The Revolutionary War and American Indians

( – promoted by navajo)

In 1776 a group of American colonists signed the Declaration of Independence which condemned King George III for preventing the colonists from appropriating western lands which belong to Indian nations. Among the allegations against the English is the charge that King George has not helped the colonists against the “savages of the interior” (referring to their conflicts with Indian nations.)  From the perspective of American Indian nations these were uncomfortable words: if these rebellious British colonies prevailed, Indian nations would have to defend their homelands against an invasion of settlers.

James Wilson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, felt that Indians must give way to progress.

“The whole earth is allotted for the nourishment of its inhabitants, but it is not sufficient for this purpose, unless they aid it by labor and culture. The cultivation of the earth, therefore, is a duty incumbent on man by the order of nature.”

The Revolutionary War divided the Indian nations as both the British and the newly formed United States tried to obtain Indian allies. Most of the Indian nations east of the Mississippi River sided with the British. Those who favored neutrality and those who sided with the colonists often found themselves at odds with the countrymen.

In Massachusetts, the Stockbridge, a Christian composite tribe, formed an entire company for the American Revolutionary Army. They were placed under the command of Captain Daniel Nimham and often acted as scouts for other units. They were issued red and blue caps so that they could be distinguished from enemy Indians. They fought against the British under General Howe at the Battle of White Plains. Several Stockbridge warriors were killed in this battle.

The American forces asked a number of different Indian nations for their support in the war effort. General George Washington asked the Passamaquoddy of Maine to send him warriors. Massachusetts passed a resolution calling for 500 Micmac and Maliseet Indians to be employed in the Continental Army. While Maliseet chiefs Ambrose St. Aubin and Pierre Tomah supported the American cause, many Indians avoided the recruiting efforts.

Both sides wanted the support of the powerful  Iroquois Confederacy. In New York, the Sons of Liberty sent a wampum belt to the Iroquois and asked them to intercept British troops coming down the Hudson River from Canada. On the other hand, the British met with the Iroquois in New York to gain their allegiance against the rebellious colonists. Some of the observers noted that the women, and particularly the Mohawk Molly Brant, were the power behind the scenes.

In 1777, the British met with many of the Iroquois nations at Oswego, New York and formally asked them to go to war against the rebellious colonies. In the Iroquois warriors’ council, Joseph Brant argued in favor of going to war, while Red Jacket, Handsome Lake, and Cornplanter felt that this was a family quarrel among the Europeans and Iroquois interference would be a mistake.

One of the basic foundations of the Iroquois Confederacy was that no Iroquois nation should ever fight another Iroquois nation. Four of the six nations-Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, and Mohawk-openly declared their support for the British and their willingness to fight for the British. As a result of this division, the council fire for the Iroquois League of Six Nations at Onondaga was ceremonially covered, symbolically suspending the League. Each of the nations was now free to go their own way with regard to the war between the colonists and English.

The Oneida, a member of the Iroquois Confederacy,  were divided over the Revolutionary War. The sachems (chiefs) tended to be pro-British, but there was a strong contingent of pro-American warriors led by Shenandoah. Tuscarora (another member tribe of the Confederacy) leader Nicholas Cusick recruited both Tuscarora and Oneida warriors to fight for the Americans.

For the Iroquois nations, the Revolutionary War was a situation in which, in some cases literally, brother killed brother. At the 1777 Battle of Oriskany, for example, the pro-British Iroquois under the leadership of Joseph Brant (Mohawk) and Chainbreaker (Seneca) fought against the pro-patriot Iroquois under the leadership of Nonyery Tewahangaraghkan (Oneida).

There is an interesting religious side note to the Battle of Oriskany. Fighting for the Americans were the Oneida and Tuscarora who had been converted to Christianity by Samuel Kirkland, a strong supporter of American independence. On the British side, the Mohawk had been converted to Christianity by John Stuart, an Anglican and supporter of England.

There is another interesting side note with regard to the Iroquois involvement in the war. In New York, a small party of Mohawk under the leadership of Joseph Brant together with a few of their British allies attacked the settlement of Minisink to obtain provisions. One of the Americans, Captain John Wood, was about to be killed when he inadvertently gave the Master Mason’s sign of distress. Brant, a Mason, saw the sign, pushed the warrior aside, and gave Wood the Master Mason’s grip. The following day, Wood confessed to Brant that he was not a Mason. When Wood returned from captivity many years later, one of his first acts was to apply for membership in the Masonic lodge.

In 1778, the newly formed United States negotiated its first Indian treaty with the Delaware. The treaty allowed troops to pass through Delaware territory. In addition, the Delaware agreed to sell corn, meat, horses and other supplies to the United States and to allow their men to enlist in the U.S. army. The treaty also stated that if the Delaware do decide, they might form a state and have a representative in Congress. The idea of statehood for the Delaware was suggested by Chief White Eyes

Emissaries from the Iroquois, Shawnee, Delaware, and Ottawa traveled to the Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee River to meet with the Cherokee in an attempt to persuade them to form an alliance against the American revolutionaries. Shawnee leader Cornstalk told them:

“It is better for the red men to die like warriors than to diminish away by inches. Now is the time to begin. If we fight like men, we may hope to enlarge our bounds.”

The Shawnee produced a War Belt, made of wampum which was about nine feet long. Cherokee war leader Dragging Canoe accepted the belt and the warriors joined him in singing a war song.  

In spite of the persuasive words of the northern Indians, the Cherokee remained divided on this issue. The older Cherokee, such as Attakullakulla and Oconostota, objected to the war, but some of the younger warriors, such as Dragging Canoe, Doublehead, Young Tassel, and Bloody Fellow, sided with Cornstalk.

For many Indian communities, the Revolutionary War interrupted the fur and hide trade. Indian nations at this time had been incorporated into a globalized economy and had come to depend on many European trade goods. Thus one of the most pressing questions posed by the outbreak of the Revolutionary War for many Indians was not who should govern in America but who would supply the trade goods on which they had come to depend.

While many Indians, both individual warriors and Indian nations, supported the American cause during the war, this did not give them any advantages following the war. In fact Indian support for the new nation did not even earn Indian people a place in the nation they helped to create. For Native Americans, it seemed the American Revolution was truly a no-win situation.

The Second Seminole Indian War

( – promoted by navajo)

During the nineteenth century the United States engaged in three wars with the Seminole Indians in Florida: 1816 to about 1824; 1835 to1842; and 1855-1858.  

Contrary to some popular opinions, there was no traditional overall governmental or political organization among the Seminole at this time. They tended to be politically organized around busk groups, each of which had its own medicine bundle on which the annual busk (green corn) ceremony was focused. Thus the military actions against the U.S. military did not have a single leader or coordinator.

In this diary, I’m going to look at the Second Seminole War.  

The Second Seminole War (1835-1842) stemmed from the American policy of removing all Indians from east of the Mississippi River and relocating them in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Many of the Seminole, however, were not in favor of removal and resisted American attempts at forcing their removal.  The war began when a group of anti-removal warriors under the leadership of Osceolo killed Charley Emathla, a pro-removal leader, and Wiley Thompson, the Seminole agent. Over a period of seven years, the United States spent nearly $40 million dollars in trying to defeat, capture, and remove the Seminole. As a result of this conflict, most of the Seminole were relocated onto the Creek Nation in Oklahoma. When the government troops withdrew in 1842, declaring victory, several hundred Seminole remained in Florida.

Prelude to Second Seminole War:

The 1832 Treaty of Payne’s Landing, signed by Seminole leaders Charley Emathla and Foke Luste Hadjo, required all Indians to leave Florida in exchange for lands in Indian Territory, plus grants of clothes and money. The men who signed the treaty were not empowered to represent the Seminoles, and the treaty was therefore clearly fraudulent. Micanopy did not make his mark on the treaty and yet his name appeared on the treaty.

As one excuse for the treaty, the U.S. government had declared that the land reserved for the Seminole in Florida was not worth cultivating, a fact well-known among the Seminole. However, the more important reason involved runaway slaves and the conflicts between slave-owning Americans and the Seminole. From a Seminole perspective, they were facing starvation due to a prolonged drought which provided some incentive for signing the treaty.

The Treaty also specified that any Seminole with Black blood are to be considered runaway slaves and are to be returned.

In 1834, the Americans held councils with the Seminole to discuss their removal to Indian Territory. While it was clear that the majority oppose removal, the Indian agent informed them that they were to sell their cattle and horses in preparation for removal and to move to the port of embarkation. If they do not do this, they are told, U.S. troops would use force against them.

