Link Collection Diary for NAN News Recap

Tenth Circuit Rules in Favor of Uranium Resources, Inc. in Indian Country Case

Uranium Resources, a uranium exploration, development and production company, announced today that the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit en banc held today that the Company’s Section 8 property in Churchrock, New Mexico is not Indian Country.

Don Ewigleben, President and CEO of Uranium Resources noted, “This ruling enables us to immediately seek to renew the underground injection control (UIC) permit that we had been granted by the State of New Mexico in 1989. This is the last permit required for us to advance our in situ recovery uranium mining project on our Churchrock property where we hold 13.7 million pounds of in place mineralized uranium material.”

The result of the ruling means the authority to issue a UIC permit to URI falls under the jurisdiction of the State of New Mexico, and not the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The jurisdictional dispute originated among the State of New Mexico, the USEPA and the Navajo Nation and was initially taken to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. In January 2000, the issue was remanded to the USEPA. In February 2007, the USEPA reached a decision that Section 8 is Indian country, and therefore under its jurisdiction to administer the UIC permit. URI appealed the decision to the Tenth Circuit Court in April 2009. By a 2-1 decision the court upheld the EPA’s ruling. In August 2009, URI’s petition for an en banc review was granted and oral arguments were held January 2010. The subject ruling that the Section 8 property is not Indian Country is the result of the en banc review.

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Old Chief Joseph

( – promoted by navajo)

Tiwi-teqis, later known to the Americans as Old Chief Joseph, was born between 1785 and 1790 in Oregon. He became the principal leader of the Wallowa Nez Perce sometime in the first half of the nineteenth century. This was prior to the creation of reservations for the Indians of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

During his life he saw the impact of the fur trade, the coming of Christian missionaries, and the arrival of American settlers. To give these settlers free land, the United States government sought to move the Nez Perce onto a reservation in Idaho. Joseph, as a traditional Nez Perce leader, resisted the government’s attempts to move him from his homeland and to convert him to Christianity.  

The traditional homelands of the Nez Perce included northeastern Oregon, southeastern Washington, and central Idaho. Unlike many other Native American tribes, the Nez Perce do not have a tradition of migration: their oral history states that they were created at Kamiah, on the Clearwater River in Idaho.

Traditional Nez Perce Government:

Politically the Nez Perce tribe was composed of a number of different autonomous bands, each with its own leadership and territory. In the mid-nineteenth century it is estimated that there were about 40 of these bands. Each band had a prominent leader, often called “chief” by the Americans.

In actuality, each band often had several chiefs. One of these, often considered the headman or main chief, functioned as a civil chief. Other leaders functioned as war chiefs and hunt chiefs. Joseph was a civil chief, or peace chief.

The headman or chief of each Nez Perce band served to act as spokesman for the band, to oversee the well-being of band members, to arbitrate disputes, and to provide an example of outstanding and generous conduct. The chief shared his wealth with the needy.

Nez Perce leadership depended on persuasive abilities and public opinion. No one, including the chiefs, would presume to tell another person how to live or what to believe.

Nez Perce Religion and Christianity

Nez Perce spirituality centered on the wéyekin or tutelary spirit. These were animistic spirits which appeared to individuals in dreams and in real life. These spirits were sought during the vision quest undertaken by all Nez Perce youth prior to adulthood. It was important for an individual to obtain the help of the wéyekin in order to be successful in life. Success in life was seen not so much as the result of individual action, but as the result of having help of the wéyekin. Individuals who were considered to be very successful were felt to have powerful wéyekin.

The Nez Perce were first exposed to Christianity through traders rather than missionaries. Seeing the material wealth of the traders, and interpreting this wealth within the Nez Perce worldview, it was believed that the traders had to have a powerful tutelary spirit. Thus, some Nez Perce sought out this new tutelary spirit. They viewed this as an addition to their traditional religious worldview, not a replacement of it.

The first missionary sent to the Nez Perce didn’t stay very long. In 1834, the Methodist Missionary Board sent Jason Lee to establish a mission among the Flathead. He met with the Flathead and Nez Perce at the Green River Rendezvous in Wyoming. He finds the Indians deeply unsettling. He concluded that the Indians were slaves to Satan and to alcohol. Instead of establishing an Indian mission, he continued his journey west to Fort Vancouver.

In 1836, The Presbyterians established a mission among the Nez Perce in Idaho. The missionaries saw themselves as the saviors of the Nez Perce, a people who they felt had no religion. They had little tolerance for Nez Perce culture. However, many Nez Perce were baptized, an action, from their religious view, which would bring them into contact with this new tutelary spirit.

Tiwi-teqis was baptized by the Christian missionaries in 1839 and was given the name Joseph. However, he soon renounced Christianity in favor of the traditional ways. He was more favorably oriented toward the teachings of Smohalla, the prophet who founded the Dreamer Religion, than Christianity.

For the Nez Perce, Christianity became a force which divided the tribe. For some of the bands in Idaho, Christianity was seen as a new way, a way of living with the changing universe. For the bands outside of Idaho, such as those in the Wallowa Valley in Oregon, Christianity had little appeal.

The Treaties:

Soon after the United States acquired the right to govern Oregon Territory (which included Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana), the government sought to move the Indian nations onto one or two reservations so that the land could be opened up for American settlement. On the reservations, the goal was to convert the Indians to Christianity and to have them take up farming on individually owned parcels of land.

In 1855, the American government brought together a number of tribes for a treaty conference at Walla Walla, Washington. Among other things, the purpose of the council was to establish a reservation for the Nez Perce. The Americans told the Indians:

“We want you and ourselves to agree upon tracts of land where you will live; in those tracts of land we want each man who will work to have his own land, his own horses, his own cattle, and his own home for himself and his children.”

Nez Perce leader Lawyer told his people that the agreement with the Americans would protect their villages from the Americans and that without it, the Americans would simply take their lands. Joseph asked that the Americans include his peoples’ Wallowa valley in the Nez Perce reservation. Joseph  did not sign the treaty. In the words of his son, also known as Chief Joseph, Old Joseph

“claimed that no man owned any part of the earth, and a man could not sell what he did not own.”

Ignoring what Joseph and the other Nez Perce leaders had told them, the American government simply proceeded under the legal fiction that the Nez Perce were a single political entity and appointed Lawyer as the supreme chief. In the eyes of the Americans, but not the Nez Perce, this meant that Lawyer could sign away Nez Perce land.

In the process of ratifying the treaty in 1859, the United States Senate reduced the size of the Nez Perce Reservation from 13,200,000 acres to 7,787,000 acres. The Nez Perce were not consulted in this action.

By 1859 the Nez Perce were badly divided. About two-thirds of the bands were under the leadership of Lawyer who felt that the people should work under the laws imposed on them by the Christian missionaries, soldiers, and Indian agents. The other Nez Perce, including Joseph’s Wallowa band, wanted to retain their aboriginal ways.

In 1861, thousands of American settlers moved on to Nez Perce land in Oregon’s Wallowa Valley. They knew that this action was illegal, but were counting on the government to buy them out in order to preserve the peace. Instead, the government announced that it did not intend to annex the Wallowa Valley and that it would not reimburse settlers who had moved onto Indian land illegally. As a result, tremendous pressures were brought on the Army and the Indian commissioners to remove the Indians.

At this same time, most of the members of Joseph’s band of Nez Perce adopted the Dreamer Religion of the Wanapum prophet Smohalla.

In 1862, the Nez Perce received the first of the annuities promised them in the 1855 treaty. The payment was significantly less than it was supposed to be and Lawyer realizes that he and his people are being cheated.

In 1863, the Americans force another treaty upon the Nez Perce, one that is intended to reduce their reservation by 7 million acres and allow them to retain only 785,000 acres. In addition, all of the bands are to move onto the reduced reservation. The Americans tell the Nez Perce:

“We come as your friends, to advise with you, and to arrange for the preserving of your rights. As your friends we propose to you to relinquish to the United States a part of your present Reservation, and to take a new Reservation, smaller than the one you now hold. We also propose that on this new Reservation, each man or family shall have a piece of land in their own right [severalty], in their own name, just as the Americans do.”

The American agent concluded:

“We intend to act with perfect justice towards you, in the sight of God.”

In the treaty negotiations it was evident to all that there was a rift between the treaty faction lead by Lawyer and several other bands. At the end of the negotiations, Big Thunder made a formal announcement that his people wished no further part in the treaty and declared that the Nez Perce Nation was dissolved. Big Thunder shook hands with Lawyer telling him that they would be friends, but hereafter they would be a distinct people.

Joseph did not attend this treaty council and did not sign this treaty. His son, Chief Joseph, whose band lived in Oregon, put it this way:

“In this treaty, Lawyer acted without authority from our band. He had no right to sell the Wallowa (winding water) country. That had always belonged to my father’s own people, and the other bands had never disputed our right to it.”

While the Nez Perce in the Wallowa Valley felt that the treaty did not affect them because they had not agreed to it, nor had they been present at the council, the United States assumed that it had acquired title to the Wallowa Valley in Oregon.

One of the American participants in the council, Captain George B. Curry, reported:

“Although the treaty goes out to the world as the concurrent agreement of all the tribe, it is in reality nothing more than the agreement of Lawyer and his band, number in the aggregate not a third part of the Nez Perce tribe.”

The Nez Perce Tribe puts it this way:

“this treaty was signed by the Nez Perce leaders who resided within the proposed boundaries of the new reservation, but it was absolutely and flatly denied and rejected by the leaders outside the boundaries of the proposed reservation.”

