon a column of soldiers at what would be known after as “Massacre Hill,” destroying it and laying siege to Fort Kearny in the Wyoming Hills. Relief was sent from Fort Laramie, and 1,500 warriors were led to face a small group of 35 men who had been chopping wood. Amazingly, the U.S. strategy called for the best marksmen of the group to fire rotated guns from behind their wagon boxes (organized in a circle), killing about 1,000 braves. In 1868 a new treaty was signed, preventing outbreak until the discovery of gold in the Black Hills and the arrival of the railroads.
The Reservation Policy (1869-1872)
With no way to enforce the treaties or white encroachment on Indian lands, General Philip Sheridan, commanding the Department of the West, journeyed to inspect the surviving 93 frontier posts. Believing the Indians to be in a restless mindset, Sheridan persuaded President Grant (1869) not to sign any treaties, which essentially gave aid and comfort to the enemy. A Major in the Army convinced the General to construct a mobile force that employed Indian tactics to attack the tribes and break them up, with the Army swooping in and forcing surrender. At a dollar a day, there were more than enough volunteers and 50 hunters, trappers, veterans, and ex-officers were chosen, outfitted with 7-shot repeating rifles and revolvers. After news of a raid, they left.
Soon, Cheyennes, Sioux and Arapahoes surprised the troops in the morning, leading an attack aided by Chief Roman Nose and 500 warriors. After a series of volleys that killed the Chief, the Indians, who were on the brink of victory, retreated. 7 troopers, including the company surgeon were dead, and 17 were wounded. The Major realized his enemy would starve them if they did not make it 125 miles home, but two messengers alerted the Fort and a relief column chased the Indians away, just in time as he had a fever from blood poisoning after removing a bullet in unsanitary conditions.
Sheridan then launched a winter campaign, transferring and employing Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer (who had been suspended for a year for cruelty and illegal conduct) to lead it. Custer took a regiment, trumpeters, Indian scouts, and a special detachment of 40 sharpshooters into Oklahoma, sustained by a supply train. After 3 days they caught up to a large war party, which led them to Black Kettle’s village. The Chief himself, though having raided white settlements after Sand Creek, was more or less satisfied with the latest treaty and pacifistic, but the younger warriors had enslaved several white settlers and taken scalps. Custer assaulted the camp at dawn, converging on it from several places, killing Black Kettle and his family along with the rest of the village.
Realizing several other villages were close, Custer fell back to a relief supply of 7 supply wagons before destroying lodges, buffalo robes, 500 pounds of lead, 500 pounds of powder, 4,000 arrows, and 700 ponies. He captured the women and children and put them in his wagon, retreating back to the Fort. Sheridan realized he could attack the Indians in winter at their homes and pursued the neighboring tribes relentlessly until only a small resistance remained—the Sioux near Powder River in the valley of Little Big Horn; the scattered villages of the merciless Apaches; a partnership of Kiowa and Comanche who were destroying and killing in Texas and Indian Territory in 1871. These tribes were more or less considered to be on reservations so the Government responded to the settlers’ complaints.
To wipe out the first two tribes, Washington sent General Sherman to find the Kiowa Chief Satanta in the Red River region of Texas. He split up his troops in hostile territory and a war party attacked a corn train on the Salt Creek prairie, plundering the train and murdering the men. Sherman invited Satanta and a delegation to peace talks and the Chief, ignoring any scent of treachery, agreed. The chiefs sat on the floor as the officers sat in chairs and as the conference began, the chief boasted he had indeed attacked the train. An outraged Sherman declared he would arrest the chief, who pulled his guns out saying he would rather be shot then arrested. Sherman signaled for his troops to pull their guns and after a brief scuffle, an old chief was shot and killed. The Indian Bureau worried they would start an uprising if the others were hanged and let the remainder off on parole.
The Kickapoo tribes were also ousted, their villages burned. Sheridan decided to attack the Kiowas at their home they called Staked Plains, taking Santanta prisoner, who later killed himself. The Kiowas were routed and reduced to a five mile running retreat while their enemies destroyed their 2,000 ponies. Slowly the government’s warfare against the Kiowas and Comanches subsided as the tribes were exiled into their reservations. The territory of Montana had been established in 1864 and that of Wyoming in 1868. The Apaches, facing governmental extermination aided by Mexican and American citizens, renewed an outbreak of attacks and General George Crook announced he would punish their hostilities. At a cave dwelling, soldiers rolled boulders onto the trapped Apaches and ricocheted bullets into them, killing 75 and taking 8 prisoner. The Army pursued another Apache war party that had murdered a group of civilians, cornering them and killing those who did not jump from the heights of the rocks. Survivors were rounded up and placed on the reservation again.
