American Indian Candidates

( – promoted by navajo)

Congress passed legislation in 1924 which gave all American Indians citizenship. While citizenship should imply the right to vote, the states often imposed barriers to allowing Indians to vote. In some instances they ignored-or simply pled ignorance of-the fact that Indians were citizens.

A combination of factors-restricting voter registration, gerrymandering, discouraging Indians from voting (including intimidation)-make it difficult for Indians to get elected to public office. At the present time there are Indian running in several states. The diary below mentions a few of them.  


Freshman lawmaker Chris Deschene (Navajo) has won the Democratic nomination for the office. In the general election Dechene will face Republican Ken Bennett who assumed the position when Jan Brewer was elevated to governor.


At the present time, Oklahoma is the only state where there are more Republican Indians serving in the legislature than Democrats.  There are twelve Republicans in the House and seven Democrats.  There are three Democrats in the Senate. This year there are a number of Democratic Indian candidates supported by INDN’s List running for office in Oklahoma.

Jeff Jones (Osage) is running for District Attorney against a right wing State House member. None of Oklahoma’s 27 District Attorneys at the present time are tribal members. Jones was a member of the Teamsters Union. He got his law degree by going to law school at night.

Steve Burrage (Choctaw) was appointed State Auditor and Inspector in July 2008 and is now running for election. In accepting the appointment, he said, “I want the State Auditor’s Office to be the best auditing firm in Oklahoma.” He immediately set work to accomplish this benchmark. Steve has conducted audits that have prosecuted felons and saved the state of Oklahoma hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maya Torralba (Kiowa) is challenging an incumbent Republican in District 56. A champion of progressive causes, she completed the 2007 INDN Campaign Camp.

Ken Luttrell (Cherokee) represents one of the most Republican districts in Oklahoma currently held by a Democrat. Republicans are committed to defeating him. Luttrell is a former member of the Communications Workers of America Union and serves on the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators.

Cory Williams (Cherokee) was elected to the state legislature (District 34) by 63 votes in 2008. He is currently running for reelection in one of the toughest State House races in Oklahoma. Republicans  used smear tactics and dirty tricks to try to beat him two years ago in one of the nastiest races in Oklahoma and they are will stop at nothing to try to defeat this progressive champion in November.


In 2000, John Oceguera was elected to the Nevada State Legislature as Assemblyman for District 16 in Southeast Las Vegas. The voters in District 16 have returned John to office every two years since that time. At the present time, John Oceguera is on track to become the next speaker of the house. He is being challenged by a republican and needs our support. He has been endorsed by INDN’s list.

South Dakota:

The top law enforcement person in the state is the Attorney General, an elective position. At the present time an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Ron Volesky, is running for this office.  

“The Lord Places People in This or That Country – Uganda (Edited)”

( – promoted by navajo)

Julius Oyet is represented in the video.

Oyet is a self-designated Apostle and leader of the Lifeline Ministries. He has found favor with President Museveni for praying against areas of Northern Uganda once controlled by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. Oyet’s Born Again Federation in Uganda oversees over 10,000 churches and estimates 9 million Christians attend these churches.

Oyet promotes what is known as the “7 mountains strategy”; this is the belief that Christianity should advance in a society by taking control of seven domains:

To establish The Kingdom of God on the earth, we must claim and possess The Seven Mountains of Culture namely: Business, Government, Religion, Family, Media, Education and Entertainment.

“Alters, alters have been put up all over the place, where they made a covenant with the gods. The four major places, sites where these things can be found – to confirm it as an alter. The water spots, the forests, and then on the rocks; and fourthly, on the graveyards. Any time you get a pot with the drinking tubes, in one of four areas, it is a sign that that is an alter. A covenant was made there.” Superstition, idolatry, and witchcraft, have stood as the ever present partners – of these unspeakable horrors. They continue, to do so, today.

The video states, “but man has not pursued these dark deeds alone” after mentioning: cannibalism, the wars in Uganda, mutilation, and murder.  George Otis, Jr., the producer of the video, wants his audience to blame the atrocities and wars on alters residing on “the four major places” by deduction. Dehumanization precedes extermination, dehumanizing a people’s sacred sites and alters precedes cultural genocide. But to them, it’s possessing the culture of all religions “To establish The Kingdom of God on the earth.”

“To establish The Kingdom of God on the earth.”

“We put our foot on Hawaii !”-video of GOP candidates at bizarre event

– during one of the most heavily covered American mid-term elections in history, a wave of politicians associated with a nakedly supremacist evangelical ministry whose leaders make statements ideologically reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades,

“To establish The Kingdom of God on the earth.”

Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 combined with his religious motivations for making it led Pope Alexander VI to issue a Papal Bull in 1493.

Pope Alexander VI ordered Ferdinand and Isabella to observe and to do the following:  that the primary purpose of all future voyages and ensuing discoveries of land and people was to Christianize and “overthrow” any Nations who resisted; that Columbus himself be used for the next voyage, since there was consensus among Columbus, Ferdinand, Isabella, and the Papacy with regards to spreading Christianity to the entire world; that the Indians might have been good converts; that all this was to be carried out “By the Authority of Almighty God;” that it applied to the entire world; that any possible Christian rulers were to not be overthrown; that Ferdinand and Isabella had power over such possible Christian rulers, while the Papacy had power over them and any possible Christian rulers; that overthrown Nations would have a Christian ruler put in place; that anyone who traded with anyone who overthrew a Christian ruler would be excommunicated; and that anyone who went against the Papal Bull would “Incur the wrath of Almighty God.”

Perhaps because in part because he didn’t want to” Incur the wrath of Almighty God,” and in addition to Columbus’s crimes against humanity, “he performed a ceremony to “take possession” of the land for the king and queen of Spain, acting under the international laws of Western Christendom.”


When Christopher Columbus first set foot on the white sands of Guanahani island, he performed a ceremony to “take possession” of the land for the king and queen of Spain, acting under the international laws of Western Christendom. Although the story of Columbus’ “discovery” has taken on mythological proportions in most of the Western world, few people are aware that his act of “possession” was based on a religious doctrine now known as the Doctrine of Discovery. Even fewer people realize that today –five centuries later– the United States government still uses this archaic Judeo-Christian doctrine to deny the rights of Native American Indians.

– snip –

In 1823, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was quietly adopted into U.S. law by the Supreme Court in the celebrated case, JOHNSON v. McINTOSH (8 Wheat., 543). Writing for the unanimous court, Chief Justice John Marshall observed that Christian European nations had assumed “ultimate dominion” over the lands of America during the Age of Discovery, and that–upon “discovery”–the Indians had lost “their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations,” and only retained a right of “occupancy” in their lands. In other words, Indian nations were subject to the ultimate authority of the first nation of Christendom to claim possession of a given region of Indian lands. [Johnson: 574; Wheaton: 270-1]

What did Chief Justice MARSHALL say again?

While the different nations of Europe respected the right of the natives, as occupants, they asserted the ultimate dominion to be in themselves; and claimed and exercised, as a consequence of this ultimate dominion, a power to grant the soil, while yet in possession of the natives. These grants have been understood by all, to convey a title to the grantees, subject only to the Indian right of occupancy.

The history of America, from its discovery to the present day, proves, we think, the universal recognition of these principles.

Spain did not rest her title solely on the grant of the Pope. Her discussions respecting boundary, with France, with Great Britain, and with the United States, all show that she placed in on the rights given by discovery. Portugal sustained her claim to the Brazils by the same title.

No one of the powers of Europe gave its full assent to this principle, more unequivocally than England. The documents upon this subject are ample and complete. So early as the year 1496, her monarch granted a commission to the Cabots, to discover countries then unknown to Christian people, and to take possession of them in the name of the king of England. Two years afterwards, Cabot proceeded on this voyage, and discovered the continent of North America, along which he sailed as far south as Virginia. To this discovery the English trace their title.

Christopher Columbus was discovered by Indians and since all it takes is “planting a cross and taking on the conquest and/or conversion of indigenous people” to steal a “New World” by genocide and then making that ideology Supreme Court law, then perhaps  John Cotton’s words from 1630 reflect the ignorance and sentiment of many fundamentalists today.

The placing of a people in this or that country is from the appointment of the Lord.

Newcomb: The smoking gun By Steven Newcomb

We now have conclusive evidence: In a legal brief filed in the case Tee Hit Ton, the United States government traced the origin of Indian title in U.S. law to the ideology that discovering Christian sovereigns had the right to take over and acquire the lands of “heathens and infidels.”

– snip –

The United States responded to the Tee Hit Ton complaint by stating: “It is a well established principle of international law with respect to the lands of this continent [that] ‘discovery gave title to the government by whose subjects, or by whose authority, it was made, against all other European governments which title might be consummated by possession.'” Here the attorneys for the United States cited Johnson v. M’Intosh, from which they lifted the quoted language.

– snip –

Here, then, is the smoking gun: the U.S. government’s legal brief in Tee Hit Ton. It is a gem of religious racism that fully documents the illegitimate foundation of U.S. Indian law and policy. The U.S. legal brief in Tee Hit Ton also demonstrates that this foundation of religious discrimination and racism was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court as recently as 1955, when the court ruled that the Tlingit lands were not their property, and that religiously racist backdrop continues to be invoked whenever the court cites the Doctrine of Discovery.

What are additional rationales for “placing (of a) people in this or that country -”

Genocide OK if You’re Killing God’s Enemies?

Most people probably – hopefully – agree that genocide is wrong; at the same time, though, few people are as willing to condemn genocide if it occurs in the context of killing the “enemies” of God.

from the appointment of the Lord?”

How many Christians and Jews read the stories of mass slaughter in the Old Testament and react with horror? How many instead make up excuses for why it was OK for the Israelites to kill off entire groups of human beings? Once you start making such excuses, though, it’s hard to stop and this creates problems for us today.

The answer is, and this is all one can hope to understand, is that there is no rational. There is irrational with economic motivation. For example, land is not valuable to the invaders in and of itself, but for the crops it might yield and the resources on it. But what about the “divine authorization” for genocide, or “the placing of a people in this or that country?”

One can neither prove nor disprove God as one learns from studying the ontological argument. So to, it is safe to say that those who have condoned genocide because they believe a supreme being authorized it believe in a supreme being, or God.  It is circular reasoning taken to the extreme, let me attempt to make an example of the irrational. “Doesn’t one commandment say ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill,’ then why is it permissible to exterminate a people? Because God commanded and authorized it, and who are you to question God?”…

“In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians

were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them.”

“It may be demanded…Should not Christians have more mercy and

compassion? But…sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.”

-Puritan divine Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana

Who were the invaders to “question their God?” It was much easier to dehumanize than question their “God” and risk eternal damnation.


When asked at the military inquiry why children had been killed, one of the soldiers quoted Chivington as saying, “NITS MAKE LICE.”