The 1863 treaty with the Nez Perce was ratified by the Senate and signed by the President in 1867. Lawyer’s response to the news of the ratification:

“The treaty of 1855 has not been lived up to, and we have no faith that this will be lived up to.”

Joseph died in 1871 at the traditional Nez Perce summer camp near the confluence of the Wallowa and Lostine Rivers. He was buried at the foot of a hill, a fence of poles placed around his grave, and a red pole with a bell suspended from a cross piece was placed within the fence. The bell was used by the Dreamers to indicate important moments. The bell was stolen from the grave in 1874.

In 1886, Nez Perce Chief Joseph’s grave was opened and his skull was taken. The skull was later exhibited in a dentist’s office in Baker, Oregon.  

Following his death, Old Joseph’s sons, Joseph (who later became widely known as Chief Joseph because of the 1877 Nez Perce War) and Ollocot assumed the leadership of the Nez Perce in the Wallowa Valley.

Old Joseph’s grave is shown below:

Old Joseph

article on contemporary Native American artists

Living in exile in their own land; contemporary Native American artists

Floris Schreve on June 11 2010

English version of the Dutch original, published in Decorum, journal of the department of Art History, University of Leiden, March 1997, issue 1+2 (also published on this blog, see HERE)

‘I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream . . . . the nation’s hope has broken and scattered. There is no centre any longer, and the sacred tree is dead’. [1]

Black Elk

‘While the entire world is in an identity crisis, the New Indian still knows who he is’ [2]

Fritz Scholder

These quotations, the first of the Lakota Black Elk on the massacre of Wounded Knee in 1890 and the second by the artist Fritz Scholder (Luseno) from the early seventies, show the North American Indians in this century have experienced turbulent changes. After the various Indian nations and tribes were subdued and banned to reservations, it was thought that America’s original inhabitants would disappear very soon. Nearly a century later, despite the social and economic problems, the Native Americans found a defined identity in a totally changed world.

The Native Americans manifest themselves also artistic in various ways. In the reservations, which are relatively isolated from the rest of American society, a revival can be observed of the traditional arts. This applies especially to the peoples in the south-western United States (Navaho, Pueblo, Hopi) and for the peoples of the Canadian west coast (Haida, Tlingit, Kwakiutl). Elsewhere in North America there is also a revival of various tribal traditions.

These artistic expressions are not limited to nostalgia. Many of these artists are experimenting with new materials and shapes to the traditional imagery a contemporary face. The most famous artists in this way to work are the ‘sand painter’ Joe Ben Jr. (Navaho) and the goldsmith and sculptor Bill Reid (Haida).

In this context the more recent emerged artistic expressions are central. Beside artists of Native American origin who work in the tradition of their own cultural heritage, since the fifties a new phenomenon emerged, called ‘pan-indianism’, a movement that was close related with the increasing political and emancipatory struggle of the original inhabitants of America. This new activism was mainly originated by Native Americans living outside the reservations, and mostly had received university education.

Although the first and long time the only Indian with a university education, the famous Indian affairs commissioner Donehogawa or Ely Parker, lived in the nineteenth century, the Native Americans in general are still an underclass minority in American society. From the fifties however, there were more Indians who followed an academic education.

They were mainly representatives of this group who reconsider their own identity. Also there were several political organizations established as ‘The National Congress of American Indians’ and militant movements like the ‘American Indian Movement’ (AIM) and ‘Red Power’ and organized political actions which sometimes took the attention of the world press, like the occupations of Alcatraz (1969) and Wounded Knee (1973, see this documentary by Roelof Kiers for the Dutch television). In both cases these were intertribal actions, organized by AIM.

These activities can’t be understood out of context of the general protest movement of the sixties. The rise of the emancipation movement of Native Americans took place at the same time as the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam demonstrations. However, the most important Native American writer of that time, Vine Deloria Jr. (Lakota), president of the ‘National Congress of American Indians’ during the seventies and author of We talk, you listen, God is Red and Custer died for Your Sins, stipulates the differences with the Afro-American emancipation movement. Although he clearly expresses his sympathy for the Civil Rights Movement, in Custer died for your Sins (the title refers to the U.S. General Custer in 1876 with the Seventh Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army was massacred by the Lakota, the Western or Teton Sioux , led by Sitting Bull at the Little Bighorn) he states that the Native Americans other goals than, say, Afro-Americans. In his view the main aim of the natives is not to integrate into American society, because Western culture is imposed on them involuntarily. In his manifesto Vine Deloria Jr. pleas as much as possible autonomy for the indigenous population, for self determination, land and particularly the maintenance of their own cultural heritage. In this regard he particularly criticizes the romantic attitude of some Westerners to the ‘noble savage’. He rejects a fashionable interest in Indian mysticism in the western world, in his opinion it is outright theft of ideas, from one hypocrisy after first massive genocide was committed on the Native Americans. [3] These ideas are also in line with that of Pam Colorado (Oneida), professor at the University of Toronto: ‘In the end non Indians will have complete power to define what is and what is not Indian, even for Indians … When this happens, the last vestiges of Indian Society and Indian rights will disappear. Non Indians will then ‘own’ our heritage and ideas as thoroughly as they now claim to own our land and resources’.[4]

continue on…

Dam Indians: The Elwha River

( – promoted by navajo)

The Elwha River originates in the mountains of what is now the Olympic National Park in Washington. Long before the coming of the Europeans, there were bountiful salmon runs on the Elwha River which were important to the economy of the Klallam people. The Elwha River supported annual runs of 250,000 to 500,000 fish, including cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden, coho, sturgeon, steelhead, sockeye, and pink salmon. Some salmon weighed more than 100 pounds. While the river is short-only 45 miles long-it was the only river in the Pacific Northwest to contain all five species of Pacific salmon.

Elwhat River

Elwha Map

Fish were important to the ecology of the area. There were more than 20 different species of fish and animals which fed directly on the river’s salmon. In addition, the spawned out carcasses of the anadromous fish provided tons of natural fertilizer for the vegetation along the river.

For the Klallam people, the salmon were more than just a source of calories: they were also an important part of their religion. The salmon, therefore, were treated with special reverence and a ceremony was held at the first catch to honor the salmon and to encourage its abundance.

In 1855 the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe signed the Treaty of Point No Point with the United States. In this treaty, the tribe retains the right to fish the Elwha River in perpetuity.

In 1910 construction began on the Elwha Dam. The construction of the dam ignored both the Klallam people and state law which required fish runs. In 1913 when the dam became operational, the Klallam people watched in horror as thousands of migrating fish died at the base of the 108′ high dam. By blocking the fish passage to their spawning grounds, the dam effectively negated the tribe’s treaty rights.

Elwha Dam

In 1927 a second dam, the Glines Canyon Dam, was constructed on the Elwha River. By this time the fish runs were gone. The two dams on the river also had consequences for the shellfish. With the two dams, the natural downstream movement of gravel and nutrients was stopped. As a result, the broad sandy beaches at the mouth of the river, once prime shellfish beds, were washed away because of the lack of replenishing materials from upstream.

The two dams did more than destroy a traditional fishing area: they also flooded numerous areas of spiritual significance for the Lower Elwha Klallam people. Included in the flooded area is the creation site for the Elwha people.

In 1989 the Lower Elwha Klallam passed a resolution calling for the removal of dams on the Elwha River. The resolution noted that the dams have destroyed the anadromous fishery which had been the tribe’s most valuable resource. They also noted that the dams impede the passage of sediments which are needed to maintain the reservation’s beaches.

In 1992 Congress authorized the federal government to acquire and then remove the two Elwha River Dams. This decision to remove the dams was met with outrage and opposition, often expressed in anti-Indian racist terms. After several years of delay, the Department of the Interior officially acquired the two dams from the private owners in 2000.

The dismantling of the dams is scheduled to being in 2011 and the dams should be gone by 2014. By 2039, the river should be replenished to its pre-dam levels. The National Park Service, which is in charge of the project, estimates that the salmon run should increase from 3,000 to over 400,000. Tribal elders and biologists hope that this will mean the eventual return of 100 pound salmon to the river.  

Indians on Display

( – promoted by navajo)

At the beginning of the twentieth century it was commonly felt that American Indians were a vanishing people. The stereotype of the Indian is symbolized in James E. Fraser’s equestrian statue, “The End of the Trail,” first shown at the San Francisco Exposition in 1915.

During the first decades of the twentieth century American Indians were sometimes put on display as living museum relics of a mythical past, a past that had been conquered by American material, martial, and moral superiority. There was an audience demand to see Indians dressed as Indians were supposed to have dressed in the mythical past doing those sorts of things the audience thought they were supposed to have done. At the same time, the American government through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (called the Indian Office at this time), in an attempt to kill Indian culture, attempted to prohibit Indians from dancing traditional dances, wearing traditional clothes, and, most of all, from having long hair.  

Government Demands:

In 1902, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) told its reservation agents:

“You are therefore directed to induce your male Indians to cut their hair.”

According to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:

“The wearing of short hair by the males will be a great step in advance, and will certainly hasten their progress toward civilization.”

Indian men with long hair were to be denied rations. If they still refused to cut their hair, “short confinement in the guardhouse at hard labor with shorn locks, should furnish a cure.”

Indian agents were also instructed to stop Indians from using face paint. According to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:

“The use of this paint leads to many diseases of the eyes among those Indians who paint. Persons who have given considerable thought and investigation to the subject are satisfied that this custom causes the majority of cases of blindness among the Indians of the United States.”