Modoc War and the Sioux and Cheyenne Uprising (1872-1881)
Though the Apache were destroyed, the battles were overshadowed by the Modoc War, which cost the U.S. more in men and money in proportion to the numbers of the enemy than it had ever faced before. Their final resistance was put down after agreeing to share a reservation with the Klamaths, their natural rivals. The Modoc chief Sconchin and Capatain Jack were also rivals and after the Klamaths pushed them out of the reservation, they flatly refused the Indian agent to return. Troopers tried to disarm the Indians and were killed, again attacking the Modoc fortress in 1873 with 1,000 soldiers and settlers, against 75 warriors and 150 women and children.
In a peace talk, Captain Jack shot General Canby, stripped him of his uniform and put it on and the policy of extermination was restored. Using a new invention of mortars, the Army cut the Indians off from the lake and 67 Modocs surrendered. Captain Jack and 5 others were sentenced to death, though President Grant ordered two to life imprisonment. This short war had cost 8 officers, 39 enlisted men, 34 civilians and 2 scouts, with 67 wounded. The Modocs had lost 5, and a few women and children, costing the government about $10,000 for 2,000 acres of land. Thus the Sioux now constituted the last major stronghold of native resistance.
The Northern Pacific Railroad advanced from the east and by 1873 had reached Bismark, North Dakota. Gold was found in the Black Hills of the Dakotas, which the Sioux had been given in a treaty of 1868 and considered to be sacred. In 1874 Custer explored the Black Hills (within the reservation belonging to the Sioux) with 1,200 men and 110 wagons, accompanied by scientists, newspaper reporters and gold seekers. The government sent negotiators in 1875 to lease the hills for $400,000 a year or buy the hills for $6,000,000. They attempted to hold council but were surrounded by 7,000 mounted circling warriors, escaping only by the Chiefs’ authority. The Sioux rejected the offer, some wanting $30,000,000 and others unwilling entirely. The failed negotiation led to white invaders laying out towns, organizing local governments and demanding government protection from the Indians. President Grant sent notification that all those Indians on “unceded” land come to the agencies by January 1st, 1876 or be driven off as “hostiles,” hoping to obtain the Powder River country as well as the Black Hills since it would be impossible to comply with the deadline. Many natives did not even receive the memo, yet the government now had its cause for war.
They faced 50,000 (15,000 warriors) armed with repeating rifles and plentiful ammunition, led by the Sioux military genius Crazy Horse and the Lakota mystic medicine man Sitting Bull. Crazy Horse was married to a Cheyenne woman and had their loyalties, while Sitting Bull was a true politician, a planner and organizer, successful in his dealings with influential men in Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. In the spring of 1876, the Sioux and Cheyenne camped at the Rosebud River in the Valley of the Little Bighorn, outraged and waiting for an incident to precipitate a conflict.
The War Department sent General Crook to put the Sioux down, giving him one of the largest forces sent against the Western Indians: 10 troops of cavalry and 2 infantry companies, with George Custer and Alfred H. Terry as field commanders. Crook took off from Fort Fetterman (Wyoming Territory) for the Powder and Big Horn Rivers, leaving behind 86 wagons and 400 pack mules. The force commander Colonel Reynolds found the village of Chief Two Moons under the bluffs of the Powder River, charging it after being seen by a herd boy who alerted the village. Reynolds ordered a quick retreat and the Indians gathered a mighty army on the headwaters of the Rosebud River, according to Crow scouts. A reinforced Crook rode again out of Fort Fetterman, with 1,200 men and a supply train. Sheridan had devised that two other columns would converge on the Sioux—while Crook marched north in to the Valley of the Rosebud, Colonel John Gibbon moved east (out of the Montana mountains) to make contact with General Alfred H. Terry, setting out from Fort Abraham Lincoln (Dakota Territory, up the Missouri River). It was this plan that later detailed how the columns would split up the Sioux and prevent them from aiding each other. Traveling over the Bozeman Trail and into the mountains, acquiring 176 Crow (who hated the Sioux) and 86 Shoshone (friends of the White man), Crook headed for Tongue River where he was greeted by an Indian courier who had a message from Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, saying if he crossed the river, the fault would be his.