Allow me to wrap this up with some circular reasoning of my own. Since God and heaven can not be proved or disproved, then neither can hell. I would hope there is a hell, and I would hope it’s unbearable. Furthermore, I’d hope Mather, Chivington, Custer, Hitler and the like are in it.

The placing of a people in this or that country is from the appointment of the Lord.

I don’t believe in hell though, I believe in something akin to the First Law of Thermodynamics.

Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.

The lessons of Columbus, Mather, Chivington, Custer, Hitler and the like haven’t been learned, so they’ve been “merely changing from one form to another.”…

“Time is on their side” so long as crimes against humanity continue to be condoned for economic reasons and it will continue as long as the Military Industrial Complex exists with Manifest Destiny being the stage and irrational. The different faces of butchers aren’t going to hell, nor are past ones in it, they’re yet with us as that engine of grief called fundamentalism fuels their irrationality and puts blood money in their bank accounts.

Outsourcing a U.S. war: Ugandans in Iraq

“The report is called ‘Open Secret: Illegal Detention and Torture’ by the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force in Uganda. It was published last year, April 8, 2009, and it says that the United States provided not only training, but also $5 million for Ugandan security agents to torture individuals detained in Uganda, which is illegal according to the Leahy Amendment, an amendment by Sen. Patrick Leahy, which prohibits U.S. cooperation or funding or training for any government that is torturing its individuals or committing human rights abuse.

“To establish The Kingdom of God on the earth.”

George Bernard Shaw:

We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

The Heavy Runner Massacre

( – promoted by navajo)

American history is filled with accounts of Indians being massacred by the U.S. Army, by American civilians, and others. Some of these “incidents” are well-known to the general public: Wounded Knee, the Washita, and Sand Creek. Others, such as the massacre of Heavy Runner’s Blackfoot band, are less well-known. In 1870, soldiers under the leadership of Colonel E. M. Baker killed 217 peaceful Blackfoot men, women, and children on the Marias River in Montana.


In the years both before and after the Civil War, many Americans came to Montana seeking to find their wealth either through mining or cattle ranching. Malcolm Clarke was one of those who settled down as a cattle rancher.  Clarke soon married a Blackfoot woman, Kohkokima (Cutting Off Head Woman). Clarke gains the respect of the Blackfoot and was initially given the name White Lodgepole. Later, he was given the name Four Bears after he killed four grizzlies in one day.

In 1867, some Blackfoot relatives of Kohkokima, come to visit the Clarke ranch. In the group were Owl Child (Ne-tus-che-o, Kohkokima’s cousin), his wife, mother, sister, and younger brother. As a result of this visit something went wrong which created bad blood between Owl Child and the Clarke men. One version of the story, told by the Blackfoot, alludes to improper advances made by the rancher to the wife of the Piegan cousin while Horace Clarke and Owl Child were hunting in the nearby mountains. Another version of the story, usually told by non-Indians, says that Owl Child stole some Clarke horses and that Clarke publically beat him.

Two years later, a Blackfoot party led by Owl Child approaches the Clarke ranch in a friendly fashion. With Owl Child are Black Weasel, Eagle’s Rib, Bear Chief, and Black Bear. Owl Child told Clarke that he had come to invite him to Mountain Chief’s village. Black Weasel, who was with the party, was Mountain Chief’s son.

Mountain Chief had disliked Americans since three Americans shot his brother and the authorities had done nothing about it. He banned all Americans from his village, but he stayed friendly with Malcolm Clarke because of his marriage to Kohkokima.  

Suddenly, Bear Chief shot one of Clarke’s sons in the head. When Clarke rushed out of the house, he was shot dead by Eagle’s Rib. About 25 warriors then came out of the woods and proceeded to destroy everything in the house.

Since Malcolm Clarke was a prominent rancher,  the Montana press clamored for revenge against the Blackfoot, with little concern for the actual killers. However, the military commander at Fort Shaw remained calm. He reported:

“The only Indians within reach are friendly, and nothing could be worse than to chastise them for offenses of which they are not guilty.”

However, General Sheridan, with a reputation as an Indian fighter, was in Chicago and hearing from the American settlers who wanted revenge. He ordered Colonel E. M. Baker to obtain that revenge. It was not about justice: there was little concern for capturing the actual murderers. It was about retaliation: attacking the Blackfoot camps, any Blackfoot camp. Baker was ordered to give the Blackfoot an exhibition of military force to show the Blackfoot that they were not to trifle with the Americans. Baker’s orders from General Sheridan:

“If the lives & property of the citizens of Montana can best be protected by striking Mountain Chief’s band of Piegans, I want them struck.”

The Battle:

It was January of 1870 when the soldiers set out in search of Mountain Chief’s camp. The temperature was well below zero. Riding with the soldiers is Horace Clarke, Malcolm Clarke’s son.

On the Marias River, the soldiers encounter a Blackfoot camp. As the army approached the camp, scout Joe Kipp recognized that it is the friendly village of Heavy Runner and informed the commander that this was the wrong village. The officer ordered the soldiers to shoot Kipp if he yelled again.

As the soldiers attacked, Heavy Runner ran toward Baker waving his Washington medals and his letters of recommendation showing that he was friendly to the United States. One of the soldiers shot Heavy Runner, killing him. Baker ordered his troops to fire. The Indians did not return fire as all of their able-bodied men were on a buffalo hunt. When the firing was over the soldiers simply shot the wounded Indians. They then collected the lodges and property of the Indians in great piles, and set fire to them.

One hundred and forty women and children were taken prisoner in the attack. After being held for a short time, they were released to face the cold-estimated to be 40 below zero-without blankets, shelter, or food. Many died from exposure.

The first official account of the “incident” claimed that 120 Blackfoot warriors were killed, an interesting statistic since nearly all of the men were out hunting. Later, the official report was modified to indicate that a total of 173 Blackfoot were killed and that 148 of these were women, children, and elders. However, the scout Joe Kipp reported that he personally counted 217 dead.

The Aftermath:

At the time of the Heavy Runner massacre (dubbed the Baker Massacre in the eastern press), the U.S. government was debating over whether the Indian Office (later known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs) was to remain in the Department of the Interior or be transferred back to the War Department. The accounts of army brutality in this incident, including Horace Clarke’s testimony about the brutality of the attack against this friendly camp, helped stop the proposal to move Indian Affairs to the War Department. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Ely Parker, who was a Seneca Indian, was put in the position of defending the military operation as an effective way of dealing with the Blackfoot.  

Mountain Chief and his people, upon hearing about the attack on Heavy Runner, avoided the army by crossing the border into Canada.  

Native American Rights Fund’s 40th Anniversary

In 1970 a pilot project was started to provide legal services to Native Americans throughout the nation.

That project blossomed into the Native American Rights Fund (NARF).

NARF works to protect civil and religious rights for all Native Americans.

NARF is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this weekend.


Soon to follow was the “National Indian Law Library” (NILL) the first public law library dedicated to federal and tribal Indian law.

Indian law is complicated and complex. Meteor Blades put it best when he said that the only thing more complicated than water law was Indian law.

Working within the boundaries of tribal law and federal laws is a complicated maze that takes vast amounts of time and litigation for NARF and its staff.

NARF is a non-profit that relies on grants and donations.

Throughout its history, NARF has impacted tens of thousands of Indian people in its work for more than 250 tribes. Some examples of the results include

   * Protecting and establishing the inherent sovereignty of tribes

   * Obtaining official tribal recognition for numerous Indian tribes

   * Helping tribes continue their ancient traditions, by protecting their rights to hunt, fish and use the water on their lands

   * Helping to uphold Native American religious freedom

   * Assuring the return of remains and burial goods from museums and historical societies for proper and dignified re-burial

   * Protecting voting rights of Native Americans

A recent victory was Kaltag v. State of Alaska garnering more validity to the Indian Child and Welfare Act.

Another current endeavor of NARF is the Supreme Court Trial Project.

What is the Tribal Supreme Court Project?

During its 2000 Term, the United States Supreme Court issued two devastating Indian law opinions: Atkinson Trading Co. v. Shirley (Tribes lack authority to tax non-Indian businesses within their reservations) and Nevada v. Hicks (Tribal Courts lack jurisdiction to hear cases brought by tribal members against non-Indians for harm done on trust lands within their reservations). These opinions were devastating in that they struck crippling blows to tribal sovereignty and tribal jurisdiction — the most fundamental elements of continued tribal existence. These losses were indicative of the Court’s steady departure from the longstanding, established principles of Indian law and were among a string of losses suffered by Indian tribes over the past two decades.

In response, in September 2001, Tribal Leaders met in Washington, D.C., and established the Tribal Supreme Court Project (Project) as part of the Tribal Sovereignty Protection Initiative. The purpose of the Project is to strengthen tribal advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court by developing new litigation strategies and coordinating tribal legal resources, and to ultimately improve the win-loss record of Indian tribes. The Project is staffed by attorneys with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and consists of a Working Group of over 200 attorneys and academics from around the nation who specialize in Indian law and other areas of law that impact Indian cases, including property law, trust law and Supreme Court practice. In addition, an Advisory Board of Tribal Leaders assists the Project by providing the necessary political and tribal perspective to the legal and academic expertise.

Please help the Native American Rights Fund celebrate their 40th anniversary and continue their vital work in the coming years.

Numerous and convenient options are available.

Donate directly, become a member.

NARF also offers numerous simple gift options.

And for various occasions there is a great way to help NARF–ecards.

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 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.


Prison Camps & The Trail Of Tears (Part 2)

( – promoted by oke)

(this is a repost)

Mark Anthony Rolo: Recalling the Trail of Tears

“The Trail of Tears began 170 years ago this week. We should recall it not as an aberration but as a logical outgrowth of an inhumane policy. And we should insist, in its memory, that Indian treaties and Indian sovereignty be honored.

When President Andrew Jackson ordered the Cherokee Nation off its Georgia homelands, the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Cherokees, promising them a $5 million payment upon successful removal west of the Mississippi.

October: For most Cherokee, the “Trail of Tears” begins.


The Legend of the Cherokee Rose.


No better symbol exists of the pain and suffering of the Trail Where They Cried than the Cherokee Rose(pictured at top of page). The mothers of the Cherokee grieved so much that the chiefs prayed for a sign to lift the mother’s spirits and give them strength to care for their children. From that day forward, a beautiful new flower, a rose, grew wherever a mother’s tear fell to the ground. The rose is white, for the mother’s tears. It has a gold center, for the gold taken from the Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem that represent the seven Cherokee clans that made the journey. To this day, the Cherokee Rose prospers along the route of the “Trail of Tears”.


Military forts were already in place when theroads leading to those forts were being made more passable. Yet with no “removal treaty” known to Cherokees, settlers sarcastically made references to the military forts becoming the Cherokee’s new homes. Principle Chief John Ross was so alarmed by the forts, roads, and cruel teasing that he traveled all the way to Washington to express his grave concerns to Andrew Jackson.