The Second Seminole War:

In 1835, 25 Seminole leaders meet with the American Indian agent to discuss their removal concerns. One of the Seminole concerns was the fate of the Blacks who were living among them. Some of the Blacks had married Seminole; they dressed like Seminole; they spoke the language; and they took part in both hunting and war parties. Yet the Americans had encouraged slave-owners to seize many of these Blacks, an action that aroused a great deal of bitterness among the Seminole. Osceola was one of the leaders who opposed the surrender of runaway slaves. Osceola then made some nasty comments to the Indian agent and was placed in irons and jailed. He was released when he agreed to sign an acceptance of the two treaties requiring the Seminole to be removed to Indian Territory.

A short while later, a war party led by Osceola ambushed Charley Emathla, the Seminole leader who signed the removal treaty with the Americans. As a symbolic gesture, Osceola scattered the money Emathla received from the Americans over his dead body. Osceola’s warriors then ambushed Indian agent Wiley Thompson, killing seven of the Americans. Warriors led by Alligator, Miconopy, and Jumper attacked American soldiers near Tampa Bay, Florida and killed 105 of the 108 soldiers. This marks the formal beginning of the Second Seminole War.

The standard military philosophy which the Americans had used against other Indian tribes-to bring in a massive force, build forts, and to attack villages-failed to work against the Seminole. The Americans were unfamiliar with the terrain and the swamps proved good hiding places for the Seminole.

In 1836, the United States negotiated a deal with Creek leaders Opothle Yaholo, Little Doctor, Tukabahchee Micco, and Yalka Hadjo in which the Creek were to supply 600 to 1,000 warriors for service against the Seminole. The warriors were to be paid like soldiers and they would be able keep plunder (taken to mean slaves) which they captured from the Seminole. Believing that the Seminole War would be of short duration, 776 Creek warriors under the leadership of Jim Boy enlisted in the army. They assumed that they will be released from duty in time to remove to Oklahoma and get their crops planted in the spring. The following year, however, they found that their enlistments had been extended.

In 1837, Seminole leaders Jumper, Davy Elliott, Cloud, and Alligator signed an agreement with the Americans that an immediate cease fire was in effect for the Second Seminole War. The Seminole leaders gave their word that they would remove to Indian Territory.

About 200 Seminole, including Jumper and Micanopy, moved toward Tampa Bay and were lodged in two camps eight miles from Fort Brooke. Another group of Seminole, including Osceola, Sam Jones (Arpeika), Philip, and Coacoochee gathered at Fort Mellon on Lake Monroe, about a hundred miles from Tampa Bay.

A party of about 200 Mikasuki Seminole under the leadership of Osceola and Sam Jones, traveled from Fort Mellon to Tampa where they seized Micanopy, Jumper, Cloud and their followers. They then fled to the interior with their captives.

The cease fire gave the Seminole bands a chance to grow and harvest some crops, to obtain more gunpowder and firearms and to prepare for the resumption of the war.

At a peace council called by the Americans at Fort Augustine, a number of Seminole leaders come in under a white flag of truce. The purpose of the council, however, is to attack and arrest the Seminole leaders. This was a common military strategy used by the Americans. Oceola was struck on the head and then tied up.

Most of the battles of the Second Seminole War were guerilla skirmishes in which small groups of Seminole warriors quickly vanished. One of the largest battles of the war was the 1837 Battle of Lake Okeechobee. Alligator, Arpeika, and Wildcat led their Seminole warriors against Colonel Zachary Taylor’s troops. The Americans, with 1,000 soldiers, were under orders to destroy any Seminole force which they meet. The American troops were met with well-directed fire from the Seminole warriors. The battle left 26 soldiers dead and 112 wounded. The Seminole casualties included 11 dead and 14 wounded.

By 1838, the Americans had learned a lot about the Seminole hiding places. Along with Indian allies from a number of tribes, the American forces were attacking Seminole camps, burning their houses, capturing their livestock, and destroying their fields. During this time, the Seminole began to adopt the chickee-an open-sided shelter that was easily constructed-and to make their clothing by sewing rags together.

In 1839, a band of Calusa under the leadership of Chakaika joined the Seminole under the leadership of Billy Bowlegs and Hospetarke, in the Second Seminole War. The combined forces attacked the camp and store established by Colonel William S. Harney. Thirteen Americans were killed.

In 1840, a band of nearly 100 Seminole warriors under the leadership of Wildcat ambushed an American army detachment, killing a lieutenant and five soldiers. The group then attacked a number of unescorted wagons traveling to St. Augustine. In response to these attacks the army searched through Big Swamp. They destroyed 500 acres of Seminole corn fields. When the troops had finished searching an area, the Seminole usually moved back in.

In 1840, the army tried using bloodhounds to track down the Seminole. Nearly three dozen dogs were imported from Cuba to be used in the military campaign against the Seminole. The effort failed.

In 1840, the Americans offered Seminole chiefs Tiger Tail and Halleck Tustenugee $5,000 each if they would bring in their bands for removal to the West. The Seminole considered the matter for two weeks while eating army food. The leaders and the warriors then declined the offer.

In 1841, the American army began a scorched earth policy in their war against the Seminole. The soldiers burned all crops, canoes, and shelters that they find. In response Wildcat surrendered to the army. He and two of his aides were dressed in Shakespearian costume from trunks which they had captured from a theatrical company.

Halleck Tustenuggee, Tiger Tail, Nethlockemathlar, Octiarche, and 120 of their warriors met in council at the Long Swamp and they agreed that no peace terms with the Americans were to be accepted. Furthermore, they declared that any Seminole or Black who attempted to deliver such terms was to be killed. Similarly, the Big Cypress Seminole bands under the leadership of Billy Bowlegs, Sam Jones, the Prophet, Hospetarke, Fuse Hadjo, and Parsacke met in council and agreed that anyone who brought them terms of surrender from the Americans would be killed.

In 1842, the Seminole under Billy Bowlegs surrendered and the government announced the end of the Second Seminole War which cost the United States the lives of 1,500 soldiers and $30 million. Bowlegs refused to relocate in Oklahoma and was given a small piece of land in the Great Cypress Swamp.

The Seminole understood if they remained in Florida they would receive no money or food but would be allowed to occupy their land. While the agreement allowed the Seminole to remain peacefully in Florida, the policy of the federal government was that they should be removed to Indian Territory. Therefore, their reservation was not to have any permanent or exact boundaries. The American understanding of the agreement was that the Seminole would be allowed to remain “for a while.”  

News from Native American Netroots

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There is only three more days to give your input on the U.S. review of UNDRIP. If you have not signed, “UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous “UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” now is the time, before this Thursday, July 15th.

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Daily Kos

Welcome to News from Native American Netroots, a Monday evening series focused on indigenous tribes primarily in the United States and Canada but inclusive of international peoples also.

A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.

UPDATED: Flooded Rocky Boy’s Reservation seeks disaster status. IHS sends $1 million in aid. Yankton Reservation also suffering.

Both the Chippewa Cree Tribe in northern Montana and Sioux on the Yankton Reservation in South Dakota were hit hard by floods late last month. Apparently the state of Montana won’t be able to provide help to the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, so now they’re hoping for a federal disaster declaration. Here are stories from the Associated Press on the situation at both reservations, as well as word of help to Rocky Boy’s from the from the Indian Health Service:

Federal program credited with cutting diabetes among Indians

A government program aimed at curbing the disproportionately high rate of diabetes among Native Americans has only one year left, and supporters are urging its renewal.

“The rate of those suffering from diabetes is alarming, and we need to continue to build on our efforts to combat it,” said Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. “We made some strides in improving health in Indian Country earlier this year with the passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act as part of comprehensive health care reform, but there is still a lot of work to do.”

US Rule Could Keep Iroquois From Lacrosse Tourney

The teams participating in the World Lacrosse Championships in England represent 30 nations, from Argentina to Latvia to South Korea to Iroquois.

The Iroquois helped invent lacrosse and, in a rare example of international recognition of American Indian sovereignty, they participate at every tournament as a separate nation. But they might not be at this year’s world championship tournament because of a dispute over the validity of their passports.

The 23 players have passports issued by the Iroquois Confederacy, a group of six Indian nations overseeing land that stretches from upstate New York into Ontario, Canada.

Mark Trahant: Indian health caught in middle of budget debate

“Democrats are leaving Washington for the July 4 recess without passing key parts of their health care agenda,” writes Andrew Villegas for Kaiser Health News. “…with states hit hard by the recession, an extension of extra Medicaid funds also seemed likely.” But because of a “contentious debate, with conservative Democrats and Republicans opposing programs that could add to the deficit.” The result, Villegas writes, is “the Medicaid and COBRA subsidies are still in limbo.”