The General dismissed the message and camped in Dead Canyon Valley, on the Rosebud, under 1,500 men from Sioux and Cheyenne tribes waiting on the bluffs, led by Crazy Horse. A battle began at morning, ending in a draw. Colonel Gibson and Major Terry (with the glory seeking Custer and his favorite Seventh Cavalry) arrived. A supply base had been established on the Yellowstone at the mouth of the Bighorn by a steamboat coming up from the Missouri, the two columns meeting as planned. The Army’s strategy was to keep anyone from escaping. Terry had 150 vehicles, 175 civilians, 3 horse-drawn Gatling guns, several Arickara scouts and Custer’s nephew, a newspaper correspondent whom Sheridan had forbidden to come. Custer was given written orders to circle the trail to find the Indian encampment, taking it from the headwaters of the Little Big Horn, while Terry would come at it from the other side, catching the Indians in the trap.
Little Big Horn
Crazy Horse had retreated back to Sitting Bull and the main body of Indians at the Little Big Horn, where the medicine man planned a defense to be carried out by Crazy Horse and Chief Gall. His own scouts had alerted him to Custer, who, seriously believing he could defeat the entire Sioux Nation with his one regiment (31 officers and 585 men, with several Indian scouts), came across the largest concentration of Indians assembled at one place within the U.S. (More than 10,000 Sioux and Cheyenne in 5+ great tribal circles with every tipi in its appointed place). Custer divided his regiment, sending Captain Benteen with 125 troopers to find the Indian village while he went down the river towards the encampment. He left 130 men to guard the packtrain and ammunition and ordered Major Reno, with 112 troopers and 29 scouts to meet with Benteen and strike near the head of the camp. He, with 225 men, rode parallel to the stream below and would come in for support.
With this 3-pronged assault of almost 600 men, Custer advanced, ignoring scout warnings of an overwhelming encampment of Indians who already knew of his presence. Custer immediately swerved his forces to where he thought the rear of the camp would be, while Reno charged the camp only to be mauled after failing to organize a rearguard. He retreated to a hill, saved by Benteen (who had found no Indians) and the advancing pack train, together fighting off the rest of the Chief Gall’s Indians. Crazy Horse had surrounded Custer with a group of mostly Cheyennes and was soon joined by Gall. Custer’s Last Stand had begun and within an hour, he and the 212 men he was leading were dead (the only survivor was a Captain’s horse, named “Comanche”).
Crazy Horse and Gall turned to demolish Reno’s men on the hill but were unable to break their defenses. The Indians withdrew, packed their tipis, and torched the prairie grass behind them. Terry and Gibbon arrived exactly on schedule, letting Benteen know Custer had been massacred, and the troop journeyed back to Fort Lincoln in despair. The battle led to a demand by the public (whose world fair was taking place in Philadelphia, celebrating 100 years of “Manifest Destiny”) for a scapegoat and the Indian Bureau’s shortsighted policies, the Army’s inept leadership, and Custer’s stupidity were all blamed. Every available source of men and materials were drawn together in pursuit of the Sioux from posts at the Canadian border all the way to Mexico.
Sitting Bull anticipated the result, evolving a plan to meet it. He did not risk another battle, assuming the numbers would surely be on the other side. Rather he split his army into several strong bands (imbued with messianic fervor) and spread them over a wide area. Colonel Merritt, riding from Fort Laramie to join Crook, intercepted and ambushed them in a trap (in which one of Merritt’s scouts killed Chief Yellow Hand in hand-to-hand combat) and the warriors fled. Merritt reached Crook, whose strength increased to 2,000. These combined forces with General Terry and the remainder of the 7th Cavalry to boost the number of men to 4,000. 150 were dispatched to strike a retreating Sioux village at dawn, leaving their food and supplies for the hungry army. Colonel Mackenzie attacked the village of one of Sitting Bull’s principle Chiefs, Dull Knife, and in the autumn of 1876, Sitting Bull and the Colonel confronted each other. The chief demanded the Colonel leave. Miles replied the chief must surrender and return to the reservation, giving him 15 minutes to prepare for war.
