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Indian Reservations

Indian Reservations


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An Indian reservation was an area of land reserved for Indian use. The first political leader to suggest this policy was Andrew Jackson. In the 1820s the Cherokees adopted a written constitution that proclaimed that the Cherokee nation had complete jurisdiction over its own territory. The state of Georgia responded by making it illegal for a Native American to bring a legal action against a white man.

The Seminole tribe had disputes with settlers in Florida. The Creeks were involved in several battles with the federal army in Alabama and Georgia. The Chickisaw and Choctaw tribes also had land disputes with emigrants who had settled in Mississippi.

Andrew Jackson argued that the solution to this problem was to move all these five tribes to Oklahoma. When Andrew Jackson gained power he encouraged Congress to pass the 1830 Indian Removal Act. He argued that the legislation would provide land for white invaders, improve security against foreign invaders and encourage the civilization of the Native Americans. In one speech he argued that the measure "will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the government and through the influences of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and christian community."

Jackson was re-elected with an overwhelming majority in 1832. He now pursued the policy of removing Native Americans from good farming land. He even refused to accept the decision of the Supreme Court to invalidate Georgia's plan to annex the territory of the Cherokee. This brought Jackson into conflict with Whig leaders such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.

The land given to the Native Americans in Oklahoma was known as the Indian Territory. The land was distributed in the following way: Choctaws (6,953,048 acres), Chickisaw (4,707,903 acres) and Cherokees (4,420,068). The tribes were also received money for their former lands: Cherokee ($2,716,979), Creek ($2,275,168), Seminole ($2,070,000), Chickisaw ($1,206,695) and Choctaw ($975,258). Some of these tribes used this money to buy land in Oklahoma and to support the building of schools.

In 1835 some leaders of the Cherokee tribe signed the Treaty of New Echota. This agreement ceded all rights to their traditional lands to the United States. In return the tribe was granted land in the Indian Territory. Although the majority of the Cherokees opposed this agreement they were forced to make the journey by General Winfield Scott and his soldiers. In October 1838 about 15,000 Cherokees began what was later to be known as the Trail of Tears. Most of the Cherokees travelled the 800 mile journey on foot. As a result of serious mistakes made by the Federal agents who guided them to their new land, they suffered from hunger and the cold weather and an estimated 4,000 people died on the journey.

Overall it is believed that about 70,000 Native Americans were forced to migrate from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida to Oklahoma. During the journey many died as a result of famine and disease.

The Federal government provided food and other supplies to the reservations and appointed an Indian Agent to live with the Native Americans. It was the job of the agent to teach them how to farm and to help protect them from unscrupulous traders.

On 27th January, 1861, Apaches stole cattle and kidnapped a boy from a Sonoita Valley ranch. Second Lieutenant George Bascom was sent out with 54 soldiers to recover the boy. Cochise met Bascom and told him that he would try to recover the boy. Bascom rejected the offer and instead tried to take Cochise hostage. When he tried to flee he was shot at by the soldiers. The wounded Cochise now gave orders for the execution of four white men being held in captivity. In retaliation six Apaches were hanged. Open warfare now broke out and during the next 60 days 150 white people were killed and five stage stations destroyed.

Mangas Coloradas and Cochise killed five people during an attack on a stage at Stein's Peak, New Mexico. In July, 1861 a war party murdered six white people travelling on a stage coach at Cooke's Canyon. The following year Cochise ambushed soldiers as they travelled through the Apache Pass. The Apaches also attacked stage coaches and in 1869 killed a Texas cowboy and stole 250 cattle. Cochise and his men were pursued but after a fight near Fort Bowie the soldiers were forced to retreat.

On 15th August, 1865, Kicking Bird signed a peace treaty with the American authorities at Wichita. He also took part in negotiations that resulted in the signing of the Medicine Lodge Treaty on 21st October, 1867. Under the terms of this treaty the Kiowa tribe moved to a reservation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Satanta negotiated several treaties with the American government including Little Arkansas (1865) and Medicine Lodge (1867). Satanta agreed that the Kiowas would live on a Indian Reservation. However, when they delayed their move Satanta was seized by General George A. Custer and held as a hostage until the migration took place.

In 1872 General Oliver Howard had a meeting with Cochise in the Dragoon Mountains and eventually it was agreed that a reservation would be established for the Chiricahuas in Arizona.

In December, 1875 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs directed all Sioux bands to enter reservations by the end of January 1876. Sitting Bull, now a medicine man and spiritual leader of his people, refused to leave his hunting grounds. Crazy Horse agreed and led his warriors north to join up with Sitting Bull.

In June 1876 Sitting Bull subjected himself to a sun dance. This ritual included fasting and self-torture. During the sun dance Sitting Bull saw a vision of a large number of white soldiers falling from the sky upside down. As a result of this vision he predicted that his people were about to enjoy a great victory.

On 17th June 1876, General George Crook and about 1,000 troops, supported by 300 Crow and Shoshone, fought against 1,500 members of the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes. The battle at Rosebud Creek lasted for over six hours. This was the first time that Native Americans had united together to fight in such large numbers.

General George A. Custer and 655 men were sent out to locate the villages of the Sioux and Cheyenne involved in the battle at Rosebud Creek. An encampment was discovered on the 25th June. It was estimated that it contained about 10,000 men, women and children. Custer assumed the numbers were much less than that and instead of waiting for the main army under General Alfred Terry to arrive, he decided to attack the encampment straight away.

Custer divided his men into three groups. Captain Frederick Benteen was ordered to explore a range of hills five miles from the village. Major Marcus Reno was to attack the encampment from the upper end whereas Custer decided to strike further downstream.

Reno soon discovered he was outnumbered and retreated to the river. He was later joined by Benteen and his men. Custer continued his attack but was easily defeated by about 4,000 warriors. At the battle of the Little Bighorn Custer and all his 264 men were killed. The soldiers under Reno and Benteen were also attacked and 47 of them were killed before they were rescued by the arrival of General Alfred Terry and his army.

The U.S. army now responded by increasing the number of the soldiers in the area. As a result Sitting Bull and his men fled to Canada, whereas Crazy Horse and his followers surrendered to General George Crook at the Red Cloud Agency in Nebraska. Crazy Horse was later killed while being held in custody at Fort Robinson.

In 1877 General Otis Howard instructed Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce tribe to move from their tribal lands in Oregon. Joseph eventually agreed to leave the Wallowa Valley and along with 350 followers settled in Whitebird Creek in Idaho. Around 190 young men rebelled against this decision and attacked white settlers in what became known as the Nez Perce War. Joseph's brother, Sousouquee, was killed during this fighting. Although he had no experience as a warrior, Joseph took part in the battles at White Bird Canyon (17th June), Clearwater (11th July) and at Bear Paw Mountain (30th September).

Chief Joseph and his men began a 1,300 mile march to Canada. However, on 5th October, 1877, the Nez Perce were surrounded by troops only 30 miles from the Canadian border. Joseph now agreed to take part in negotiations with General Nelson Miles. During the meeting Joseph was seized and beaten-up. Nez Perce warriors retaliated by capturing Lieutenant Lovell Jerome. A few weeks later Joseph was released in exchange for Lieutenant Jerome.

Chief Joseph continued to negotiate with General Miles. He also visited Washington where he met President William McKinley and President Theodore Roosevelt . Eventually some members of the Nez Perce tribe were allowed to return home but others were forced to live on the Colville Reservation. Joseph remained with them and did what he could to encourage his people to go to school and to discourage gambling and drunkenness.

The final resistance to white settlement in America was led by Geronimo, the leader of the Chiricahua Apaches in Arizona. In 1876 the American government ordered the Chiricahuas from their mountain homeland to the San Carlos Reservation. Geronimo refused to go and over the next few years he led a small band of warriors that raided settlements in Arizona. Geronimo also attacked American troops in the Whetstone Mountains, Arizona, on 9th January, 1877. This was followed by a rare defeat in the Leitendorf Mountains.

Geronimo was captured when entering the Ojo Caliente Reservation in New Mexico. Geronimo was eventually released and by April 1878 he was leading war parties in Mexico. The following year Geronimo surrendered and settled on the San Carlos Reservation.

In 1878 Nathan Meeker became the Indian agent of the White River Agency. He upset the Utes by trying to force them to become farmers. In September, 1879, Meeker called in the army to deal with the Utes. When he heard what was happening, Chief Douglas and a group of warriors killed Meeker and seven other members of the agency. This became known as the Meeker Massacre. The Utes also attacked Major Thomas Thornburgh and his troops heading for the White River Agency. In the fighting Thornburgh and nine of his men were killed. After the arrival of reinforcements the Utes were evicted from Colorado and placed on a reservation in Utah.

We give on our first page portraits of four of the Indian delegates from Nebraska. The delegation, consisting altogether of eight Indians, arrived in Washington on the evening of January 2, in company with Major J. A. Burbank, United States Indian Commissioner for the Great Nebraska Agency. There were five Indians of the Iowa tribe and three of the Sac and Fox tribe. Three of our portraits are of Iowas, namely: Lag-er-lash, or British, Too-hi, or Brier Rose, and Tar-a-kee, or Deer-ham, the two first being half-civilized, while Deer-ham represents the wild portion of the tribe. Pe-ti-o-ki-ma, or Hard-fish, is a wild representative of the Sacs and Foxes.

Many of the delegation are dressed in wild aboriginal costume. Some years ago one of them, Moless, was sent to Kentucky, and received a very liberal English education, which, however, he failed to improve upon his return to his native wilds, and consequently he derived but little benefit from it. George Gomez, the interpreter of the Sacs and Foxes, is a fearfully ugly old fellow, who, report among his people says, has had seventy-five or eighty wives.

The tribes represented by this delegation occupy fifty sections of land, are surrounded by whites, and are quiet and peaceable. The Iowas are the most thrifty; cultivate their lands, and carry on extensive dealings in wood. One of the delegation, Mah-hoe, or The Knife, has an extensive wood yard on the Missouri River, and Major Burbank thinks that, next to the Cherokees, they are the most civilized of the Indian tribes. They are also truly loyal to the Government of the United States, and during the late war the Iowas sent over one-half of their braves into the Union army. They served principally in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Kansas regiments, but many were scattered among Missouri and other border regiments.

The main object of the present visit is to have a "talk" with regard to a treaty made in 1861, and to have it renewed. When they sold their lands to the Government, they understood the agreement to be that they were to receive the purchase-money in hand. The United States hold the principal, however, and the Indians are regularly paid the interest.

But of course the enjoyment is partly the object of their visit, for an Indian considers it one of the greatest events of his life to visit Washington and see his "Great Father," and nothing gives him more pleasure, or makes him think himself, or be esteemed by others of his tribe, a great man, than when he can rehearse to a listening audience what he has seen and heard on his travels. They will also carry back with them new silver peace medals, a number of which are now being struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The medals for President Johnson are of full size. On the face is an excellent cast of the President, with the words, "Andrew Johnson, President of the United States." On the reverse is a pedestal bearing in a wreath of laurel leaves the word "Peace." In front of the pedestal two figures - an Indian and America - are clasping hands. At the feet of the Indian lie the pipe of peace and the tomahawk, and in the back-ground are a herd of buffaloes. In the back-ground, near America, are represented a train of cars passing over a bridge, and a binnacle wheel and an anchor lie at her feet. The medals are beautifully designed, and are about two inches and a half in diameter.

It is time to quit this Sunday-school policy, and let Sheridan recruit regiments of Western pioneer hunters and scouts, and exterminate every Indian who will not remain upon the reservations. The best use to make of an Indian who will not stay on a reservation is to kill him. It is time that the dawdling, maudlin peace-policy was abandoned. The Indian can never be subdued by Quakers, and it is certain that he will never by subdued by such madcap charges as that made by Custer.