Many American Indian and Alaska Native patients in the Indian health system are in a precarious spot because of this battle. Some of the increased spending for Indian Health Service depends on increasing Medicaid rolls. This is important because Medicaid, unlike the IHS budget, is an entitlement. Once a person is eligible, the money is supposed to be there (in contrast to a straight budget line that runs out of money once its spent). This problem should be simple: States don’t have to pay for patients in the Indian health system because the federal government eventually picks up the cost. But the problem is each state will define eligibility and a tightening of state rules will mean that patients that should be eligible for Medicaid, won’t qualify.

It would be easy to dismiss states as uncaring. But the problem is there are fewer dollars available from tax collections during the recession. State budgets are wrecked by too many promises, ranging from pension obligations to constitutional promises to always balance the budget.

8th Circuit backs Meskwaki jurisdiction over non-Indian business

The Meskwaki Nation of Iowa can assert jurisdiction over a non-Indian business, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday.

Generally, tribes lack jurisdiction over non-Indians. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Montana v. US sets out two exceptions to the rule.

In a unanimous decision, the 8th Circuit said the tribe satisfied one of the exceptions. The court said the conduct of Attorney’s Process and Investigation Services, a security company, directly “threatened” the health, welfare and economic security of the tribe.

API was hired by Alex Walker, a former tribal chairman, to take control of the tribal headquarters and the casino from a group of challengers, the court said. “Its apparent purpose in raiding the tribe’s facilities was to seize control of the tribal government and economy by force,” the 8th Circuit said.

Conn. land dug up for items from Indian war

Artifacts of a battle between a Native American tribe and English settlers, a confrontation that helped shape early American history, have sat for years below manicured lawns and children’s swing sets in a Connecticut neighborhood.

A project to map the battlefields of the Pequot War is bringing those musket balls, gunflints and arrowheads into the sunlight for the first time in centuries. It’s also giving researchers insight into the combatants and the land on which they fought, particularly the Mystic hilltop where at least 400 Pequot Indians died in a 1637 massacre by English settlers.

Historians say the attack was a turning point in English warfare with native tribes. It nearly wiped out the powerful Pequots and showed other tribes that the colonists wouldn’t hesitate to use methods that some consider genocide.

Navajo potter continues her art, shows at 95

Navajo potter Rose Williams continues her art at age 95, and will appear in Santa Fe at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian to provide pottery demonstrations.

Williams was to attend the museum’s annual show of pueblo and Navajo folk art, which ran July 9 through 11th. She was doing onsite demonstrations of her art each day at the Case Trading Post.

Another sentenced in Four Corners artifacts case

Nicholas K. Laws has maintained he never collected ancient American Indian artifacts for sale, but when he was offered money by a federal informant the father of three desperately needed it.

“For my client, this was not a living,” Laws’ attorney, Randy S. Ludlow, said in federal court Monday. “He was never doing it to make a fast buck.”

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart sentenced Laws to two years of probation for the sale of a ceremonial twin effigy doll, waiving guidelines that called for six months to a year in prison.

American Indian culture celebrated at Ruscombmanor festival

Nearly 1,000 people spent Saturday learning more about the culture of American Indians at the ninth annual Native American Festival.

Held at Hobby Horse Ranch, 428 Hartz Road, Ruscombmanor Township, the three-day event has something for people of all ages, festival President Jim Convry said.

Cherokee, Mohicans, Osage, Lenape, Seneca and others come from all over the country to participate, he said.

Patricia Whitefoot named to National Advisory Council on Indian Education

Patricia L. Whitefoot, Yakama/Diné, has been appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

The 15-member council advises and makes recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Education, and submits a yearly report to Congress on issues pertaining to Indian education.

“Patricia has been a committed and effective leader over the course of 40 years of Indian education experience,” Sen. Patty Murray said. “She has demonstrated vast knowledge of the issues through her management of Indian education programs ranging from early childhood to higher education, as well as through her role as a tribal leader on the Yakama Tribal Council. … I am confident that she will be a powerful voice for Indian education in Washington state and across the country.”

Bartlesville Indian Summer announces ‘Elder of the Year’

Oklahoma Indian Summer and Executive Director Dee Ketchum are proud to honor Dolores “Dee” Theis, longtime community and Oklahoma Indian Summer volunteer, as OIS’s 2010 Elder of the Year.

“l was very humbled and honored,” Dee said of the decision which will be in celebration of the 23rd season of the Native American festival.

While, Dee accepts the honor with deep pride she says she is most thankful she was able to be present for the first planning meeting for Oklahoma Indian Summer in 1988.

“I was at the very first meeting,” she says.

“Just to be a part of such a thing is humbling, but for Bartlesville to have this and to have it grow has been quite an experience.”

Navajo Partnership for Housing still bringing mortgages to Navajos

The Navajo Partnership for Housing continues to bring mortgage financing to members of the Navajo Nation on or near its reservation, which sprawls across New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, despite the housing depression.

And, according to executive director Lanalle Smith, the Native CDFI (community development financial institution) has ambitious plans to branch out into housing project development on or near the reservation to go along with its scattered-site financings.

To date, NPH has arranged or provided 435 loans and grants to 334 families to help tribal members buy, build or rehabilitate a home. Total financing comes to $36.3 million to date.

President’s Recovery Act Announcement

Today, President Obama announced investment in sixty-six new Recovery Act broadband projects nationwide that, according to the grantees, will not only directly create approximately 5,000 jobs up front, but will also help spur economic development in some of the nation’s hardest-hit communities, helping create jobs for years to come.  In total, tens of millions of Americans and over 685,000 businesses, 900 health care facilities and 2,400 schools in all fifty states stand to benefit from the awards.  The $795 million in grants and loans through the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture have been matched by over $200million in outside investment, for a total public-private investment of more than $1 billion in bringing broadband service to these communities,most of which currently have little or no access, to help them better compete and do business in the global marketplace.

The grants and loans are part of an overall $7.2 billion investment the Recovery Act makes in expanding broadband access nationwide – $4.7billion through the Commerce Department and $2.5 billion funded through the Department of Agriculture.  With the awards being announced tomorrow, more than $2.7 billion in Recovery Act broadband grants and loans will have been awarded to more than 260 projects across the country since December 2009.  Overall, the Recovery Act is making a $100billion investment in science, innovation and technology that is no tonly creating jobs today, but laying a foundation for economic growth for years to come.

A cornerstone for better child support services

When Sarah Colleen Sotomish was a student at University of Washington, her brother and sister had already served on the Quinault Nation Business Council, continuing a tradition of service as descendants of treaty signers and members of one of Quinault’s traditional leadership families.

Sotomish visited her grandmother – the wise family matriarch, well past 100 in years – and asked her what she thought her role was going to be.

“My grandmother told me, ‘You’re not going to live in one culture or the other. You are going to have your feet in both cultures. You are going to be a bridge, you are going to learn both cultures and bring the two together.'”

Her grandmother was prophetic.

Healing, sharing and competition at Fort Washakie powwow

It was between him and the drums.

He didn’t think about the men around him, dancing, swaying, moving with chants. He didn’t think about what he would do later, or the precision of his movements.

He entered the arena, paused, waited for the drum group to begin. He ignored the chaos of a festival around him.

Singing started. It was slow and traditional, his favorite.

He started moving, arms waved up, down, his feet stomped and tapped back and forth to the beat. He swung his fan of eagle feathers. He bent down, swayed to the side, back up again.

Red Cloud Indian School receives largest grant in organization’s history

The students of Red Cloud Indian School will be the beneficiaries of a five-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will go toward funding the reservation school’s comprehensive after-school and summer program. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant is the largest award to be given to Red Cloud in the institution’s 120-year history.

The federal grant award was announced by M. Michael Rounds, governor of South Dakota, in May. Funds will be distributed over a five-year period as Red Cloud realizes program goals and successes.

“We are very grateful to the Department of Education for recognizing in our students, teachers and families the important work that after-school and summer programs offer the Lakota students we educate each year,” said Robert Brave Heart Sr., superintendent of schools. “The co-curricular programs at Red Cloud play an instrumental role in ensuring that each student who leaves our doors at graduation is poised for a successful, meaningful life.”

A Choctaw Indian finds himself on the Emerald Isle

Gary White Deer has spent a lifetime wrestling with his identity, his history, his sense of belonging.