The Sioux lit a prairie fire and numbered the approaching army 3 to 1. Miles rode through the fire, found himself surrounded and formed a hollow square around the artillery. The shells broke the Indians and the army pursued them for 40 miles. 2,000 Sioux surrendered and Sitting Bull fled to Canada. Miles set off through the snow for Crazy Horse and was met by at least a thousand warriors. The Colonel led a frontal attack that killed Chief Big Crow and the Sioux line broke. At this, the Indian defense fell apart and the bands gave up. Crazy Horse surrendered but broke away and had to be recaptured. Realizing his freedom had ended, he pulled out a knife and in the ensuing scuffle “accidentally” stabbed himself with it. Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881.
Last Stands (Nez Perce, Bannocks, Apache—1873-1890)
While the Sioux wars were coming to a close, the Nez Perce, though never killing a white man or breaking a single promise, were told to move from its homeland (Wallowa Valley eastern Oregon) to the Lapwai Reservation in northwest Idaho. Chief Joseph protested and after showing that the Stevens Treaty of 1855 extended their boundaries to the Oregon land, President Grant signed an executive order opening the valley to settlers. After settlers, impatient to occupy the land, killed several Indians, a group of young men (without authorization) massacred a score of settlers and an otherwise peaceable Chief Joseph, 37 years old, was compelled to fight.
With only 300 men, the chief beat off a much superior army led by General Howard but after several successful skirmishes, realized he could not confront the Army for long. Between extermination and retreat, Joseph elected to leave for the Canadian wilderness, leading one of the most extraordinary retreats in military history. The Battle of Clearwater damaged the Nez Perce, who resumed the retreat and Howard sent ahead orders (through the newly created Telegraph) to cut Joseph off. The chief battled through the 50 regulars and 100 civilian volunteers, moving rapidly out of the Rockies to stop in Big Hole Basin, Montana for rest, not realizing Howard was telegraphing ahead again.
Colonel Gibbon received the message and arrived from Helena with 200 infantry, attacking Joseph who had posted no sentries, thinking he was safe. The chief’s camp was lost but the thickets provided cover for his deadly marksmen, sending 30 braves to capture camp, taking 2,000 rounds of ammunition with them. Outmaneuvering his pursuers through Yellowstone, the Nez Perce found themselves not far from the Canadian border doing battle with 350 troops. Joseph lost 29 men and 900 ponies before slipping behind them to head for Bear Paw Mountains, pausing at Snake Creek.
The Chief believed all of his pursuers were behind him and a column from Wyoming (under Colonel Miles) surprised them in an attack. Leaving the pony herd, the Indians moved to the adjacent ridges where they repulsed 115 men, killing 50. The warriors converted the position into a fort, holding out for 4 days before surrendering with a white flag, the chief speaking the famous words “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
The chief had traversed 2,000 miles, holding off 2,000 soldiers, killing 176 and wounding 140. In his own force, never exceeding 300 warriors, 151 were killed, with 89 wounded, though they had won 3 of the 5 battles while 1 had been a stalemate. The Nez Perce were taken to the reservation in Indian Territory, a part of the country they had never been to before. Many became sick and died and after Chief Joseph’s death, there became only several pockets of Indian resistance.
There were still 375,000 Indians under Army control and in one clerical error, the Bannock’s treaty was misfiled, prompting the Bureau to remove the tribe. Though it was a small war the Bannocks were encouraged by Chief Joseph and with the addition of several hundred Piutes, the chief Buffalo Horn thought he could contend. The daughter of a Piute Chief approached Captain Bernard, saying her people were being held hostage and the captain subdued the Bannocks in two heavy skirmishes. The tribe eventually returned to their reservation, losing 8 warriors. The cost to the United States had been 9 soldiers, 31 civilians and a half-million dollars. Another Bannock outbreak occurred in 1879 when they raided the valleys and after a skirmish, the cavalry came in to harass the Indians until they surrendered.
In Colorado, the discovery of silver and lead led to violent battles between miners and the attempted removal of the Indians. 400 Utes inflicted heavy casualties, lighting the sagebrush and attacking several pinned down forces. The siege ended with the arrival of reinforcements and the Utes were removed to another reservation, or sent to prison.