Who shall be held responsible for this event so dark and sorrowful? The history of our dealings with these Indian tribes from the very beginning is a record of fraud, and perjury, and uninterrupted injustice. We have made treaties, binding ourselves to the most solemn promises in the name of God, intending at that very time to hold these treaties light as air whenever our convenience should require them to be broken.... We have driven them each year further from their original homes and hunting-grounds.... We have treated them as having absolutely no rights at all.... We have made beggars of them

In regard to the Bannocks, I was up there last spring, and found them in a desperate condition. I telegraphed, and the agent telegraphed for supplies, but word came that no appropriation had been made. They have never been half supplied.

The agent has sent them off for half a year to enable them to pick up something to live on, but there is nothing for them in that country. The buffalo is all gone, and an Indian can't catch enough jack rabbits to subsist himself and his family, and then, there aren't enough jack rabbits to catch. What are they to do?

Starvation is staring them in the face, and if they wait much longer, they will not be able to fight. They understand the situation, and fully appreciate what is before them.

The encroachments upon the Camas prairies was the cause of the trouble. These prairies are their last source of subsistence. They are covered with water from April till June or July, and there is a sort of root which grows in them, under water, which is very much like a sweet potato. A squaw can gather several bushels a day of them. Then they dig a hole and build a fire in it. After it is thoroughly heated, the roots are put in and baked, and when they are taken out they are very sweet and nice.

This root is their main source of food supply. I do not wonder, and you will not either that when these Indians see their wives and children starving, and their last source of supplies cut off, they go to war. And then we are sent out to kill them. It is an outrage.

All the tribes tell the same story. They are surrounded on all sides, the game is destroyed or driven away; they are left to starve, and there remains but one thing for them to do - fight while they can. Some people think the Indians do not understand these things, but they do, and fully appreciate the circumstances in which they are placed.

The use of ardent spirits amongst the Indians, and the attempts which have been made to civilize and christianize them by the white people, has constantly made them worse and worse; increased their vices, and robbed them of many of their virtues; and will ultimately produce their extermination. I have seen, in a number of instances, the effects of education upon some of our Indians, who were taken when young, from their families, and placed at school before they had had an opportunity to contract many Indian habits, and there kept till they arrived to manhood; but I have never seen one of those but what was an Indian in every respect after he returned. Indians must and will be Indians, in spite of all the means that can be used for their cultivation in the sciences and arts.

The Americans will never solve the Indian problem till the Indian is extinct. They have treated them after a fashion which has intensified their treachery and "devilry" as enemies, and as friends reduces them to a degraded pauperism, devoid of the very first elements of civilisation. The only difference between the savage and the civilised Indian is that the latter carries firearms and gets drunk on whisky. The Indian Agency has been a sink of fraud and corruption; it is said that barely thirty per cent of the allowance ever reaches those for whom it is voted; and the complaints of shoddy blankets, damaged flour, and worthless firearms are universal. "To get rid of the Injuns" is the phrase used everywhere. Even their "reservations" do not escape seizure practically; for if gold " breaks out" on them they are " rushed," and their possessors are either compelled to accept land farther west or are shot off and driven off.

The causes that led to the serious disturbance of the peace in the northwest last autumn and winter were so remarkable that an explanation of them is necessary in order to comprehend the seriousness of the situation. The Indians assuming the most threatening attitude of hostility were the Cheyennes and Sioux. Their condition my be stated as follows: For several years following their subjugation in 1877, 1878, and 1879 the most dangerous element of the Cheyennes and the Sioux were under military control. Many of them were disarmed and dismounted; their war ponies were sold and the proceeds returned to them in domestic stock, farming utensils, wagons, etc. Many of the Cheyennes, under the charge of military officers, were located on land in accordance with the laws of Congress, but after they were turned over to civil agents and the vase herds of buffalo and large game had been destroyed their supplies were insufficient, and they were forced to kill cattle belonging to white people to sustain life.

The fact that they had not received sufficient food is admitted by the agents and the officers of the government who have had opportunities of knowing. The majority of the Sioux were under the charge of civil agents, frequently changed and often inexperienced. Many of the tribes became rearmed and remounted. They claimed that the government had not fulfilled its treaties and had failed to make large enough appropriations for their support; that they had suffered for want of food, and the evidence of this is beyond question and sufficient to satisfy any unprejudiced intelligent mind. The statements of officers, inspectors, both of the military and the Interior departments, of agents, of missionaries, ad civilians familiar with their condition, leave no room for reasonable doubt that this was one of the principal causes. While statements may be made as to the amount of money that has been expended by the government to feed the different tribes, the manner of distributing those appropriations will furnish one reason for the deficit.

The unfortunate failure of the crops in the plains country during the years of 1889 and 1890 added to the distress and suffering of the Indians, and it was possible for them to raise but very little from the ground for self-support; in fact, white settlers have been most unfortunate, and their losses have been serious and universal throughout a large section of that country. They have struggled on from year to year; occasionally they would raise good crops, which they were compelled to sell at low prices, while in the season of drought their labor was almost entirely lost. So serious have been their misfortunes that thousands have left that country within the last few years, passing over the mountains to the Pacific slope or returning to the east of the Missouri or the Mississippi.

The Indians, however, could not migrate from one part of the United States to another; neither could they obtain employment as readily as white people, either upon or beyond the Indian reservations. They must remain in comparative idleness and accept the results of the drought-an insufficient supply of food. This created a feeling of discontent even among the loyal and well disposed and added to the feeling of hostility of the element opposed to every process of civilization.

The Indian is a child of ignorance, and not all innocence. It requires a certain kind of treatment to deal with and develop him. One requisite in those who would govern him rightly is absolute honesty - a strict keeping of faith toward him. The other requisite is authority to control him, and that the means to enforce that authority be vested in the same individual.

I have had twenty-six years' experience with the Indians, and I have been among tribes where I spoke their language. I have known the Indians intimately - known them in their private relations - I think I understand the Indian character pretty well. They talk about breaking up their tribal relations. The Interior Department have frequently issued letters, etc., looking to that. It might as well try to break up a band of sheep. Give these Indians little farms, survey them, let them put fences around them, let them have their own horses, cows, sheep, things that they can call their own, and it will do away with tribal Indians.

When once an Indian sees that his food is secure, he does not care what the chief or any one else says. The great mistake these people make is that they go to looking after the spiritual welfare of the Indians before securing their physical. Of course, that is a thing to come after awhile.

If you will investigate all the Indian troubles, you will find that there is something wrong of this nature at the bottom of all of them, something relating to the supplies, or else a tardy and broken faith on the part of the general government.

Prominent among the matters which challenge the attention of Congress at its present session is the management of our Indian affairs. While this question has been a cause of trouble and embarrassment from the infancy of the Government, it is but recently that any effort has been made for its solution at once serious, determined, consistent, and promising success.

It has been easier to resort to convenient makeshifts for tiding over temporary difficulties than to grapple with the great permanent problem, and accordingly the easier course has almost invariably been pursued.

It was natural, at a time when the national territory seemed almost illimitable and contained many millions of acres far outside the bounds of civilized settlements, that a policy should have been initiated which more than aught else has been the fruitful source of our Indian complications.

I refer, of course, to the policy of dealing with the various Indian tribes as separate nationalities, of relegating them by treaty stipulations to the occupancy of immense reservations in the West, and of encouraging them to live a savage life, undisturbed by any earnest and well-directed efforts to bring them under the influences of civilization.

The unsatisfactory results which have sprung from this policy are becoming apparent to all.

As the white settlements have crowded the borders of the reservations, the Indians, sometimes contentedly and sometimes against their will, have been transferred to other hunting grounds, from which they have again been dislodged whenever their new-found homes have been desired by the adventurous settlers.

These removals and the frontier collisions by which they have often been preceded have led to frequent and disastrous conflicts between the races.

It is profitless to discuss here which of them has been chiefly responsible for the disturbances whose recital occupies so large a space upon the pages of our history.

We have to deal with the appalling fact that though thousands of lives have been sacrificed and hundreds of millions of dollars expended in the attempt to solve the Indian problem, it has until within the past few years seemed scarcely nearer a solution than it was half a century ago. But the Government has of late been cautiously but steadily feeling its way to the adoption of a policy which has already produced gratifying results, and which, in my judgment, is likely, if Congress and the Executive accord in its support, to relieve us ere long from the difficulties which have hitherto beset us.

For the success of the efforts now making to introduce among the Indians the customs and pursuits of civilized life and gradually to absorb them into the mass of our citizens, sharing their rights and holden to their responsibilities, there is imperative need for legislative action.

My suggestions in that regard will be chiefly such as have been already called to the attention of Congress and have received to some extent its consideration.

First. I recommend the passage of an act making the laws of the various States and Territories applicable to the Indian reservations within their borders and extending the laws of the State of Arkansas to the portion of the Indian Territory not occupied by the Five Civilized Tribes.

The Indian should receive the protection of the law. He should be allowed to maintain in court his rights of person and property. He has repeatedly begged for this privilege. Its exercise would be very valuable to him in his progress toward civilization.

Second. Of even greater importance is a measure which has been frequently recommended by my predecessors in office, and in furtherance of which several bills have been from time to time introduced in both Houses of Congress. The enactment of a general law permitting the allotment in severalty, to such Indians, at least, as desire it, of a reasonable quantity of land secured to them by patent, and for their own protection made inalienable for twenty or twenty-five years, is demanded for their present welfare and their permanent advancement.

In return for such considerate action on the part of the Government, there is reason to believe that the Indians in large numbers would be persuaded to sever their tribal relations and to engage at once in agricultural pursuits. Many of them realize the fact that their hunting days are over and that it is now for their best interests to conform their manner of life to the new order of things. By no greater inducement than the assurance of permanent title to the soil can they be led to engage in the occupation of tilling it.

The well-attested reports of the their increasing interest in husbandry justify the hope and belief that the enactment of such a statute as I recommend would be at once attended with gratifying results. A resort to the allotment system would have a direct and powerful influence in dissolving the tribal bond, which is so prominent a feature of savage life, and which tends so strongly to perpetuate it.

Third. I advise a liberal appropriation for the support of Indian schools, because of my confident belief that such a course is consistent with the wisest economy.


History Of American Indian Reservation

American Indian reservation is basically an area of the land which is managed by the Native American tribe under the U.S. Department of Interior&rsquos Bureau of the Indian Affairs. There are a total of around three hundred and ten American-Indian reservations as far as the US is concerned. This basically means that not all of the country&rsquos recognized tribes, which is about 550, have a reservation. Some of the tribes have more than 1 reservation, while some share these reservations whereas on the other hand there are some who have none of these.

Just because the tribes possess the tribal sovereignty in spite of being limited, laws in the tribal lands are different from the surrounding areas. Different reservations have different kinds of governments and their systems which might or might not replicate the various kinds of government found outside these reservations. Most of the Indian reservations were actually created by the federal government, only a limited number, especially in the East, are known for owing their origin to the state recognition.

During the year 1851, the U.S. Congress passed Indian Appropriations Act that authorized the creation of reservations in present-day Oklahoma. Associations between natives and settlers had grown quite worse because the settlers impinged on the territory as well as the natural resources in West. By the late 1860s, the president pursued Peace Policy as one of the possible solutions to this conflict. Reservation treaties sometimes involved stipend agreements wherein the federal government would be granting a specific amount of goods to the tribes on annual basis.

Before the colonial period, there were indigenous peoples living in the United States of America. There are numerous different tribes, ethnic groups and states survived in that time. The term Native Americans has been considered as a dreadfully controversial to the Census Bureau of United States. People started calling themselves as Indians or rather American Indians. More..


40d. Life on the Reservations

After being forced off their native lands, many American Indians found life to be most difficult. Beginning in the first half of the 19th century, federal policy dictated that certain tribes be confined to fixed land plots to continue their traditional ways of life.

The problems with this approach were manifold. Besides the moral issue of depriving a people of life on their historic land, many economic issues plagued the reservation. Nomadic tribes lost their entire means of subsistence by being constricted to a defined area. Farmers found themselves with land unsuitable for agriculture. Many lacked the know-how to implement complex irrigation systems. Hostile tribes were often forced into the same proximity. The results were disastrous.

The Dawes Act

Faced with disease, alcoholism, and despair on the reservations , federal officials changed directions with the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887. Each Native American family was offered 160 acres of tribal land to own outright. Although the land could not be sold for 25 years, these new land owners could farm it for profit like other farmers in the West.