Artist, teacher, medicine man, he has roamed the country – visiting elders, soaking up old stories and songs. He married a Kiowa woman whose family practiced traditional ways. He formed a native dance troupe, prayed at the sacred mound of Nanih Waiya in Mississippi, immersed himself in historic preservation groups, taught tribal history. Still, he has always wondered: What does being a Choctaw mean in an age when it seems anyone with a drop of tribal blood could declare themselves Indian?

In the end, he found answers, but not on the reservations or anywhere he might have expected.

Navajo Department of Justice: Ranch program under investigation

An investigation into allegations of illegal and unethical behavior by Navajo Nation government employees has been expanded to include the tribal ranch program, a Navajo justice official said.

The Navajo Nation leases more than two dozen tribal ranches on about 1.5 million acres that are divided into range units, most of which lie in New Mexico. Henry Howe, assistant attorney general for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, said the department petitioned a special panel of judges to add the tribal ranch program to the investigation after allegations of improprieties in awarding ranch leases surfaced. “We received sufficient credible evidence that convinced the attorney general that further investigation was warranted,” he said.

A special investigator already is looking into the tribe’s contractual relationship with a Utah-based satellite Internet company, a tribal loan guarantee to a Shiprock, N.M., manufacturing company and discretionary funding doled out by Tribal Council delegates.


questions about spitriual culture


     I have a question,but first let give some

background information.

     I am 64yrs old,my mother was northern

    Cheyenne and my father was Lakota Sioux,I

was raised on Standing Rock Res. untill we(my

brothers and sister) were adopted off the Res,

I haven’t seen them or my parents again. I have

been back to both Reservations servial times in

years past trying my best to find out about my

family but always seem to hit roadblock.

      My question is how does one keep the faith

and Spiritual beliefs of our culture in a   society that is so negative towards anything that

is different than theirs

  any words of advice would be welcome

   Charlie  Yellowfeather

     mitakuye ouasin

Posted in Uncategorized

The First Seminole Indian War

( – promoted by navajo)

During the nineteenth century the United States engaged in three wars with the Seminole Indians in Florida: 1816 to about 1824; 1835 to 1842; and 1855-1858.  

Contrary to some popular opinions, there was no traditional overall governmental or political organization among the Seminole at this time. They tended to be politically organized around busk groups, each of which had its own medicine bundle on which the annual busk (green corn) ceremony was focused. Thus the military actions against the U.S. military did not have a single leader or coordinator.

In this diary, I’m going to look at the First Seminole War.  

Prelude to War:

The colonial administration of Florida was transferred from Spain to Britain in 1763. The Spanish and some of the Indians affiliated with them moved to Cuba. At this time, the British began to use the term Seminole in distinguishing the Indians of northern Florida from those in Georgia and Alabama.

In 1765, 50 Lower Creek chiefs met with the British governor of Florida on the banks of the St. Johns River west of St. Augustine. The chiefs performed a pipe ceremony and smoked with the two English representatives. Cowkeeper of the Alachua band did not participate in this meeting, and made it clear that the Lower Creeks did not speak for him. A month later, Cowkeeper and 60 of his people met personally with the governor and returned home as a “Great Medal Chief”. After this meeting, travelers, traders, and government officials increasingly referred to the Indians of North and Central Florida as Seminoles. Some people feel that this marks the birth of the Seminole nations.

Cowkeepers’s band had migrated south from the Oconee Creek area of South Georgia into Florida where they herded the wild cattle descended from the Spanish herds of the old La Chua Ranch. The earliest use of the term “Seminole” – a corruption of the Spanish term “cimarron” meaning “wild ones” – was in reference to this band.

In 1777, Seminole warriors led by Cowkeeper and Perryman joined with British troops on raids into Georgia.

In 1784, the British left the area and turned the governing of Florida back over to the Spanish. The British held a final conference with some Seminole leaders, including Kinache of Mikasuka, Five Bones of Coweta, and Long Warrior of Cuscowilla. The Seminole expressed their dismay at having the British leave. Cowkeeper told the English that he would kill all Spanish who tried to enter his land. When Cowkeeper died a short time later-he was estimated to be in his seventies-his dying words urged his people to continue fighting the Spanish. With the death of Cowkeeper, the leadership of the Alachua band passed to his nephew King Payne.

As a preview to the Seminole Wars, the Georgia Militia and other volunteer groups invaded Spanish Florida on several occasions and engaged the Seminole militarily. The Georgian invasions centered around two closely interrelated concerns: (1) to acquire Florida for the United States, and (2) to capture escaped African slaves who had found refuge among the Seminole. It was not uncommon for escaped slaves to become a part of Seminole culture, marrying into the tribe and having children.

In 1811, the Patriot Army composed of 70 Georgians and nine Floridians invaded Florida to seize the territory. The army quickly occupied Fernandina and moved toward St. Augustine. However, the Seminole attacked the invaders and the plantation owners who supported them. The Seminole killed eight Americans and liberated a number of cattle and slaves from the American plantations.

In order to rescue the Patriot Army, the Georgia Militia sent in 177 men who fought three engagements with the Seminole. The Americans attacked Payne’s Town where they caught the Seminole by surprise. However, Seminole leaders King Payne (who was 80 years old at this time) and Bowlegs directed fire against the American attackers and drove them off.

In 1812, the Seminole village of Paynes Town was attacked by Georgia militia who were a part of the U.S.-inspired offensive to seize Florida from the Spanish. The Seminole wealth was in their cattle which made tempting targets for Americans looking for booty and quick wealth. The Seminole, under the leadership King Payne, counter-attacked and drove the militia back. King Payne, however, was killed and his brother Bowlegs assumed leadership.

In a three-week campaign, the Americans burned 386 Seminole houses and destroyed or consumed 1,500 to 2,000 bushels of Seminole corn. Twenty Seminole were killed and nine were captured.

In 1815, the British withdrew their troops from Florida in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812. However, when it became obvious that the Americans had no intention of honoring article 9 of the Treaty which specified that the Indians would not lose any land, the British left a large supply of arms and ammunition behind for the Indians to use.

First Seminole War:

The first Seminole War erupted in 1816 when the United States army, aided by Creek allies, invaded Spanish Florida. The rationale for the invasion centered around escaped slaves and Seminole raids. The war involved a series of raids and counterraids and culminated with General Andrew Jackson’s scorched earth campaign against the Seminole. As a result of this war, the United States acquired Florida from Spain.

American soldiers together with 200 Creek warriors under Chief William McIntosh invaded Spanish territory in an attempt to capture blacks who are living among the Seminole. The 300 Seminole – including 30 Seminole men and 70 black men – took refuge in Fort Apalachicola. The fort was blown up by the Americans, killing 270 people. The survivors were taken to Georgia where they were enslaved. In revenge, other Seminole began a campaign of attacking American settlements along the Georgia-Florida border. This marks the beginning of what will later be called the First Seminole War.

In 1817, the Seminole attacked and killed a party of 40 Americans. In retaliation, American troops under the leadership of Andrew Jackson invaded Seminole territory, burning homes, and capturing some slaves.

In 1818, American troops under Andrew Jackson and Creek warriors under William McIntosh invaded Spanish Florida and attacked the Seminole village of Chief Bowlegs on the Suwanee River. Jackson’s force outnumbered the Seminoles by at least ten to one, so the Indians simply directed some scattered shots toward the advancing soldiers and then fled to nearby lowlands. Although the Seminole escaped the attack, the Americans captured two Englishmen who had been living with the Seminole. The Englishmen were tried and hanged for aiding the Indians.

The army also captured a number of women and children, including Billy Powell (who will later be known as the warrior Osceola).  

In 1819, Spain sold Florida to the United States. The United States promised to honor the rights of the Indians. Two years later the United States formally takes  possession of the territory, which includes an estimated 5,000 Seminole. The Americans immediately began making plans to relocate the Seminole who were living near the American settlements. The American governor viewed the area between the Suwanee River and Alachua, the area in which most of the Seminole lived, as the richest and most valuable in the territory. The Americans assumed that this land should be given to American settlers for development and the Seminole should be moved to Alabama or to west of the Mississippi River. The Americans did not recognize any Seminole rights to land ownership.

In 1824, President James Monroe recommended that the Seminole either be removed from Florida or placed on a reservation.

Ancient America: Teotihuacan

( – promoted by navajo)

The largest city in Mexico, and one of the largest cities in the world in ancient times, was Teotihuacán. Construction of this city, which is located to the northeast of present-day Mexico City, was started about 2,200 years ago. By 1,500 years ago Teotihuacán had a population of about 250,000 people, making it the sixth largest city in the world at that time. It covered an area of about 12 square miles.