The Apaches meanwhile were dealing with the “Tucson Ring” composed of thieving contractors, dishonest Indian agents, whisky peddlers and gunrunners. Their Chief Victorio led the Army in a chase before being trapped by an American-Mexican expedition. The next Apache Chief was Nana, who led another chase of 1,000 miles (1882) before fleeing to Mexico where he allied with Geronimo. Fort Apache was sieged and General Crook (the chief representative of the Army, Indian Bureau, and Federal law) returned to Arizona Territory, removed the trespassing miners, squatters and ranchers, extinguished the corruption and returned the Apaches back to their crops and stock.
All was in order except 500 die-hard Apache who hated the white men, called the “Chiricahuas,” led by Geronimo, Chatto and Natchez. They were based in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico and came out to conduct raids across the border, trying to persuade other tribes to revolt. A treaty with Mexico enabled Crook to cross the border and in a short campaign, 285 Indians surrendered, effectively ending Geronimo’s resistance. The hunt for the feared Indian ended when Pancho Villa told a major general in command on the border where Geronimo and Naiche were and they surrendered on promise that the Apaches would not be separated from their families in 1886. This date is said to mark the end of the Indian Wars.
Wounded Knee and the Sioux “armed” Conflict (1890)
A solar eclipse followed Geronimo’s surrender on January 1, 1889, exciting superstitions and a medicine man/ prophet of the Nevada Piutes named Wavoka (a.k.a. Jack Wilson) announced that the Great Spirit had chosen him to lead the Indians out of bondage, prescribing the Ghost Dance to resurrect the fallen warriors and Buffalo in a revitalization dance:
THE MESSIAH LETTER
When you get home you must make a dance to continue five days. Dance four successive nights, and the last night keep up the dance until the morning of the fifth day, when all must bathe in the river and then disperse to their homes. You must all do in the same way.
I, Jack Wilson, love you all, and my heart is full of gladness for the gifts you have brought me. When you get home I shall give you a good cloud [rain?] which will make you feel good. I give you a good spirit and give you all good paint. I want you to come again in three months, some from each tribe there [the Indian Territory].
There will be a good deal of snow this year and some rain. In the fall there will be such a rain as I have never given you before.
Grandfather [a universal title of reverence among Indians and here meaning the messiah] says, when your friends die you must not cry. You must not hurt anybody or do harm to anyone. You must not fight. Do right always. It will give you satisfaction in life. This young man has a good father and mother. [Possibly this refers to Casper Edson, the young Arapaho who wrote down this message of Wovoka for the delegation].
Do not tell the white people about this. Jesus is now upon the earth. He appears like a cloud. The dead are still alive again. I do not know when they will be here; maybe this fall or in the spring. When the time comes there will be no more sickness and everyone will be young again.
Do not refuse to work for the whites and do not make any trouble with them until you leave them. When the earth shakes [at the coming of the new world] do not be afraid. It will not hurt you.
I want you to dance every six weeks. Make a feast at the dance and have food that everybody may eat. Then bathe in the water. That is all. You will receive good words again from me some time. Do not tell lies.
Sitting Bull, hearing about the Ghost Dance from Kicking Bear (who had come from the west by train), was skeptical but allowed anyone who wanted to learn the dance to do so. In the Lakota version, dancers wore special shirts they believed would protect them from the white man’s bullets. They formed a ring and danced around to the left in a sideways step, beating time and singing. The Chief had refused to have any contact with the Indian Agent James McLaughlin at Standing Rock Reservation, and now had 475 Ghost Dancers at his log cabin camp, forty miles from the agency. The Agent sent his police there who returned dazed, believing they had seen dancers “fall dead” and “come to life again” with ecstatic amounts of meetings with their dead relatives, all alive and happy and preparing to return to earth with vast herds of Buffalo.
Pine Ridge Agency sent word of Crazy Indians dancing in the snow to Washington on November 12, 1890 who responded by sending 5,000 troops under General Miles (including the 7th Cavalry). At Pine Ridge and Rosebud in South Dakota, the Ghostdancers feared attack and fled to a remote plateau surrounded by cliffs, called “The Stronghold” by nervous whites. After realizing the Chief was about to join the Ghostdancers and preparing to move his camp (probably to the Big Badlands far away from the reservation), the Agent, on orders from Washington, ordered 43 Lakota police to protect the peace at the Reservation by arresting Sitting Bull, with 2 cavalry troops nearby for support.