In addition, Indian dances and feasts were to be prohibited. According to the BIA:

“Feasts are simply subterfuges to cover degrading acts and to disguise immoral purposes.”

The Railroads and Indian Ethnic Tourism:

To encourage tourism in the southwest, the Santa Fe Railway in 1900 promoted the Hopi snake dance as a tourist attraction and published a pamphlet on the dance written by a Smithsonian anthropologist, Walter Hough. The pamphlet reassured tourists that even though the Hopi performed the lurid Snake dance, they were not dangerous. It reminded readers that Indians were living examples of the childhood of man. While the Religious Crimes Code made ceremonials such as the snake dance illegal, it was not enforced against the snake dance because the railroad promoted it and the tourists demanded to see it.

The Fred Harvey Company formed an Indian Department in 1902 which bought and sold Indian-made objects. The Indian Department also published postcards featuring Indians, souvenir books, and pamphlets. They also opened the Indian Building in Albuquerque. The building was located between the Santa Fe Railway depot and the Alvarado Hotel so that passengers from the railroad passed in front of the building where Indians displayed their works, then through the Indian Museum, and into a curio shop.

In 1905, the Fred Harvey Company completed the El Tovar hotel at the Grand Canyon to accommodate tourists brought in by the Santa Fe Railway. Near the hotel, Harvey Company built Hopi House, a three-story structure designed to look like a cluster of Hopi dwellings where guests were able to purchase curios and watch Indians demonstrate their craft skills and dancing.

The famous Hopi potter Nampeyo and her family were among the first to live and work at Hopi House. The promotional material for one photograph reads:

“These quaintly-garbed Indians on the housetop hail from Tewa, the home of Nampeyo, the most noted pottery-maker in all Hopiland”

and concludes that

“They are the most primitive Indians in America, with ceremonies several centuries old.”

The use of the Hopi as a tourist attraction at the Grand Canyon did not work as smoothly as the non-Indian organizers had envisioned.  The organizers expected the Indians to leave their homes willingly upon request and to stay at Hopi House until replacements for them could be found. The Hopi were expected to make baskets and pottery for sale, to work around the store packing and cleaning, and to dance for the tourists at night.  

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held in St. Louis in 1904. The federal government built a Model Indian School to show that Indian children

“can talk; that they can sing; that they can learn; that they are docile and obedient; that they are human.”

Students from Chilocco, Haskell, Genoa, and Sacaton Indian Schools lived at the school. Girls from Chilocco demonstrated modern techniques for handling laundry work while boys from the school ran a print shop which produced a daily newspaper. Boys from Haskell demonstrated building wagons and blacksmithing skills while the girls demonstrated the domestic arts of sewing, tailoring, and millinery. The boys from Genoa fashioned harnesses. About 30,000 visitors a day passed through the Model Indian School.

One of the feature attractions was the Fort Shaw Indian School basketball team which played against local and regional championship teams and was crowned the World’s Champion Girls’ Basketball Team. According to comments in the visitors’ book, the Fort Shaw girls were one of the major reasons for the popularity of the Model Indian School.

The purpose of the anthropology section of the exposition was

“to satisfy the intelligent observer that there is a course of progress running from lower to higher humanity, and that all the physical and cultural types of man mark stages in that course.”

Following the model of social evolution popular at the time, European-Americans were depicted as the highest form of humanity and Indians were shown toward the bottom of the scale. The Kwakiutl were “living examples of the dominant influence of environment on primitive life” while the Cocopa were an example of a group “least removed from the sub-human or quadrumane form.”

The exposition included an Indian village which housed representatives from about 20 different tribes. The tribes were arranged in an evolutionary fashion from the least civilized to the most civilized, with the Indian school forming the apex of civilization.  

Within the village, visitors could see Navajos weaving blankets and fashioning silver jewelry, Apache women weaving baskets, Pueblo artists shaping pottery, Lakota Sioux demonstrating their expertise in beadwork and pipestone carving, and Pomos making stone tools and crafting musical instruments.

Commercial exhibits at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition sold Indian curios and provided special exhibits. In these exhibits, the Zuñi were billed as “the last of the Aztecs” and the Pueblo of Taos was inhabited by Hopi and Zuñi. The exhibits were inaccurate and reinforced common stereotypes about Indians. First, the Zuñi were not related to the Aztec culturally or linguistically. Second, while Taos is considered a pueblo like Hopi and Zuñi, Taos is culturally and linguistically distinct from these two groups.

Among the Indian artists at the Exposition were Maria and Julian Martinez, potters from San Ildelfonso Pueblo in New Mexico.

The Idaho state exhibit included Indian-made textiles, baskets, and pottery. The Alaska exhibit featured two plank houses, a Haida totem pole, and a resident Nootka family that made baskets, hats, mats, and carvings.

Apache leader Geronimo, the last Indian leader to be held as a prisoner of war, was allowed to be exhibited at the Exposition and to sell his signature. Cheyenne artisans constructed a special tipi for Geronimo and his band. Geronimo’s Apache were not Plains Indian and did not historically live in tipis.

United States Land and Irrigation Exposition:

In Chicago, the Chicago Tribune sponsored a second United States Land and Irrigation Exposition in 1910. The Santa Fe Railway and the Fred Harvey Company, promoting travel to the southwest, constructed a building for the Hopi. The Fred Harvey Company requested that the superintendent of the Hopi Reservation provide them with one family from each of the three Hopi mesas. The women were to make baskets and pottery and the men were to weave blankets, kilts, and sashes. The company asked that only two children be allowed to accompany each family and that the girls must have their hair done in whorls, that the men wear moccasins, velvet shirts, and bandanas around their foreheads, and that the women wear traditional Indian costumes.

Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition:

In 1909, the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition was held in Seattle. Among the exhibits was the Utah Building which was a replica of a section of a Hopi Pueblo. It should be pointed out that the Hopi Pueblos are in Arizona, not Utah.  Visitors, however, blissfully unaware of this inaccuracy took delight in visiting the Utah Building, which was a unique pueblo that housed Native American handicrafts.

The Alaska Building included displays of Alaskan Native artifacts set in glass display cases. The displays of American Indian and Eskimo artifacts included miniature totem poles, dolls, woven baskets, and tools.

The Eskimo Village exhibit included 100 Native people brought to Seattle so that visitors would be able learn about the aboriginal northern inhabitants. As a part of this exhibit, the Natives put on dogsled rides, dances, and canoe races. The exhibit did little to counter the common misconceptions that Eskimos were wild, had no laws or government, and knew no god.

Judge and Mrs. Thomas Burke held a reception for Indians attending the Alaska Yukon Exposition. An all-Indian band played for the guests. Mrs. Burke was attired in a white buckskin outfit from the Klickitat tribe and Mrs. Jay Lynch, the wife of a former Indian agent for the Yakama Reservation, was similarly attired. A young woman from the Puyallup Indian school identified only as Bright Eyes dressed in traditional tribal attire and sang several songs.

Breaking: Indian Educ. Advisory Bill Passes In Okla!!!

( – promoted by navajo)

The last two diaries I did on this are here and here. Breaking news after the fold!

The Governor signed HB 2929 and it becomes effective July 1.  

Thank you to everyone who helped pass the word and who kept up the pressure.  This is indeed a step in the right direction for Oklahoma Indian Education.

Mvto mvto mvto mvto!!!!

Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights & Indigenous Traditions

This is a victory for the ancestors and the 7th Generation, as I wrote in There Was No Centennial for Indian Territory:

But that wasn’t part of the “solution,” Roosevelt squelched Indian Territory’s attempts at having joint statehood with Oklahoma. As the result, there was no Centennial for Indian Territory.


After the introduction of a bill for admitting Indian Territory as the State of Sequoyah sank in Congress in December 1905-January 1906, Pres. Theodore Roosevelt recommended joint statehood.

What was part of the “solution” was a cruel “wedding” between Indian Territory and the State of Oklahoma simultaneously with Oklahoma’s admittance into statehood.


Rev. Dodson: Representing the Indian Territory is Mrs. Anna Bennett of Muskogee.  

(Durant presents Mrs. Bennett to Jones, bows, and steps back.)

Mrs. Bennett: I will.  And to you I present my hand and my fortunes, convinced that  your love is genuine and sincere.

Dodson: Do you, Mr. Oklahoma Territory, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forth, in union as the State of Oklahoma?

To bring this to a close, all of the tribes experienced a Trail of Tears due to the forced relocations; some were more or less severe. However, the tears did not end with the forced relocations. The cruel mock wedding ceremony caused tears; being shut out of the democratic process caused more tears after the denial of duel joint statehood, as did the Dawes Act and all the racism that accompanied it. Simultaneously, the Indian Boarding Schools were working their “solution,” which would continue until approximately 1970, while the forced sterilizations would work their “solution” and end in the mid 1970’s. No Indian, no “problem” for the whites who cut the Indians out of life, democracy, or both.

So, how else would one help eliminate another’s political influence? Don’t let them teach their children the truth, or anyone else’s.  Now, after over a century, there is finally an educational tool to teach the truth about American Indians in Oklahoma.

The Powwow

( – promoted by navajo)

The most common form of Indian ceremony is the powwow. The powwow itself is not a religious or spiritual ceremony; nor, in its current form, is it a particularly “ancient” celebration. The powwow is a public celebration and demonstration of community pride in Indian culture and a way of honoring Native American heritage.