We don’t know who built Teotihuacán, what they called themselves, or what the people who lived in the city called it. The Aztec gave it the name Teotihuacán indicating that it was the birthplace of the gods. The Aztec also named some of the prominent architectural features of the city, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. On the other hand, the Maya who lived to the south of the Valley of Mexico, had glyphs for the city which refer to it as the “Place of the Reeds.”  

The city was a major religious center as well as an industrial center. The massive Pyramid of the Sun dominated the landscape. The Pyramid of the Sun measures about 710 feet by 710 feet at its base. The pyramid was constructed as five stepped platforms. There is a multi-chambered natural cave located under the structure which was used for ritual practices.

The Pyramid of the Sun contains three million tons of material, making it bulkier than the Egyptian Great Pyramid at Giza. Most of the pyramid consists of compacted mud which was reinforced with wooden poles. The pyramid was built on an inward sloping base. Overall, the construction of the pyramid shows a very sophisticated understanding of engineering techniques.

The city’s broad central avenue-called the “Avenue of the Dead” by people today-begins at the Pyramid of the Moon and runs for about 1.5 miles through the city and then continues toward the outlying mountains. The width of the avenue ranges from 132 feet to 313 feet. A long channel under the floor of the avenue drained rainwater into the San Juan River. Along the avenue are many other smaller platform mounds or pyramids.

Along the Avenue of the Dead was the large plaza which was surrounded by temples. This formed the geographic, religious and political center of the city. The Spanish named this plaza the “Citadel” because they thought it was a fort. The Citadel measures about 1,320 feet on each side and is surrounded by four large platform pyramids. It is estimated that this plaza could hold 100,000 people with little crowding.

The Pyramid of the Moon and its plaza form the starting point for the Avenue of the Dead. Walking down the centerline of the Avenue toward the Pyramid of the Moon, one notices that the apex of the Pyramid exactly coincides with a notch in the Cerro Gordo, the mountain to the north. It is felt that this pyramid, as well as many others in Mesoamerica, represents sacred mountains.

The Feathered Serpent Pyramid, constructed about 200 CE, was the last major architectural feature built in Teotihuacán. One unique feature of this pyramid was the large number of massive sacred images depicted in high relief on all four sides of the structure. The base of the pyramid was a square about 215 feet on each side. It was only about 60 feet in height and included seven stepped platforms.

With regard to religion, the teotihuacanos were polytheistic in that they worshipped many different gods. Like other Mesoamerican civilizations, they practiced human sacrifice. When constructing a new building, a war prisoner would often be ritually sacrificed to ensure prosperity.

Utilizing some of the principles used in modern urban planning, the city was laid out in a grid pattern. This grid pattern is aligned to precisely 15.5° east of north. Pecked-cross circles throughout the city and in the surrounding regions indicate how the grid was managed over long distances.

Teotihuacán was the center of industry in Mexico at this time. The city was the home to many potters, jewelers, and craftspeople. Obsidian artifacts are just one of the products that were produced in great numbers by the city’s craftspeople.

Teotihuacán appears to have been a multiethnic city. It was laid out with distinct quarters for ethnic groups such as the Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya, and Nahua.

The rich and powerful teotihuacanos lived in palaces near the temples. Some of these palaces covered nearly 30,000 square feet. The commoners lived in large apartment buildings spread across the city. The residents of an apartment complex were usually related to each other through the male line (that is, they were a patrilineal group). There were about 2,000 of these apartment complexes in Teotihuacán. These buildings contained the workshops that produced pottery, jewelry, obsidian blades, and other goods.

Teotihuacán is also known for its murals: tens of thousands of these murals were produced between 450 and 650. Art historians feel that the painters’ artistry was unrivaled in Mesoamerica and many compare these murals with those of Florence, Italy.

With regard to agriculture, the teotihuacanos used an irrigation system which delivered water to the fields before the normal rainy season.

The decline of Teotihuacán in 535-536 appears to be correlated with a prolonged drought coupled with internal unrest and increased warfare.

Teo map

Teo 1

Teo 1

Converting Indians to “Scalp the Devil”: Joel’s Army

( – promoted by navajo)

Spiritual Warfare is a concept in Joel’s Army best comprehended by commutativity (Warfare Spiritual) and simplification (Warfare).

Psalm 68:21 (King James)

But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such as one as goeth on still in his trespasses.

the scalping of the devil, Ps 68:21

Healing for the Natives Ministries is lauded by Scott MacLeod. He and C. Peter Wagner (Mr. Joel’s Army) are both found on the Identity Network.

Here is the intent of Healing for the Natives Ministries.

Healing for the Natives Ministries

A unique ministry of spiritual warfare through anointed Native American cultural expressions of worship: a blending of Native and contemporary Christian that sets the captives free. We invite musicians (guitar, bass, drums, Indian drum and singers), and dancers to join us in ministry. Four Square Affiliation

Rise up mighty warriors, the centrality of the role of the Holy Spirit in spiritual warfare, using Indian imagery to illustrate spiritual warfare tactics.

As usual, converting necessarily means cultural genocide. This time, attacking the most sacred of the seven rites – the Sundance.

Letter on Sundance

I have a close friend who is a Cree Indian who was raised in the

traditional way. When he became a young man he was invited to participate in the Sun Dance, this was a great honor and his family had suffered many losses that year. His heart was very heavy from the trauma and so he felt it was his duty and it was important for him to make the sacrifice. During the ceremony he was pierced and after many hours he was getting weak. As he was dancing he looked at the center pole and he saw Jesus. He was taken by His look and the Lord said to him, “What are you doing?” Bruce replied, “I am suffering for my people, why do you ask Lord?” Jesus replied, “You don’t have to do this any more, I have already suffered for your people.” Since that time my friend has been serving the Lord and he has a powerful testimony.

Furthermore, “serving the Lord” also takes the form of “dismantling of the cement tomb over the mass grave” at Wounded Knee.



Ministering to Native people has exposed a gaping hole in the soul of Indian Country. This festering wound is a result of the massacre at Wounded Knee in South Dakota and other atrocities.  The Spirit of God has given me a prophetic picture of the healing of Wounded Knee and the massacer site; including  the dismantling of the cement tomb over the mass grave and restoring the site to an original earthen mound with wild flowers and prairie grass and a lodge pole burying scaffold,  in addition, the Holy Spirit has given us access to certain items that I believe God will use to bring healing to Wounded Knee.

– huge snip –

The partnership of Native Ministers with the American Church will ignite revival and thrust the Body of Christ into all the world ending with the salvation of Israel.

The Rapture’s meaning has transformed here. No longer an event where the elect vanish prior to God unleashing his wrath, now the elect shall form the Body of Christ and clear the path for the Lamb with blood.

Spiritual Warfare

Prophetic Message for Germany – Open heavens, Release from bondage to fear & shame, healing the land, Call & equip for warfare

Introduction: Spiritual warfare principles in the practices of Native Americans, life of a warrior, preparation – body, soul, spirit. Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Indian medicine – Spiritual warfare can only be waged with the anointing of the Holy Spirit

– snip –

• Acts 1:8 You shall be witnesses – Gr. Martus (mar’-toos) Martyrs, jihad, Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, Gr Dunamis – dynamite, explosive life giving power, the seed of God, God’s DNA

Sarah Palin & Spiritual Warfare
by Bruce Wilson

The Gospel contains a beautiful story; that is, that the very Son of God loved each and every one enough to die for them. Countless lives have been made better believing that, for there isn’t enough love in this world. But that is no excuse to commit cultural genocide, desecrate graves, and cross the line over into redemptive violence. These are the Christian Fascists, and as we have seen with the Christian Militias, they must be dealt with by using the full spectrum of federal law enforcement at the appropriate time.

Vision Quest Among the Southern Plains Tribes

( – promoted by oke)

The Southern Plains American Indian Culture Area lies south of the Arkansas River valley. It includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, portions of Texas, the eastern foothills of New Mexico, and portions of Louisiana. This is the area which was the homeland for Indian nations such as the Comanche, the Kiowa, and the Lipan Apache.

As with tribes in other areas, dreams are an important part of the spirituality of the Southern Plains. For the Comanche, visions can provide the individual with power (puha) when they are sought under certain stringent conditions. On the other hand, visions might also come unsought. Visions were traditionally sought for mourning, for going to war, for curing disease, and for success in hunting.  


At about the time of puberty, Comanche boys would seek their first vision with the aid of a medicine man. Each boy was to have four things: a buffalo robe, a bone pipe, some tobacco, and material for producing fire. On the way to the vision quest site – often a hill, or a warrior’s grave, or some other special place – the boy would stop to smoke the pipe four times. During the four-day quest the boy would fast. During this time, he was to be quietly humble before the sources of spiritual power. The Comanche saw no call for the seeker to demean himself in lamentation and self-pity. Those seeking a vision do so with some understanding of the kind of spiritual power they are seeking.