Jackson hypocritically told them:

“You shall remain in your ancient land as long as grass grows and water runs.”

Principle Chief John Ross also tried desperately to escape the peril of Treaty of New Echota (the “removal treaty” which no true representative of the Cherokee Nation ever signed) for his people by sending a letter to the U.S. Senate and House, dated September 28, 1836:

Cherokee letter protesting the Treaty of New Etocha  from Chief John Ross, “To the Senate and House of Representatives”


By the stipulations of this instrument, we are despoiled of our private possessions, the indefeasible property of individuals. We are stripped of every attribute of freedom and eligibility for legal self-defence. Our property may be plundered before our eyes; violence may be committed on our persons; even our lives may be taken away, and there is none to regard our complaints. We are denationalized; we are disfranchised. We are deprived of membership in the human family! We have neither land nor home, nor resting place that can be called our own. And this is effected by the provisions of a compact which assumes the venerated, the sacred appellation of treaty.

The U.S. Senate and House ignored his plea, and when 31 forts with adequate roads were in place to be transformed into prison, concentration, and death camps…the Cherokee received this letter from General Winfield Scott on May 10, 1838:

Address to the Cherokee Nation


“Cherokees! The President of the United States has sent me with a powerful army, to cause you, in obedience to the treaty of 1835 [the Treaty of New Echota], to join that part of your people who have already established in prosperity on the other side of the Mississippi. Unhappily, the two years which were allowed for the purpose, you have suffered to pass away without following, and without making any preparation to follow; and now, or by the time that this solemn address shall reach your distant settlements, the emigration must be commenced in haste, but I hope without disorder.

Being Forced by the U.S. military to the internment, concentration, or death camps:


During the roundup intimidation and acts of cruelty at the hands of the troops, along with the theft and destruction of property by local residents, further alienated the Cherokees. Finally, Chief Ross appealed to President Van Buren to permit the Cherokees to oversee their own removal. Van Buren consented, and Ross and his brother Lewis administered the effort. The Cherokees were divided into 16 detachments of about 1,000 each.

“I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west….On the morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snow storm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the end of the fateful journey on March the 26th 1839, the sufferings of the Cherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death. They had to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have known as many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to ill treatment, cold and exposure…”

Private John G. Burnett

Captain Abraham McClellan’s Company,

2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Mounted Infantry

Cherokee Indian Removal 1838-39

The military forts which were transformed into prison, concentration, and death camps were naturally armed with rifle towers and weaponry.1100 Cherokee were held as prisoners for almost 6 months at FORT HETZEL with no restroom facilities and little nourishment.



Starvation is a severe reduction in vitamin, nutrient, and energy intake, and is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation (in excess of 1-2 months) causes permanent organ damage and will eventually result in death.

I would be tempted to say that the soldiers intentionally fed the Cherokee less in order to alleviate sanitation problems, if it weren’t for the facts that several Cherokee died in the internment camps and on the Trail of Tears, due to a murderous philosophy:



Eugenics is a new term for an old phenomena which asserts that Indian people should be exterminated because they are an inferior race of people. Jefferson’s suggestion to pursue the Indians to extermination fits well into the eugenistic vision. In David Stannard’s study American Holocaust, he writes: “had these same words been enunciated by a German leader in 1939, and directed at European Jews, they would be engraved in modern memory. Since they were uttered by one of America’s founding fathers, however…they conveniently have become lost to most historians in their insistent celebration of Jefferson’s wisdom and humanity.” Roosevelt feared that American upper classes were being replaced by the “unrestricted breeding” of inferior racial stocks, the “utterly shiftless”, and the “worthless.”

The soldiers must have wanted them dead, for transferring dead bodies out of the internment camps and disposing of them must have been more inconvenient, than giving a prisoner a shovel to cover up feces, while they also died of diseases.

Having given Wilma Mankiller’s book away last summer, I think an earlier paragraph from my last diary referred to what occurred at Fort New Echota (at least), because the Cherokee were supposed to have been given corn, I remember:

Fort New Echota (Fort Wool):

General Scott was shocked during a trip to inspect Fort New Echota when he overheard members of The Guard say that they would not be happy until all Cherokee were dead. As a result, he issued meticulous orders on conduct and allowed actions during the action. Troops were to treat tribal members “with kindness and humanity, free from every strain of violence.” Each Cherokee was to receive meat and flour or corn regardless of age. Scott’s orders were disobeyed by most troops that were not directly under his control.NEW ECHOTA

Here was the paragraph:


The reader needs to understand that the Cherokee are a matriarchal society. Plainly put: the clan mother can trump the chief, women choose HER mate based on HIS cooking skills, and a man knew he was divorced if all his things were outside when he got home. So when the soldiers raped the women in the prison camps and on the Trail of Tears, they raped the tribe’s leaders as well. It was about taking away power. When the soldiers passed the women around like whiskey bottles raping them, it was about taking away power. When the soldiers scalped the women’s genitalia and wore their vaginas on their hats, it was about raping power to the most excruciating degree imaginable. I think it’s common knowledge how soldiers identified “leaders” in concentration camps and killed them, in order to keep the hostages under control. Still, one hundred and fifty-one years later nuns are raped and tortured…

Last of all, what happened in Fort Cumming may be ambiguous, but let us assume the “horrors that occurred inside the walls” were similar and at least equal to the extermination via internment camps and relocation against the Cherokees that occurred at the other forts, if not worse.

Fort Cumming:


…Strangely missing from detailed physical description of the fort is any mention of the horrors that occurred inside the walls.

The 13 groups of 7 clans left in late August through late September of 1838, arriving January through March of the proceeding year.


They would lose their land 50 years later with the Land Run of 1889. While 12 groups traveled by wagon on land, Chief John Ross’s group traveled by water by boat.

Strong seasonal rain made the dirt roads too muddy to travel, their horses could not graze enough to be sustained, and hunting was scarce. The U.S. government gave them very little food to take. Even if they had been able to maintain their horses and wagons, they still would have had to walk across the frozen Mississippi or Ohio River, or be trapped in between them.


Looking across the river today, one can only imagine the suffering that was taking place more than 150 years ago. Disrespectfully uprooted, homeless, they were embarking on a long journey in worn-out moccasins in the unforgiving dead of winter.  Enduring river crossings, ice floes and relentless winds, they had only a blanket for warmth – if they were lucky.  You imagine huddling around a fire, comforting your mother while she gets weaker and weaker … wondering, as she, when the suffering would end, and whether she would even live to see it.

I forgot that was why they walked with little or no shoes across jagged ice and snow for miles upon miles. You only get that at the museum, because there is a large approximately 6 x 4 picture of the Mississippi River in the winter covered in snow with jagged ice. I don’t know how as many survived as they did; nearly 2000 Cherokee died on the Trail Of Tears. The least number of reported total deaths is 4000, combining the deaths at the internment camps. The greatest estimated number is 8000.


Two-thirds of the ill-equipped Cherokees were trapped between the ice-bound Ohio and Mississippi Rivers during January. Although suffering from a cold, Quatie Ross, the Chief’s wife, gave her only blanket to a child.

“Long time we travel on way to new land. People feel bad when they leave Old Nation. Women cry and make sad wails, Children cry and many men cry…but they say nothing and just put heads down and keep on go towards West. Many days pass and people die very much.”

Recollections of a survivor:

She died of pneumonia at Little Rock. Some drank stagnant water and succumbed to disease. One survivor told how his father got sick and died; then, his mother; then, one by one, his five brothers and sisters. “One each day. Then all are gone.”

The last things I remember about going through the exhibit are the stories constantly being told through audio with representative statues. Voices are heard over each other, yet surrounding voices are soft enough to hear the one you’re currently at with clarity.


The soldiers forced the Cherokees to abandon their dead at the side of the road.

Amidst the surrounding voices in the museum was the voice of a Cherokee survivor expressing how her grandfather died. Her grandfather had to sneak away for a couple days to hunt for food, so that she and others could live. The few soldiers wouldn’t notice, apparently. She tells how as a little girl, she knelt beside him as he died. What I recall the most was her saying, “Grandfather, Grandfather?” I think a soldier hit him, but I can’t exactly recall. She had to just keep walking.

An elder once told me how some still walk the Trail Of Tears, to remember and honor their ancestors by their graves of stones. “But it takes about 6 months to do it,” he said. I heard another elder tell a group about his family’s forced relocation, “When my relative’s relatives died, they buried them, picked up their pipes, and moved on.”

Now I know why I repeated that to myself over and over again.

Mitakuye Oyasin

(All my relations)

Detailed map:


Remember that the small groups of Cherokee would forage for food as they proceeded, so the map is only a general representation of the routes.


Cherokee Prayer:


As I walk the trail of life

in the fear of the wind and rain,

grant O Great Spirit

that I may always walk

like a man

UPDATE: Extremist Republican Attacks INDN’s List and Kalyn Free as “Radical”

( – promoted by navajo)

Rex Duncan is at it again!  Typical of the Republican play book, Rex is trying to distract voters from his lack of experience and questionable ethics.   Indian Country Today just published an article showing how Rex’s ballot initiative even threatens tribal treaties.

Rex’s newest target is INDN’s List itself!  In a recent mail piece (see below)  against INDN candidate, Jeff Jones, Rex attacks Jeff for receiving support from INDN’s List, which he calls a “radical liberal organization.”  And sticking with the Republican script, he posted a picture of Jeff, Speaker Pelosi President Obama, and Kalyn Free.

Rex Duncan even went so far as to attack INDN’s List founder, Kalyn Free, as a liberal activist.  The truth is Kalyn Free, like our endorsed candidate Jeff Jones, has far more experience prosecuting criminals and putting them in prison than Duncan! 

Make a contribution to INDN’s List today to hold Rex Duncan accountable for these lies and distortions!  Let’s show him that his attacks on INDN’s List make us stronger and raise more money for our excellent and highly qualified candidates, like Jeff Jones!

Rex Duncan knows he is not qualified to serve as District Attorney.  Rex knows voters will choose Jeff’s integrity and experience over his lack of prosecutorial experience and questionable ethics.  That’s why The Tulsa World just endorsed Jeff Jones in his race for DA!  They said, “Duncan has supported a number of extreme positions and pushed several other irrelevant issues during his years in the legislature.”

Massachusetts Prior to the Pilgrims

( – promoted by navajo)

It is not uncommon to encounter the assumption that the history of Massachusetts began with arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620. However, Indians had lived in the area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims. Furthermore, the Indians of Massachusetts had had contact with Europeans prior to 1620. In this diary I’m going to look at the European-Indian contacts in Massachusetts prior to 1620.  

Early Contacts:

In 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold landed at Cape Cod and traded with the Wampanoag. He reported that the Indians were in good health: they were free of epidemic diseases and they had good nutrition. When he returned to England he promoted the establishment of British colonies in the area.