Powwow 2009 1

On the other hand, for many people – dancers, drummers, and spectators – the powwow is also a spiritual experience and a spiritual ceremony. Many begin their participation in powwow by smudging: cleansing and spiritually purifying themselves, their dance regalia, and their drums with the smoke from sage or sweetgrass.


During the Dark Ages of American Indian Religious Freedom (1880 to 1934), the Indian Office (the current Bureau of Indian Affairs) and the local Indian agents discouraged all types of Indian dancing as barriers to civilization. Christian missionaries to the reservations often complained that Indian dances “inflamed animal passions and the immoral and uncivilized people.” Indian agents were told by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to prohibit Indian dancing as such activities were deemed to be injurious to the moral welfare of the Indians.

The Baptist field matron for the Kiowa-Commanche Reservation in Oklahoma condemned powwow dancing in 1915:

“These dances are one of the breeding places of illegitimate children, which is becoming the shame of the tribe.”

The new superintendent for the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana addressed his concerns over Indian dances in 1917 by stating:

“I recommend the policy of repression and at the same time instruction to show the uselessness of these practices.”

On the other hand, non-Indian tourists had an interest in seeing the Indians dance. While Indian dancing was discouraged on the reservation, non-Indian groups often invited Indians to put on dances in off-reservation venues as a part of celebrations intended to attract tourists.

In 1911, for example, Colorado Springs, Colorado invited a group of Ute to be a part of an exhibition at an 8-day carnival. The Indians performed dances and other ceremonies that were discouraged at their reservation. The events, while not favored by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, were popular with those attending the event.

In spite of attempts to eradicate Indian dances, the dances continued. In the off-reservation venues, the dancers would often be from different tribes and thus a kind of pan-Indianism developed in which the powwowsa were not a celebration of one particular Indian culture, but of Indianness in general.

FVCC 2009

Contemporary Powwows:

At the present time, there are powwows held in all fifty states and in most of the Canadian provinces. Some are held on reservations and reserves, while others are held in places such as universities and colleges. Some powwows are held in conjunction with tribal casinos.

People dance at powwows for many reasons. Some dance because they are Indian and this is a way of celebrating their heritage. Powwows are a time for renewing friendships, for seeing family and friends, for coming home.

Some dance because they earn money in the contests. Many large powwows run dance contests and some dancers travel a powwow circuit, dancing at different powwows each weekend, and earning enough money through their winnings to stay on the road.

Some dance because of their personal spiritual beliefs and vision. It is not uncommon for Indians in the process of recovery from alcoholism and/or drug addiction to dance as a way of spiritually reinforcing their sobriety.

FVCC 2009 2

Grand Entry:

Grand Entry

Traditional Dancer:

Trad Dancer 1

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Aboriginal Justice in Canada

( – promoted by navajo)

The First Nations of Canada had law, and therefore a justice system, long before the arrival of the French and British. With the imposition of British rule, however, the First Nations have had a foreign, and very different, justice system superimposed on them. At the present time, there are really three different kinds of justice systems operating among the First Nations of Canada: the European system which is alien to the traditional cultures, traditional systems which operate to hear certain kinds of cases, and a blended system which is based on the European justice model, but which is empathetic to aboriginal culture. This diary will focus on a case study of the blended system.  

European-style justice systems are adversarial with a focus on punishment. The traditional justice systems of aboriginal peoples, on the other hand, are cooperative and focused on healing. This is not to say that in traditional justice systems people were not punished, but that the focus was not on the individual, but rather the family and the community.  When a Cree elder was asked by a Crown Attorney what the community did to those who misbehaved in traditional times, she replied (through a translator):

We didn’t do anything to them. We counselled them instead.

What follows below is from an actual case. It is described in more detail in Returning to the Teachings by Rupert Ross.

The Cree First Nation in northwestern Ontario is remote. There is no court building, or even courtroom. There are no resident judges, Crown Attorneys, or Duty Counsels (a kind of public defender). These are flown in for the trials. The court is set up in a local school.

The courtroom is arranged to reduce the adversarial nature of the process: the tables are arranged in a circle. Instead of having the accused sit opposite from the Crown and the police, they are spread around the room. The circle is a mixture of police, the accused, translators, probation officers, and anyone else who might contribute to the case. People tend to feel better when they come together as equals in an attempt to find solutions.

Among those present are three Cree women from the Police Committee. The Police Committee, composed of six men and six women, had been working with each of the people charged and had prepared detailed recommendations for each case. They bring with them an infant in a cradle board who is one the table in front of them during the proceedings. It is normal for children, including infants, to be present at Native events. Within the aboriginal justice system, the infant serves as a reminder that the people have come together to make life better for the next generation.

The case involved assault: a man in his twenties had assaulted his wife. In urban Canada, it is generally agreed that by the time a woman reports an assault by her partner it is about the thirty-fifth time he has assaulted her. The man pled guilty.

The three Cree women then made their suggestions. First, they recommended that the man go through a thirty-day alcohol treatment program in the distant city of Thunder Bay. They felt, however, that drinking was just a surface problem and could not be solved on its own. They commented on the lack of communication between the man and his wife and recommended that both attend a series of three-day workshops on family violence and family communication.

In addition, the women continued, the children in the home had witnessed the violence. Without help, the children would grow up to repeat their father’s behavior themselves. Therefore, the women suggested that the entire family attend a month-long family healing program which was available in another community.

The judge included all of the women’s recommendations in the Probation Order. He then reminded the offender that in accepting these recommendations the offender was making promises to his own community and to the elders. The man indicated that he understood this.

This case provides a good illustration of how aboriginal concepts of justice can be integrated into the Canadian legal system.  

Indians as Enemy Combatants

( – promoted by navajo)

Following the 1873 Modoc War, the army had locked thirteen warriors in the cells in the guardhouse at Fort Klamath, a military post near the Klamath Reservation. Initially, the army intended to simply execute eight or ten of the leaders without a trial. The War Department, however, wanted no action taken until the Attorney General decided whether the captives were to be tried in civilian or military courts. The army commander replied:

“Delay will destroy the moral effect which their prompt execution would have upon other tribes.”

Six of the Modoc warriors-Captain Jack, Boston Charley, Black Jim, Schonchin John, Slolux, and Barncho-were tried in a military court martial for war crimes. The formal charges stressed that two peace commissioners had been killed during a suspension of hostilities. In justifying the charge of war crimes, the Attorney General stated:

“According to the laws of war there is nothing more sacred than a flag of truce dispatched in good faith, and there can be no greater act of perfidy and treachery than the assassination of its bearers after they have been acknowledged and received by those to whom they are sent.”

In order to try the defendants under military rather than civil law, the United States had to classify the conflict as a “war” and thus to define the Modoc as a sovereign nation as only sovereign nations can engage in war.

In 1907, the War Department officially enumerated 1,470 incidents of military action against American Indians between 1776 and 1907. According to the War Department, only two of these actions had the formal status of “war” under U.S. Army terminology: the 1877 Nez Perce War and the 1878 Bannock Indian War. The Modoc War, according to the War Department, was not, therefore a war.

The Modoc defendants were not represented by legal counsel and the government held them to a higher standard than its own soldiers. Any U.S. soldiers who violated the laws of war during the Modoc and other Indian wars were never tried and punished as war criminals. During the trial, Captain Jack and Schonchin John were shackled and chained together as were Boston Charley and Black Jim. The two younger defendants-Slolux and Barncho-were not shackled. Uniformed soldiers holding rifles with fixed bayonets stood guard in the court room.

The trial was carried out in accordance with the rules of a military court-martial. The judge advocate asked the defendants if they had any objection to any member of the military commission. It is likely that the Modoc defendants did not understand the significance of what was happening, for if they had understood, they almost certainly would have objected. There were ample grounds for challenging four of the five commission members for just cause, but the trial record shows that this was not explained to the defendants. Thus, the Modoc defendants raised no objection and the trial was allowed to continue. Four of the five members of the commission had been involved in the war and three had fought battles against the accused Modoc warriors.

With regard to the lack of legal counsel, the U.S. Army considered defense counsel a privilege, not a right. The prisoners, who had been confined to jail cells and shackled since their capture, were unable to find counsel.

Since the Modoc defendants spoke little English, Frank and Toby Riddle, the interpreters who had warned General Canby of the attack, translated the proceedings into Modoc. Frank Riddle also testified against them. It is doubtful that the interpreters understood the complex legal jargon of the trial and may not have translated these concepts.

As expected, the court found the six men guilty and sentenced them to be hung. President Ulysses Grant, however, commuted the sentences of Slolux and Barncho to life imprisonment at Alcatraz Island.

All of the Modoc prisoners, including the children of those to be hung, were forced to witness the executions. Their bodies were allowed to hang for 30 minutes following the execution. After the execution, the Modoc leaders’ heads were severed from their bodies and shipped to Washington, D.C. where they were examined by phrenologists who believed that criminal behavior was governed by cranial characteristics.  

19th Century Mormon Missionaries & the Shoshone

( – promoted by navajo)

In 1830, a new religion was born in the United States with the publication of The Book of Mormon. The new religion, founded by Joseph Smith, is unusual among non-Indian religions in that it incorporates some understanding of Indians into its teachings. The Book of Mormon, upon which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is based, offers a history of Indians and sees them as the descendents of the tribe of Joseph, one of Israel’s twelve tribes. Following the Resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared among the Indians in the guise of Viacocha, Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl. In founding the new religious movement, Smith announced that he had a revelation to carry the message of the Book of Mormon to the Indians.

