Indian Justice in New York

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When one person kills another, it is often considered to be murder and certain legal sanctions can be brought against the killer. On the other hand, when an individual is killed on behalf of the government it is considered an execution and there are no legal sanctions against it. Indian nations had governments and laws long before the arrival of Europeans in North America. With the formation of the United States, there were at times conflicts between the traditional Indian law and that of the states. Part of this conflict was about jurisdiction: should murderers be punished under state law or tribal law.  


In 1801, George Peters, a member of the Brothertown tribe (a group of “praying” or Christian Indians who had moved to New York from New England), killed his wife with a club. He was arrested, tried, and convicted in state court. His conviction was appealed on the grounds of tribal sovereignty: the case should have been adjudicated at the tribal level rather than in state court. The State Supreme Court ruled narrowly that the state had murder jurisdiction over the Brothertown Indians because they were an especially small, weak, and vulnerable people unable to defend their autonomy. In other words, the state did not recognize the sovereignty of small groups of Indians.  The following year George Peters was hung, becoming the first Indian executed by the State of New York.

In 1802, a Seneca known as Stiff-Armed George got into a drunken fracas outside of a tavern. He was beaten and pursued, but then pulled a knife and stabbed two non-Indian men, one fatally. Reluctantly, the Seneca chiefs surrendered him to state authorities. According to Seneca leader Red Jacket:

“Did we ever make a treaty with the state of New York, and agree to conform to its laws? No. We are independent of the state of New-York.”

Red Jacket then presented the state’s governor with a copy of the Treaty of Canandaigua which clearly placed the case in federal jurisdiction. However, the governor wanted to prove state jurisdiction over all of the Indians in New York and the federal government declined to intervene.

The following year, Stiff-Armed George was found guilty of murder in a state court. The jurors, fearing that execution might lead the Seneca to seek revenge, recommended that George be pardoned. The governor suspended the sentence and recommended to the state legislature that George be pardoned. The legislature pardoned Stiff-Armed George provided that he leave the state and not return.


One of the crimes under traditional Iroquois law is that of witchcraft: using supernatural forces to cause harm to another person. The traditional punishment for witchcraft was death. In 1821, the Seneca tribal council convicted Kauquatou of sorcery. Acting on behalf of the tribal council Chief Tommy-Jemmy cut her throat. In response, the state of New York prosecuted Tommy-Jemmy for murder. Red Jacket and Tommy-Jemmy’s court-appointed attorneys argued that the death of Kauquatou was not murder under New York law because it was a legal execution under Seneca law, on Seneca land, by the sovereign Seneca people. The circuit court referred the case to the New York State Supreme Court which noted that no law extends state murder jurisdiction over the Iroquois.

In 1822, the state legislature in response to the murder trial of Seneca chief Tommy-Jemmy passed legislation giving the state sole and exclusive jurisdiction over murders committed within its boundaries. Tommy-Jemmy escaped execution because the new law could not be applied retrospectively to his killing Kauquatou.

Federal Law:

While the federal government was not involved in the early nineteenth century New York cases described above, by the end of the century the Supreme Court ruled that state criminal law did not extend over reservations. As a result, Congress passed the Indian Crimes Act which made murder on a reservation a federal offense.


Ancient America: Kolomoki Mounds

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More than a thousand years before the first Europeans arrived in North America, American Indians had developed complex civilizations which were characterized by the large earthen pyramids (usually called mounds) which were constructed throughout the southeast. Many of these mound complexes are found in the present-day state of Georgia. Among them is Kolomoki (also called Mercier mounds).  

The village of Kolomoki was founded about 350 CE. From its humble beginnings, the village eventually contained nine mounds, the largest of which (designated as Mound A) rose some 17 meters (56 feet) in height. Unlike other large mound sites in the eastern United States, Kolomoki is not located near a major stream.

Kolomoki was a ceremonial center with burial mounds and a central plaza which was the center of population for numerous surrounding villages The site was laid out on a central east-west axis, with mounds at either end and a central plaza and adjoining ritual area at the center. This axis was bisected by a large, ring-shaped discontinuous earthen enclosure. The orientation of the mounds is such that they marked celestial events, including the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

Houses were built along the edges of the enclosure. The typical household consisted of a pair of winter and summer structures. These structures were quite small (100 square meters). The permanent population was about 225 which increased to 525 at certain times of the year.

Mound A (also called the Temple Mound) would have required more than 2 million basket loads of earth.

Two small dome-shaped burial mounds (designated as E and K) were constructed at opposite ends of the site marking the east-west axis. They were more than a kilometer apart and were linked by a large oval enclosure. Ritual activities were conducted at a point midway between these two mounds.

Mound E was about 80 feet in diameter and 11 feet high. The construction of this mound began with a rectangular pit (6 feet by 9 feet) which contained cremated human remains of a single individual. Other burials were later added and Mound E became a corporate burial facility. It probably served to reinforce group membership.

Mound K was originally 55 feet in diameter and about 5 feet high.