The following year the English under the leadership of Martin Pring, built a palisaded trading camp at Cape Cod in Wampanoag territory. While the English entertained the Wampanoag with small gifts and guitar music, they also stole a large birchbark canoe. As a result, the relations between the English and the Indians deteriorated. The English fired their muskets and loosed mastiffs at Wampanoag warriors before abandoning the trading camp.

The theft of the canoe suggested to the Indians that the English were perhaps not honorable people and that their greed for material possessions was perhaps greater than the hospitality which they offered.

In 1606, French explorers attempted to impress the Wampanoag in the village of Monomoy with their guns and swords. The French also erected a large cross as a symbol of their religious superiority. The Wampanoag response was to kill four of the landing party, tear down the cross, and jeer at the retreating French.

In 1611, English sea captains captured six Indians, including the Capawake sachem Epinow, at Martha’s Vineyard. Epinow was taken to England where he learned English language and culture. The English described him as “cunning” and “artful.”

In 1614, the English returned with Capawake sachem Epinow who was supposed to act as their guide and interpreter. Epinow, however, escaped from the ship by jumping into the water and swimming toward some Indian canoes. The Indians in the canoes fired a volley of arrows at the ship to aid his escape.  

English Captain Thomas Hunt captured 26 Wampanoag, including a young man known as Squanto. The Indians were taken to Spain and sold as slaves. However, Squanto escaped and found his way to England where he learned to speak English.

Five years later, Squanto returned from England with Captain Thomas Dermer. He searched for his Wampanoag relatives and found that they had died in an epidemic.


Perhaps the greatest impact of the arrival of Europeans in Massachusetts came from the diseases which they brought with them. The diseases brought to this continent by the Europeans included bubonic plague, chicken pox, pneumonic plague, cholera, diphtheria, influenza, measles, scarlet fever, smallpox, typhus, tuberculosis, and whooping cough. The native population lacked immunity to viruses and germs that had evolved in Europe. Consequently, Indians succumbed in large numbers.

In 1614, a series of three epidemics began to sweep through the Indian villages in Massachusetts. At least ten of the 40 Wampanoag villages had to be abandoned because there were no survivors. Wampanoag population decreased from 12,000 to 5,000. Between 1616 and 1619, it is estimated that at least three fourths of the Indian population in Massachusetts died from European epidemic diseases. Some authorities estimate the death toll at 90%.

The Pilgrims would later look upon these epidemics as evidence of God’s grace and His intention for them to occupy this country.

The Pilgrims:

When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, they encountered few living people but saw evidence of many Indian graves. In some instances the Pilgrims opened the graves and stole the grave goods which they contained. In finding a place that looked like a grave covered with wooden boards, the Pilgrims dug and found several layers of household goods and personal possessions. They also found two bundles. In the smaller bundle they found the bones of a young child wrapped in beads and accompanied by a small bow. In the larger bundle they found the bones of a man. The man’s skull still had fine yellow hair and with the bone were a knife, a needle, and some metal items. A European, perhaps a shipwrecked or abandoned sailor, had lived as an Indian, perhaps fathered a child, and had been given an Indian burial.  

Swallow & “smashing Native American vessels”

( – promoted by navajo)

Nearly one century and a half after the death of Roman Nose, Apostle Jay Swallow is on the War Council, has accepted the apology from the United States on behalf of all Tribal Nations, wars against evil, possesses medicine to make rain, and has divine authority to commit cultural genocide.


War Council

To accomplish the next phase of the Lord’s assignment to free our state and region from the reproach of alignment with Stonehenge and the Baal structures, a war council of apostolic and prophetic leaders was convened.  These leaders all carry unique and specific anointings of authority to deal with land issues, particularly in this territory.  The War Council included: Ap. Jay & Joan Swallow, Ap. John Benefiel, Ap. Negiel Bigpond, Ap. Diane Buker (FL), Ap. Billy Joe & Ruthie Young (MS), Ap. Jacquie Tyre, Ap. Venessa Battle, Ap. Bradley White, Ap. Mark Hawkins, and apostolic intercessor, Deborah Landwerlen.  

Apostle Jay Swallow was instrumental in relieving the historical trauma and grief from all American Indians.

“Apostle Jay Swallow accepted the apology from Sen. Brownback on behalf of Native Americans.” In fact, him doing so stopped the dominant culture from further encroaching on sacred sites, fixed the voting problems on all reservations, halted the teen suicide epidemic, stopped violence against Native American women in its tracks, and began the adherence to all treaties  by the United States. It was a sincere apology, if there ever was one.…

A few Native American and African American apostles in the movement accept the apologies on behalf of the ethnic groups they represent at ceremonies across the country. For instance, ICA Apostle Jay Swallow accepted the apology from Sen. Brownback on behalf of Native Americans at The Call Nashville 2007.

But more fabulously flabbergasting than Apostle Jay Swallow accepting the apology on behalf of all tribes, because that began the adherence to all treaties by the United States, is his rain medicine. During a séance I asked Sweet Medicine –

Turtle Island Storyteller Gordon Yellowman, Sr.

One story that I want to touch on and talk about is our Cheyenne prophet Sweet Medicine. Sweet Medicine was a very powerful person. He was a medicine man that was the one that gave us a lot of the teaching of the Cheyenne way of life-our traditional ceremonies, our language and our traditional laws that would govern us as people as we progressed in the future.

Sweet Medicine, (L ), is how you say his name. He was a culture hero among the Cheyenne. He started his life among the Cheyenne as a prophet at a very young age and he took refuge at the sacred mountain, (L), Bear Butte. That was where he was taught inside a cave and stayed there for a period of four years. While he was inside this cave he was given special instructions, teachings and gifts from the supernatural power of spirits. Those spirits are the ones that guided him and told him, “These are going to be the ways of life for the Cheyenne people”.

– why the water spirits answered Apostle Jay Swallow’s prayers for rain, but perhaps not other Cheyenne Medicine Men’s prayers. “They weren’t Christian,” Sweet Medicine said before vanishing to the other side.


Remember that last year at this time we were in a terrible drought? Eileen Vincent of City Reachers invited Dr. Jay Swallow to come to San Antonio to deal with the drought. Within just a few days it began to rain and has not stopped. The entire region has moved from exceptional drought to normal rainfall.

Dr. Jay has proved his authority over land issues – dealing with four things that defile the land: false worship, sexual immorality, broken covenants and the shedding of innocent blood. He has been called from Fiji to Hawaii, from Argentina to Canada and many points in between. We are honored that Dr. Jay has taken an interest in San Antonio.


…In a ceremony in Georgia, Apostle Jay Swallow also represented Native Americans and repented “for the iniquities of the ancient Cherokee people.”  They claim that the results of these ceremonies have included miracles, like the end of droughts.

But getting the United States to finally do the right things and his supernatural rain making powers are overshadowed by his divinely authorized ability to commit cultural genocide against any Tribal Nation.


Many Transformation ceremonies, as depicted in the Transformation movies include claims of destruction of artifacts of the group –  the apostles say they harbor demons. In another ceremony Apostle Jay Swallow led the smashing of vessels described as Native American pottery with graphics of the demons Baal and Leviathan.

Sarcasm aside, this is very serious. I’ve written about this before, but didn’t find any concrete occurrences of these “reconciliation events” where Native American artifacts were destroyed in the United States by connections with C. Peter Wagner until recently.

Peter Wagner & Native American Resource Network (Update)

“Mr. Joel’s Army himself,” C. Peter Wagner, is in the video below. The title of it is “Native American Christian Reconciliation Ministry.”

   Rick Warren’s (amazingly extensive) connections with Joel’s Army groups

   a) Apparently being directly mentored by none other than Mr. Joel’s Army himself (C. Peter Wagner) and actively teaching at Wagner’s ordination mill, Fuller Seminary and cross-promotion of Wagner’s and Warren’s material by the two.

Furthermore, that lower connection is Jay Swallow,

Oklahoma Prophecies and Prophetic Teachings

At the 50 State Tour gathering, Chuck asked Dr. Swallow to remind him of what he asked God for when he went to Plymouth Rock. Dr. Swallow replied “I asked the Lord for forgiveness for Native Tribes building resistance against the gospel, and I ask Him to visit our tribes one more time.”

and he is the one who “led the smashing of vessels described as Native American pottery with graphics of the demons Baal and Leviathan.”

I shudder to think of other possible sacred artifacts and objects he may have access to and destroy.  

Recognizing Genocide Denial Against American Indians

( – promoted by navajo)

The extent to which a Nation denies the genocide it has committed is a measure of that Nation’s social conscience. The social conscience of the United States is infected with numerous rationalizations that keep the dark light from shining. Federal and state institutions are named after mass murderers, and the land tells a story of massacres and atrocities that occurred. But the truth is not forgotten, it is denied.


8. DENIAL is the eighth stage that always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile.

Genocide is not just denied in the United States, it is celebrated.


The term “redskins” actually refers to the Indian skins and body parts that bounty hunters had to show in order to receive payment for killing Indians, the National Congress of American Indians argued in a brief filed before the high court.

Leonard Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes. “Crow Dog.” pp. 6-7.

Only when we saw them building roads through our land, wagons at first, and then the railroad, when we watched them building forts, killing off all the game, committing buffalo genocide, and we saw them ripping up our Black Hills for gold, our sacred Paha Sapa, the home of the wakinyan, the thunderbirds, only then did we realize what they wanted was our land. Then we began to fight. For our earth. For our children. That started what the whites call the Great Indian Wars of the West. I call it the Great Indian Holocaust.

Ideological reasons are a motive for denying genocide. For example, “A nation ashamed of its past will fear its future;” and, “Such attitudes, which dominate the councils of the elite, are the single greatest threat to our survival.” Does the dominant culture’s survival really depend on denying that “battles” were massacres and Hitler was inspired by “actual U.S. examples?”


And…quoting from Chapter 5 – The Earth Is Our Mother from the book The State of Native America, Genocide, Colonization and Resistance, edited by Annette Jaimes, ISBN 0-89608-424-9:

– snip –

..Even the the nazi tactic of concentrating ‘undesireables’ prior to their forced ‘relocation or reduction’ was drawn from actual U.S. examples, including internment of the Cherokees and other ‘Civilized Tribes’ during the 1830’s before the devastatingly lethal Trail of Tears was forced upon them, and the comparable experience of the Navajo people at the Bosque Redondo during the period 1864-68.

Of course the dominant culture’s survival does not really depend on denying that “battles” were massacres and Hitler was inspired by “actual U.S. examples.” Remembering the dominant culture is a mindset, at least one author and possibly his readers do feel some sort of survival instinct in connection with their genocide denial.  We’ll see those specific examples shortly. But we also know there are economic considerations, namely being held accountable, that motivate some to deny genocide.…

Newspapers of the day publicized bounty notices on current “uprisings.” A 1922 article in the Rocky Mountain News reported a $25 reward for those who defeated “efforts to sign the roads into the Navajo reservation … The redskins are said to tear out or carry away all sign-boards.”