In 1846, the Mormons entered what is now Utah and began to build their Kingdom of God on Earth. Upon entering the Salt Lake Valley, the Mormons abandoned their earlier policy of buying or renting land from Indians and declared ownership based on divine donation and beneficial use. The area where the Mormons settled was a contested buffer zone between the Ute and the Shoshone. The Mormons intended to stay in Utah and thus they needed to develop a stable relationship with the Native Americans who inhabited the area. Brigham Young enunciated a policy of friendliness toward Indians that was designed to minimize tensions between settlers and natives.

In 1853, the Mormons established Fort Supply as an outpost in Shoshone country. During the winter, a number of Shoshone sought refuge with the Mormons. Seizing this as a learning opportunity, the Mormons tried to learn as much as they could from the natives regarding their marriage customs, burial rites, and the tribal roles of the medicine men. They also studied the Shoshone language.

At the same time, Brigham Young established the Southern Indian Mission and stressed that missionaries had to learn Indian languages in order to convert them.

Two years later, Brigham Young appointed 27 men to conduct missionary work among the buffalo-hunting Indians of the Bannock, Shoshone, and Flathead nations whose territories lay north of Utah.

Subsequently, a Mormon missionary party settled on the banks of the Salmon River in Idaho to work with the Bannock. The mission was located near a site where the Bannock, Shoshone, Nez Perce, and Flathead met each summer for gambling and horse-trading. The Mormons were greeted in a friendly fashion by Sho-woo-koo, also known as Le Grand Coquin, who assured them that they could use the land for farming.

The Mormons quickly began holding classes to learn the Shoshone language and they soon baptized 55 Indians.

Not all Indians welcomed the Mormons. In 1858, Fort Lehmi, a Mormon mission in Idaho, was attacked by a war party of about 200 Bannock and Shoshone warriors. Two of the Mormons were killed and five were wounded. The Indians captured 250 cattle and 29 horses. As a result of the attack, the mission was abandoned.

In 1873 Mormon missionaries under the leadership of George Washington Hill traveled to southern Idaho where they baptized about 100 Shoshone and Bannock. Speaking to the Indians in their own language, Hill told them about the Book of Mormon and depicted its story by placing pictures on a scroll. The baptized Indians were then settled on farmland near Brigham City, Utah. The Indians named the new community Washakie, after a Shoshone Chief.

In 1875, Shoshone chief Pocatello traveled to Salt Lake City where he demanded to be baptized by the Mormons. In addition to Pocatello, five other Shoshone men and four Shoshone women are baptized. Pocatello predicted that many more would follow seeking spiritual salvation.

In 1875, a Mormon missionary gathered a number of Shoshone on a spot between Malad and the Bear River in Idaho. They put in 140 acres of corn, wheat, and potatoes. The missionary then began a series of evangelical meetings which resulted in 574 baptisms.

While Mormon missionaries were having some success at converting the Shoshone and Bannock, the government did not look upon this favorably. The Indian agent at the Fort Hall Reservation accused the Mormon missionaries of teaching that the Indians were chosen of the Lord to establish God’s kingdom on earth. Furthermore, the agent accused the missionaries of fostering hatred of the American government. While the Indian agent prohibited the Indians from listening to the Mormons, the Indians snuck off the reservation to hear what the Mormons had to say. The government then sent in troops to break up the missionary enterprise and to bring the Indians back to the reservation.

When the military commander ordered the Indians to return to the reservation, they were on their second day of harvest. As a result, most of the crops which they had planted were lost.  Following this incident, the Deseret News reported:

“These shameful Indian scares are actual robberies-they rob the Indians of their hard earned crops and of the right to dwell in peace”

Undeterred by the military breakup of his Indian farm, the Mormon missionary established another farm for the Shoshone between the Bear and Malad Rivers. With the help of other Mormon missionaries, a dam was constructed and work on an irrigation system was started. Eighty acres were planted which the Indians harvested with their own reaper.

In 1877, in response to the establishment of a Mormon farm for the Shoshone, non-Indians again demanded that the Indians be forcibly returned to the Fort Hall Reservation. Rumors circulated that the Indians were well-armed and that their horses were in good condition. The district attorney reported that the Indians had become members of the Mormon church, that they were under Mormon control, and thus they were “disloyal.” He recommended that the Indians be returned to the reservation and that the missionary should be charged with “illegally tampering with the Indians.” While the district attorney argued that military force be used to move the Indians, the Indian agent noted that the Indians in question had never resided at Fort Hall but had always made the Bear River area their home.

In 1880, a Mormon missionary went to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming to work among the Shoshone. When he asked his old friend Chief Washakie for protection against the Gentile Indian agents, he was told that Washakie was not interested in talking with him nor was he interested in learning more about Mormonism. Washakie explained that Mormonism was an invented story, but also confessed that the Mormons had always been his friends. After a discussion with Washakie, the Mormons received permission to tell the Shoshone about the Book of Mormon.

The Mormon missionary, Amos Wright, explained to the Shoshone the contents of the Book of Mormon, their relationship to the Lamanites, and the promises that God made to them. Wright spoke to them in broken Shoshone, but in spite of this his talk made such an impact upon those assembled that 87 requested baptism. Washakie and 17 of his family members converted. Wright baptized 422 Shoshone during a four-week time period.

Lawrence Coates (1972: 7) writes: “Wright’s success rested partly upon the Shoshonis’ long tradition of accepting dreams and visions as being divine manifestations. To them, the visions described by Wright could easily fit into their religious beliefs.”

In 1882, John Taylor, the president of the Mormon Church, received divine instructions for the church to renew its determination to educate and convert Native Americans. Assignments were made to various apostles to supervise the work among the Indian nations.

In 1883, the Indian agent for the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho estimated that 300 Bannock and Shoshone were now members of the Mormon Church. He asked the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for help in stopping the Mormons from instructing the Indians in polygamy and other “vile doctrines.”

In 1885, Mormon president John Taylor urged more church responsibility in teaching the Indians. He said:

“We know there are difficulties in reaching the Indian but this must not be an excuse in our neglecting to teach them.”


The Mormon missionaries were successful among the Shoshone for a number of reasons. While most missionaries sought to convert them on behalf of the United States government, the Mormon religion, like the Native American religions, was suppressed by the government. Thus Indians felt a sense of kinship with the Mormons.

The Mormons, like the Indians, were also persecuted because of their practice of polygyny. This contributed to a sense of similarity with the Mormons.

Third, the Indians viewed Mormon doctrine as similar to theirs with its origins in a vision. And the Mormons told the Indians the story of the Book of Mormon in their own language rather than requiring the Indians to learn English. Unlike other forms of Christianity, Indians are included in the religious stories.

And finally, unlike many of the other missionaries which Indians encountered, the Mormons seemed to be genuinely interested in helping them, not only spiritually, but also with regard to their economic well-being.  

Suing an Indian Agent

( – promoted by navajo)

The United States has always been very good about promising things to Indians, particularly during the Treaty Era of the 1800s. When it comes to making good on these promises, particularly when they might cost money, it is a different matter. Traditionally, when Congress wants to cut the budget, one of the first places they look is at the appropriations for Indian services.

In order to cut down on the expense of paying for Indian delegations who were visiting Washington, D.C., Congress in 1868 did not provide the Bureau of Indian Affairs with general funds which had traditionally been used for financing unauthorized Indian delegations to the capital. Consequently, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs told the Indian agents:

“You will, therefore, take such steps to prevent any Indian coming here, as may be necessary to accomplish the object.”

The order to stop Indian delegations from visiting Washington, D.C. arrived at the Sauk and Fox Reservation in Kansas just as an unauthorized delegation led by James Keokuk was preparing to leave the reservation to visit the Capital. The Indian agent, mindful of the memo from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to stop such delegations, summoned the Indians to his office and told them that they could not leave the reservation. James Keokuk told the agent:

“We will go where we please, when we please, independent of the Commissioner or anybody else.”

The Indians then left the reservation against the orders of the Indian agent. The agent then wired his supervisor for instructions and was informed to stop the delegation. The Indians at this time are at the train station and refuse to turn bank. The agent responded by filing a complaint with the U.S. marshal who then arrested them. The Indians spent the night in jail and were released the following morning with a writ of habeas corpus.

The Indians were tried in a district court in Topeka and the judge found that the prohibition against travel could not be enforced as there was no law restricting Indian travel. The Indians, however, did not let the matter drop: they filed suit against the Indian agent, the marshal, and the jailer, charging them with false arrest and suing them for damages.  

In their suit, the Indians asked for $40,000 in damages. Eventually, the cases against everyone except for the Indian agent-Albert Wiley-were dismissed. Wiley was convicted of false imprisonment and ordered to pay $1,900 in damages and court costs.

Wiley appealed and the case-Wiley v. Keokuk-made its way through the legal system. In 1870, the Supreme Court of Kansas reaffirmed the original verdict. The Court found that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs had overstepped his authority in having Indians restricted to the reservation. The attorney for James Keokuk argued that this case

“involves a great constitutional question: an exercise in arbitrary power; a violation of our magna charta; an attempt to destroy liberty of all the domestic dependent nations, with who we are connected by treaty stipulations.”

He went on to say that the basic issue

“involves the question whether the orders of an inferior executive officer can have the force of law, makes slaves of free men because their skin is red, and order their imprisonment should they dare to disobey his orders.”