Congress hoped that this system would end the dependency of the tribes on the federal government, enable Indians to become individually prosperous, and assimilate the Indians into mainstream American life. After 25 years, participants would become American citizens.

The Dawes Act was widely resisted. Tribal leaders foretold the end of their ancient folkways and a further loss of communal land. When individuals did attempt this new way of life, they were often unsuccessful. Farming the West takes considerable expertise. Lacking this knowledge, many were still dependent upon the government for assistance.

Many 19th century Americans saw the Dawes Act as a way to "civilize" the Native Americans. Visiting missionaries attempted to convert the Indians to Christianity, although they found few new believers.

"Americanizing" the Indians

Land not allotted to individual landholders was sold to railroad companies and settlers from the East. The proceeds were used to set up schools to teach the reading and writing of English. Native American children were required to attend the established reservation school. Failure to attend would result in a visit by a truant officer who could enter the home accompanied by police to search for the absent student. Some parents felt resistance to "white man education" was a matter of honor.

In addition to disregarding tribal languages and religions, schools often forced the pupils to dress like eastern Americans. They were given shorter haircuts. Even the core of individual identity &mdash one's name &mdash was changed to " Americanize " the children. These practices often led to further tribal divisions. Each tribe had those who were friendly to American "assistance" and those who were hostile. Friends were turned into enemies.

The Dawes Act was an unmitigated disaster for tribal units. In 1900, land held by Native American tribes was half that of 1880. Land holdings continued to dwindle in the early 20th century. When the Dawes Act was repealed in 1934, alcoholism, poverty, illiteracy, and suicide rates were higher for Native Americans than any other ethnic group in the United States. As America grew to the status of a world power, the first Americans were reduced to hopelessness.


Migration to the Continent Edit

According to the most generally accepted theory of the settlement of the Americas, migrations of humans from Eurasia to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge which connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait. The number and composition of the migrations is still being debated. [1] Falling sea levels associated with an intensive period of Quaternary glaciation created the Bering land bridge that joined Siberia to Alaska about 60–25,000 years ago. [1] [2] The latest this migration could have taken place is 12,000 years ago the earliest remains undetermined. [3] [4] The archaeological periods used are the classifications of archaeological periods and cultures established in Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips' 1958 book Method and Theory in American Archaeology which divided the archaeological record in the Americas into five phases [5] see Archaeology of the Americas.

Paleo-India or Lithic stage Edit

The Paleo-Indian or Lithic stage lasted from the first arrival of people in the Americas until about 5000/3000 BCE (in North America). Three major migrations occurred, as traced by linguistic and genetic data the early Paleoamericans soon spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes. [6] [7] By 8000 BCE the North American climate was very similar to today's. [8] A study published in 2012 gives genetic backing to the 1986 theory put forward by linguist Joseph Greenberg that the Americas must have been populated in three waves, based on language differences. [9] [10]

The Clovis culture, a megafauna hunting culture, is primarily identified by use of fluted spear points. Artifacts from this culture were first excavated in 1932 near Clovis, New Mexico. The Clovis culture ranged over much of North America and also appeared in South America. The culture is identified by the distinctive Clovis point, a flaked flint spear-point with a notched flute, by which it was inserted into a shaft. Dating of Clovis materials has been by association with animal bones and by the use of carbon dating methods. Recent reexaminations of Clovis materials using improved carbon-dating methods produced results of 11,050 and 10,800 radiocarbon years BP (roughly 9100 to 8850 BCE).

Numerous Paleoindian cultures occupied North America, with some arrayed around the Great Plains and Great Lakes of the modern United States of America and Canada, as well as adjacent areas to the West and Southwest. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living on this continent since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories. Other tribes have stories that recount migrations across long tracts of land and a great river believed to be the Mississippi River. [11] Genetic and linguistic data connect the indigenous people of this continent with ancient northeast Asians. Archeological and linguistic data has enabled scholars to discover some of the migrations within the Americas.

The Folsom Tradition was characterized by the use of Folsom points as projectile tips and activities known from kill sites, where slaughter and butchering of bison took place. Folsom tools were left behind between 9000 BCE and 8000 BCE. [12]

Na-Dené-speaking peoples entered North America starting around 8000 BCE, reaching the Pacific Northwest by 5000 BCE, [13] and from there migrating along the Pacific Coast and into the interior. Linguists, anthropologists, and archeologists believe their ancestors constituted a separate migration into North America, later than the first Paleo-Indians. They migrated into Alaska and northern Canada, south along the Pacific Coast, into the interior of Canada, and south to the Great Plains and the American Southwest.

They were the earliest ancestors of the Athabascan-speaking peoples, including the present-day and historical Navajo and Apache. They constructed large multi-family dwellings in their villages, which were used seasonally. People did not live there year-round, but for the summer to hunt and fish, and to gather food supplies for the winter. [14]

Meso-Indian or Archaic stage Edit

The Archaic period lasted until about 1000 BCE. A major culture of the Archaic stage was the Mound builders, who stretched from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Since the 1990s, archeologists have explored and dated eleven Middle Archaic sites in present-day Louisiana and Florida at which early cultures built complexes with multiple earthwork mounds they were societies of hunter-gatherers rather than the settled agriculturalists believed necessary according to the theory of Neolithic Revolution to sustain such large villages over long periods. Native American cultures are not included in characterizations of advanced Stone Age cultures as "Neolithic," which is a category that more often includes only the cultures in Eurasia, Africa, and other regions.

The prime example is Watson Brake in northern Louisiana, whose 11-mound complex is dated to 3500 BCE, making it the oldest dated site in the Americas for such complex construction. It is nearly 2,000 years older than the Poverty Point site. Construction of the mounds went on for 500 years until was abandoned about 2800 BCE, probably due to changing environmental conditions. [15]

Poverty Point culture is a Late Archaic archaeological culture that inhabited the area of the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf Coast. The culture thrived from 2200 BCE to 700 BCE, during the Late Archaic period. [16] Evidence of this culture has been found at more than 100 sites, from the major complex at Poverty Point, Louisiana (a UNESCO World Heritage site) across a 100-mile (160 km) range to the Jaketown Site near Belzoni, Mississippi.

Poverty Point is a 1 square mile (2.6 km 2 ) complex of six major earthwork concentric rings, with additional platform mounds at the site. Artifacts show the people traded with other Native Americans located from Georgia to the Great Lakes region. This is one among numerous mound sites of complex indigenous cultures throughout the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. They were one of several succeeding cultures often referred to as mound builders.

The Oshara Tradition people lived from 5500 BCE to 600 CE. They were part of the Southwestern Archaic Tradition centered in north-central New Mexico, the San Juan Basin, the Rio Grande Valley, southern Colorado, and southeastern Utah.

Post-Archaic stage Edit

The Post-Archaic stage includes the Formative, Classic and Post-Classic stages in Willey and Phillipp's scheme. The Formative stage lasted from 1000 BCE until about 500 CE , the Classic from about 500 CE to 1200 CE , while the Post-Classic refers to 1200 CE until the present day. It also includes the Woodland period of North American pre-Columbian, whose culture refers to the time period from roughly 1000 BCE to 1000 CE in the eastern part of North America.

The term "Woodland" was coined in the 1930s and refers to prehistoric sites dated between the Archaic period and the Mississippian cultures. The Adena culture was a Native American culture that existed from 1000 BCE to 200 BCE, in a time known as the Early Woodland period. The Adena culture refers to what was probably a number of related Native American societies sharing a burial complex and ceremonial system.

The Hopewell tradition is the term for the common aspects of the Woodland period culture that flourished along rivers in the Eastern Woodlands from 200 BCE to 500 CE . [17] The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture or society, but a widely dispersed set of related populations, who were connected by a common network of trade routes, [18] known as the Hopewell Exchange System. At its greatest extent, the Hopewell exchange system ran from the Southeastern Woodlands into the northern shores of Lake Ontario. Within this area, societies participated in a high degree of exchange most activities was conducted along the waterways that served as their major transportation routes. The Hopewell exchange system traded materials from all over North America.

The Coles Creek culture was an indigenous development of the Lower Mississippi Valley that took place between the late Woodland period and the later Plaquemine culture period. The period is marked by the increased use of flat-topped platform mounds arranged around central plazas, more complex political institutions, and a subsistence strategy still grounded in the Eastern Agricultural Complex and hunting rather than on the maize plant as would happen in the succeeding Plaquemine Mississippian period. The culture was originally defined by the unique decoration on grog-tempered ceramic ware by James A. Ford after his investigations at the Mazique Archeological Site. He had studied both the Mazique and Coles Creek Sites, and almost went with the Mazique culture, but decided on the less historically involved sites name. It is ancestral to the Plaquemine culture.

The Mississippian culture which extended throughout the Ohio and Mississippi valleys and built sites throughout the Southeast created the largest earthworks in North America north of Mexico, most notably at Cahokia, on a tributary of the Mississippi River in present-day Illinois.

  • The ten-story Monks Mound at Cahokia has a larger perimeter than the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, and roughly the same as the Great Pyramid of Egypt. The 6 square miles (16 km 2 ) city complex was based on the culture's cosmology it included more than 100 mounds, positioned to support their sophisticated knowledge of astronomy, and built with knowledge of varying soil types. The society began building at this site about 950 CE, and reached its peak population in 1,250 CE of 20,000–30,000 people, which was not equalled by any city in the present-day United States until after 1800.
  • Cahokia was a major regional chiefdom, with trade and tributary chiefdoms located in a range of areas from bordering the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. [19] c. 1050–1400 CE, [20] is one of the largest settlements of the Mississippian culture, it was located at the southern tip of present-day U.S. state of Illinois. Kincaid Mounds has been notable for both its significant role in native North American prehistory and for the central role the site has played in the development of modern archaeological techniques. The site had at least 11 substructure platform mounds (ranking fifth for mound-culture pyramids). Artifacts from the settlement link its major habitation and the construction of the mounds to the Mississippian period, but it was also occupied earlier during the Woodland period. (9BR1) are a 54-acre (220,000 m 2 ) archaeological site in Bartow County, Georgia south of Cartersville, in the United States. Built and occupied in three phases, from 1000–1550 CE , the prehistoric site is on the north shore of the Etowah River.
  • The Mississippian culture developed the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, the name which archeologists have given to the regional stylistic similarity of artifacts, iconography, ceremonies and mythology. The rise of the complex culture was based on the people's adoption of maize agriculture, development of greater population densities, and chiefdom-level complex social organization from 1200 CE to 1650 CE . [21][22]
  • The Mississippian pottery are some of the finest and most widely spread ceramics north of Mexico. Cahokian pottery was espically fine, with smooth surfaces, very thin walls and distinctive tempering, slips and coloring. [23]

Monks Mound of Cahokia (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in summer. The concrete staircase follows the approximate course of the ancient wooden stairs.

An artistic recreation of The Kincaid Site from the prehistoric Mississippian culture as it may have looked at its peak 1050–1400 CE .

Engraved stone palette from Moundville, illustrating two horned rattlesnakes, perhaps referring to The Great Serpent of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex.

A human head effigy pot from the Nodena Site.

The Hohokam culture was centered along American Southwest. [24] The early Hohokam founded a series of small villages along the middle Gila River. They raised corn, squash, and beans. The communities were near good arable land, with dry farming common in the earlier years of this period. [24] They were known for their pottery, using the paddle-and-anvil technique. The Classical period of the culture saw the rise in architecture and ceramics. Buildings were grouped into walled compounds, as well as earthen platform mounds. Platform mounds were built along river as well as irrigation canal systems, suggesting these sites were administrative centers allocating water and coordinating canal labor. Polychrome pottery appeared, and inhumation burial replaced cremation. The trade included that of shells and other exotics. Social and climatic factors led to a decline and abandonment of the area after 1400 CE .