The Rocky Mountain News had political and proprietary interests in the Colorado gold and in clearing the territory of Indians to get at it. The newspaper started a drumbeat against Cheyenne Dog Soldiers and other “hostiles” that culminated in the Sand Creek Massacre of a peace camp of Cheyenne elders, pregnant women and children on Nov. 29, 1864.

The News celebrated the “Battle” of Sand Creek, lauding the Colorado Volunteers’ “Bloody Thirdsters” as having “covered themselves with glory.” By contrast, the U.S. Army officers on site reported it as the Sand Creek “Massacre” and described the soldiers as “barbaric” and “covered with gore.”  

Until now, we have discussed some “whys,” which can be simplified into ideological or economic reasons.

Denials Of The Genocide Of Native Americans

There are many other examples of denial by perpetrators who wish to escape negative reactions to their deeds. More troubling are the later denials by people not directly involved in the genocidal events but who appear to have ideological reasons for their denials.

But Michael Medved and Don Feder and give us some clear examples of genocide denial, in addition to labeling massacres as battles. Medved “Claim(s) that the deaths were inadvertent,”  while expressing ideological reasons.…

By Michael Medved

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Moreover, the real decimation of Indian populations had nothing to do with massacres or military actions, but rather stemmed from infectious diseases that white settlers brought with them at the time they first arrived in the New World.

– snip –

A nation ashamed of its past will fear its future.

Twelve Ways To Deny A Genocide

3. Claim that the deaths were inadvertent.

As a result of famine, migration, or disease, not because of willful murder.

Yes, 90% to 95% of villages were already depopulated because of disease, but that does not excuse the killers who exterminated the indigenous survivors.

In a different tone but still denying genocide, Feder ” Rationalize(s) the deaths as the result of tribal conflict, coming to the victims out of the inevitability of their history of relationships.” But Feder substitutes white encroachment for another tribe. He minimizes the Great Indian Holocaust, as Crow Dog calls it, as merely “every nation includes its share of invasions, dispossessions and injustices.” Next, he supplies his own ideological reasons for denying the genocide as previously mentioned.

(My insertion)

Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth

Twelve Ways To Deny A Genocide

5. Rationalize the deaths as the result of tribal conflict, coming to the victims out of the inevitability of their history of relationships.

This was a witty rejoinder to my observation that the history of every nation includes its share of invasions, dispossessions and injustices.

– snip –

Plymouth protesters insist that America was a tragic mistake, our history is ignoble and the only valid reason for our continued existence is to provide racial reparations. Such attitudes, which dominate the councils of the elite, are the single greatest threat to our survival.

The extent to which a Nation denies the genocide it has committed is a measure of that Nation’s social conscience. The social conscience of the dominant culture does not want to lose its power, so it restrains its own humanity with ideologies and anything that points the finger the other way.…

Denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide. It is what Elie Wiesel has called a “double killing.” Denial murders the dignity of the survivors and seeks to destroy remembrance of the crime. In a century plagued by genocide, we affirm the moral necessity of remembering.

But the real power the dominant culture loses is the power to be caring human beings. Much more needs to be researched and written about this topic.

Colorado’s “Meeker Massacre”

( – promoted by navajo)

American government policies regarding Indians on reservations during the 1870s encouraged the total destruction of Indian cultures. The application of these policies varied from reservation to reservation according to the amount of tolerance which the Indian agent, usually designated by a Christian missionary group, exhibited toward Indian cultures. In Colorado, the rigid intolerance of one Indian agent on the Ute Reservation resulted in an Indian uprising and a brief battle called the “Meeker Massacre” by historians.  

Nathan C. Meeker was appointed as Indian agent for the Utes on the White River, Colorado reservation in 1878. As with many Indian agents of this era, Meeker had no experience with Indians. He had, however, experience in organizing a utopian religious community in 1869. With this background, his goal in working with the Utes was to convert them into hard-working, God-fearing savages.

In 1879, Meeker, complained to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs about Indian horses:

“The practice of these Indians in keeping and holding horses on an extensive scale is not only discouraging to farm industry, but is working a most serious inconvenience, if not loss, to cattle interests.”

The Utes, however, prided themselves in their wealth in horses. A month later he wrote:

“It seems to me evident that the greatest obstacle to civilizing the majority of these Indians is their ownership of horses, which is proved by the fact that those who work have either few or no horses.”

Agent Nathan C. Meeker felt that a

“stern example would civilize the White River Utes.”

He pushed the people to become Christians, to build houses and fences and to farm. When he insisted on plowing the field which had been used as a race track, the Ute fired warning shots. Meeker responded by sending for the army. According to Meeker’s report:

“This is a bad lot of Indians. They have had free rations for so long and have been flattered and petted so much, that they think themselves lords of all.”

The Ute feel that calling for the army was a declaration of war. Their scouts led by Nicaagat met the army outside of the reservation and warned them that the treaty prohibited the army from entering the reservation. The soldiers continued their march in battle formation and were attacked. The army force was surrounded and held for several days until they were rescued by a troop of black cavalry.

Ute warriors also attacked the Indian agency, killing 11 men, including Indian agent Meeker. The warriors took several women captive in order to secure their own safety as they fled. Among those held captive were Meeker’s wife and daughter.

In a week-long battle, 12 soldiers were killed and 43 were wounded, while 37 Ute were killed. This short war was soon labeled the “Meeker Massacre” in honor of the heavy-handed Indian agent.

As a result of the “war,” one newspaper in Colorado launched a campaign under the banner “The Utes Must Go”. The response of the Anglos was to call for the “red devils” to be wiped out. The governor called for the removal or extermination of the Ute:

“My idea is that, unless removed by the government, they must necessarily be exterminated.”

The Ute soon surrendered. Ute leaders Ignacio, Buckskin Charlie, Severo, and Ojo Blanco traveled to Washington, D.C. where they agreed to be relocated to another reservation in Utah. Their former reservation of 12 million acres was to be opened to settlement by non-Indians.

Army officer J. Scott Payne, writing in 1880, reflected on the causes of the Ute war:

“The great trouble is to be found in the teachings of men-benevolent, but totally ignorant of the subject with which they are dealing-who, in the spirit of evangelism, desire to civilize the savage by filling his stomach with food and his heart with religion, both processes to be carried on without the constant presence of force, the only thing for which the Indian entertains respect.”

Payne’s solution:

“The truth is that by force and force alone, tempered, to be sure, by mercy, but that mercy exercised judiciously and sparingly, can his wild nature be kept under control.”

Following the “Meeker Massacre”, the army held a hearing to determine the causes of the Ute war. General Charles Adams concluded that the war was the result of a few young hotheads, but he went on to say:

“I cannot excuse the action of those cowardly dogs who went to the agency and shot from the roofs of the houses, like birds from trees, the white men who were not dreaming of danger, and who certainly had given the Indians no cause to be killed, even if you will have it so that Agent Meeker deserved death at your hands.”

General Adams then demanded that the Ute surrender to him the men involved so that they could be tried. Before the Ute leaders had finished discussing the matter, General Edward Hatch told them:

“This is the decision of the government, and if complied with will prevent the final struggle with the Indians, which must, in the end, result in their utter destruction, forfeiture of all their treaty rights, and loss of their lands.”

Ouray replied for the Ute:

“We will not give these twelve men over to you to be tried by a court of Colorado, where no justice will be shown them. We will give over these men only if they can be tried in Washington, where I know I have at least one friend.”

The army was then told to accept the surrender of the warriors to stand military trial outside of Colorado and New Mexico. However, the Indians were not to be brought to Washington, D.C. for trial, but were to be taken instead to Leavenworth, Kansas. The Ute were not advised of this plan.

A delegation of Ute chiefs then started for Washington, D.C. to meet with Congress. Chief Douglas, however, was jailed in Leavenworth to await trial.

In 1880, the Whiteriver Ute were relocated to the Uintah Reservation in Utah to live among the various Utah Ute bands. Under the agreement with the federal government, the bands were to have a perpetual trust fund and funds from the sale of their homelands were to be credited to their accounts. The federal government, however, made no attempt to sell the Ute lands and they remained in government possession. Thus no funds were credited to their account and no trust fund was established.

In Utah, Ute leader Ouray was disgusted by the actions of the United States against his people. He put aside his Anglo clothing and returned to wearing the traditional Ute breechclout. A sick and broken man, he died in a Ute lodge. Buckskin Charlie, designated by Ouray to become the new chief, and several others buried Ouray’s body in a rock crevice. In accordance with traditional Ute burial customs, three of Ouray’s horses were killed on the spot, and then the burial party quickly departed from the grave site.

Indians 101: Any Questions?

( – promoted by navajo)

Indians 101 is a series that explores American Indian histories, cultures, and current concerns. When I do public presentations about American Indians, I usually ask for questions from the audience. This diary is an open thread for your questions about American Indians.  

In answering questions about American Indians, there are a few general reference books that can be used to answer questions. I have listed a few of these below.

For questions about Indian biography, Who Was Who in Native American History: Indians and Non-Indians From Early Contacts Through 1900 by Carl Waldman is a good source.

For general questions about tribes and tribal cultures, Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes by Carl Waldman provides a good overview.

For questions about American Indian law, there are a number of good sources: American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice by David Wilkins; American Indians, Time, and the Law: Native Societies in a Modern Constitutional Democracy by Charles Wilkinson; Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations by Charles Wilkinson.

With regard to American Indian art, Native Arts of North America by Christian Feest is an outstanding source.

With regard to the archaeology of North America, Brian Fagan’s Ancient North America: The Archaeology of a Continent is a good source.

This is an open thread to answer your questions. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section. We will answer them as best we can.  

Maine Indians & Early European Contacts

( – promoted by navajo)

While the Indian nations in what is now Maine may have had some limited contact with Europeans as early as 1480, regular contact began in the sixteenth century and intensified during the first half of the seventeenth century. During this time, the Indians began to incorporate aspects of European culture, such as trade goods, into their own lifestyles. These early contacts were with four broad categories of Europeans: fishermen, explorers, missionaries, and colonists.  


By 1519, European fishing boats were trading with the Micmac in Maine and the Maritime Provinces. By 1524, ships were crossing over from Europe in increasing numbers, first to fish offshore for the great schools of cod, and eventually to trade with natives for furs.

During the early part of the seventeenth century,   English ships scouted the coast from Maine to Cape Cod, trading with Indians and gathering sassafras roots which were prized in Europe as a treatment for syphilis. In 1602, off the coast of Maine, the crew of an English ship saw people in a European boat – described as a Biscay shallop – sailing toward them. They assumed that the eight men in it must be Europeans. However, all were Indians. The Indians, using a piece of chalk, drew a map of the Maine coast for the newly arrived English sailors.