The Kansas Supreme Court awarded James Keokuk $1,700 in damages and Wiley had to pay an additional $686 in legal fees and court costs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs paid Wiley’s bills from its contingency funds.

While Indians who attempted to leave their reservations continued to be cajoled, threatened, and denounced by Indian agents, their supervisors, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, there was never again an attempt to jail an Indian delegation to prevent it from going to Washington, D.C.

The Modoc War

( – promoted by navajo)

The Modoc homeland is the Tule Lake area on the border between California and Oregon. In 1873, the U.S. Army engaged a small band of Modoc under the leadership of Captain Jack in what has been called the Modoc War. There were many things which lead up to this war, including governmental intolerance of Indian cultures, particularly Indian religions.  

In 1864, Elijah Steele negotiated a treaty with the Modoc in which the United States agrees to obtain a reservation for the Modoc along Lost River. However, the government did not submit the treaty to the Senate for confirmation as it had not been authorized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Modoc felt that the government had unilaterally cancelled their treaty.

Following the cancelled treaty, the U.S. government held a treaty council with the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahuskin (a Shoshone band affiliated with the Paiute) at Council Grove, Oregon. The government proposed that the three groups share a reservation in eastern Oregon. The Modoc were less than enthusiastic about this treaty as it meant moving away from their traditional territory. However, they felt that they had little choice, so they signed the treaty.

In the treaty, the American government agreed to pay annuities and to pay for reservation improvements. The government, however, also reserved the right to place other tribes on the reservation.

In 1865, Captain Jack (Kintpuash) led the Lost River Modoc off the Klamath Reservation because the superintendent of Indian affairs refused to recognize him as chief.  Four years later, he moved back to the Klamath Reservation. He brought with him 43 men, women, and children.

In 1870, Captain Jack led a larger group of 371 of his people off the Klamath Reservation and returned to the Modoc homeland. Once back in the Modoc homeland, Captain Jack steadfastly refused to budge.

In 1871, Captain Jack killed an Indian doctor for failing to cure one of his children-an action which was acceptable in Modoc culture. The Indian agent, however, ordered the military to arrest him for murder. Captain Jack, alerted that the army was going to arrest him, hid in the mountains and avoided capture.  

After returning to the Klamath reservation briefly, Captain Jack once again left the reservation with a group of about 50 Modoc. At this time, one of the primary functions of the reservation was to convert Indians to Christianity. In doing this, all traditional Indian religious practices, including shamanism, were not allowed. Being upset at not being able to practice their traditional ways, the Modoc intended to return to their homelands in the Tule Lake area of Northern California.

Orders were then issued to the 1st Cavalry to compel the Modoc, by force if necessary, to return to the Klamath Reservation. The troops arrived at the Modoc camp at daybreak, taking the Indians by surprise. The orders of the Indian superintendent to return to the reservation were explained to them. The interpreter realized that the Modoc were not going to comply and notified the army officer. The troops then fired several volleys into the tipis.

The Indians took refuge in the lava beds near Tule Lake, California. The lava beds are a maze of twisted stone, hidden caves, lava flows, and natural trenches. The Indians killed 12 settlers on their flight south.  

The spiritual leader of the group was Curley Headed Doctor. In the lava beds, he had a rope of tule reeds woven, dyed red, and stretched around the campsite. He claimed that no American soldier could cross this rope. Since no soldiers cross this rope during the conflict, the Modoc assumed that it worked.

In 1873, a peace commission met with Captain Jack. The area of conflict was clear: the army wanted Captain Jack’s band removed to the Klamath reservation, while Captain Jack wanted a reservation set aside for his band on their ancestral lands.  

While the truce between the army and the Modoc called for no hostile movements during the peace negotiations, the army moved its soldiers and canons forward in violation of the truce. In desperation, the Modoc made plans to kill General E.R.S. Canby, the army field commander. While Canby was warned of the plans by an interpreter, he insisted that the Modoc would not dare to carry it out with so many soldiers around. However, the Modoc carried out their plans and General E.R.S. Canby and the Reverend Eleazer Thomas were killed. The Indian agent, Alfred B. Meacham, was wounded. This intensified the Modoc War in which Captain Jack’s 50 Modoc warriors eluded 1,000 pursuing soldiers for a month.

From an Army perspective the Modoc War was fought by an inexperienced army of poorly trained and poorly supported soldiers led by incompetent officers. The Modoc, on the other hand, were led by Captain Jack who proved to be a fine military strategist and tactician.

In one encounter, the 400 soldiers who were sent in to subdue the Modoc encountered a thick fog and soon retreated in panic and disarray. From the Modoc perspective, Curley Headed Doctor’s medicine had worked. He had brought a fog to confuse the enemy, and then he turned the soldiers’  bullets so that no Modoc was hurt.

In another instance, a large patrol blundered into a carefully planned ambush. The army and the press labeled this a massacre. The soldiers had left on the maneuver as though they were going to a picnic rather than a battle. One of the Modoc leaders, Scarface Charley, had called down to some of the survivors: “We don’t want to kill you all in one day” and through this generosity several soldiers escaped.

In one incident, the army soldiers found an old woman-described as being 80 or 90 years old-in the rocks near the stronghold. The lieutenant asked: “is there anyone here who will put that old hag out of the way?” A soldier then placed his carbine to her head and shot her. One of the witnesses to the event, Maurice Fitzgerald, later wrote:

“This incident goes to show that humanity is about the same the world over and not to any great extent affected by religion, language, or national boundaries.”  

Captain Jack finally surrendered and in the peace negotiations, he told the Americans:

“This is my home; I was born here, always lived here, and I don’t want to leave here.”

The captured Modoc were then marched under heavy guard to Fort Klamath, a military post near the Klamath Reservation. Thirteen of the warriors are locked in cells in the guardhouse. The other 140 men, women, and children are confined to a stockade that measures 150 feet by 50 feet.

One group of 17 Modoc men, women, and children peacefully surrendered to the army. They were loaded into a large wagon and transported toward the Klamath Reservation without a military escort. The wagon was stopped by the Oregon Volunteers. A little later, masked men approached the stopped wagons and killed four of the captive Modoc men and wounded a Modoc woman. The army made no effort to catch the killers.

Following the Modoc War, 153 Modoc were shipped from the Klamath Reservation in Oregon to the Quapaw Agency in Oklahoma. The Modoc were sent to Oklahoma as prisoners of war.

The commission investigating the Modoc War reported:

“The causes leading to war were the dissatisfaction of Captain Jack’s band of Modocs with the provisions and execution of the treaty of October 1864 and refusal to abide thereby” and “The immediate cause of hostilities was resistance by the Indians to military coercion.”

The Modoc War cost the lives of about 200 American soldiers and volunteer militia. Only 13 Modoc were killed.  

News Collection Diary For June 13th, 2010

I’ll start:

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., today ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff from June 3 through June 6 in honor and recognition of the late Navajo Code Talker Lemuel Bahe Yazzien of Whitecone, Ariz., who died Friday. [May 28, 2010]

He was 91. He was born on June 2, 1918, and would have turned 92 today.

“The late Reverend Lemuel B. Yazzie was a renowned Navajo Code Talker who served the United States of America, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the Navajo Nation during World War II with courage, honor and distinction,” President Shirley said in a proclamation to be issued Thursday.

“The Rev. Yazzie endured the horrors of combat during the occupation of China and was in a radio platoon in a forward echelon against hostile forces. The Navajo Nation unites and offers prayers and deepest condolences to his family during this time of grief.”

In 2002, he received the Congressional Silver Medal for his Marine service.

Teen Suicides Spike in Navajo Country

Seven teen suicides around the small towns of Thoreau and Prewitt in McKinley County have led state, federal, school and Navajo officials  to join forces, the Albuquerque Journal reported over the weekend.

Agencies, especially those of the Navajo Nation, are providing counseling and staffing a 24-hour hotline to deal with the fallout from seven suicides by teens 17 and younger, the Journal tells us.


Residents and mental health professionals have posited various explanations for the spree of suicides, ranging from the region’s struggling economy to drug and alcohol abuse and a lack of opportunities and activities, Uyttebrouck writes.


June 8, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has been granted a restraining order in the Superior Court of California-San Diego County to halt the Padre Dam Municipal Water District from “further desecrating a recently-unearthed Kumeyaay burial and ceremonial ground,” a statement issued by Viejas announced. Padre Dam Municipal Water District is constructing a new reservoir and pumping station at the site, which is on approximately two acres south of I-8 near Lake Jennings Park Road and Old Highway 80.

In a hearing yesterday, Judge Judith Hayes ordered the District to avoid construction over roughly two-thirds of the construction site until at least June 25, when the hearing for a permanent injunction is scheduled. A representative for California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office appeared at today’s hearing and spoke in favor of the restraining order.

Navajo Nation Council opposes AZ immigration law

Lawmakers on the country’s largest American Indian reservation have voted to formally oppose Arizona’s tough new immigration law.


Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay sponsored the measure. He says he sees the immigration law as an attempt to harass American Indians, who can resemble Mexican nationals.


Navajo lawmakers came out against a state measure that prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity. Begay says the Navajo culture should be respected and protected.