The culmination of the Comanche vision quest occurs when a guardian spirit reveals itself to the seeker. This guardian spirit teaches the seeker a number of things, including several songs. In this way the person seeking the vision receives puha (medicine power).

Among the Comanche, the power obtained through a vision could be shared with others and thus a number of medicine societies were formed.


Among the Kiowa, the guardian spirit obtained through the vision quest gives instructions on how to paint the face, as well as special songs, and guidance for making special amulets. It was considered unlikely that a man could be successful in life without a guardian spirit.

Among the Kiowa, successful vision seekers obtained spiritual power related to either curing or war. These two realms of spiritual power were generally mutually exclusive: one became either a great warrior or a great curer. For the person who received spiritual power related to curing, life was more difficult because of the responsibilities and restrictions accompanying his power. For those with curing power, life typically involved a stringent set of prohibitions placed on his doctoring medicine, such as avoiding certain animal foods-bears, moles, or fish-or animal parts-brains or marrow.

Kiowa men who received war power often made war shields that symbolized the power they had received through their vision. These shields, along with the associated spiritual power, could be given to a son or sold to a friend.

Among the Kiowa, it was possible for a man to purchase spiritual power. He would then undergo a vision quest under the guidance of a man whose medicine was painted on a circular war shield. The person seeking the vision would traditionally go out clad only in a breechcloth and moccasins. He would drape a buffalo robe around his shoulders. Carrying with him a pipe and a tobacco pouch, the initiate would then take the shield up into the Wichita Mountains. With the shield under his head, he would then fast to learn about the spiritual power of the shield keeper. For four days the initiate would fast, smoke, and pray in an attempt to obtain a vision.


Throughout North American Native Americans traditionally sought to obtain person spiritual power directly from spiritual entities. The process of obtaining this spiritual power varied from tribe to tribe. While I’ve looked at just the Comanche and the Kiowa in the Southern Plains Area, it must be remembered that many other tribes-including the Caddo, the Karankawa, the Plains Apache, the Jumano, and many others-also considered this their homeland.  

Ancient America: Hopewell

Our American and Canadian heritage begins long before Columbus supposedly “discovered” the Americas. For thousands of years people have lived in North America and they built cities and towns which were, and still are, architectural wonders. About 2,200 years ago, the Indian people living in the Ohio and Mississippi areas began a new cultural complex which archaeologists would later call Hopewell. One of the outstanding characteristics of the Hopewell culture is the earthen mounds. Typical Hopewell mounds are 12 meters high and about 30 meters across at the base. Earthworks, which sometimes exceed 500 meters in diameter, were constructed in circular, square, rectangular, and octagonal shapes.

Hopewell is sometimes called a civilization without cities. The people settled in small farmsteads and hamlets within hailing distance of one another. Their settlements were spread out along the floodplains and terraces or they were loosely clustered in the upland areas.

The size and complexity of the mounds provide insights into Hopewell planning, engineering skills, and social organization. The mounds and other archeological evidence show that Hopewell people had a highly developed social organization that included class structure and a division of labor, with specialists like metal workers, artists, and traders. In addition, they had leaders of hereditary rank and privileges, a strong religious system, and control over cooperative labor.

The Hopewell mounds appear to have been ceremonial centers, places where people were buried. In addition to mortuary ceremonies, they were probably also used for other ceremonies.  These ceremonies provided an opportunity for the people living in scattered villages to come together.

A second major characteristic of Hopewell was the flowering of artistic creation at this time. The Hopewell people not only made many useful items, but they made artifacts that were beautiful. They decorated their pottery with both dentate-stamping and rocker-stamping. Their pottery often had cross-hatched rim decorations and zoned decorations.

In addition to pots, the Hopewell people also made pottery figurines, usually depicting humans.

Another characteristic Hopewell artifact was their platform smoking pipes. These pipes were sometimes carved with animal and bird effigies.

For personal decoration, the Hopewell people made pottery rings, ear spools from both copper and stone, and copper headpieces. They often used antlers to indicate chiefly or leadership status.

Another interesting Hopewell artifact is the Hopewell Hand: a hand which was carved from mica and buried in a mound in Ohio.  

While it is common to characterize Indian people prior to the arrival of the Europeans as “stone age” people, the Hopewell made many different artifacts from copper. Their copper artifacts included musical instruments such as panpipes, cutting tools such as copper celts, copper needles, and beads made from both copper and from meteoric iron. In addition to working with copper, the Hopewell artists also made some objects from gold and silver.

Like other Indian cultures, the Hopewell were not isolated from the rest of North America. The Hopewell trading network spread west to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, north to Ontario, Canada, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. Trade goods included copper from the Lake Superior area, mica from the southern Appalachians, obsidian and grizzly bear teeth from Wyoming and Montana, and marine shells from both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. It is clear from the distribution of these goods that some network, either social or religious, must have existed for this exchange to take place.

As evidence of this wide trading network, Hopewell graves in Illinois, Michigan, and Illinois contain such items as conch shells from the Gulf Coast, shark teeth from the ocean, and pipes with alligator effigies.  

Hopewell influence stretched from Minnesota in the north to Mississippi in the south, from Nebraska in the west to Virginia in the east. This does not mean that Hopewell was an empire, or even a political confederation of tribes. Rather, Hopewell as probably one of the first Pan-Indian religious movements whose artistic style and ideas influenced many other cultures stretching from Mississippi to Minnesota, from Nebraska to Virginia.

Hopewell influenced the mound-building cultures of the southeast. The Mandeville site in Georgia displays clear evidence for participation in the so Hopewell Interaction Sphere (the area of Hopewell influence). Artifacts at the site which are identified as Hopewell include copper panpipes, copper ear spools, mica, platform pipes, ceramic figurines, galena, and “Flint Ridge” blades.

At Mandeville, the Hopewell tradition was reinterpreted by the local culture. Part of this local reinterpretation of the Hopewell tradition apparently consisted of the construction of small platform mounds for ritual practices.

The Mandeville site was abandoned about 300 CE. At this time there was a decrease in Hopewell influence in the region. The abandonment appears to have been part of a larger shift in settlement in the lower Chattahoochee River Valley.

The mounds and other features show that the Hopewellians had a highly developed social organization. This probably included a class structure and a division of labor, with specialists like metal workers, artists, and traders; leaders of hereditary rank and privileges; a strong religious system; and direction over cooperative labor.

While the Hopewell did raise some corn, this was not their most important food source. They raised a number of indigenous crops, such as sunflowers, marsh elder, squash, little barley, erect knotweed, maygrass, and stumpweed. They also got much of their food from gathering wild plants, from hunting and from fishing. For fishing, they made fishhooks from both copper and bone.

Hopewell villages tended to be located in areas which were good for growing native crops. Usually their settlements were dispersed along stream and river valley corridors. Their villages generally did not appear to have any overall community plan.

While there are no clear connections between Hopewell and contemporary Indian tribes, many of the cultural traditions of the Iroquois tribes seem to be linked to Hopewell. The Iroquois, like the Hopewell, use antlers as the metaphor for chiefly office. Similarly, both groups use a weeping-eye motif in their art.  

Ancient America: Giant Figures in the Desert

( – promoted by navajo)

On a terrace above the Colorado River just north of Blythe, California there is a 170-foot tall human figure which has been carved into the desert. The human figure is facing north and is accompanied by another 60-foot tall giant facing south with a spiral design. These images were first discovered by non-Indians when a pilot flying over the area notices them in the late 1920s.

Throughout the desert areas of the American Southwest there are more than 600 known geoglyphs: earthen images which were made by scraping away the stable dark desert pavement to reveal the lighter soil underneath (these are also called intaglios or engravings) or by placing boulders and/or large cobbles to form figures. Geoglyphs provide images of giants, animals, mythic figures, and geometric designs.

Some of the better known geoglyphs include the following:


This geoglyph is located near Quartsite, Arizona. It is an intaglio forms a fisherman holding a spear overhead while two fish swim below. This is probably an image of Kumastamho, the Quechan creator spirit who carved the course of the Colorado River with his spear.

To the south of the Fisherman is a group of 14 intaglios, including one which is a giant arrow which points to the Fisherman several miles away.

Running Man:

This geoglyph is located on an ancient shoreline of Searles Lake in the Mojave Desert of California. This 9-foot tall figure was formed with cobbles.