The Ancestral Puebloan culture covered present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. [25] It is believed that the Ancestral Puebloans developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture. They lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger clan type structures, grand pueblos, and cliff sited dwellings. The Ancestral Puebloans possessed a complex network that stretched across the Colorado Plateau linking hundreds of communities and population centers. The culture is perhaps best known for the stone and earth dwellings built along cliff walls, particularly during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras.

  • Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Taos Pueblo.
  • The best-preserved examples of the stone dwellings are in National Parks (US), examples being, Navajo National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an Ancient Pueblo belonging to a Native American tribe of Pueblo people, marking the cultural development in the region during the Pre-Columbian era.

The Iroquois League of Nations or "People of the Long House", based in present-day upstate and western New York, had a confederacy model from the mid-15th century. It has been suggested that their culture contributed to political thinking during the development of the later United States government. Their system of affiliation was a kind of federation, different from the strong, centralized European monarchies. [26] [27]

  • Long-distance trading did not prevent warfare and displacement among the indigenous peoples, and their oral histories tell of numerous migrations to the historic territories where Europeans encountered them. The Iroquois invaded and attacked tribes in the Ohio River area of present-day Kentucky and claimed the hunting grounds. Historians have placed these events as occurring as early as the 13th century, or in the 17th century Beaver Wars. [28]
  • Through warfare, the Iroquois drove several tribes to migrate west to what became known as their historically traditional lands west of the Mississippi River. Tribes originating in the Ohio Valley who moved west included the Osage, Kaw, Ponca and Omaha people. By the mid-17th century, they had resettled in their historical lands in present-day Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Osage warred with Caddo-speaking Native Americans, displacing them in turn by the mid-18th century and dominating their new historical territories. [28]

After 1492 European exploration and colonization of the Americas revolutionized how the Old and New Worlds perceived themselves. One of the first major contacts, in what would be called the American Deep South, occurred when the conquistador Juan Ponce de León landed in La Florida in April 1513. He was later followed by other Spanish explorers, such as Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528 and Hernando de Soto in 1539. The subsequent European colonists in North America often rationalized their expansion of empire with the assumption that they were saving a barbaric, pagan world by spreading Christian civilization. [29]

In the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the policy of Indian Reductions resulted in the forced conversions to Catholicism of the indigenous people in northern Nueva España. They had long-established spiritual and religious traditions and theological beliefs. What developed during the colonial years and since has been a syncretic Catholicism that absorbed and reflected indigenous beliefs the religion changed in New Spain.

Impact on native populations Edit

From the 16th through the 19th centuries, the population of Native Americans declined in the following ways: epidemic diseases brought from Europe violence and warfare [30] at the hands of European explorers and colonists, as well as between tribes displacement from their lands internal warfare, [31] enslavement and a high rate of intermarriage. [32] [33] Most mainstream scholars believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic disease was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American natives because of their lack of immunity to new diseases brought from Europe. [34] [35] [36] With the rapid declines of some populations and continuing rivalries among their nations, Native Americans sometimes re-organized to form new cultural groups, such as the Seminoles of Florida in the 19th century and the Mission Indians of Alta California. Some scholars characterize the treatment of Native Americans by the US as genocide or genocidal whilst others dispute this characterization. [30] [37] [38]

Estimating the number of Native Americans living in what is today the United States of America before the arrival of the European explorers and settlers has been the subject of much debate. While it is difficult to determine exactly how many Natives lived in North America before Columbus, [39] estimates range from a low of 2.1 million (Ubelaker 1976) to 7 million people (Russell Thornton) to a high of 18 million (Dobyns 1983). [38] A low estimate of around 1 million was first posited by the anthropologist James Mooney in the 1890s, by calculating population density of each culture area based on its carrying capacity. In 1965, the American anthropologist Henry F. Dobyns published studies estimating the original population to have been 10 to 12 million. By 1983, he increased his estimates to 18 million. [37] [40] [41] Historian David Henige criticized higher estimates such as those of Dobyns', writing that many population figures are the result of arbitrary formulas selectively applied to numbers from unreliable historical sources. [42] By 1800, the Native population of the present-day United States had declined to approximately 600,000, and only 250,000 Native Americans remained in the 1890s. [43]

Chicken pox and measles, endemic but rarely fatal among Europeans (long after being introduced from Asia), often proved deadly to Native Americans. Smallpox epidemics often immediately followed European exploration and sometimes destroyed entire village populations. While precise figures are difficult to determine, some historians estimate that at least 30% (and sometimes 50% to 70%) of some Native populations died after first contact due to Eurasian smallpox. [44] [45] One element of the Columbian exchange suggests explorers from the Christopher Columbus expedition contracted syphilis from indigenous peoples and carried it back to Europe, where it spread widely. [46] Other researchers believe that the disease existed in Europe and Asia before Columbus and his men returned from exposure to indigenous peoples of the Americas, but that they brought back a more virulent form.

In the 100 years following the arrival of the Spanish to the Americas, large disease epidemics depopulated large parts of the Eastern Woodlands in the 15th century. [47] In 1618–1619, smallpox killed 90% of the Native Americans in the area of the Massachusetts Bay. [48] Historians believe many Mohawk in present-day New York became infected after contact with children of Dutch traders in Albany in 1634. The disease swept through Mohawk villages, reaching the Onondaga at Lake Ontario by 1636, and the lands of the western Iroquois by 1679, as it was carried by Mohawk and other Native Americans who traveled the trading routes. [49] The high rate of fatalities caused breakdowns in Native American societies and disrupted generational exchange of culture.

After European explorers reached the West Coast in the 1770s, smallpox rapidly killed at least 30% of Northwest Coast Native Americans. For the next 80 to 100 years, smallpox and other diseases devastated native populations in the region. [51] Puget Sound area populations, once estimated as high as 37,000 people, were reduced to only 9,000 survivors by the time settlers arrived en masse in the mid-19th century. [52] The Spanish missions in California did not have a large effect on the overall population of Native Americans because the small number of missions was concentrated in a small area along the southern and central coast. The numbers of indigenes decreased more rapidly after California ceased to be a Spanish colony, especially during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th (see chart on the right).

Smallpox epidemics in 1780–1782 and 1837–1838 brought devastation and drastic depopulation among the Plains Indians. [53] [54] By 1832, the federal government established a smallpox vaccination program for Native Americans (The Indian Vaccination Act of 1832). It was the first federal program created to address a health problem of Native Americans. [55] [56]

Animal introductions Edit

With the meeting of two worlds, animals, insects, and plants were carried from one to the other, both deliberately and by chance, in what is called the Columbian Exchange. Sheep, pigs, horses, and cattle were all Old World animals that were introduced to contemporary Native Americans who never knew such animals. [57]

In the 16th century, Spaniards and other Europeans brought horses to Mexico. Some of the horses escaped and began to breed and increase their numbers in the wild. The early American horse had been game for the earliest humans on the continent. It was hunted to extinction about 7000 BCE, just after the end of the last glacial period. [ citation needed ] Native Americans benefited from the reintroduction of horses, as they adopted the use of the animals, they began to change their cultures in substantial ways, especially by extending their nomadic ranges for hunting.

The reintroduction of the horse to North America had a profound impact on Native American culture of the Great Plains. The tribes trained and used horses to ride and to carry packs or pull travois. The people fully incorporated the use of horses into their societies and expanded their territories. They used horses to carry goods for exchange with neighboring tribes, to hunt game, especially bison, and to conduct wars and horse raids.

The 16th century saw the first contacts between Native Americans in what was to become the United States and European explorers and settlers.

Southeast Edit

One of the first major contacts, in what would be called the American Deep South, occurred when the conquistador Juan Ponce de León landed in La Florida in April 1513. There he encountered the Timucuan and Ais peoples. [58] De León returned in 1521 in an attempt at colonization, but after fierce resistance from the Calusa people, the attempt was abandoned. He was later followed by other Spanish explorers, such as Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528 and Hernando de Soto in 1539.

Southwest Edit

In 1536 a group of four Spanish explorers and one enslaved black Moorish man, found themselves stranded on the coast of what is now Texas. [59] The group was led by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, and for a time they were held in semi captivity by the coastal natives. [60] The enslaved Moor, whose name was Esterban, later became a scout who had encounters with the Zunis. [60] Rumors of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold being located in the northern area of New Spain began to emerge amongst the Spaniards. And in 1540 Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, using the information gained by the scouting expeditions of Esterban and Fray Marcos, set out to conquer Cíbola. [59] Coronado and his band of over one thousand found no cities of gold. What the conquistadors did encounter was Hawikuh, a Zuni town. There the Zuni people, having never seen horses or a band of this size before, were frightened. Although Coronado had been explicitly instructed not to harm the natives, when the Zuni refused his insistence for food and supplies, Coronado ordered an attack on the town. [58]

Through the mid 17th century the Beaver Wars were fought over the fur trade between the Iroquois and the Hurons, the northern Algonquians, and their French allies. During the war the Iroquois destroyed several large tribal confederacies—including the Huron, Neutral, Erie, Susquehannock, and Shawnee, and became dominant in the region and enlarged their territory.

King Philip's War Edit

King Philip's War, also called Metacom's War or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies from 1675 to 1676. It continued in northern New England (primarily on the Maine frontier) even after King Philip was killed, until a treaty was signed at Casco Bay in April 1678. [ citation needed ] According to a combined estimate of loss of life in Schultz and Tougias' King Philip's War, The History and Legacy of America's Forgotten Conflict (based on sources from the Department of Defense, the Bureau of Census, and the work of Colonial historian Francis Jennings), 800 out of 52,000 English colonists of New England (1 out of every 65) and 3,000 out of 20,000 natives (3 out of every 20) lost their lives due to the war, which makes it proportionately one of the bloodiest and costliest in the history of America. [ citation needed ] More than half of New England's 90 towns were assaulted by Native American warriors. One in ten soldiers on both sides were wounded or killed. [61]

The war is named after the main leader of the Native American side, Metacomet (also known as Metacom or Pometacom) who was known to the English as King Philip. He was the last Massasoit (Great Leader) of the Pokanoket Tribe/Pokanoket Federation and Wampanoag Nation. Upon their loss to the Colonists, many managed to flee to the North to continue their fight against the British (Massachusetts Bay Colony) by joining with the Abenaki Tribes and Wabanaki Federation. [ citation needed ]

Between 1754 and 1763, many Native American tribes were involved in the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War. Those involved in the fur trade in the northern areas tended to ally with French forces against British colonial militias. Native Americans fought on both sides of the conflict. The greater number of tribes fought with the French in the hopes of checking British expansion. The British had made fewer allies, but it was joined by some tribes that wanted to prove assimilation and loyalty in support of treaties to preserve their territories. They were often disappointed when such treaties were later overturned. The tribes had their own purposes, using their alliances with the European powers to battle traditional Native enemies.

Native American influence Edit

Native American culture began to have an influence on European thought in this period. Some Europeans considered Native American societies to be representative of a golden age known to them only in folk history. [62] The political theorist Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote that the idea of freedom and democratic ideals was born in the Americas because "it was only in America" that Europeans from 1500 to 1776 knew of societies that were "truly free." [62]

Natural freedom is the only object of the policy of the [Native Americans] with this freedom do nature and climate rule alone amongst them . [Native Americans] maintain their freedom and find abundant nourishment. [and are] people who live without laws, without police, without religion.

In the 20th century, some writers have credited the Iroquois nations' political confederacy and democratic government as being influences for the development of the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution. [63] [64] In October 1988, the U.S. Congress passed Concurrent Resolution 331 to recognize the influence of the Iroquois Constitution upon the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. [65]

However, leading historians of the period note that historic evidence is lacking to support such an interpretation. Gordon Wood wrote, "The English colonists did not need the Indians to tell them about federalism or self-government. The New England Confederation was organized as early as 1643." [66] The historian Jack Rakove, a specialist in early American history, in 2005 noted that the voluminous documentation of the Constitutional proceedings "contain no significant reference to Iroquois." [66] Secondly, he notes: "All the key political concepts that were the stuff of American political discourse before the Revolution and after, had obvious European antecedents and referents: bicameralism, separation of powers, confederations, and the like." [66]

American Indians have played a central role in shaping the history of the nation, and they are deeply woven into the social fabric of much of American life. During the last three decades of the 20th century, scholars of ethnohistory, of the "new Indian history," and of Native American studies forcefully demonstrated that to understand American history and the American experience, one must include American Indians.