Sailing shallops could be fairly large: up to 12 tons and forty feet in length. Many had more than one mast. Regarding the adaptation of this craft by Indian people, the Jesuit missionaries noted that the Souriquois handled them “as skillfully as our most courageous and active sailors in France.”

There are a number of other reports of Indians using the European shallops. In 1606, for example, the Souriquois under the leadership of Membertou raided other Indian villages using sailing shallops. The following year, the English on their way to establish their colony on the Kennebec River encountered two sailing shallops being used by Souriquois under the leadership of Membertou. The Souriquois offered skins for trade and the English noted that the Indians seemed to be using a lot of French words.


Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian working for the French, explored the North America coast from the Carolinas northward to Maine in 1524.  In Maine, Verrazano found that the Indians were not particularly friendly. They appeared to have already had some contact of an unpleasant sort Europeans. The following year, a Spanish expedition led by the Portuguese pilot Estévan Gomes landed near the River of Deer in Maine and took 58 Indians captive.

In 1580, the English adventurer John Walker landed in Penobscot Bay. He took about 300 moose hides from an unattended building. Such a large concentration of moose hides in a single structure meant that the hides were intended not for the local consumption, but were actually intended for export: that is, to be traded to Europeans.

In 1602, the English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold landed at “Savage Rock” (Cape Elizabeth) where he encountered some Micmac. The European explorers found that the Indians were wearing large copper breastplates and European costumes including shoes, waistcoats, breeches, and hose. The following year,  English explorers under the leadership of Martin Pring encountered a group of Indians near present-day Saco. They reported that some of the Indians had brass breastplates which were a foot long and about half a foot wide.

In 1604, the French explorer Samuel de Champlain sailed up the Penobscot River. Near the site of present-day Bangor, he made contact with the Wabanaki under the leadership of Bashabes. From Bashabes the French learned a great deal about the interior of Maine. Bashabes, wanting French partnership in the fur trade, provided Champlain with guides. While the French were looking for the fabled Indian city of Norumbega, they found that the city was a myth. The French did, however, gain a great deal of information about the interior between Kennebec Basin and the St. Lawrence. Getting around the language barrier, the Indians drew maps on sand and bark for the French.

The French next explored Saco Bay where they saw and recorded on their chart an Indian corn-growing settlement. On the Saco River they were met by Indians who painted their faces black and red. The Indians were a farming people who raised corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, grapes, and tobacco. Champlain’s Etchemin guides called the people at this village Archmouchiquois and they called the village Chouacoit. The area surrounding the village contained many small hamlets.

In 1609, Henry Hudson met with Indians in Penobscot Bay. The Indians told him that they traded with the French. A few days later, two French shallops filled with Indians sailed into the harbor bringing many beaver skins and other furs for trade. Hudson was not equipped for trade, so he simply resorted to force to obtain the furs. His men captured one of the shallops and took the Indian furs.


The first European attempt to establish a colony in Maine came in 1604 with the arrival of French colonists who attempted to settle on the Sainte Croix River. The settlement soon moved to the present-day Annapolis-Royal in Nova Scotia.

The English established a trading camp on the Kennebec River in 1605. The expedition was funded by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, captain of the Port of Plymouth. At the end of the trading season, the English kidnapped five Abenaki and took them to England to turn them into guides and interpreters. The Abenaki captives were not to be sold into slavery, but they were exhibited as curiosities. They were also studied by Gorges, who wished to learn more about the new land to the westward and its inhabitants. Among those taken by the English was Tisquantum, also known as Squanto, who later becomes an important figure in Massachusetts history.

In 1607, the Virginia Company established the colony of Sagadohoc on the Kennebec River. The party included 120 men and Skidwarres, one of the Abenaki who had been kidnapped in 1602. Skidwarres was supposed to serve as the trusted interpreter-liaison between the English and the Abenaki. However, as soon as he made contact with the Abenaki, he simply slipped into the crowd and returned to his people.

The purpose of the new colony was to find precious metals and spices, establish a fur trade with the Native Americans, and show that New World forests were a limitless resource for English shipbuilders. Concerned about the possibility of a French attack, the colonists built an earthenwork fort, which they called Fort St. George. The fort was fortified with eight cannons.

In one instance, five Abenaki, including Skidwarres and the leader Nahaneda, showed up at the fort. They joined the colonists for both food and church services. They had to endure public prayers both morning and evening. They told the English that King James was a good king and that his God was a good God, but that Tanto (their own deity) had commanded them to avoid contact with the English.

The English soon managed to anger their Abenaki neighbors so that trade between the two groups had to be suspended. There were a number of minor skirmishes in which 11 colonists were killed. The English basically bungled their opportunity to establish influence with the Abenaki.

In 1608, the English abandoned their colony on the Kennebec River. The re-supply ships from England found that the colonists had successfully traded with the Indians for furs, gathered the herbal cure-all sarsaparilla, and built and launched a 50-foot ship. However, the colony’s leader upon discovering that he was the heir to an immense fortune decided to return to a lavish castle in England.


Part of the motivation for the European invasion of North America was to acquire converts to their religion. The Jesuits arrived in New France in 1611 and began to learn the native languages as a way of carrying their message to the people. Unlike other Europeans, the Jesuits did not want land or furs: they asked only to live in an Indian household that they might study the language. While the Jesuits were well-liked because of their quiet manners, the Indians felt that these men were poorly educated because they had not learned that God made all religions, and they came here to tell the people who already believed in a Creator that such a One exists. Two years later, the French priests built a mission for the Penobscot at Bar Harbor, Maine.

In 1635, the Capuchin Catholics established a small church at Pentagoet to proselytize among the Penobscot. The priests learned the local language.

In 1642, Charles Meiaskwat, a Montegnais lay preacher, visited the Abenaki at Norridgewock. The following year, an Abenaki from Norridgewock went to Quebec with Charles Meiaskwat so that he could be converted to Christianity. As a convert he was given the name Jean-Baptiste and he returned to his people to proselytize. Three years later, Jean-Baptiste returned to Quebec claiming that he had 40 potential converts at Norridgewock and asking that a black robe (Jesuit priest) be sent to instruct them.

In 1646, the French Jesuit Gabriel Druillettes began working with the Abenaki. He emphasized steady prayer and quiet nurturing of the sick which contrasted to the traditional religion which was quite animated. On one occasion he offered Mass with a fervent beseeching of God to relieve the hunger of his traveling party. Right after Mass, the Abenaki killed three moose. This impressed the Indians with his apparent ability to deliver results.

In a typical Jesuit approach to the Indians, Druillettes learned the Abenaki language. He impressed many Indians, and his visit established a link between the Abenakis and Quebec that would continue for many years.


One of the unintended consequences of contact between Europeans and Indians was epidemic disease which often decimated the Indian populations. In 1610, an epidemic struck the Souriquois at La Have taking at least 60 lives.

The first of three epidemics struck the Indians of New England in 1616. It is estimated that 75% of the population died between 1616 and 1619.  The epidemics swept from Cape Cod to the Kennebec River in Maine. The epidemics started after an English party wintered at the mouth of the Saco River. While it is not known what the actual diseases were, various historians have suggested bubonic plague, smallpox, and hepatitis A as possibilities.

A new disease which produced bloody vomiting broke out among the Abenaki in 1646. This outbreak may have contributed to Jean-Baptiste’s missionary success.  

The Lakota War Pony Races 2010

This diary was written to support our brother Aaron Huey on another one of his efforts to bring attention to the Lakota. Aaron and his wife Kristen had their recent multimedia piece published at


Also known as the Battle of Little Big Horn

Each year, the Lakota of the Great Plains commemorate their victory over the United States army at the Battle of the Greasy Grass, better known in American history as the Battle of Little Bighorn.

The Lakota celebrate with the Kiza Park War Pony Races near Manderson, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge reservation. A large group of riders, many on bare back, give chase and the winner is the one who captures the flag.

Battle Site of the Greasy Grass by Aaron Huey

Video, photos and transcript below:

It is important to speak to this political community about the condition of our threatened cultures on our reservations. Your consideration is needed to help change our future.

Aaron has spent six years documenting his friends on the Pine Ridge reservation. Below is the latest contribution he and his wife Kristin have produced. There are many links in my first diary about Aaron and his work that take you to his website, press coverage and his Tedx Talk.

My last trip to Pine Ridge was more hopeful than usual because of the Celebration and Horse Race, but it is always hard for me to see my young friends there. It’s hard because I see so many people I love suffering. I pop my head in, show off my fat happy baby, introduce my wife, and then disappear again. It’s hard to say goodbye because there is an awkwardness in it when I am with my families that are suffering. They are often angry that I am able to leave. They don’t understand why I don’t stay longer. I can’t stay longer because it starts to kill me inside when I’m on that hill in Manderson. It’s different at Kiza Park, and with more traditional families. With them I do not feel this pain. With them I feel hope.  And that is what this short video is about- It is about a great Victory, and Warriors, and a path forward.  –Aaron Huey [in an email to me]


For those who can’t view the video I’ve had a transcript made (h/t cedwyn ) and I’ve taken a few screen shots from the video.  There is much more to see in the video of course.


Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

June 25, 2010


Also known as the Battle of Little Big Horn

Vic Camp:  Warriors, get ready.

Debra White Plume:  Be safe and thank your horse when you’re done. It’s a sacred animal. I wish you all good luck.  [Indiscernible]

[crowd cheers as men on horses run off]

Debra White Plume:  My name’s Debra White Plume.  I’m Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge.  Every June 25th we gather to commemorate the Battle of the Greasy Grass when Custer wore an arrow shirt.  We come together with our relative, the Horse Nation.  Our young men in their warrior training have to be good horseback riders.  It’s a chance for them to live the ways of their ancestors and to celebrate the victory of the Greasy Grass.

Vic Camp:  Today we have the Kiza Park War Pony races and we do this, again, to commemorate the Lakota people’s victory at the battle of the Greasy Grass.  It’s to teach our children, our youth, that they have their own identity and that this is a beautiful culture. It’s a beautiful spirituality. It’s a beautiful way of life.

Two Young Lakota Bareback

[tribal singing]

Lakota Singer

Young Lakota Rider on Palomino

Lakota Rider No Saddle

Debra White Plume:  I think it’s important for our young men and our young women to receive the training of the warrior society as our ancestors lived it, because that’s where the important values are played out, like courage and helping your relative and taking care of your horse and taking care of the land.  And all of that was important to us then and it’s important to us now with our shrinking land base and the many needs of our people.  This event is a family event where grandfathers and their sons and their grandsons and great grandsons, they come together, they bring their horses.  We come in a happy way and we attack Custer.  We always have some white guy who volunteers to be Custer and carry the flag.