Giant Snake:

The desert pavement east of Parker, Arizona was scraped away to form a huge snake figure. The snake’s eyes were formed by the placement of two large granite cobbles.

Blythe Itaglios:

There are six figures in three different locations along a ritual pilgrimage trail used by the Yuman-speaking people. The figures illustrate the story of creation and are used to keep the story alive. The figures include a human and a cougar.

Trail of Dreams:

This is both a mythical trail and an actual trail which extends along the Colorado River from Newberry Mountain in Nevada to Pilot Knob Mountain in Arizona. All along this trail there are geoglyphs which recreate the stories associated with the trail.

Some conclusions:

Geoglyphs are difficult for archaeologists to date. However, some new dating techniques have been applied to the Running Man figure and suggest that it was made more than 6,000 years ago. Other figures in California’s Panamint Valley have been dated to 12,000 years ago. However, many of the figures along the Colorado River have been made only within the last 500 years.

The fish swimming underwater at the feet of the Fisherman is now estimated to have been made about 1540 AD and is felt to be younger than the image of the Fisherman.  

Understanding the meaning of the geoglyphs may be more difficult than dating them. They are symbols, but these symbols can only be understood from the context of the culture which created them. It is impossible to accurately talk about what these geoglyphs mean without consulting people who are familiar with the cultures that created them.

Among the Yuman-speaking people along the Colorado River, the power for success as a warrior, shaman, singer, or chief comes from dreams rather than from formal training or learning. One of the ways of creating a stronger connection between the dreamer and the spiritual power of the vision is to bring it to life through a geoglyph. Many geoglyphs can be best explained as forms of spiritual art, as a way of enhancing spiritual power and understanding.

Some of the geoglyphs, such as that of the Fisherman, illustrate important places and events in creation. These are not images which have been forgotten by Indian people: archaeologists who have been studying the figures have noticed that the figures continue to change indicating that they are still being used ceremonially.

In recent times, many of the geoglyphs have been destroyed or damaged. Some of this has been the intentional work of vandals, while others have been destroyed by people in off-road vehicles who drive over the geoglyphs. In an effort to protect some of the geoglyphs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has fenced some of them on the lands which it manages. The fencing does stop damage by off-road vehicles, but does not appear to interfere with continued ceremonial and spiritual use of the figures.

There are some “New Age” non-Indians, inspired by fantasies of master races from other galaxies, who would like to attribute the geoglyphs to visitors from other worlds, a kind of interplanetary graffiti signaling to passing space ships. Attributing the construction of geoglyphs to people from other planets is reminiscent of the 1800s when many non-Indians felt more comfortable explaining the construction of the “mounds” in the mid-west, such as those of Cahokia, to either the Aztecs or to some vanished race of super-humans. The denial of Indian heritage and of Indian achievements may be considered to be a form of racism.  The reality is, of course, very different. Geoglyphs were made by Indian people.

Blythe 1

Blythe 2

The Meriam Report

( – promoted by navajo)

The policies of the United States regarding American Indians have generally been based on two interlocked approaches: ideological and theological. During the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century, Indian affairs were guided by an ideology based on the concept of private property and a theology based on Christianity. Thus the formation of  Indian policies required no actual understanding of American Indians.  

Multimillionaire steel baron Andrew Carnegie cheerfully pronounced that “Individualism, Private Property, the Law of Accumulation of Wealth, and the Law of Competition” were the very height of human achievement. Politicians and Indian reformers simply sought to apply these to the Indian tribes with no real understanding of tribal cultures. Privatizing Indian land through the Allotment Act of 1887 was done through adherence to this ideology. It was felt that this would force Indians into the modern world and enable them and their children to have a future. The more practical realized that this would simply separate the Indians from their land and allow large corporate interests to prosper.

By the 1920s it was obvious to the most casual observer that there were major economic, social, and health problems on the reservations. America’s prosperity was not reaching Indian people. The poverty on the reservations was undeniable to any who had even a casual relationship with them. The Secretary of the Interior thus authorized an economic and social study of Indian conditions. Lewis Meriam led the study for the Institute for Government Research, a privately endowed foundation. To conduct the research, Meriam put together a team of social scientists, including some Native Americans.

In 1928, Meriam’s study entitled The Problem of Indian Administration (more commonly called the Meriam Report) was published. This was the most comprehensive study of Indian reservations ever done. The report strongly repudiated the philosophy of Indian policy which had prevailed since 1871.

While there were, and still are, many people who feel that poverty is a condition which Indian people have brought upon themselves, and that government policies can neither ameliorate nor create poverty, the report states:

“Several past policies adopted by the government in dealing with the Indians have been of a type which, if long continued, would tend to pauperize any race.”

Beginning in 1871, Indian policy in the United States had been guided by the ideology of private property, that only through private property could Indians (and all other people) prosper and that economic development should be based on small, privately owned family farms. According to the report:

“It almost seems as if the government assumed that some magic in individual ownership of property would in itself prove an educational civilizing factor, but unfortunately this policy has for the most part operated in the opposite direction”

The report also states:

“In justice to the Indians it should be said that many of them are living on lands from which a trained and experienced white man could scarcely wrest a reasonable living. In some instances the land originally set apart for the Indians was of little value for agricultural operations other than grazing”

The Meriam Report recognized the economic potential of Indian arts and crafts. The report recommended that the Indian Office coordinate the marketing of Indian arts and crafts so that genuineness, quality, and fair prices can be maintained. Indian arts and crafts were seen as a way of improving the social and economic conditions on the reservations.

The report also recommended that tribes be incorporated and that the tribal councils be given some decision-making powers.

The goals of Indian education during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were to convert Indian children to Christianity, to give them Christian names, particularly surnames, so that the inheritance of property could be easily traced, to provide them with the concept of greed, and to train them as laborers and household workers. Education was often carried out through boarding schools in which Indian children were forcibly removed from their homes and the influences of their cultures. With the Meriam Report the non-Indian public is made aware of kidnapping, child labor, emotional and physical abuse, and lack of health care in Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. While the report draws attention to abuses, the assimilationist po¬licies of Indian education continues for another 40 years.

The report is particu¬larly critical of the boarding schools:

“The survey staff finds itself obligated to say frankly and unequivocally that the provisions for the care of the Indian children in boarding schools are grossly inadequate.”

While Indian education has often assumed that Indians are to be trained for manual labor, the report states:

“The Indian Service should encourage promising Indian youths to continue their education beyond the boarding schools and to fit themselves for professional, scientific, and technical callings. Not only should the educational facilities of the boarding schools provide definitely for fitting them for college entrance, but the Service should aid them in meeting the costs.”

With regard to religion, the report urges the continuation of cooperation with Christian missionaries, but cautions:

“The missionaries need to have a better understanding of the Indian point of view of the Indian’s religion and ethics, in order to start from what is good in them as a foundation. Too frequently, they have made the mistake of attempting to destroy the existing structure and to substitute something else without apparently realizing that much in the old has its place in the new.”

With regard to Indian health, the report simply stated:

“The health of the Indians compared with that of the general population is bad.”

According to the report, the general death rate and the infant mortality rate were high. Tuberculosis and trachoma (a disease that produces blindness) were very prevalent. With regard to the health care services provided to Indians by the government, the report states:

“The hospitals, sanatoria, and sanatorium schools maintained by the Service, despite a few exceptions, must generally be characterized as lacking in personnel, equipment, management, and design”

According to the report, the government run health care institutions do not provide adequate care for their patients.

Overall, the Meriam Report set the stage for a new era in Indian policy, an era in which policy could be based on actual data rather than ideological or theological fantasies.  

I Dream Obama Signs UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

I dreamed I was dead and talking to your spirit at the tree of life Mr. President. You were somewhat annoyed at having been summoned by greater powers than you, but you listened and were very considerate of hearing what I had to say. I didn’t need to tell you all the details of what you are considering signing, and I understood your complex predicament. I told you that you had a choice to make since most the remaining natural resources of the Earth Mother are on Indigenous lands, and you are president of all the people of this country. I told you I pitied your predicament and would not want it for myself.  When respecting one’s sacred lands means compromising the survival of another, how do you decide between what is right and necessary but evil?

USA: Obama Might Back UN Indigenous Declaration

Barack Obama might support the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights, First Nations leaders said after meeting with the president-elect´s Indian advisers on Thursday.

– snip –

Around 50 indigenous representatives from the Americas attended the special session Dec. 9-12 at OAS headquarters in the Simón Bolívar Room.