American Revolution Edit

During the American Revolution, the newly proclaimed United States competed with the British for the allegiance of Native American nations east of the Mississippi River. Most Native Americans who joined the struggle sided with the British, based both on their trading relationships and hopes that colonial defeat would result in a halt to further colonial expansion onto Native American land. Many native communities were divided over which side to support in the war and others wanted to remain neutral. Seeking out treaties with the Indigenous inhabitants soon became a very pressing matter. It was during the American Revolution that the newly forming United States would sign its first treaty as a nation with the Indigenous inhabitants. In a bid to gain ground near the British stronghold of Detroit the Continental Congress reached out to the Leni Lenape, also known as the Delawares, to form an alliance. Understanding a treaty would be the best way to secure this alliance, in 1778 The Treaty with The Delawares was signed by representatives from the Congress and the Lenape. [68] For the Iroquois Confederacy, based in New York, the American Revolution resulted in civil war. The only Iroquois tribes to ally with the colonials were the Oneida and Tuscarora.

Frontier warfare during the American Revolution was particularly brutal, and numerous atrocities were committed by settlers. Noncombatants suffered greatly during the war. Military expeditions on each side destroyed villages and food supplies to reduce the ability of people to fight, as in frequent raids by both sides in the Mohawk Valley and western New York. [69] The largest of these expeditions was the Sullivan Expedition of 1779, in which American colonial troops destroyed more than 40 Iroquois villages to neutralize Iroquois raids in upstate New York. The expedition failed to have the desired effect: Native American activity became even more determined.

The British made peace with the Americans in the Treaty of Paris (1783), through which they ceded vast Native American territories to the United States without informing or consulting with the Native Americans. Within the Peace Treaty of Paris of 1783, no mention of Indigenous peoples or their rights were made. [70] The United States initially treated the Native Americans who had fought as allies with the British as a conquered people who had lost their lands. Although most members of the Iroquois tribes went to Canada with the Loyalists, others tried to stay in New York and western territories to maintain their lands. The state of New York made a separate treaty with Iroquois nations and put up for sale 5,000,000 acres (20,000 km 2 ) of land that had previously been their territories. The state established small reservations in western New York for the remnant peoples.

The Indians presented a reverse image of European civilization which helped America establish a national identity that was neither savage nor civilized.

After the formation of the United States Edit

The United States was eager to expand, to develop farming and settlements in new areas, and to satisfy land hunger of settlers from New England and new immigrants. The belief and inaccurate presumption was that the land was not settled and existed in a state of nature and therefore was free to be settled by citizens of the newly formed United States. [72] In the years after the American Revolution, the newly formed nation set about acquiring lands in the Northwest Territory through a multitude of treaties with Native nations. The coercive tactics used to obtain these treaties often left the Native Nations with the option to sell the land or face war. [58] The states and settlers were frequently at odds with this policy. [73] Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, which was conceived to allow for the United States to sell lands inhabited by the Native nations to settlers willing to move into that area. [60]

During this time, what came to be called The Northwest Indian War also began, led by the Native nations of the Ohio country trying to repulse American settlers and halt the seizure of land by the Continental Congress. Leaders such as Little Turtle and Blue Jacket lead the allied tribes of the Miamis and Shawnees, [75] who were among the tribes that had been disregarded during the signing of the Peace Treaty of Paris. [76]

European nations sent Native Americans (sometimes against their will) to the Old World as objects of curiosity. They often entertained royalty and were sometimes prey to commercial purposes. Christianization of Native Americans was a charted purpose for some European colonies.

Whereas it hath at this time become peculiarly necessary to warn the citizens of the United States against a violation of the treaties. I do by these presents require, all officers of the United States, as well civil as military, and all other citizens and inhabitants thereof, to govern themselves according to the treaties and act aforesaid, as they will answer the contrary at their peril.

United States policy toward Native Americans had continued to evolve after the American Revolution. George Washington and Henry Knox believed that Native Americans were equals but that their society was inferior. Washington formulated a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process. [78] Washington had a six-point plan for civilization which included:

  1. impartial justice toward Native Americans
  2. regulated buying of Native American lands
  3. promotion of commerce
  4. promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Native American society
  5. presidential authority to give presents
  6. punishing those who violated Native American rights. [79]

Robert Remini, a historian, wrote that "once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans." [80] The United States appointed agents, like Benjamin Hawkins, to live among the Native Americans and to teach them how to live like whites. [81]

How different would be the sensation of a philosophic mind to reflect that instead of exterminating a part of the human race by our modes of population that we had persevered through all difficulties and at last had imparted our Knowledge of cultivating and the arts, to the Aboriginals of the Country by which the source of future life and happiness had been preserved and extended. But it has been conceived to be impracticable to civilize the Indians of North America — This opinion is probably more convenient than just.

In the late 18th century, reformers starting with Washington and Knox, [82] supported educating native children and adults, in efforts to "civilize" or otherwise assimilate Native Americans to the larger society (as opposed to relegating them to reservations). The Civilization Fund Act of 1819 promoted this civilization policy by providing funding to societies (mostly religious) who worked on Native American improvement.

I rejoice, brothers, to hear you propose to become cultivators of the earth for the maintenance of your families. Be assured you will support them better and with less labor, by raising stock and bread, and by spinning and weaving clothes, than by hunting. A little land cultivated, and a little labor, will procure more provisions than the most successful hunt and a woman will clothe more by spinning and weaving, than a man by hunting. Compared with you, we are but as of yesterday in this land. Yet see how much more we have multiplied by industry, and the exercise of that reason which you possess in common with us. Follow then our example, brethren, and we will aid you with great pleasure.

The end of the 18th century also saw the revival of spirituality among the Iroquois society and other nations of the eastern seaboard. After years of war and uncertainty, despair and demoralization led some within these communities to turn to alcohol. [58] In 1799, the Seneca warrior Handsome Lake, who suffered from depression and alcoholism himself, received a spiritual vision. [84] This vision led Handsome Lake to travel among the Seneca as a religious prophet. He preached about a revival of the traditional ceremonies of the Haudenosaunee nations and a renouncement of drinking. [84] This movement, which also carried some elements of Christianity, came to be known as Gaiwiio, or Good Word. [85]

Resistance Edit

As American expansion continued, Native Americans resisted settlers' encroachment in several regions of the new nation (and in unorganized territories), from the Northwest to the Southeast, and then in the West, as settlers encountered the tribes of the Great Plains.

East of the Mississippi River, an intertribal army led by Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief and noted orator, [84] fought a number of engagements in the Northwest during the period 1811–12, known as Tecumseh's War. In the latter stages, Tecumseh's group allied with the British forces in the War of 1812 and was instrumental in the conquest of Detroit. Conflicts in the Southeast include the Creek War and Seminole Wars, both before and after the Indian Removals of most members of the Five Civilized Tribes beginning in the 1830s under President Andrew Jackson's policies.

Native American nations on the plains in the west engaged in armed conflicts with the United States throughout the 19th century, through what were called generally "Indian Wars." The Battle of Little Bighorn (1876) was one of the greatest Native American victories. Defeats included the Sioux Uprising of 1862, [87] the Sand Creek Massacre (1864) and Wounded Knee in 1890. [88] Indian Wars continued into the early 20th century.

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census (1894),

"The Indian wars under the government of the United States have been more than 40 in number. They have cost the lives of about 19,000 white men, women and children, including those killed in individual combats, and the lives of about 30,000 Indians. The actual number of killed and wounded Indians must be very much higher than the given. Fifty percent additional would be a safe estimate. " [89]

American expansion Edit

In July 1845, the New York newspaper editor John L. O’Sullivan coined the phrase, "Manifest Destiny," as the "design of Providence" supporting the territorial expansion of the United States. [90] Manifest Destiny had serious consequences for Native Americans, since continental expansion for the United States took place at the cost of their occupied land. Manifest Destiny was a justification for expansion and westward movement, or, in some interpretations, an ideology or doctrine that helped to promote the progress of civilization. Advocates of Manifest Destiny believed that expansion was not only good, but that it was obvious and certain. The term was first used primarily by Jacksonian Democrats in the 1840s to promote the annexation of much of what is now the Western United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cession).

What a prodigious growth this English race, especially the American branch of it, is having! How soon will it subdue and occupy all the wild parts of this continent and of the islands adjacent. No prophecy, however seemingly extravagant, as to future achievements in this way [is] likely to equal the reality.

In 1851, delegates from the federal government and upwards of ten thousand Indigenous peoples, consisting of various Plains tribes including the Sioux, Cheyenne and Crow among many others, assembled. They gathered for the purpose of signing the Treaty of Fort Laramie which would set the definitive boundaries of the tribal territories, and tribes were to agree to leave travelers through the territory unharmed. [92] In 1853 members of the tribes from the southern Plains such as the Comanches, Kiowas, and Kiowa Apaches signed treaties similar to the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. [92]

In the years following the 1851 treaty, tracks were laid for the Union Pacific Railroad and gold was discovered in Montana and Colorado. [93] These factors amongst others led to increased traffic through tribal land which in turn disrupted the game animals that were necessary for the Plains’ nations survival. [58] Conflicts between the U.S. Army, settlers and Native Americans continued, however in 1864 after the massacre of a Cheyenne village along the banks of Sand Cheek, war between the U.S and the tribes of the Great Plains was inevitable. [94]

After a decade of wars between the U.S and the tribes of the Great Plains, including Red Cloud's War in 1866, the federal government again called for a treaty. In 1868 the Peace Treaty of Fort Laramie was signed, with one of the terms of the treaty being that the Sioux would settle on the Black hills Reservation in Dakota Territory. [58]

In 1874 gold was discovered within the Black Hills, land which is to this day most sacred to the Sioux. The Black Hills were at this time also the center of the Sioux Nation, the federal government offered six million dollars for the land, however Sioux leaders refused to sell. (In the Hands) By 1877 the Black Hills were confiscated, and the land that had once been the Sioux Nation was further divided into six smaller reservations. [95]

The age of Manifest Destiny, which came to be associated with extinguishing American Indian territorial claims and moving them to reservations, gained ground as the United States population explored and settled west of the Mississippi River. Although Indian Removal from the Southeast had been proposed by some as a humanitarian measure to ensure their survival away from Americans, conflicts of the 19th century led some European-Americans to regard the natives as "savages".

The period of the Gold Rush was marked by the California Genocide. Under US sovereignty, the indigenous population plunged from approximately 150,000 in 1848 to 30,000 in 1870 and reached its nadir of 16,000 in 1900. Thousands of California Native Americans, including women and children, are documented to have been killed by non-Native Americans in this period. The dispossession and murder of California Native Americans was aided by institutions of the state of California, which encouraged indigenous peoples to be killed with impunity. [96] [97]

Civil War Edit

Many Native Americans served in the military during the Civil War, on both sides. [99] By fighting with the whites, Native Americans hoped to gain favor with the prevailing government by supporting the war effort. [99] [100]

General Ely S. Parker, a member of the Seneca tribe, transcribed the terms of the articles of surrender which General Robert E. Lee signed at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Gen. Parker, who served as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's military secretary and was a trained attorney, was once rejected for Union military service because of his race. At Appomattox, Lee is said to have remarked to Parker, "I am glad to see one real American here," to which Parker replied, "We are all Americans." [99] General Stand Watie, a leader of the Cherokee Nation and Confederate Indian cavalry commander, was the last Confederate General to surrender his troops. [101]

Removals and reservations Edit

In the 19th century, the incessant westward expansion of the United States incrementally compelled large numbers of Native Americans to resettle further west, often by force, almost always reluctantly. Native Americans believed this forced relocation illegal, given the Hopewell Treaty of 1785. Under President Andrew Jackson, United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the President to conduct treaties to exchange Native American land east of the Mississippi River for lands west of the river.