Letting the Arrows Fly at Hollywood Stereotypes

Movie Review

Reel Injun

June 14, 2010

Setting off in his barely road-worthy “rez car,” Mr. Diamond films a series of bittersweet, and sometimes bitingly funny, encounters. A husband and wife, Navajo elders who worked as extras in John Ford westerns, see themselves on screen for the first time and recall how the Indian dialogue in those films was often significantly different from (and more obscene than) what was in the script. At the Pine Ridge reservation, the activist Russell Means remembers being in the trading post during the 1973 stand-off at Wounded Knee and watching on television as Sacheen Littlefeather turned down the best actor Oscar on Marlon Brando’s behalf, citing “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.”

In a more somber and troubling sequence, Mr. Diamond’s camera watches the faces of grade-school students at the Crow Agency as they watch the scenes of Indians being slaughtered in “Little Big Man.”

Clips from decades of Hollywood westerns illustrate Mr. Diamond’s points; one withering sequence shows white actors in red face: Burt Lancaster, Charles Bronson, Elvis Presley, Burt Reynolds. The gallery of talking heads includes American Indian artists like the director Chris Eyre, the artist-activist John Trudell and the comedian Charlie Hill, who over a montage of death-by-arrow scenes says: “The best part of any movie was when you heard pffffft. Oh, I loved that.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Gov. Henry, Please Sign Indian Educ. Advisory Bill (HB2929)

( – promoted by navajo)

HB2929 has passed the Oklahoma House and Senate and may now be moving to the Governor’s office for his signature.  It is a historic day for Indian education in Oklahoma. Well done, ALL!!!!!

Now on to Governor Henry for signature. Please take a moment to call or message him with your support.

Telephone: (405) 521-2342

Message to the governor: http://www.governor.state.ok.u…

Mvto Mvto Mvto Mvto!!!!!

Brenda Golden on behalf of:

Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights & Indigenous Traditions

Governor Henry,

As a former constituent and soon to be Oklahoma resident and constituent once more, please allow me to respectfully explain why you should sign the Indian Education Advisory Council bill (HB2929).  


We need to get supporters to contact Governor Henry’s office.  As of Friday, June 4th, he still had not signed the bill.  We only have 15 days from when it was sent to the Gov’s office for him to sign it.

Please support the bill by sending Gov. Henry emails via web form at:  

http://www.governor.state.ok.u… (Click on the link “Message to the Governor”).  You will fill out the form on line and submit your message to the Governors office.  AND/OR call his office 405-521-2342 stating that you support him signing HB2929 (establishment of Indian Education Advisory Council).

Mvto, Brenda Golden on behalf of

Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights & Indigenous Traditions

I worked in education for nearly nine years as an Oklahoma resident, and I can tell you with authority that racism against the American Indian exists in Oklahoma schools, and why.

Racism is based on ignorance and Oklahoma has a tragic history of institutionalized racism against the American Indian. My grandmother on my father’s side had the only bar in town that served Indians. The Indians weren’t “good enough” to drink with the whites. So let me tell you how I heard first hand how Indians still aren’t “good enough” in the public school system.

– “I know an Indian. They get that check for $900 every month; I know what that’s about, uh huh.”

What “that’s about,” Governor Henry, is Oklahoma’s utter failure to educate its students about American Indian history. There isn’t even a copy of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee sold at the Oklahoma Historical Society bookstore, nor of that genre of text last I was there. It’s primarily cultural books. But that’s easier to read than thinking of this driving down Sheridan Street.

Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” P. 169.

In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”

He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”

“The only good Indians I ever saw were dead (General Sheridan)” street.

Perhaps, Governor, occurrences such the following are due to faulty beliefs.

“We called him Tonto, and when he cut it off – we called him White Boy.”

“The Indians gave up their land willingly.”

“The Indians were freed before the Blacks were.”

And those faulty beliefs need to be corrected with the Indian Education Advisory Council bill (HB2929). Or, Governor Henry, things can just remain –

– as they are.

I call on you, Governor Henry, to sign the Indian Education Advisory Council bill. American Indian history should be “good enough” for Oklahoma.

So be it.

Rape Crisis on Indian Reservations

Vanguard’s “Rape on the Reservation” premieres on Current TV on Wednesday, June 2 at 10/9c.

One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime. Correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota where sexual assault and violence against women has escalated to murder. What happened to 19-year-old Marquita, and how can the reservation’s understaffed police force keep it from happening again?

(I helped with this…)  

Pine Ridge: American Prisoner of War Camp #334

Several months ago you donated thousands of dollars to help the Lakota on South Dakota reservations through an extremely harsh winter. You saved lives, thank you so much.

I want to tell you more about the significance of Pine Ridge reservation.

It is ground zero for American Indian issues. Below is a recent powerful presentation by renowned photographer Aaron Huey. After developing a close relationship with some families on Pine Ridge Mr. Huey obtained some astonishing images and they are featured in the video below. Mr. Huey also gives you an important historical time line of the Lakota and ends with a powerful conclusion.

I’m currently reading for review a new book on Wounded Knee that gives a time line of political events leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee which is located on Pine Ridge. The time line is lengthy and complicated. Below is a concise time line that will help you easily understand these events.

Video below and transcript with several small photos for those on dial up:

From The New York Times LENS feature Behind the Scenes: Still Wounded

Aaron Huey arrived on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota at the start of a self-assigned photographic road trip to document poverty in America.

The poverty he found on the reservation stopped him cold.

“It was emotionally devastating,” Mr. Huey said. “I’d call my wife late at night crying.”

Overwhelmed by the poverty – and at the same time by scenes of people trying to maintain the Lakota way of life – Mr. Huey abandoned the rest of his nationwide project to focus on Pine Ridge. Five years later, he’s still photographing on the reservation, which includes the Wounded Knee massacre site.

Mr. Huey, 33, is a photographer for Smithsonian, National Geographic Adventure and National Geographic Traveler. He also freelances for The New Yorker and Geo. In 2007, he photographed in Afghanistan for The Times.

Regarding the video below:

Challenging us with stunning images, Aaron Huey relates the fight for survival on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Aaron began photographing on Pine Ridge Reservation as part of a story on poverty in America, but it has captured his passion for five years. A quintessential example of the failures of the reservation system, he and we cannot turn away from what we see at Pine Ridge.

PLEASE watch the video, it is powerful and tells the story of Pine Ridge so well.


We tried to run, but they shot us like we were buffalo.”

-Louise Weasel Bear, Survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre

My name is Aaron Huey, I am a photographer.

I am here today to show you my photographs of the Lakota.

Pine Ridge Panel One

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Lakota, or at least of the larger group of seven tribes known as the Sioux.  

The Lakota were one of the many tribes that were moved off their land to prisoner of war camps now known as “reservations.”  

The Pine Ridge Reservation, the subject of today’s slideshow, is 75 miles south east of the Black Hills in South Dakota and is sometimes referred to as Prisoner of War Camp #334, it is where the Lakota now live.

If any of you have ever heard of AIM – the American Indian movement- or Leonard Peltier, or Russell Means, or the Wounded Knee takeover, you know that Pine Ridge is ground zero for native issues

I have been asked to talk about my relationship with the Lakota.  That is a very difficult thing for me because, if you haven’t noticed from my skin color,  I’m white.   And that will always be a huge barrier on a Native Reservation.  You will see a lot of people in my photographs today, I’ve become very close with them, they have welcomed me like family.   They called me uncle and brother and they welcomed me back many times over in my five years of visits.   But on Pine Ridge I will always be what is called Wasi’chu. Wasi’chu is a Lakota word that means “Non Indian” but another version of this word means “Takes the best part of the meat.”  And that is what I want to focus on today,  “The one who takes the best part of the meat.”   It means Greedy.

So take a look around this auditorium today.  We are at a private school in the American west.   Sitting in Red velvet chairs.  Pockets full of money.  It is obvious looking at our lives, that we did indeed take the best part of the meat.  

So lets look today at a set of photographs of a group of people who lost so we could gain.  And know when you see these people’s faces that these are not just images of the Lakota, they stand for all indigenous people.

On this piece of paper is the history the way I learned it from my Lakota friends and family.

The following is a timeline of treaties made, treaties broken, and massacres disguised as battles.

I will begin in 1824

What is now known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs was created within the WAR DEPARTMENT, setting an early tone of aggression in our dealings with Native Americans.


The first Treaty of Fort Laramie was made, clearly marking the boundaries of the Lakota land.  

According to the treaty, those lands are a sovereign nation.

If the boundaries of this treaty had held, and there is a legal basis that it should, then this   map is what the US would look like.

Ten years later The Homestead Act, signed by President Lincoln, unleashed a flood of white settlers upon Indian lands.


An uprising of Santee Sioux in Minnesota ends with the hanging of 38 Sioux men, >>the largest mass execution in US History.

The execution was ordered by president Lincoln 2 days after he signed the emancipation proclamation.


The beginning of the transcontinental railroad.  A new era.

We appropriated lands for trail and trains to shortcut through the heart of the Lakota Nation.

The treaties were out the window

In response 3 tribes lead by the Lakota Chief Red Cloud attacked and defeated the US Army many times over.    

I repeat – the Lakota defeated the US Army.


The second Fort Laramie Treaty clearly guarantees the sovereignty of the Great Sioux Nation and the Lakota ownership of the Sacred Black Hills.  

The govt also promises land and hunting rights in the surrounding states

We promised that the Powder River Country would henceforth be closed to all whites.  

The treaty seemed to be a complete victory for Red Cloud and the Sioux.  

In fact, this is the only war in American history in which the government negotiated peace by conceding everything demanded by the enemy.