A century after the founding of Kolomoki, there were seven other major mound sites in Georgia:

Marksville: eight mounds with an enclosure

Troyville: 13 mounds

Greenhouse: seven mounds with a large plaza and a low ridge earthwork

Mounds Plantation: nine mounds around an elliptical plaza

Baytown: nine mounds with a plaza

Savannah: 17 mounds with two concentric palisades

Pinson: 12 mounds and two circular embankments

In general, these mound complexes served as ceremonial centers and thus did not have a substantial permanent population. The exception was Kolomoki. At this time, Kolomoki was one of the largest and most densely populated communities north of Mexico.

By 450 CE, Kolomoki was maintaining its permanent population of about 225, but it was drawing in more people from the outlying areas for construction projects and ceremonies. The population may have been as high as 2,000 at one time. There was increased mound construction at the site which emphasized the central east-west axis of the site. In terms of mound construction, Kolomoki at this time had eclipsed all other settlements in the immediate area.

At this time, Mound D was constructed over the ritual space in the center of the site. Mound D was a conically shaped circular earthwork which was about 100 feet in diameter and rose to a height of about 20 feet. Mound D was constructed in several stages and increased in size during each stage. It started as a platform mound that was about 6 feet high.

Mound D contained 77 burials and had a pottery cache on its east side. Burial objects included iron and copper artifacts, as well as pearl beads. In the burials, the bodies were placed facing east. The pottery included effigy pots which included the shapes of deer, quail, and owls.

The subsistence pattern at this time was based on gathering wild plants and hunting. Farming supplemented these activities.

Two centuries after it began, Kolomoki entered into the period which archaeologists call Phase III. While there were subtle changes in ceramics during this period, the settlement pattern remained the same. During this time Mound B (50 feet in diameter and less than 5 feet high) and Mound C (similar to Mound B) were added on a north-south axis on either side of Mound A. Mound A has a base that measures 325 feet by 200 feet. The southern half of the rectangular summit was about 3 feet higher than the northern half.

After more than four centuries, about 750 CE, Indian people stopped using Kolomoki as a ceremonial center.

At the present time Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park is operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. According to the park’s website:

The park’s museum is built around an excavated mound, providing an unusual setting for learning who these people were and how they lived. Inside, visitors will find numerous artifacts and a film. Outdoor activities include camping, fishing, picnicking and boating. Hikers can choose from two scenic trails. The Spruce Pine Trail offers views of lakes Yahola and Kolomoki, while the Trillium Trail meanders through hardwoods and pines.

The Indian Reorganization Act

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Guided by the Constitution, the United States viewed Indian tribes as sovereign nations and thus negotiated treaties with them. By the 1880s, however, American greed and lust for land outweighed any concerns for the Constitution and law. American policy changed and sovereign Indian nations were viewed as impediments to the “civilization” of Indians and a barrier to relieving Indians of their aboriginal homelands. Indians were now seen as immigrants who should assimilate just as other immigrants had assimilated. By the 1920s, it was evident to most people that American Indian policy had created massive poverty. With the election of Franklin Roosevelt and the implementation of the New Deal, American Indian policy changed radically.  

In spite of strenuous objections by Christian missionary groups, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA, also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act) in 1934. The IRA has three objectives: (1) economic development of the tribes, (2) organization of tribal governments, and (3) Indian civil and cultural rights.

Those tribes who voted to reorganize under the IRA were able to adopt their own constitutions and to organize themselves into self-governing entities under federal guardianship. They were also able to incorporate for business purposes. There were, however, a couple of problems with this. First, the federal government viewed the concept of “tribe” and “reservation” as being synonymous. This ignored the fact that there were many reservations which contained more than one tribe and that the tribes on a single reservation often had totally different cultures and histories. Once again, the federal government policies seemed to view all Indians as the same and to ignore the reality of tribal differences. As a result, a number of confederated tribal councils were formed.

The second problem was that the tribes were not truly free to govern themselves. All actions of the tribal council were subject to review and approval by the Secretary of the Interior. In reality, the reservation superintendent, an employee of the Indian Office (later known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs), controlled all tribal council actions. As representative of the Department of the Interior, the superintendent had the power to veto council decisions. The superintendent also acted as custodian of tribal records.

The tribal governments formed under the IRA were not based on traditional Native governments, but on constitutions which were based on the U.S. Constitution. In most cases, the Indian Office supplied the tribes with a boiler-plate constitution which could be modified for their specific tribe(s).

A total of 181 tribes voted for the IRA and 77 tribes rejected it. Of the tribes who voted for the IRA, 93 tribes wrote constitutions which were based on the U.S. Constitution rather than on tribal custom.