As many as 100,000 Native Americans relocated to the West as a result of this Indian Removal policy. In theory, relocation was supposed to be voluntary and many Native Americans did remain in the East. In practice, great pressure was put on Native American leaders to sign removal treaties.

The most egregious violation of the stated intention of the removal policy took place under the Treaty of New Echota, which was signed by a dissident faction of Cherokees but not the principal chief. The following year, the Cherokee conceded to removal, but Georgia included their land in a lottery for European-American settlement before that. President Jackson used the military to gather and transport the Cherokee to the west, whose timing and lack of adequate supplies led to the deaths of an estimated 4,000 Cherokees on the Trail of Tears. About 17,000 Cherokees, along with approximately 2,000 enslaved blacks held by Cherokees, were taken by force migration to Indian Territory. [102]

Tribes were generally located to reservations where they could more easily be separated from traditional life and pushed into European-American society. Some southern states additionally enacted laws in the 19th century forbidding non-Native American settlement on Native American lands, with the intention to prevent sympathetic white missionaries from aiding the scattered Native American resistance. [103]

Native Americans and U.S. citizenship Edit

In 1817, the Cherokee became the first Native Americans recognized as U.S. citizens. Under Article 8 of the 1817 Cherokee treaty, "Upwards of 300 Cherokees (Heads of Families) in the honest simplicity of their souls, made an election to become American citizens." [104] [105] The next earliest recorded date of Native Americans' becoming U.S. citizens was in 1831, when some Mississippi Choctaw became citizens after the United States Congress ratified the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. [106] [107] [108] [109]

Article 22 sought to put a Choctaw representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. [106] Under article XIV of that treaty, any Choctaw who elected not to move with the Choctaw Nation could become an American citizen when he registered and if he stayed on designated lands for five years after treaty ratification. Through the years, Native Americans became U.S. citizens by:

1. Treaty provision (as with the Cherokee)
2. Registration and land allotment under the Dawes Act of February 8, 1887
3. Issuance of Patent in Fee simple
4. Adopting Habits of Civilized Life
5. Minor Children
6. Citizenship by Birth
7. Becoming Soldiers and Sailors in the U.S. Armed Forces
8. Marriage to a U.S. citizen
9. Special Act of Congress.

In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney expressed the opinion of the court that since Native Americans were "free and independent people," they could become U.S. citizens. [110] [111] Taney asserted that Native Americans could be naturalized and join the "political community" of the United States. [111]

[Native Americans], without doubt, like the subjects of any other foreign Government, be naturalized by the authority of Congress, and become citizens of a State, and of the United States and if an individual should leave his nation or tribe, and take up his abode among the white population, he would be entitled to all the rights and privileges which would belong to an emigrant from any other foreign people.

After the American Civil War, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 states, "that all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States". [112] This was affirmed by the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. But the concept of Native Americans as U.S. citizens fell out of favor among politicians at the time. Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan commented, “I am not yet prepared to pass a sweeping act of naturalization by which all the Indian savages, wild or tame, belonging to a tribal relation, are to become my fellow-citizens and go to the polls and vote with me". (Congressional Globe, 1866, 2895) [113] In a Senate floor debate regarding the Fourteenth Amendment, James Rood Doolittle of Wisconsin stated, " . all those wild Indians to be citizens of the United States, the Great Republic of the world, whose citizenship should be a title as proud as that of king, and whose danger is that you may degrade that citizenship (Congressional Globe, 1866, 2892)." [113]

Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 Edit

In 1871 Congress added a rider to the Indian Appropriations Act ending United States recognition of additional Native American tribes or independent nations, and prohibiting additional treaties.

That hereafter no Indian nation or tribe within the territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation, tribe, or power with whom the United States may contract by treaty: Provided, further, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to invalidate or impair the obligation of any treaty heretofore lawfully made and ratified with any such Indian nation or tribe.

Education and boarding schools Edit

After the Indian wars in the late 19th century, the United States established Native American boarding schools, initially run primarily by or affiliated with Christian missionaries. [115] At this time American society thought that Native American children needed to be acculturated to the general society. The boarding school experience often proved traumatic to Native American children, who were forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity and denied the right to practice their native religions, and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Native American identities [116] and adopt European-American culture.

Since the late 20th century, investigations have documented cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse occurring at such schools. [117] [118] While problems were documented as early as the 1920s, some of the schools continued into the 1960s. Since the rise of self-determination for Native Americans, they have generally emphasized education of their children at schools near where they live. In addition, many federally recognized tribes have taken over operations of such schools and added programs of language retention and revival to strengthen their cultures. Beginning in the 1970s, tribes have also founded colleges at their reservations, controlled and operated by Native Americans, to educate their young for jobs as well as to pass on their cultures.

On August 29, 1911 Ishi, generally considered to have been the last Native American to live most of his life without contact with European-American culture, was discovered near Oroville, California after a forest fire drove him from nearby mountains. He was the last of his tribe, the rest having been massacred by a party of White "Indian fighters" in 1865 when he was a boy. After being jailed in protective custody, Ishi was released to anthropologists led by Alfred L. Kroeber at the University of California. They studied his Southern Yahi language and culture, and provided him a home until his death from tuberculosis five years later. [119] [120] [121]

On June 2, 1924 U.S. Republican President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, which made citizens of the United States of all Native Americans born in the United States and its territories and who were not already citizens. Prior to passage of the act, nearly two-thirds of Native Americans were already U.S. citizens. [122]

American Indians today have all the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, can vote in elections, and run for political office. There has been controversy over how much the federal government has jurisdiction over tribal affairs, sovereignty, and cultural practices. [123]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all noncitizen Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided, That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Native American to tribal or other property.

World War II Edit

Some 44,000 Native Americans served in the United States military during World War II: at the time, one-third of all able-bodied Indian men from 18 to 50 years of age. [124] The entry of young men into the United States military during World War II has been described as the first large-scale exodus of indigenous peoples from the reservations. It involved more people than any migration since the removals from areas east of the Mississippi River of the early 19th century.

The men's service with the US military in the international conflict was a turning point in Native American history. The overwhelming majority of Native Americans welcomed the opportunity to serve they had a voluntary enlistment rate that was 40% higher than those who were drafted. War Department officials said that if the entire population had enlisted in the same proportion as the Native Americans, the response would have rendered the draft unnecessary. [125]

Their fellow soldiers often held them in high esteem, in part since the legend of the tough Native American warrior had become a part of the fabric of American historical legend. White servicemen sometimes showed a lighthearted respect toward Native American comrades by calling them "chief". Native American cultures were profoundly changed after their young men returned home, because of their wide contact with the world outside of the reservation system. "The war", said the U.S. Indian Commissioner in 1945, "caused the greatest disruption of Native life since the beginning of the reservation era", affecting the habits, views, and economic well-being of tribal members. [126]

The most significant of these changes was the opportunity—as a result of wartime labor shortages—to find well-paying work in cities. After the war many Native Americans relocated to urban areas, particularly on the West Coast with the buildup of the defense industry. In the 1950s the federal government had a relocation policy encouraging them to do so because of economic opportunity in cities. But Native Americans struggled with discrimination and the great cultural changes in leaving their reservations behind.

There were also losses as a result of the war. For instance, a total of 1,200 Pueblo men served in World War II only about half came home alive. In addition many more Navajo served as Code talkers for the military in the Pacific. The code they made, although cryptologically very simple, was never cracked by the Japanese.

Self-determination Edit

Military service and urban residency contributed to the rise of American Indian activism, particularly after the 1960s and the occupation of Alcatraz Island (1969–1971) by a student Indian group from San Francisco. In the same period, the American Indian Movement (AIM) was founded in Minneapolis, and chapters were established throughout the country, where American Indians combined spiritual and political activism. Political protests gained national media attention and the sympathy of the American public.

Through the mid-1970s, conflicts between governments and Native Americans occasionally erupted into violence. A notable late 20th-century event was the Wounded Knee incident on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Upset with tribal government and the failures of the federal government to enforce treaty rights, about 300 Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement (AIM) activists took control of Wounded Knee on February 27, 1973. [127]

Indian activists from around the country joined them at Pine Ridge, and the occupation became a symbol of rising American Indian identity and power. Federal law enforcement officials and the national guard cordoned off the town, and the two sides had a standoff for 71 days. During much gunfire, one United States Marshal was wounded and paralyzed. In late April a Cherokee and local Lakota man were killed by gunfire the Lakota elders ended the occupation to ensure no more lives were lost. [127]

In June 1975, two FBI agents seeking to make an armed robbery arrest at Pine Ridge Reservation were wounded in a firefight, and killed at close range. The AIM activist Leonard Peltier was sentenced in 1976 to two consecutive terms of life in prison in the FBI deaths. [128]

In 1968 the government enacted the Indian Civil Rights Act. This gave tribal members most of the protections against abuses by tribal governments that the Bill of Rights accords to all U.S. citizens with respect to the federal government. [129] In 1975 the U.S. government passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, marking the culmination of 15 years of policy changes. It resulted from American Indian activism, the Civil Rights Movement, and community development aspects of President Lyndon Johnson's social programs of the 1960s. The Act recognized the right and need of Native Americans for self-determination. It marked the U.S. government's turn away from the 1950s policy of termination of the relationship between tribes and the government. The U.S. government encouraged Native Americans' efforts at self-government and determining their futures. Tribes have developed organizations to administer their own social, welfare and housing programs, for instance. Tribal self-determination has created tension with respect to the federal government's historic trust obligation to care for Indians, however, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has never lived up to that responsibility. [130]

By this time, tribes had already started to establish community schools to replace the BIA boarding schools. Led by the Navajo Nation in 1968, tribes started tribal colleges and universities, to build their own models of education on reservations, preserve and revive their cultures, and develop educated workforces. In 1994 the U.S. Congress passed legislation recognizing the tribal colleges as land-grant colleges, which provided opportunities for funding. Thirty-two tribal colleges in the United States belong to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. By the early 21st century, tribal nations had also established numerous language revival programs in their schools.

In addition, Native American activism has led major universities across the country to establish Native American studies programs and departments, increasing awareness of the strengths of Indian cultures, providing opportunities for academics, and deepening research on history and cultures in the United States. Native Americans have entered academia journalism and media politics at local, state and federal levels and public service, for instance, influencing medical research and policy to identify issues related to American Indians.

In 1981, Tim Giago founded the Lakota Times, an independent Native American newspaper, located at the Pine Ridge Reservation but not controlled by tribal government. He later founded the Native American Journalists Association. Other independent newspapers and media corporations have been developed, so that Native American journalists are contributing perspective on their own affairs and other policies and events.

In 2004 Senator Sam Brownback (Republican of Kansas) introduced a joint resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 37) to "offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States" for past "ill-conceived policies" by the U.S. government regarding Indian Tribes. [131] President Barack Obama signed the historic apology into law in 2009, as Section 8113 of the 2010 defense appropriations bill. [132]

After years of investigation and independent work by Native American journalists, in 2003 the U.S. government indicted suspects in the December 1975 murder of Anna Mae Aquash at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A Mi'kmaq, Aquash was the highest-ranking woman activist in the American Indian Movement (AIM) at the time. She was killed several months after two FBI agents had been killed at the reservation. Many Lakota believe that she was killed by AIM on suspicion of having been an FBI informant, but she never worked for the FBI. [133] Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted in federal court in 2004. In 2007 the United States extradited AIM activist John Graham from Canada to stand trial for her murder. [134] He was also convicted and sentenced to life.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 Edit

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of American Indian or Alaska Native arts and crafts products within the United States, including dreamcatchers. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced.

Native American tribes and individuals began to file suits against the federal government over a range of issues, especially land claims and mismanagement of trust lands and fees. A number of longstanding cases were finally settled by the administration of President Barack Obama, who made a commitment to improve relations between the federal government and the tribes. Among these was Cobell v. Salazar, a class action suit settled in 2009, with Congress appropriating funds in 2010. [135] Another was Keepseagle v. , settled in April 2011. The $760 million settlement "designated $680 million for Native American farmers who had faced discrimination from the U.S. Department of Agriculture over a period of several years in the past. [136]

By 2012, "the Justice and Interior departments had reached settlements totaling more than $1 billion with 41 tribes for claims of mismanagement." [135] The Navajo Nation gained the largest settlement with a single tribe, of $554 million. [135] It is the largest tribe in the United States.