Custer actor rides in with flag

[warriors chase “Custer”]

Race starts Object get flag

Debra White Plume:  It’s a big competition to take that flag.  Our ancestors took that flag from the United States of America.  We’re the only people who ever did.

Riders with flag

Photographs by: Aaron Huey

Directed and Edited by: Kristin Moore

Produced by: Brendan McCabe


There is also an article at the Smithsonian Magazine about a new book by Thomas Powers, the article includes a slide show featuring some of Aaron Huey’s photos. This slide show is very interesting; photos of the Indians, photos of the cavalry and Aaron’s landscape photos.

How the Battle of Little Bighorn Was Won

Accounts of the 1876 battle have focused on Custer’s ill-fated cavalry. But a new book offers a take from the Indian’s point of view.

[snip from Editor’s notes]

The experience of Custer and his men can be reconstructed only by inference.

This is not true of the Indian version of the battle. Long-neglected accounts given by more than 50 Indian participants or witnesses provide a means of tracking the fight from the first warning to the killing of the last of Custer’s troopers-a period of about two hours and 15 minutes. In his new book, The Killing of Crazy Horse, veteran reporter Thomas Powers draws on these accounts to present a comprehensive narrative account of the battle as the Indians experienced it. Crazy Horse’s stunning victory over Custer, which both angered and frightened the Army, led to the killing of the chief a year later. “My purpose in telling the story as I did,” Powers says, “was to let the Indians describe what happened, and to identify the moment when Custer’s men disintegrated as a fighting unit and their defeat became inevitable.”


[excerpt from the book]

…one style of Sioux fighting [snip]  was the brave run. Typically the change from one to the other was preceded by no long discussion; a warrior simply perceived that the moment was right. He might shout: “I am going!” Or he might yell “Hokahey!” or give the war trill or clench an eagle bone whistle between his teeth and blow the piercing scree sound. Red Feather said Crazy Horse’s moment came when the two sides were keeping low and popping up to shoot at each other-a standoff moment.

“There was a great deal of noise and confusion,” said Waterman, an Arapaho warrior. “The air was heavy with powder smoke, and the Indians were all yelling.” Out of this chaos, said Red Feather, Crazy Horse “came up on horseback” blowing his eagle bone whistle and riding between the length of the two lines of fighters. “Crazy Horse…was the bravest man I ever saw,” said Waterman. “He rode closest to the soldiers, yelling to his warriors. All the soldiers were shooting at him but he was never hit.”

After firing their rifles at Crazy Horse, the soldiers had to reload. It was then that the Indians rose up and charged. Among the soldiers, panic ensued; those gathered around Calhoun Hill were suddenly cut off from those stretching along the backbone toward Custer Hill, leaving each bunch vulnerable to the Indians charging them on foot and horseback.

The soldiers’ way of fighting was to try to keep an enemy at bay, to kill him from a distance. The instinct of Sioux fighters was the opposite-to charge in and engage the enemy with a quirt, bow or naked hand. There is no terror in battle to equal physical contact-shouting, hot breath, the grip of a hand from a man close enough to smell…

Read more:…

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 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.


SD Attorney General

( – promoted by navajo)

Ron VoleskySouth Dakota is a state which has a bit of a reputation in being insensitive to the rights of American Indians, regardless of whether those rights stem from citizenship (such as voting rights) or from the U.S. Constitution (such as tribal sovereignty). The top law enforcement person in the state is the Attorney General, an elective position. At the present time an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Ron Volesky, is running for this office.

In order to win the race, Volesky will need to have a large turnout from all nine of the Indian reservations within the state. Republicans, as usual, will be working to discourage Indians from voting. According to Volesky:

I’ve got the experience to meet the challenges in that office, but I need help from the Indian vote. I ask South Dakota’s Native Americans to empower themselves so that we get a good vote on Nov. 2.

Volesky has served in both the South Dakota house of representatives and in the South Dakota state senate. With regard to education, he earned his B.A. at Harvard in government and international relations, his M.S. in journalism and mass communication from South Dakota State University-Brookings, and his J.D. degrees at the University of South Dakota–Vermillion.

He has his own law firm in Huron where he spent three years on the City Commission.

Recognizing that there are many issues in South Dakota that concern the state’s tribes, he has said:

As attorney general, I plan to visit each of the tribes regularly, discussing issues, as well as listening to their concerns.

Some of the concerns about Indian voting in South Dakota have been discussion in other diaries:

Diluting the Indian Vote…

Aji’s diaries on:

GOP Attempting to Suppress Native American Vote…

Indian Voter Registration…

Stop GOP Suppression:…

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 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.


The Huron Confederacy

( – promoted by navajo)

The Huron, whose traditional homeland was north of the Great Lakes, were a confederacy of four major tribes: Bear, Rock, Barking Dogs, and White Thorns (also known as Canoes). The people called their confederacy Wendat or People of the Peninsula. They were given the name Huron by the French.  

Cultural Background: Agriculture

Among the Huron, agriculture produced about three fourths of the food which they consumed. As with other Iroquoian groups, the farming was done by the women in fields which had been cleared by the men. All uncleared land was considered common property.

The land was cleared by first girding the trees and then burning the underbrush and trees. In addition to providing a clear space for their fields, the ash from the fire also provided additional nutrients.  Generally, the cleared land would wear out in about a decade, forcing the Iroquois to clear new land, usually farther from the village. For the smaller villages – those with about 200 inhabitants – by the time the walking distance to the farthest field reached about 1 kilometer, the oldest abandoned fields could be re-opened. For the larger villages, however, it took about 50 years for the productive fields to become too distant and requiring the village itself to move.

Planting would usually begin when the white oak leaves were the size of a red squirrel’s foot. While men would assist in the initial clearing of the fields, planting was done by a party of women under the supervision of the clan mothers. Women did the planting, weeding, and harvesting.

By 1630 it is estimated that the Huron, with a population of about 21,000, were harvesting 189,000 bushels of corn from 7,000 acres.

Background: Tribal Government

There were three levels of government among the Huron: village, tribe, and confederacy. At the village level, clan chiefs organized councils in which older men and women expressed their opinions on matters concerning the village. Each Huron village council met frequently, often daily, to discuss village affairs. Discussions would continue until consensus was evident.  

There were two kinds of Huron chiefs: (1) civil chiefs who were concerned with everyday life and peace, and (2) war chiefs who were concerned exclusively with military matters. Being a Huron chief required both time and an expenditure of wealth. Upon the death of a chief, the new chief would often be selected from among the relatives of the deceased chiefs. The person who was elected was usually not the child of the deceased chief, but was more often a nephew or a grandson.

Background: War and Trade

For Huron men there were two ways to obtain wealth and prestige: war and trade. Traditionally, war was not waged to impose religious views on other people, or to capture new territory. Most frequently the reasons for war were honor and avenging some injury. Revenge raids were usually launched at the request of a clan mother.

While brave warriors were admired, so were clever traders. Trading had prestige because individual initiative and shrewd judgment came into play. It took courage and diplomacy to open new trade routes or to organize a wide network of business alliances. The purpose of acquiring wealth through trade was not to possess or display material goods, but to be able to give them away. Giving wealth away was a way of improving social status and respect.


The first contact between the Huron and the Europeans was with the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535. At the palisaded Huron town of Hochelaga, the French were greeted by about a thousand Huron men and women.

In 1609, some Huron warriors joined French explorer Samuel de Champlain and a mixed group of Montagnais and Algonkin warriors. At the northern shore of what is today called Lake Champlain, they encountered a Mohawk war party massed in battle formation and wearing wooden body armor. The French firearms killed several Mohawk leaders and the Mohawk retreated.

A formal trading alliance between the French and the Huron Confederacy was negotiated in 1614. With this agreement, the Huron allied themselves with the French. The following year, Huron warriors accompanied Samuel de Champlain into Iroquois territory and attacked an Iroquois fort near present-day Fenner, New York. After the initial attack, the Huron warriors withdrew. Champlain then convinced the warriors to build large wooden shields for protection and a large moveable platform which overlooked the Iroquois palisades. While the plan had initial success, the Huron warriors, unused to the discipline expected by European military leaders, broke ranks and attempted to set fire to the palisades. The Iroquois, however, simply poured water into the troughs which formed their fire defense system and the fires were quickly extinguished. Champlain was hit twice by arrows and was severely wounded. The Huron retreated carrying their wounded, including Champlain, in improvised baskets.

The Iroquois, who had been trading with Dutch traders in New York, sent emissaries north to propose peace and trade with the French. This would allow them to play the two European powers against each other with regard to trade. While the French were concerned that the Iroquois would convince the Huron to start trading with the Dutch, they agreed to the peace in 1622.

As the European demand for furs increased during the seventeenth century, both the Iroquois and the Huron began to expand westward in search of new furs and new Indian trading partners. This expansion brought about some violent conflicts between the Huron and the western Indian nations such as the Winnebago (Ho Chunk) and Ottawa. In addition, conflict between the Huron and the Iroquois also increased.

In 1648, the Seneca and the Mohawk, both members of the Iroquois League of Five Nations, set out to destroy the Huron trading network. The Seneca, armed with firearms obtained from the Dutch, attacked the Huron town of Teanaostaiaé. Three hundred of the 2,000 inhabitants of the town were killed and 700 were taken captive. The following year, the Iroquois, supplied with 400 guns and unlimited ammunition on credit by the Dutch, attacked and destroyed the Huron. This marked the end of the Huron confederacy. Many of the Huron people took refuge with other Indian nations in the Great Lakes area. A new nation, however, the Wyandot, composed of Huron refugees as well as other Indian refugees, soon emerged, but did not challenge the Iroquois supremacy.  

Some Good News for Indian Country

( – promoted by navajo)

by DaNang65 – Veterans Affairs Correspondent

Cross posted to Daily Kos

It’s not nearly often enough that good news comes to Indian Country. But last week Preident Obama signed Public Law No. 111-269, the Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act.

Introduced by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick whose district includes 11 different tribes

– Hualapai Tribe

– Havasupai Tribe

– Hopi Tribe

– Navajo Nation

– San Carlos Apache Nation

– San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe

– Tonto Apache Tribe

– White Mountain Apache Nation

– Yavapai-Apache Tribe

– Yavapai-Prescott Tribe

– Zuni Pueblo Tribe, the largest Native American population of any Congressional district in the country, this bill corrects a hardship on our Native American disabled veterans and their survivors contained in the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA), administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


It is well recognized that, historically, Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. The reasons behind this disproportionate contribution are complex and deeply rooted in traditional American Indian culture. In many respects, Native Americans are no different from others who volunteer for military service. They do, however, have distinctive cultural values which drive them to serve their country. One such value is their proud warrior tradition.

“The two programs authorized for Indian tribes under NAHASDA are the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) which is a formula based grant program and Title VI Loan Guarantee which provides financing guarantees to Indian tribes for private market loans to develop affordable housing.”