Police burst into the Chief’s house before dawn on December 15, 1890 , ordered him to his feet and pushed him outside, where his followers were starting to gather, vowing to protect their leader. 150 fanatic dancers surrounded the police and a shot went off, fatally wounding a policeman who in turn shot Sitting Bull. 4 police were killed with 1 wounded. The Ghostdancers lost 7 besides Sitting Bull and 2 others. The cavalry came in and subdued the fighters, with 250 heading to the agency to surrender. The rest, half naked, freezing and starving, fled to the Ghost Dance camps on other reservations, where the excitement mounted to a frenzy. Miles, in command of the Army, patiently contained it with 5,000 men, surrounding the Sioux area and sending in officers who knew the dancers to bring them to the agency. They complied and no one fired a shot.
Cheyenne River Reservation, the northern neighbor of Standing Rock, had the most distant Ghost Dance camp, with Big Foot and his 550 followers. 38 of Sitting Bull’s survivors appeared to them, sending them into anger and panic. 65, including 18 warriors headed to the Big Badlands while Big Foot and the others headed towards the Pine Ridge Agency, ready for peace and security. General Miles misinterpreted their movement and ordered the 7th Cavalry under Colonel Forsythe to intercept them. 18 miles away, Big Foot’s camp found themselves surrounded by soldiers and surrendered immediately. The Chief, too sick with pneumonia even to sit up, raised a white flag in peace. Forsythe transferred the Chief to an Army ambulance and marched the band towards the agency, stopping at a little creek called Wounded Knee for the night.
Instead of marching them to the agency where they would voluntarily give up their guns, Colonel Forsyth, with 8 troops (470) of the Seventh Cavalry, attempted to disarm them and bring them as prisoners. On December 29, he positioned troops all around the camp, aimed 3 Hotchkiss guns at the teepees, ordered 106 men and older boys to come out and form a semicircle around the camp, and sounded their bugles. The men squatted on the ground wearing Ghost Dance shirts under their blankets and several troopers searched the teepees for weapons, frightening the women and children. Reporters watched from the hilltop.
Their intrusion and arrogance outraged a medicine man named Yellow Bird, who began dancing, shouting that no bullets could harm the ghost dancers. At the same time, a deaf boy did not relinquish his rifle and 4 others jumped up, tossing off their blankets to brandish their own rifles. The soldiers fired with their carbines and pistols into them, killing 52, then rained explosive shells upon the women and children in the camp. Surviving warriors fought the soldiers hand to hand with knives and clubs, fleeing up a dry ravine to hide in the gullies. The enraged soldiers followed, killing women and children 3 miles from where the massacre originated. 6 hours later, 146-250 men, women and children were killed (including Big Foot), with 30 troopers dead and 34 wounded (bodies were buried 3 days later on January 1).
6,000 Sioux heard the gunfire and after news of the massacre, went wild with rage and sadness, taking off in different directions. They set the grass on fire, harassed the returning cavalry and circled the agency firing shots. The troopers suffered 25 deaths and 35 wounded. After reinforcements (the 9th all-Black Cavalry) arrived, Miles surrounded the remaining Sioux (perhaps 1,000 warriors) with 8,000 troopers, sending in messages with promises of food and peace.
The Army conducted an investigation, writing:
“There is nothing to conceal or apologize for in the Wounded Knee Battle…The firing was begun by the Indians and continued until they stopped…that women and children were casualties was unfortunate but unavoidable, and most must have been from Indian bullets...they brought on their own destruction…their attack was as treacherous as any in the history of Indian warfare, and that they were under a strange religious hallucination is only an explanation, not an excuse.”
Sporadic outbreaks ended abruptly after a month of Sioux resistance. Wavoka was aghast at the consequences of his religion and began singing songs of traveling the only trail available, the White Man’s Road. Outnumbered and hungry with their faith destroyed by the pierced Ghost Dance shirts, the remaining 4,000 Ghostdancers surrendered to General Miles on January 15, 1891.A great Sioux council was held at “Hostile Camp” on the Pine Ridge Reservation to formally end the Indian Wars.
In 1871, Congress passed a law terminating the negotiation of treaties with Indian tribes, the system they had used from their inception, making all agreements easier to ratify. Reservations were usually established by executive order thereafter, so it became convenient to consider Indian title inferior. The Dawes Act passed in 1887, dividing Tribal land into individual parcels and giving the 660,000 acre “surplus” to white settlers in the Territory of Oklahoma. This act reduced Indian Territory to the eastern half, retained by the Five Civilized Tribes in the Reconstruction treaties.