In 2013 under renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, the federal government strengthened protection of Native American women, as it established authority for tribes to prosecute non-Natives who commit crimes on Indian land. [135] Domestic and sexual abuse of Native American women has been a problem in many areas, but previous laws prevented arrest or prosecution by tribal police or courts of non-native abusive partners. [137] [138]

Native American migration to urban areas continued to grow: 70% of Native Americans lived in urban areas in 2012, up from 45% in 1970, and 8% in 1940. Urban areas with significant Native American populations include Rapid City, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Denver, Phoenix, Tucson, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, and New York City. Many have lived in poverty and struggled with discrimination. Racism, unemployment, drugs and gangs were common problems which Indian social service organizations, such as the Little Earth housing complex in Minneapolis, have attempted to address. [139]

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Colombian Exchange: The colonization by Europeans of the New World led to many changes. Worlds that had once been separated were now in contact with one another. This new contact led to a cultural exchange of plants, animals, diseases, and ideas called the Columbian Exchange. The Europeans benefited from Native Americans ideas and crops found in the New World. They discovered new foods such as tomatoes, corn, beans, squash, potatoes, turkeys, and chocolate. People in Europe benefited from a more varied and nutritious diet after bringing these food sources back home. The Native Americans also benefited from contact with Europeans. Europeans brought with them domestic animals like horses, cows, and pigs.

European presence in the New World had drawbacks, as well as benefits, for Native Americans. The biggest drawback was the introduction of diseases. Native Americans did not have immunities to the diseases that European settlers unknowingly brought with them to the New World. Another drawback was the gun. European settlers brought the newest weapons with them to the New World. They traded guns for food and other supplies.

Religion: One of the reasons Europeans came to the New World was to spread Christianity to the Native Americans. Spanish and French Catholics worked as missionaries. Their mission was to convert the natives to Christianity. The French were not able to change the Native American customs as much as the Spanish did. Some natives were open to the idea of Christianity. Others had the religion forced upon them.

Population Decline: When the Spanish first settled in the New World, they enslaved many Native Americans. They used Native Americans for farming and mining for gold and silver. Hard labor and malnutrition led to the deaths of many Native Americans. With European settlement came new diseases. These diseases hurt the Native American population. Native Americans did not have immunities to fight off these diseases. This led millions to die. Experts say that 50 percent to 90 percent of Native Americans died in the first few decades due to the arrival of the Europeans.

Land: Colonists and Native Americans occupied the same lands. This caused them to compete for places to settle and grow. They hunted in the same forests and fished in the same streams. This led to a depletion of animals available for food. The demand for agricultural products led many settlers in the British colonies to clear forests to make room to plant. This depleted Native American hunting grounds, forcing them to move to land west of the Appalachian Mountains. Many Native American tribes attempted to rebel against the growing colonies. However, the Native Americans were no match against colonial weapons and the British army. Another result of moving west was conflicts between tribes. Most Native American tribes were independent of one another. They had their own traditions and language. When forced to be on the same land, cultural differences between tribes led to war.

Peaceful coexistence: Native Americans and Europeans benefited from the trade of goods and knowledge. European settlers learned from the Native Americans how to grow American crops. They learned where to hunt as well as how to survive. Native Americans learned about new tools, weapons, animals, and farming methods from the settlers. There are many examples of peaceful coexistence between Native Americans and the colonists, one of the most famous being the first Thanksgiving. Without assistance from the natives, the Pilgrims may not have survived.

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Digitized Native American Reservation Records: Photos

Опубликовано: Lauren Van Zandt в Native American Records 11.08.2017 15:05:57

The National Archives has digitized thousands of documents, images, and movies related to Native American history and culture.  This is the fourth in a series of blogs highlighting the records available online through the National Archives catalog.

Federal agencies, especially the Bureau of Indian Affairs, documented the Native American residents of reservations as well as their living and working conditions.  The photos in the entries document daily life, work (especially farming), construction projects, houses, reservation schools, and traditional crafts.

Rosebud Sioux Tribe (South Dakota)

Photographs, 1900-1960: 852 photographs mostly focusing on agriculture, land, and Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division projects created by the Rosebud Agency.

Three Affiliated Tribes (Arikara, Hidatsa and Mandan) (North Dakota)

Photographs, 1900-1960: 866 photographs, including photos of areas of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation that were flooded by the Construction of the Garrison Dam in 1946.

Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe (Wyoming)

Photographs, 1898-1953: 16 photos of reservation activities created by the Wind River Agency.

Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe (North Dakota)

Photographs, ca. 1914 - ca. 1936: 300 photos recording daily life of Native Americans at the Fort Totten Agency in North Dakota.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (North Dakota)

Photographs, ca. 1930-ca. 1949: 5277 photographs documenting projects, including Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division projects, from the Standing Rock Agency.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (South Dakota)

Photographs, 1920-1965: 735 photographs documenting residences and projects, including Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division projects, on the Lake Travers Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota (Sisseton Agency).

Oglala Sioux (South Dakota)

Pine Ridge Agency: Miscellaneous Photographs, 1923 – 1955: Over 2,000 black and white photos from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Includes photos of building projects, farming and industry on the reservation, cultural events, and individuals.

Main Decimal Files, 1900 – 1965: 26 photos documenting life on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (Minneconjou, SiHaSapa, Oohenumpa, and Itazipco bands of the Lakota or Great Sioux Nation) (South Dakota)

Cheyenne River Agency: Photographs, 1900 – 1960: 87 photos from the Aberdeen Area Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Salish and Kootenai Tribes (Montana)

Glass Negatives and Photographs, 1911-1939: 65 images documenting the Flathead Irrigation Project in Montana.

Southern Ute Tribe (Colorado)

Industrial Survey for the Southern Ute Agency, Colorado (Decimal Files, 1879-1952): 19 photographs documenting "homes, farms, and general life of a band of Southern Utes"

Colorado River Reservation (Arizona and California)

Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 – 1945: Several photographs of residents of the Colorado Indian Reservation, which housed a War Relocation Authority center for Japanese internees in WWII.

Lac du Flambaeau Agency (Wisconsin)

Surveys of Indian Industry, 1922: 132 photos of Chippewa and Potawatomi Native Americans posed with their houses. Each photo includes a list of all the members of the households, their occupations, and observations about their work habits and personalities.

Tsimshian Indian Community (Alaska and British Columbia)

Photographs of the Inhabitants of Metlakatla, British Columbia and Metlakatla, Alaska, ca. 1856 – 1936: During this period, Tsimshian lived both on federally recognized reservations and independent villages.

Multiple Reservations

Minneapolis Area Office: Photographs, 1920 – 1971: 13 photos of from rural Minnesota, the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, and Talihina, Oklahoma.

Classified Files of the Extension and Credit Office, 1931 – 1946: 46 photographs documenting the agricultural activities of the Office of Indian Affairs Division of Extension and Industry based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Desk Files of the Tribal Operations Branch, 1934 – 1951: 32 photos from the records of Gerorge P. LaVatta, a BIA field agent. Photos document Native Americans working on the Hoover and Boulder Dams, Indian schools, and events at the Fort Hall reservation.

DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency's Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972 – 1977: This series includes several photos featuring Native Americans at work both on and off reservations.  These photos are mixed in with photos of many other subjects.

Henry Peabody Collection, 1890 – 1935: 10 photos of Hopi and Wichita Native Americans.

Central Classified Files, 1927 – 1952: About 20 photos documenting forestry activities on reservations supervised by the BIA Phoenix Area Office, including Hopi and Navajo projects.

Of course, this blog post is far from comprehensive- for any researcher, a thorough perusal of the National Archives catalog is an absolute must.  For more tips on searching for digitized records in the catalog, check out this post on Expanding Your Digital Toolkit.  Researchers interested in records described in the catalog that haven’t been digitized should get in touch with the appropriate National Archives reference unit using the contact information at the bottom of the page.


Indian Reservation History

A natural result of land cessions by the Indians to the U. S. Government was the establishment of reservations for the natives. This was necessary not only in order to provide them with homes and with land for cultivation, but to avoid disputes in regard to boundaries and to bring them, more easily under control of the Government by confining them to given limits. This policy, which has been followed in Canada under both French and English control, and also to some extent by the colonies, was inaugurated by the United States in 1786. It nay he attributed primarily to the increase of the white population and the consequent necessity of confining the aboriginal population to narrower limits. This involved a very important, even radical, change in the habits and customs of the Indians, and was the initiatory step toward a reliance upon agricultural pursuits for subsistence. Reservations in early days, and to a limited extent more recently, were formed chiefly as the result of cessions of land thus a tribe, in ceding land that it held by original occupancy, reserved from the cession a specified and definite part thereof, and such part was held under the original right of occupancy, but with the consent of the Government, as it was generally expressly stated in the treaty defining the bounds that the part so reserved was “allotted to” or “reserved for” the given Indians, thus recognizing title in the Government. However, as time passed, the method of establishing reservations varied, as is apparent front the following return, showing the method of establishment of the various reservations, given by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in his Report for 1890: By Executive order, 56 by Executive order under authority of Congress, 6 by act of Congress, 28 by treaty, with boundaries defined or enlarged by Executive order, 15 by treaty or agreement and act of Congress, 5 by unratified treaty, 1 by treaty or agreement, 51.

The setting aside of reservations by treaty was terminated by the act of Mar. 3, 1871, which brought transactions with the Indians raider the immediate control of Congress and substituted simple agreements for solemn treaties. By sundry subsequent laws the matter has been placed in control of the President. Reservations established by Executive order without au act of Congress were not held to be permanent before the general allotment act of Feb. 8, 1887, under which the tenure has been materially changed, and all reservations, whether created by Executive order, by act of Congress, or by treaty, are permanent. Reservations established by Executive order under authority of Congress are those which have been authorized by acts of Congress and their limits defined by Executive order, or first established by Executive order and subsequently confirmed by Congress. The Indian titles which have been recognized by the Government appear to have been:

  1. The original right of occupancy, and
  2. The title to their reservations, which differs in most cases from the original title in the fact that it is derived front the United States. There have been some titles, and a few of them still exist, which the Indian Bureau deems exceptions to this rule, as where the reservation was formed by restricting the original areas or where reservations have been patented to tribes by the Government.

Examples of the latter class are the patents to the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek nations. In a few instances the Indians purchased the lands forming in whole or in part their reservations. The construction given to these by the Indian Bureau and the courts is that they are not titles in fee simple, for they convey no power of alienation except to the United States, neither are they the same as the ordinary title to occupancy they are “a base, qualified, or determinable fee,” with a possibility of reversion to the United States only, “and the authorities of these nations may cut, sell, and dispose of their timber, and may permit mining and grazing, within the limits of their respective tracts, by their own citizens.” The act of Mar. 1, 1889, establishing, a United States court in Indian Territory, repealed all laws having the effect of preventing the Five Civilized Tribes in said Territory (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole) from entering into leases or contracts with others than their own citizens for mining coal for a period not exceeding ten years. As a general rule the Indians on a reservation could make no leases of land, sales of standing timber, or grants of wining privileges or rights of way to railways without the authority of Congress. On the other hand, it was obligatory upon the Government to prevent any intrusion, trespass, or settlement on the lands of any tribe or nation of Indians unless the tribe or nation had given consent by agreement or treaty.