You know you cannot damage the land without damaging The People, and you know we cannot change fast enough to reverse the course our Earth Mother is on, much less change from a carbon based economy to a green economy over night. And how sad you must feel in your heart sometimes Mr. President – because while the answers are right in front of us – it is greed that in the end will kill us all. It is greed that continues to kill our relatives in the water and who fly above it – not the oil. The water of life, enough for many Nations, has become death to those relatives and ways of life that once depended on it. As we talked Mr. President, you knew those things, but you had never thought about what I said next.

Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, April 20, 2010

Thus today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has

decided to review our position regarding the U.N. Declaration on the

Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

There are those of us who know we are American Indian, but who don’t know what language we speak. We don’t know who are clans are anymore. We can not go to all of the graves of our ancestors to pay respect or mourn, for we will never know who they were. We are the result of the Final Solution. And the primary reason is that our ancestor’s land was stolen from them, and their languages were intentionally stamped out. While it is true that languages have survived, that specific lineage in us is gone forever. And you know, Mr. President, that respecting all the unique sovereignty of all the Indigenous Peoples is the core of the UN Declaration. Therefore, I asked you questions to help you relate to the issues at hand.

Would you like it if your daughters did not know who their father was? Would you like it if your daughters did not know the language you spoke, but had been forced into speaking a different tongue for the sake of Manifest Destiny?

Those of us whose specific lineage is gone forever have relatives from many Nations, but we won’t even be a memory seven generations from now as being from that specific lineage. Mr. President, and I can only speak for myself, don’t let my present become any one else’s future.  

I dream you sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Sign the Petition : 24 Letters and Emails Sent So Far

On November 5, 2009 at a historic summit in Washington, DC hosted by President Barack Obama, Chairman Joe Kennedy – Timbisha Shoshone of the Western Shoshone Nation, delivered a message on behalf of the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of North America calling for immediate action by the present US administration in affirmation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

This call to implement the UNDRIP after centuries of colonization and injustice, institutes a new systemic standard that allows for complementary readjustment among entities of the government states and the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples globally, normalizing peaceful relations and creating partnerships based on mutual respect and cooperation.

World War I and American Indians

( – promoted by navajo)

In 1917 the United States entered into World War I. While Indians were not liable to be drafted, they enlisted in large numbers. Many of the volunteers were eager to count coup, gain war honors, and to maintain the warrior traditions of their tribes. An estimated 10,000 Indians served in the military during the war.

The Onondaga Nation, a part of the Iroquois Confederacy, unilaterally declared war on Germany, citing ill-treatment of tribal members who were stranded in Berlin at the beginning of hostilities. The Oneida Nation, another member of the Iroquois Confederacy, also declared war on Germany.

The Draft:

When the United States entered World War I a draft was implemented. Indian men were required to register for the draft. However, Indians were not generally considered to be citizens at this time, and most Indian men were therefore not citizens. Citizenship for Indians at this time was not determined by place of birth, but by whether or not they had taken an allotment and were considered “competent.”

Only those who were citizens could actually be drafted for military duty. Registration for the draft included all Indian males, both those who were citizens and those who were not. The Indian Office (Bureau of Indian Affairs) was instructed to establish draft boards for each reservation.  On some reservations, the Indian agents had difficulties in explaining to the men why they needed to register if they could not be drafted.

Some Indian leaders, such as Dr. Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai), called for citizenship to be conferred upon Indians before they were drafted. In 1917, Dr. Montezuma wrote in his newsletter Wassaja:

“They are not citizens. They have fewer privileges than have foreigners. They are wards of the United States of America without their consent or the chance of protest on their part.”

In 1918, a number of Gosiute men on the Deep Creek Reservation in Utah and Nevada refused to register for conscription. The Indian agent had attempted to explain to them that the conscription registration was merely a census and that it did not mean that they would actually be drafted, as they were not citizens. Unsatisfied by this explanation, several men refused to register. Consequently, the Indian agent ordered that several men be arrested for inciting draft resistance, and tensions increased. Rumors from both sides of the dispute added to the tension and distrust. The Indians armed themselves and reportedly bought thirty cases of ammunition from the local store. When federal officials tried to arrest two men, the Gosiute refused to surrender them. Army troops were then called in to arrest the supposed ringleaders. They detained about 100 men and arrested six. The six men were eventually freed.

In Oklahoma, Ellen Perryman, an unmarried woman from a prominent Creek family, attempted to organize a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) post to commemorate the deeds of the Loyal Creek during the Civil War. At a meeting at the Hickory Stomp Ground-the location of the Crazy Snake Rebellion-the meeting became an anti-government rally and a protest against the draft. A mob of “patriotic” citizens then broke up the meeting amidst some sporadic gunfire and verbal threats. This became known at the Creek Draft Rebellion of 1919.

Concerned that the publicity from the event would undermine the government’s claims for unanimous support for the War, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs ordered an immediate investigation. The subsequent reports claim that Ellen Perryman was disloyal to the government, a possible violation of the Espionage and Sedition Acts. One investigator met with her and concluded that she was demented and recommended that the matter be dropped. The investigation continued and law enforcement agents watched her every move.

A warrant was then issued for the arrest of Ellen Perryman. Amidst rumors that the Indians were organizing an uprising, armed agents arrived at the Hickory Stomp Ground to arrest Perryman who was described as being about 40 years-old, heavily built, and about five feet three inches tall. The agents found no uprising, no armed Indians, no draft rebellion, and no Perryman.

As the hunt for Ellen Perryman intensified, there were reports that she was in Washington, D.C. with several older Snakes meeting with the German government. At this point the Secret Service and the Bureau of Investigation became involved. For two months Perryman eluded federal agents, but she was finally arrested in Oklahoma and charged with violating the Espionage Act.

At her hearing it was agreed to postpone the case indefinitely with the understanding that she would behave herself and keep quiet. This was the end of the Creek Draft Rebellion of 1918. The Rebellion took six months of investigation that included a detachment of the Oklahoma National Guard, dozens of state and local law enforcement officials, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Post Office, the Secret Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Military Service:  

Even though they could not be drafted, Indian men volunteered to serve. Many saw military service in war time as an opportunity to continue the warrior traditions of their tribes. Many of the warriors counted coup (war honors) and went through tribal war ceremonies both before shipping out and upon returning.

One of the problems facing the American forces was communication: since English was frequently spoken by the Germans they could understand radio transmissions as well as telephone conversations (lines were often tapped). American Indians provided an interesting solution. While speaking Indian languages was not encouraged in the United States-in fact it was often punished-many Indian soldiers were fluent in Native languages.  One regiment used Choctaw officers to transmit messages in Choctaw regarding troop movements and other sensitive operations. In doing this, the Choctaw had to develop a special Choctaw vocabulary for military words such as machine gun and hand grenade.

In 1919, Congress passed an Act which conferred citizenship for all Indians who served in the military or in naval establishments during World War I.

Home Front:

On the home front, American Indians bought $25 million worth of war bonds which was $75 for every Indian.

In 1917, the Round Valley Indians of California wanted to show their support for the War through Red Cross work-making hospital garments, surgical dressings, and Christmas boxes. Their Indian agent, however, excluded them from these activities. Non-Indians in the area did not want to include the Indians in their organization nor did they want to assist them in forming their own chapter.

Indian feelings were further inflamed when non-Indians attempted to exclude the Round Valley Indians from a parade to celebrate the end of a Liberty Loan drive to raise funds for the war. The Indian superintendent ignored Indian requests for full participation in the parade and restricted them to a single float. In addition, the superintendent put the Indian service flag at the end of the parade.  

In response to this discrimination, the Indians called a general meeting of their community and demanded that the agent be present and explain his treatment of them. Approximately 25% of the Round Valley Indian Community attended the meeting, and while the agent drove by the meeting hall several times, he failed to attend. Realizing that no apology was forthcoming, the Indians organized themselves and petitioned Washington to investigate the matter. They also petitioned the Red Cross to grant them a charter as an independent Indian chapter, but the paperwork granted such a chapter was delayed until the end of the war. No investigation of the agent was instigated by the Indian Office.

Impact on Reservations:

World War I also impacted American Indian reservations. During this time the loss of Indian land increased. During the war-1917 to 1919-the federal government issued more fee patents-that is, moving land from tribal status to individual status-than it had in the previous ten years.

During the war, cattle and sugar beet companies convinced the federal government that they were contributing to the war effort. Thus, when they wanted more land, they were able to lease Indian land quickly, cheaply, and easily. In Montana, sugar companies leased 20,000 acres of Crow land without having to consult with tribal leaders and in South Dakota, non-Indian ranchers grazed their cattle on Sioux land without Sioux approval.