The Allotment began in 1887 on the reservation of the Sisseton and Wahpeton Sioux, with the Nez Perce allotment begun in 1889 (though Chief Joseph never took a plot of land for himself)—the remaining 500,000 acres of tribal land were declared surplus in 1895 – and homesteading by 1910 included 30,000 whites and 1,500 Nez Perce.
The Colville Reservation was established until 1891, when the northern half was needed for white settlement and finally opened up for mineral entry. The Navajo Reservation had been increased until oil was struck and the U.S. ruled the land belonged to the government (though Congress eventually stabilized the Indian claims). Settlers swamped the territory of the Five Civilized Tribes and in 1898 Congress passed the Curtis Act, authorizing the allotment of land, division of property, and the termination of tribal governments, while the Department of the Interior took over their schools and enlarged them into a public school system. The allotment included the Creeks in 1899 and the U.S. sold 3,500,000 acres of Choctaw-Chickasaw land, with the Utes leaving for South Dakota when their lands were taken too.
Out of 150 million Indian acres before the Dawes Act, 2/3 was gone after 20 years. By 1880s, America was urban and industrial. The dangerous profession of mining flourished, coming into territory to extract resources then leaving a wreck to find more. The Gold Rush in the1860s preceded a Silver rush in the 1870s. In 1881 copper led to the Electric age. In one town, fumes of ore killed all but 4 trees.
Ulysses S. Grant signed the General Mining law of 1872 (which operates most mining today), encouraging mining exploitation in the west, giving away huge amounts of American land at almost no price, with no restrictions on the way it would be developed, no reclamation, or monitoring of acids spilled in water. It gave away untold amounts of gold and silver to people, with no royalties to government and wrecked society for generations after. No Indian lived freely by 1890; reservations were broken up under the Dawes’ Act, congress slashed appropriations, rations were reduced, and deadly epidemics like measles, influenza, and whooping cough ravaged towns.
The last uprising included the Shoshones in 1911 at Humboldt Country, ending in another massacre when a band, led by the sheriff, slaughtered everyone in response to several stockmen being killed. Threats of revolt lasted until 1915 and Nevada’s land grab by politicians and speculators proved the blatant disregard of any rights the Indians might have held.
Intruders entered the Papago Reservation under pretense of mining claims, acquired the springs and water holes and controlled the range until almost 40 years later when Congress established Papago ownership. Arizona pioneers demanded all of the Indians’ territory though the outcry was ended in 1955 when Sen. Hayden and Goldwater, with Rep. Udall and Rhodes pushed legislation for the Papagos. The last reservation allotted was that of the Northern Cheyenne during 1930-1933.
The Indian Reorganization Act followed in 1934, prohibiting further allotment of land still held under tribal tenure, appropriated $2,000,000 for acquiring lands for Indians, authorized a $10,000,000 revolving loan fund for tribal and individual use, and exempted qualified Indians from civil service competition to positions under the Indian Bureau. Religious Freedom was granted, boarding school enrollment dropped from 22,000 to 14,000 and the all-around cultural survival of Indian was supported, however mildly.
From the mid-1940s to the mid 1960s the belief was that Native Americans would be better off assimilating. Congress proposed to end the special relationship between tribes and the Federal Government, granting Indians citizenship and terminating the recognition of tribal sovereignty, trusteeship of reservations, and exclusion of Indians from state law, thus becoming subject to state and federal taxes. Congress passed a law “terminating” Indian tribes, cutting off welfare and starving them: the Menominees in Wisconsin were first to be terminated in 1954, their reservation turned into a county. The State held them to fishing and hunting licenses, with the state supreme court upholding the regulations. The Klamath tribe in Oregon was terminated next, along with the 61 tribes in western Oregon and eventually the Rancherias in California, breaking up the lands for individual members.
From then onward, the many issues facing Native Americans can be read about in this course.
People of the Sun, Rage Against the Machine- (2003)
Yeah people come up
Yeah, we better turn tha bass up on this one
Since 1516 minds attacked and overseen
Now crawl amidst the ruins of this empty dream
With their borders and boots on top of us
Pullin' knobs on the floor of thier toxic metropolis
So how you gonna get what you need ta get?