The idea of removing the Indians residing east of the Mississippi to reservations west of that river was a policy adopted at an early date. The first official notice of it appears in the act of Mar. 26, 1804, “erecting Louisiana into two territories, and providing the temporary government thereof.” By treaty with the Choctaw in 1820 they had been assigned a new home in the west, to include a considerable portion of west Arkansas, with all that part of the present Oklahoma south of the South Canadian and Arkansas Rivers. In 1825 President Monroe reported to the Senate a formal “plan of colonization or removal” 1 , of all tribes then residing east of the Mississippi, to the same general western region. In accordance with this plan the present Oklahoma, with the greater portion of what is now Kansas, was soon after constituted a territory, under the name of “Indian Territory,” as a permanent home for the tribes to be removed from the settled portions of the United States. Most of the northern portion of the territory was acquired by treaty purchase from the Osage and Kansa. A series of treaties was then inaugurated by which, before the close of 1840, almost all the principal Eastern tribes and tribal remnants had been removed to the ” Indian Territory,” the five important Southern tribes Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole, being guaranteed autonomy under the style of “Nations.” By subsequent legislation Kansas was detached from the Territory, most of the emigrant tribes within the bounds of Kansas being again removed to new reservations south of the boundary line. By other and later treaties lands within the same Territory were assigned to the actual native tribes, Kiowa, Comanche, Wichita, Cheyenne, etc., whose claims had been entirely overlooked in the first negotiations, which considered only the Osage and Kansa along the eastern border. Other tribes were brought in at various periods from Texas, Nebraska, and farther north, to which were added, as prisoners of war, the Modoc of California (1873), the Nez Percé of Oregon and Idaho (1878), and the Chiricahua Apache of Arizona (1889), until the Indian population of the Territory comprised some 40 officially recognized tribes.

An unoccupied district near the center of the Territory, known as Oklahoma, had become the subject of controversy with intruding white settlers, and was finally thrown open to settlement in 1889. In 1890 the whole western portion of Indian Territory was created into a separate territory under the name of Oklahoma. In the meantime, under provisions of an allotment act passed in 1887 (see Land tenure), agreements were being negotiated with the resident tribes for the opening of the reservation to white settlement. In 1906 a similar arrangement was consummated with the five autonomous tribes of the eastern section, or Indian Territory, the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole, together with the several small tribes in the northeast corner of Indian Territory. In the following year, 1907, the whole of the former Indian Territory was created into a single state under the name of Oklahoma.

According to the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the number of reservations in the United States in 1908, including the 19 Spanish grants to the Pueblo Indians, was 161, aggregating 52,013,010 acres.


Day Two

Start the day at Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, (727) 453-6500, in St. Petersburg along the western shores of Tampa Bay. From I-275 go east on Gandy Blvd. (Exit 28) turn south on San Martin Blvd., then east on Weedon Dr. N.E. The preserve will be the third turn on the left. This 3,164-acre nature preserve was home to at least four prehistoric cultures. Perhaps the most celebrated group is the Weeden Island Culture whose distinctive ornate pottery was first recorded on Weedon Island (the cultural period is spelled differently from the island) in 1924 by Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution.

Visit Portavant Temple Mound at Emerson Point Preservenear Bradenton, (941) 776-6885, the largest temple mound in the Tampa Bay Area overlooking the scenic Manatee River. Take I-275 across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and stay right for U.S. 19, taking Business 41 into Palmetto. Turn right on 10th St. W. and continue to Snead Island. On Snead Island turn right on Tarpon Ave., left on 17th St. W. to the park. Emerson Point Park has witnessed extensive human use for more than 4,500 years. The most striking evidence is the 1,200 year-old temple mound and surrounding village middens. Interpretive signs describe the ways of life of former inhabitants and Florida pioneers.

Next, explore the South Florida Museum, (941) 746-4131, which houses the world-renowned Montague Tallant Collection of Florida artifacts. Known as one of the premier collections of Florida aboriginal artifacts, the collection includes pottery, shell tools, lithics, beads, gold, silver and other metals dating from the Paleo-Indian period to the arrival of the Spanish explorers. To get to the museum, take I-75 south to S.R. 64 (Exit 220) west about seven miles to downtown Bradenton. Turn right on 10th St. The museum is two blocks on the right.

Still have some energy? Head to Osprey, approximately six miles south of Sarasota off U.S. 41, and explore Historic Spanish Point, (941) 966-5214. Experience more than 5,000 years of human history on this 30-acre National Register historic site featuring shell middens, a pioneer era homestead and formal gardens. In "A Window To The Past," walk inside a 15-foot high midden where you are surrounded by a thousand years of human occupation.


Indian Reservations - History

Mattaponi History

Official Site of the

Mattaponi Indian Reservation

We are the Mattaponi, the “people of the river.” We have been in this region for over 15,000 years. The Mattaponi River will always remain the lifeblood of our tribe and an important part of our culture. Contemporary Mattaponi tribal life is still based deeply in the traditions of our ancestors, such as being faithful to our treaties and living in harmony with the natural world, while at the same time we have adapted to an ever-changing life in the Tidewater Virginia.

The Mattaponi were one of the original core tribes of the Powhatan chiefdom and the Great Chief Powhatan Wahunsenakah, the father of Pocahontas, who ruled most of Tidewater Virginia when the Europeans arrived in 1607. The Mattaponi agreed to the articles of peace with the European colonists in 1646, which was later ratified in 1677. Since 1646, the Mattaponi people have fulfilled their treaty obligations by presenting an annual tribute to the governor of Virginia as set forth by the original treaty. Each year at Thanksgiving time, the Mattaponi Tribe presents a tribute of wild game, fish, or turkey to the Governor of Virginia, keeping with their obligations to the 1646/1677 Peace Treaty.

The Mattaponi Tribe is state-recognized and continues to maintain its own sovereign government. The governing body today consist of the Chief, Assistant Chief, and Council.

T​he Mattaponi Indian Reservation was created from land long held by the Mattaponi by an act of the General Assembly in 1658, making it one of the oldest reservations in the country. Through the years both the Reservation’s physical size and the number of tribal members have diminished. The reservation presently encompasses approximately 150 acres, a portion being designated as wetlands. Although the tribal roll numbers 450 people, only 75 actually live on the Reservation.

The Reservation sits on the banks of the Mattaponi River, one of the most pristine rivers in the eastern United States. Facilities on the Reservation today include living quarters, a Baptist Church, a Museum, a Trading Post, a Fish Hatchery, a Marine Science Center, and a Community Tribal building that was formerly the Reservation school.

The Mattaponi Indian Reservation School building served as a school and church from 1890 to 1932. The school taught grades 1 through 8. The Baptist church was built in 1932, where the Mattaponi people continue to worship today. The school remained active until the 1960s, when Mattaponi children were able to attend public schools. The schoolhouse is currently used as the tribal center and pottery shop.

[Heritage/Culture]

Since the Assembly’s designation of the Reservation in 1658, the Mattaponi Tribe has maintained its heritage and many of its customs despite strong pressures to assimilate completely into mainstream culture.

The Mattaponi River, which bears the same name, has kept the Mattaponi alive for centuries. A wide variety of fish live in the Mattaponi River and provide the Mattaponi people with food. These include American Shad, Striped Bass (also called Rockfish), Catfish, Herring, and Perch. These fish are a staple of the Mattaponi diet.

​​ ​ The Mattaponi River bank also supplies the Mattaponi with clay for pottery. The Mattaponi people have perfected the art of pottery making. Replicas of ancestral pottery, as well as creative contemporary expressions, are made much the same way as in the 17th-century.

​Although many Mattaponi maintain jobs in nearby cities, tribal members still farm the reservation land. Traditionally, Powhatan woman performed farming. Now, gardening, such as planting soybeans, peas, corn and other grains, is a activity enjoyed by all. The Mattaponi people also fish, hunt, trap, and turtle.

​Efforts are also being made by tribal members to revitalize the Mattaponi Powhatan Algonquin language. ​​


Intro to Boarding School History

Beginning with the Indian Civilization Act Fund of March 3, 1819 and the Peace Policy of 1869 the United States, in concert with and at the urging of several denominations of the Christian Church, adopted an Indian Boarding School Policy expressly intended to implement cultural genocide through the removal and reprogramming of American Indian and Alaska Native children to accomplish the systematic destruction of Native cultures and communities. The stated purpose of this policy was to “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”

Between 1869 and the 1960s, it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of Native American children were removed from their homes and families and placed in boarding schools operated by the federal government and the churches. Though we don’t know how many children were taken in total, by 1900 there were 20,000 children in Indian boarding schools, and by 1925 that number had more than tripled. The U.S. Native children that were voluntarily or forcibly removed from their homes, families, and communities during this time were taken to schools far away where they were punished for speaking their native language, banned from acting in any way that might be seen to represent traditional or cultural practices, stripped of traditional clothing, hair and personal belongings and behaviors reflective of their native culture. They suffered physical, sexual, cultural and spiritual abuse and neglect, and experienced treatment that in many cases constituted torture for speaking their Native languages. Many children never returned home and their fates have yet to be accounted for by the U.S. government.

“A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”
— Gen. Richard Henry Pratt

By the 1926, nearly 83% of Indian school-age children were attending boarding schools.

  • 357 boarding schools in 30 states
  • 1900: 20,000 children in boarding schools
  • 1925: 60,889 children in boarding schools

Indian Reservation

There are roughly three hundred Indian Reservations in the United States. An Indian Reservation is a piece of land that has been given over to Native Americans. They do not have full power over the land, but they do have limited governmental rule. Many Indian Reservations make money through gambling casinos.

Not every state in the United States has an Indian Reservation, and not every Native American tribe has one. There are also Indian Reservations in Canada, however they are set up and run a bit differently then here in America.

President Ulysses S. Grant set up the first Indian Reservations to help settle the growing conflict between the Native Americans and the early settlers. There has always been a great deal of conflict and controversy about Indian Reservations and how they came about. The truth is that the Native Americans were here first and Indian Reservations were set up to give them a piece of land, while the settlers set up new rules and laws and took over the land. Some of the new laws had prohibited the Native Americans from hunting and continuing life in the manner they were accustomed to. Besides hunting, many of the early settlers were setting up new plans to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. However, without the ability to hunt and gather food, as they were accustomed to, many of the Native Americans became bitter as they were forced off their lands and told to become farmers. Many of the early Indian Reservations were resistant to farming and some of the Native Americans faced starvation.

Unfortunately, it has been estimated that some of the Indian Reservations are home to the country’s poorest citizens. This is a tragedy that has occurred in the fabric of our country. Many Indian Reservations have built up a prosperous economic system for themselves through legal gambling and casinos.

Check out the history of the Mission Indian Federation, one of Southern California's Native American tribes.


Indian Reservations - History

When white explorers entered the Klamath Basin in the 1820s, the Klamath Indians occupied the Upper Klamath Lake area, which included Klamath Marsh and the Sprague and Williamson rivers. The Modoc people inhabited the Tule Lake area of Northern California and Southern Oregon. Yahooskin land bordered Klamath territory to the west and extended east into present-day Lake and Harney counties. Native uprisings and valuable tribal land, however, convinced the U.S. Government to relocate many Native groups onto reservations throughout the country. The Treaty of 1864 merged the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin tribes into the &ldquoKlamath Tribe&rdquo and onto a single reservation in the Klamath Basin.

The reservation contained thousands of acres of Ponderosa pine. The treaty provided for a sawmill and proceeds from timber and lumber sales funded a tribal government and a health clinic. By the 1950s, the Klamath Tribe was one of the wealthiest Native groups in the nation. In 1954, despite Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal opposition, Congress passed the Klamath Termination Act, which terminated federal recognition of the Klamath Tribe. The Act discontinued federal social services, such as free education, and organized tribal lands into national forest areas or areas that could be sold. This U.S. Government map, distributed in January 1961, explained how Klamath tribal lands would be organized into U.S. National Forest lands. According to anthropologist Patrick Haynal, the Klamath were targeted for termination because of their timber assets and because Congress was convinced that the Klamath people were virtually assimilated into &ldquowhite&rdquo society, meaning they no longer needed special assistance. By the 1970s, the majority of tribal members were living below the national poverty line.

Further Reading:
Haynal, Patrick. &ldquoTermination and Tribal Survival: The Klamath Tribes of Oregon.&rdquo Oregon Historical Quarterly 101, 2000: 270.

Stern, Theodore. The Klamath Tribe: A People and Their Reservation, Seattle, Wash., 1965.

Written by Robert Donnelly, © Oregon Historical Society, 2003.

Related Historical Records

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