Following the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn in which the American 7th Cavalry under the command of Lt. Col. George Custer attacked a peaceful camp of Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians which resulted in the massacre of the American troops, some of the Sioux bands fled north, seeking political asylum in Canada.
Almost since the foundation of the United States, the westward expansion of the country was guided by Manifest Destiny, the idea that it was the country’s destiny to span the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. By the middle of the nineteenth century, it was clearly evident that the way of westward expansion would have to involve railroads which could then transport raw materials (minerals, timber, cattle, grain) from the west to the east and manufactured goods from the east to the west.
The traditional homelands of the Caddo stretched from the Red River Valley in Louisiana to the Brazos River Valley in Texas. The Caddo were agricultural people whose culture emerged about 800 CE. Caddo culture is considered to be related to the Mississippian mound-building cultures.
As a Christian nation, the United States has never been comfortable with the idea that American Indians might have their own non-Christian religions or that Indian spiritual leaders could provide role-models for other Indians. Under the European notion of the Discovery Doctrine, the United States felt that it had a legal right to rule over non-Christian nations and to convert them to Christianity.
At the time of first contact with Europeans, the Ottawa (Odawa in Canada) were living on Manitoulin Island. The Ottawa homeland for at least three centuries prior to European contact was the Michigan Lower Peninsula.
The Central Plains is the portion of the Great Plains which lies south of the South Dakota-Nebraska border and north of the Arkansas River. It includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, southeastern Wyoming, and western Colorado. It includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, southeastern Wyoming, and western Colorado.
The Sonoran Desert which stretches across part of the present-day American state of Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora is an area of very hot summers (high temperatures may reach 120° F) and relatively little rain. It was here that a culture called Hohokam by archaeologists flourished from 300 BCE until about 1400 CE. The Hohokam were village agriculturalists who developed a sophisticated canal system to bring water to their crops in this desert environment.
The Great Basin is an area that includes the high desert regions between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. It is bounded on the north by the Columbia Plateau and on the south by the Colorado Plateau. It includes southern Oregon and Idaho, a small portion of southwestern Montana, western Wyoming, eastern California, all of Nevada and Utah, a portion of northern Arizona, and most of western Colorado. Today this is an area which is characterized by low rainfall and extremes of temperature. The valleys in the area are 3,000 to 6,000 feet in altitude and are separated by mountain ranges running north and south that are 8,000 to 12,000 feet in elevation. The rivers in this region do not flow into the ocean, but simply disappear into the sand.
The Central Plains is the portion of the Great Plains which lies south of the South Dakota-Nebraska border and north of the Arkansas River. It includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, southeastern Wyoming, and western Colorado. After migrating from the Ohio River valley, the Siouan-speaking Omaha settled in what is now Nebraska. The name Omaha is generally said to mean “upstream, against the flow.”
In the late 1200’s through the early 1400’s groups of hunting and gathering Athabascans began arriving in the Southwest from the far north in Canada. These were the ancestors of the Navajo and Apache peoples.
The Caddo were an agricultural tribe living in what is now Louisiana and Texas when the first European explorers entered the region. The Caddo were a group of theocratic chiefdoms who were the cultural descendants of the earlier Mississippian mound-building cultures.
The aboriginal homelands of the Achumawi (also spelled Achomawi, Achomowi, Achemawi) people of North America was along the drainage of the Pit River between the Warner Range and Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen in present-day California. Achumawi villages were located along the Pit River or its tributary streams. The Achumawi villages, whose names were not recorded in the historical records, do not appear to have been politically united.
Linguistically, the Achumawi language, together with the Atsugewi language, form the Palahnihan branch of the Hokan language family.
The Salish language family is found on the Northwest Coast and in the Columbia Plateau. Salish is generally felt to have great antiquity in the Northwest Coast. Salish-speakers were the earliest settlers in the Fraser River area of British Columbia. Linguists estimate that this language family may be 6,000 years old, although some feel it may be as young as 3,000 years old.
Traditionally, Apache religious ceremonies focused on curing, hunting and gathering rituals, puberty ceremonies, and obtaining personal power and protection. While spiritual power is available to most people, spiritual leaders–usually called medicine men and medicine women–are people who have greater access to spiritual power than other people.
Muskogean was the most important language family of the Native American Southeastern Culture Area. In her introduction to Florida Place Names of Indian Origin and Seminole Personal Names, Patricia Riles Wickman writes:
“We shall never know with any certainty how many dialects derived from this mother tongue and from the social template that contained an orderly system for the genesis of new villages and the growth of towns and cities, all of which are based on an inherent dynamism that has been consistently underestimated ever since the poniards led the boat parade of European colonialization.”
Death Valley, located in California, is the hottest, driest, and lowest place in the United States. It is an area of sand dunes and wilderness. Non-Indian tourism into this desolate region actually began in 1926 and in 1933 President Herbert Hoover created the Death Valley National Monument by Presidential Executive Order. While some saw this act as the first step in transforming one of the earth’s least hospitable spots into a popular tourist destination, for the Timbisha Shoshone, the aboriginal inhabitants of the area, this action made them landless. While the Timbisha Shoshone were not forced from their traditional homeland, the control over their land (and thus over their lives) was assumed by the National Park Service. Death Valley officially became a National Park in 1994.
While many non-Apache scholars and popular writers have labeled all the Apache as a fierce, war-like people, in actuality warfare was not glorified as it was in some other culture areas, such as the Great Plains. Warfare, in the form of raiding, was often an economic activity. Anthropologist Keith Basso, in his book The Cibecue Apache, notes:
“In pre-reservation days a significant portion of the Western Apaches’ meat supply consisted of stolen livestock.”
The Athabaskan (also spelled Athapaskan and Athabascan) language family is found in the western American Indian culture areas. Linguists feel that the Athabaskan language family is one branch of a larger genetic grouping called Athabaskan-Eyak. Eyak is a single language which was spoken on the south coast of Alaska and which is nearly extinct. Proto-Athabaskan and Proto-Eyak became differentiated from each other by 1500 BCE. Michael Krauss and Victor Golla, in their entry on the Northern Athapaskan languages in the Handbook of North American Indians, report:
“Whenever it occurred, the linguistic split between Proto-Athapaskan and Proto-Eyak was apparently followed by a total cessation of communication between the two groups, for there is no evidence of subsequent linguistic interinfluence.”
Briefly described below are a few of the American Indian events of 1917.
Briefly described below are some of the American Indian events of 1817.