Tha gut eaters, drenched get offensive like tet
When the fifth sun sets get back reclain
Tha spirit of Cuahtemoc alive an untamed
Now face tha funk now blastin' out ya
The vulture tried to steal your name but now you got a gun
Ya this is for the people of the sun
Its comin' back around again
This is for the people of the sun
Its comin' back around again
Its comin' back around again
This is for the people of the sun
Its comin' back around again
Ya never forget that the wipe snapped your back, ya spine cracked for tobacco, I'm the Marlboro man uh
Our past blastin' on through tha verses
Brigades of taxi cabs rolling broadway like hearses
Troops strippin' zoots, shots of red mist, sailors blood on tha deck
Come sista resist
Tha new era of terror, check this photo lens
Now the city of angles ethnic cleanse
Heads bobbin' to tha fuck out ya speaker, on tha one Maya, Mexica
That vulture came ta try an steal ya name but now you found a gun.
Ya history, this is for the people of the sun
Its comin' back around again
This is for tha people of tha sun
"The story of the long war between white men and red in the continental united States has been told piecemeal, for the most part, but in its totality it is a record of nearly 4 centuries of virtually constant warfare, roughly from 1500-1900. For the sake of convenience, we call this aspect by a collective title, the American Indian Wars. In reality, it was one great war. And to the hopelessly huddled and often starving survivors in the concentration camps we choose to call reservations, it is a war that has never ended."
-White and Red interact, almost immediately ending friendly relations.
-Extermination policies. Whites spreads to mainland.
-White spread encroaches upon Red territory, violent consequences.
-Red Internal Struggle weakens Red Forces (Beaver Wars). Reds consolidate power (Iroquois).
-White Internal Struggle weakens White Forces (French-Indian War). Whites consolidate power (English).
[Reds=Iroquois Confederation, Illinois Confederation, Algonquin Empire]
[Whites=English, Spain, French]
Red Revolution (Northwest, Pontiac); White Revolution (East, Colonists)
Two Forces collide: White Artillery prevails. Policies of Extermination.
-Red Power Shift (Miami and Wabash Rivers--Little Turtle).
-White Power Shift (United States--Washington)
-Battle Line drawn @ Ohio River
-White Victory, Treaty (Fort Greensville)
-Loss of Red Land (Ohio, much of Indiana).
Red Union (Tecumseh): 5,000 warriors
"It was his thesis that land was not owned by any single tribe but belonged to all of them in common, consequently it could not be sold or ceded unilaterally. He pointed to the Treaty of Greenville as a step in the proper direction, because the tribes had agreed there in concert to accept the government's guarantee of land to all of them."
White Union (Congress): 10,000 troops
Newly raised American Army
Battle: Red Leader dies, Resistance collapses, Red Power transferred to South
White Removal Policies. Red Power transferred to West.
Separation between White and Red (Mississippi River)
[Red Power= Southwest (Navajo, Yuma, Mojave, Apache)
Great Plains (Comanches, Kiowas, Arapahoes and Sioux)
Northwest (Nez Perces, Modocs, Shoshone]
[White Power= 4 Trading Routes to West (Louisiana Purchase) protected by Forts]
White Secession, Red Secession (alliances divide Unity in Civil War)
White absorbs and overruns Red Power Structures. Reservations established.
White whittles Red Power to virtual non-existence, ending in attempted extermination.
Red Consciousness adapts to White Power Structure. Creates spaces of safety.
Perpetual Barriers: Unification, Royal deceit/betrayal, Waves of reinforcements
Spanish Colonial Horse and the Plains: http://www.thefurtrapper.com/indian_horse.htm
Book of Mormon Correlations:
5th World Prophesy:
Debo, Angie. (1970) A History of the Indians of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press: OK
Nies, Judith (1996) Native American History. Ballantine Books: Canada
Tebbel, John. (1966) The Compact History of the Indian Wars Hawthorne Books: New York
Alexrod, Alan. (1993) Chronicle of the Indian Wars Prentice Hall Simon & Schuster: New York
The voice came on silent wings of wind
and it asked, “Who are you?”
I am the grandmother, tall and proud.
The path I was given to follow had been chosen from before.
“Why?” I asked of the voice,
“Could there not have been more?”
The wind was quiet, the voice was thinking
As it had thought before.
“More would have given you less than what you were meant to be.”
Quite simply then,
I am the Grandmother for all to see
And as the seasons change,
So my spirit will always be free!
Path To The Spirit—By Barbara Pray