According to the Veterans of Modern Warfare

Congress passed NAHASDA in 1996 to allow tribal communities to more easily access housing grants. The program provides support to families who make less than 80 percent of the median income of their area. While it has helped folks in Indian Country, an oversight has allowed Veterans disability and survivor benefits to count as income, causing some former service members to be made ineligible for much-needed housing assistance.

To make a long story short, disabled Native American veterans and their survivors were penalized in their eligibilty for housing support by counting their disability or survivors pensions as income in determining their eligibility for the housing grants. Put another way, having surrendered life or limb for Uncle Sam, these veterans and their families were less able to secure adequate housing than their fellows who had stayed at home. The patent injustice of this practice caused Rep. Kirkpatrick to work with the Navajo Housing Authority to write the bill she introduced which became H.R.3553, passing easily through the House and unanimously through the Senate.

Among her other legislative accomplishments, Rep. Kirkpatrick introduced H.R.2879 much of which became folded into S.B.1963,  Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, promoted in the Senate by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), the IAVA and others,  and signed into law by President Obama on May 5, 2010 as P.L. 111-163. A principal benefit of this law in Indian Country is that it provides for Native American veterans, who often must travel long distances to receive VA health care, mileage reimbursement at the same 41.5 cents per mile that federal employees receive, as well as funding suicide prevention programs.

Since no good deeds ever go unpunished, Nate Silver rates Ms. Kirkpatrick, an unusually productive fresh(wo)man Representative, as having about a 15% chance of re-election. The tribes really, really need to GOTV.

I cannot report on veterans issues without once again beating my bodhran about Retroactive Stop Loss Pay. If you know any veteran or the survivor of a veteran who was “stop lossed”, that is, kept in the miltary beyond their enlistment expiration, they are owed $500 per month for every month they were stop lossed. But they must apply before December 3rd, it’s use it or lose it time. The linked website makes the whole process as simple as following a few links.

A special h/t to jimstaro for bringing the Indian Veterans Housing Act to dKos’ attention.

Diluting the American Indian Vote

( – promoted by navajo)

Congress passed legislation in 1924 which gave all American Indians citizenship. While citizenship should imply the right to vote, the states often imposed barriers to allowing Indians to vote. In some instances they ignored-or simply pled ignorance of-the fact that Indians were citizens. In 1937 the Solicitor General conducted a study to find out why Indians were denied the right to vote. Colorado’s attorney general replied:

“It is our opinion that until Congress enfranchises the Indian, he will not have the right to vote.”

While many American Indian histories point to court cases in 1948 as the point at which Indians were finally granted the right to vote, many states continued to interfere with this right. States interfere with Indian voting rights in several ways: (1) restricting voter registration and polling places, (2) discouraging Indians from voting, and (3) gerrymandering.  

Restricting Voter Registration:

In many states, such as Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, and others, many Indians live on reservations. As rural residents, this often means that Indians do not have a street address or mail delivery. Therefore, they use post office boxes in reservation communities as a mailing address. During his 2008 campaign for the Arizona House of Representatives, Chris Deschene (Navajo) faced a challenge to his nominating petitions that sought to take advantage of contradictions within Arizona’s election laws in order to disenfranchise rural PO Box voters by taking away their right to select and nominate their own candidates. The Secretary of State had the jurisdiction to step in and provide a solution for the discrepancy, but chose not to get involved. Chris didn’t hesitate to take the fight to court and won, protecting the rights of rural voters to participate and nominate their own candidates, regardless of their PO Box addresses.

In some western states, there has been a push to consolidate polling places under the guise of cost reduction. For Indians on reservations, this means a much longer drive to the polling places. This is not only a barrier of cost, but also means that some voters will have to lose time from work in order to vote. Thus, the number of Indians who turn out is reduced.

Discouraging Indians from Voting:

In 2002, the South Dakota state attorney general, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced plans to send state and federal agents to question 2,000 newly registered Indian voters. No similar action was taken regarding non-Indian voters and no charges regarding voter fraud were filed. Some Indian leaders felt that this was an attempt to intimidate Indian voters and to prevent them from voting.

Language can also be used to discourage Indians from voting, particularly in states which insist on “English only” and ignore Native languages. In 2008, a federal judge ordered effective language assistance for Yup’ik language speakers in the upcoming Alaska elections. The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the Native American Rights Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Alaska natives. The judge ruled that the Alaska Division of Elections should provide pre-election publicity and sample ballots in the Yup’ik language. According to the judge:

“The evidence of past short-comings justifies the issuance of injunctive relief to ensure that Yup’ik speaking voters have the means to fully participate in the upcoming state-run elections.”

In the 2010 elections in South Dakota, the attorney general has ruled that traditional Indian feeds in conjunction with voting are illegal. Aji has described this in more detail in her excellent account of the GOP Attempting to Suppress Native American Vote.…


Following the census every ten years, the state legislatures will establish new voting districts which are supposed to reflect the geographic distribution of the population. Many state legislatures have used this process to make sure that very few Indian majority districts are created. Very often, they will divide a reservation into several districts, each of which is a part of a larger non-Indian district. With Republicans set to control a majority of state legislatures, we are likely to see the impact of Indian voting reduced for at least the next decade.

One example of this can be seen following the 1990 census in Montana. In 1996, Blackfeet tribal chairman Earl Old Person and several other tribal members filed a suit, Old Person v Cooney, in which they contended that the voting strength of Indians in the area encompassed by the Blackfeet Reservation and the Flathead Reservation had been diluted by the state’s redistricting plan. In the plan, the Blackfeet Reservation was divided between four house districts and the Flathead Reservation was divided between eight districts which made it difficult to get tribal members elected to the state legislature.

The district court dismissed the complaint, but did note that there had been a history of discrimination against Indians by the state and federal government. On appeal, the decision was reversed, but the court failed to find that the discrimination was purposeful.

Gerrymandering is used not only to reduce Indian representation in state legislatures, but also in local governmental entities. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice charged that voting practices in Roosevelt County, Montana were unfair to Indians. While Indians make up more than half of the population of the county there had never been an Indian elected to the County Commission. The voting districts within the county appear to have been drawn to exclude Indians from obtaining a majority in any of the districts. The Northern Cheyenne filed suit against Rosebud County (Alden v. Board of County Commissioners of Rosebud County).

In 1999, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes filed a suit against the Ronan (Montana) School district (Matt v. Ronan School District 30) charging that school district election practices diluted their voting strength in violation of the Voting Rights Act. As a result of the lawsuit the Ronan-Pablo school board added a new voting district in which Indian voters are the majority.

In 2002, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the City of Martin, South Dakota on behalf of two Sioux tribal members. The suit alleged that the city’s redistricting plan violated Indian voting rights. The city responded by adopting a plan that further fragmented the Indian vote in order to give non-Indians an overwhelming majority in the city which is 45% Indian. In 2006, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the town of Martin had violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting voting districts that left American Indian voters without political power.  

Wellbriety Cycles: Cycle of Life

( – promoted by navajo)

Like people throughout the world, traditional Native American cultures recognized and celebrated the changes that people experience as they age. Human infants are often greeted with certain celebrations, ceremonies and rituals in the minutes, days, or months following birth. As the infant grows into childhood and then into adulthood and then into old-age, each of these transitions may be marked by more celebrations, rituals, and ceremonies. And finally, there comes death.  

Wellbriety Background:

Wellbriety is a concept which grew out of attempts to bring sobriety to American Indian alcoholics and drug addicts. In order to bring about long-term sobriety, long-term changes in addictive behaviors, the entire community needs to embrace wellness-to obtain wellbriety. Wellbriety is a community approach which incorporates traditional Native American world views.

Wellbriety views the Medicine Wheel as a circle of teaching that explains that anything growing is a system of circles and cycles.

One of these is the cycle of seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Another is the cycle of life: baby, youth, adult, elder. On a personal level, the four directions of human growth are emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual.

The Cycle of Life:

As with the cycle of the seasons, traditional cultures recognize and celebrate lifecycles with ceremonies.

Many Native American cultures have ceremonies which mark the arrival of a new baby. Among the Chiricahua Apache, the Cradle Ceremony is conducted four days after birth. The significance of this brief rite is to spare the child from evil influences so that it would occupy the cradle in the future. The ceremony involves marking the child with pollen, presenting the cradleboard to the four directions, and then placing the child in the cradleboard.

In English, the word “infant” means “unable to speak” in Latin [in (not) + fari (speak)]. In many American Indian cultures, a child is considered to be human when it can speak. This marks the transition from baby to youth. In many Indian cultures, this transition is marked with a naming ceremony in which the child, now considered fully human, is given a new name, one which reflects the child’s human characteristics.

In many American Indian cultures, there would be a ceremony to mark the transition from youth to adult. In some of the cultures, particularly on the Great Plains and in the Columbia Plateau region, this would include a formal vision quest in which the youth would obtain a spiritual mentor, or tutelary spirit.

Among the Ojibwa, children would start fasting for visions at age four or five. At first they would go into the woods and spend a day without food or water while waiting for their visions. Later, they would spend four or more days at time fasting and waiting for their visions to come to them. Both boys and girls sought visions.

For the first vision quest among Ojibwa children, the face and arms are blackened with ash and then the child is taken to the Place of Visions. This is usually a location which is felt to be unnatural, a place formed by neither humans nor nature. On the occasion of the vision quest the spirits would welcome human visitors to this place. After making an offering of tobacco and asking the spirits to bring a vision to the child, the parent leaves. For a number of days the child waits alone, waiting for a vision.

The vision often comes in the form of a particular animal who gives special instructions on how to live, teaches special songs, and shows how to use special medicines. This animal or guardian spirit becomes the person’s personal Manitou. Often the person then carries a representation of this spirit which represents the essences of the spiritual power. Throughout one’s life one can call upon the guardian spirit for assistance, guidance and protection by using a representation.

Among the Western Apache there is a girl’s puberty ceremony which invests in young girls the qualities which are felt to be important for adulthood. This is an elaborate ceremony which has consequences for the entire community. In the ceremony, the power of Changing Woman enters the girl’s body and lives there for the four days of the ceremony. The gift of Changing Woman is longevity and physical health.

Among the Kwakwaka’wakw on the Northwest Coast, the girl’s puberty ceremony, called the Ixanttsila, was a pivotal moment in a girl’s life, marking her transition into womanhood. In preparation for the ceremony, the girl would be secluded for 16 days. During this time she would be taught how to conduct herself.

The transition from adult to elder is more subtle. Among many Indian groups, this is seen by the use of titles such as “uncle,” “aunt,” “grandfather,” and “grandmother.” These titles do not indicate genetic relationships, but rather they show a respected status. It is to these elders that the youth and the adults turn for the teachings about the culture, its history and its meaning.