The transcontinental railroad was completed; it began carrying, among other things, large numbers of hunters, who began wholesale killing of buffalo.

Eliminating the source of food, clothing, and shelter for the Sioux.


The Indian Appropriations Act makes all Indians wards of the federal government.

In addition The military issued orders forbidding western Indians from leaving reservations.

All western Indians at that point in time, were now Prisoners of War.

Also in 1871  we end the time of treaty making.  The problem with treaties is that they allow the tribes to exist as sovereign nations, and we cant have independent nations inside our own.   We had plans.


General George Custer announced the discovery of gold in Lakota territory, specifically the Black Hills.

the news of gold creates a massive influx of white settlers into the Lakota Nation.

Custer  recommends that congress find a way to end the treaties with the Lakota


The Lakota War began over the violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty.


On June 25th, on its way to attack a Lakota village, Custer’s 7th Cavalry was crushed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.


The Great Lakota Warrior and chief named Crazy Horse surrendered at Fort Robinson. He was later killed while in custody.  

1877 is also the year we found a way to get around the Fort Laramie Treaty.

A new agreement was presented to Sioux chiefs and their leading men under a campaign known as “Sell or Starve”: no signature, no food for your tribe.

Only ten percent of the adult male population signed. The Fort Laramie Treaty called for 3/4 of the tribe to sign away land.   That clause was ignored.


The Dawes Act.  Communal ownership of reservation lands ends. Reservations are cut up into 160-acre sections  AND distributed to individual Indians with the surplus disposed of.

Tribes lost millions of acres. The American dream of individual land ownership was A very cleaver way to divide the reservation until nothing was left.   The move destroyed the reservations, making it easy to further subdivide and sell with each passing generation.  

Most of the “surplus” land, and many of the plots within Reservation boundaries, are now in the hands of white ranchers.  The fat of the land once again goes to Washichu.


A date I believe to be the most important in this slideshow.  This is the year of the wounded knee massacre.

On Dec 29, U.S. troops surrounded a Sioux encampment at Wounded Knee Creek and massacred Chief Big Foot and 300 prisoners of war, using a new rapid fire weapon that fired exploding shells called a  Hotchkiss gun.

For this so-called “battle,” twenty Congressional Medals of Honor for Valor were given to the 7th Calvary.

To this day, this is the most Medals of Honor ever awarded for a single battle.  More medals of honor were given for the indiscriminate slaughter of women and children than in any battle in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan.  

The Wounded Knee Massacre is considered the end of the Indian Wars.  

Whenever I visit the site of the mass grave I see it not just as a grave for the Lakota or the Sioux, I see it as a grave for all indigenous people of North America.

The Lakota holy man Black Elk said,  

“I did not know then how much was ended.  

When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young.

And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard.

A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.”

With this event A new era in Native American history began.  Everything can be measured by Before Wounded Knee and After, because it was in this moment, with fingers on the triggers of the Hotchkiss guns overlooking that camp, that the US government openly declared its position on Native rights. They were tired of treaties.  They were tired of sacred hills and ghost dances and all other the other inconveniences of the Sioux.  So they brought out their cannons.

You want to be an Indian now, they said.    Finger on the trigger.


The U.S. Indian population reached its low point: less than 250,000, compared to an estimated 8 million in 1492.

Fast forward to


The longest running court case in U.S. history, the Sioux Nation v. the United States, was ruled upon by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court determined that when the Sioux were resettled into reservations and 7 million acres of their land were opened up to prospectors and homesteaders, the terms of the second Fort Laramie Treaty had been violated.

The Court stated that the Black Hills were illegally taken, and that the initial offering price plus interest must be paid to the Sioux Nation.

As payment for the Black Hills, the court awarded $106 million to the Sioux Nation.

The Sioux refused the money with the rallying cry “THE BLACK HILLS ARE NOT FOR SALE”


Statistics about the native population today, more than a century after the massacre at Wounded Knee, reveal the legacy of colonization, forced migration, and treaty violations.

Unemployment on the Pine Ridge Reservation fluctuates between 85-90%, the housing office is unable to afford to build new structures, and existing structures are falling apart.  

Many are homeless, and those with homes are packed into rotting buildings with up to five families.  

Thirty-nine percent of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation have no electricity.  

At least 60% of the homes on the reservation are infested with black mold.

More than 80% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.

The tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately eight times higher than the U.S. national average.

The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 3 times higher than the U.S. national average.  

Cervical cancer is five times higher than the U.S. national average.  

The school drop out rate is over 70%.  

Teacher turnover is eight times that of the U.S. national average.  

Frequently, grandparents are raising their grandchildren because parents, due alcoholism, domestic violence, and general apathy, cannot raise them.

50 percent of the population over 40 suffers from diabetes

The life expectancy for men is, between 46 and 48 years old, roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia.





A long time ago a series of events was set in motion by a people who look like me.  By WASI’CHU eager to take the land and the water and the gold in the Hills.

Those events lead to a domino effect that has yet to end.  

As removed as we, the dominant society, may feel from the responsibility of a massacre in 1890, or a series of broken treaties 150 years ago, I still have to ask you the question – how should we feel about the statistics of today?

What is the connection between these images of suffering and the history I just read to you?  

How much of this history do you need to own?  

Is any of this your responsibility today?

I have been told “there must be something we can do.”  

There must be a call to action.  

For so long I have been content to stand on the sidelines as a witness, JUST TAKING PHOTOS, because the “solutions” seemed to be buried too far in the past, needing nothing short of a time machine to access them.

The suffering of Indigenous peoples is not a simple issue to “fix.”  

It is not something everyone can get behind in the way they can get behind helping Haiti or ending AIDS or fighting a famine.  

The “fix” may be much more painful for the dominant society than say a $50 donation, or a church trip to paint some graffiti covered houses, or a suburban family donating a box of clothes they don’t want anymore.  

So where does that leave us?  Shrugging our shoulders in the dark?

The United States continues, on a daily basis to violate the terms of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties with the Lakota.  

The call to action I offer today , My TED wish, is this:

Honor the treaties.   GIVE BACK THE BLACK HILLS

Its not your business what they do with them.

Mr. Huey gave this presentation at the University of Denver on May 13, 2010.

Aaron was also recently named to the short list for the Alexia Prize, as a finalist for the Center for Documentary Studies – Honickman First Book Prize for his work on Pine Ridge, and named to PDN’s top 30 emerging photographers in the world for 2007.  His images of the Pine Ridge Indian reservation were featured in Perpignan at the last Vis d’Or Photojournalism Festival.

Please send your comments and a link to this diary to the committee members below:



Main Committee Contact:

Committee on Indian Affairs

Allison Binney, Staff Director and Chief Counsel

United States Senate

838 Hart Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone:  (202) 224-2251


Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chair

Washington, D.C. Office:

322 Hart Senate Office Bldg

Washington, DC 20510

Phone (202) 224-2551

Fax (202) 224-1193

John Barasso (R-WY), Vice Chair

Washington, D.C. Office:

307 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Main: 202-224-6441

Fax: 202-224-1724

Tollfree: 866-235-9553

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:

141 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Telephone: (202) 224-6361

Fax: (202) 224-2126

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Washington, D.C. Office:

511 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510


202-228-0514 – FAX

202-224-8273 – TDD

Toll-Free Number for State Offices:


Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Washington D.C. Office:

172 Russell Senate Office Bldg.

Washington, DC 20510

Main: 202-224-5754

Fax: 202-224-6008

Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Washington, D.C. Office:

530 Hart Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510-3403

Phone: (202) 224-2043

Fax: (202) 224-7776



Toll-free Phone: 1-800-223-4457

Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Washington, D.C. Office:

239 Dirksen Senate Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-6142

Fax: (202) 228-1375

Al Franken (D-MN)

Washington, D.C. Office:

320 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-5641

Daniel Inouye (D-HI)

Washington, D.C. Office:

722 Hart Building

Washington, D.C. 20510-1102

Phone: 202-224-3934

Fax: 202-224-6747

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Washington, D.C. Office:

404 Russell Senate Office Building                      

Washington, DC 20510

Tel: (202) 224-4224

Fax: (202) 228-0436

Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST

Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Washington, D.C. Office:

136 Hart Senate Office Building,

Washington, DC 20510

Phone:  (202) 224-5842

Fax:  (202)228-5765

John McCain (R-AZ)

Washington, D.C. Office:

241 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Main: (202) 224-2235

Fax: (202) 228-2862

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Washington, D.C. Office:

709 Hart Senate Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Main: 202-224-6665

Fax: 202-224-5301

Jon Tester (D-MT)

Washington, D.C. Office:

724 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-2604

Phone: (202) 224-2644

Fax: (202) 224-8594

Tom Udall (D-NM)

Washington, D.C. Office:

110 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington DC, 20510

(202) 224-6621

For extra credit please read Land of Enchantment‘s diary:

Dakotas Snow Emergency: Charity and Beyond

Ojibwa’s diaries provide a lot of background also:

Indians 101: A Government Apology?

This diary is dedicated to my dear friend Winter Rabbit for his relentless work on bringing attention to Wounded Knee and other massacres.

The Wounded Knee Massacre: 119th Anniversary

Suicide State Of Emergency On Pine Ridge Reservation

Thank you Mr. Huey for contacting me with a link to your outstanding presentation. I hope many, many people see your TED Talk and contact the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

I wish I could join you on your next trip to Pine Ridge.

  Cross Posted at Daily Kos
 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.