There were many reasons why some tribes did not endorse the IRA. It was not uncommon for tribes to be suspicious of the federal government and its motives based on previous dealings with the federal government. There was also a fear that the IRA would increase government paternalism over their lives. Among some tribes, there was a greater interest in having the federal government recognize their treaty rights than in organizing new tribal governments which would be controlled by the BIA. The Yakama, in their testimony before the Senate, stated:

“We feel that the best interests of the Indians can be preserved by the continuance of treaty laws and carried out in conformity with the treaty of 1855 entered into by the fathers of some of the undersigned chiefs and Governor Stevens of the territory of Washington.”

The largest tribe to reject reorganization was the Navajo. Many of the Navajo were disturbed by a stock reduction program promoted by Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier which was intended to reduce overgrazing by limiting tribal herds. Many Navajos felt that a vote for the IRA was a vote for John Collier and thus a vote for stock reduction. Since Navajo sheep had great cultural value they were reluctant to support a program which seemed to attack their core values.

Under the IRA, tribes could create a federally chartered corporation which could borrow money, enter into contracts, and sue. The federal government envisioned the corporation as the primary vehicle for economic development on the reservations. Unlike other corporations, however, the tribal corporations were hampered by government micromanagement of their development proposals.

The Blackfeet in Montana were one of the first tribes to reorganize under the IRA. They embraced the IRA because it gave them access to credit and they felt it would reduce or eliminate federal control of the tribe’s financial and natural resources.  By 1938 the Blackfeet had nearly $160,000 on deposit in the Treasury Department. None of this money was from the federal government, but was money that had been generated by tribal leases. A tribal delegation travelled to Washington, D.C. to obtain $125,000 of these funds for a program of industrial assistance. The Indian Office felt that the Blackfeet had a workable plan, but Congress granted the tribe the funds in reimbursable form. In other words, the tribe was allowed to borrow its own money, but it was not allowed to have it. It was clear that tribal corporations were not the same as other corporations.

Oklahoma was exempt from the IRA because of the opposition of Senator Elmer Thomas. Thomas argued that Oklahoma Indians no longer had reservations (these had been dissolved when statehood was granted). Furthermore, Senator Thomas claimed that Oklahoma Indians had no wish to reestablish reservations and they opposed any plan by Washington bureaucrats to impose reservations on them.  

Even with its limitations, the IRA marked the beginning of a new era for Indian tribes. Once again, tribes were seen as sovereign with a right to self-government, even though that self-government was limited by a paternalistic federal system.


Franciscans in the American Southwest

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During the early sixteenth century there were many fantastic stories circulating among the Spanish which told of fabulously wealthy cities north of Mexico. These cities, according to the stories, had more gold than the Aztecs or the Inkas, and they were ripe for conquest by the superior Spanish warriors. In 1539, Fray Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan missionary adept in native languages, received permission from the Spanish Crown to explore what is now the American southwest and to determine if the fabled riches actually existed. Before embarking on his journey,   Spanish Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza told Fray Marcos de Niza that

“you must explain to the natives of the land that there is only one god in heaven, and the emperor on earth to rule and govern it, whose subjects they must all become and whom they must serve.”

The rumors about fabulous cities of gold came from several sources. Sometimes it was the Indians who spun these tall tales, perhaps to deflect Spanish interest in enslaving their own people. Sometimes the tales came from other explorers who returned with tall tales about what they had seen. One of these earlier explorers was Cabeza de Vaca who reported that he had heard many stories of wealthy American Indian cities. Among those who accompanied Fray Marcos de Niza was Esteván, the black slave who had been with the Cabeza de Vaca expedition a decade earlier.

Near the present-day city of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, the expedition encountered some Pima Bajo who gave them a warm reception and much food. They told the Franciscan of a valley with many large settlements where the people wore cotton (probably the Pima and Opata). In reference to their mica pendants and their pottery made from mica-bearing clay, Fray Marcos thought that the Indians were telling him about people to the north who had pendants and vessels made of gold and silver. Many of the stories told to the Spanish probably contained grains of truth. However, by this time the Indians, especially those of northern Mexico, had learned to tell the Spanish invaders whatever they wanted to hear.

After hearing the stories about what he felt described the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola Fray Marcos sent Esteván with an advance party to investigate this possibility. They followed a well-established trading route that connected northern Mexico with the American Southwest. Esteván reached as far north as Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, where he was killed.

While at a Pima village on the Rio Magdalena in Sonora, Mexico, Fray Marcos was told about three other kingdoms: Marata, Acus, and Totonteac. The Pima went to these three kingdoms and to Cibola to trade for turquoise, buffalo hides, and other things. Fray Marcos continued his journey north, into Arizona, encountering many settlements. Along the Salt River, he noted that there were villages every half or quarter league. The irrigated fields reminded him of gardens. He continued to hear stories about Cibola and about Marata. He was told that Marata had been reduced because of warfare with Cibola, but still remained independent. The kingdom of Totoneac (probably the Hohokam) was described to him as the largest of the kingdoms and that its people wore clothing of wool which was obtained from wild sheep.

As Fray Marcos continued his journey toward Cibola, he noted that he was traveling on a wide and well-used road that was lined with many shacks used by the people who journeyed to Cibola. Outside of Zuni, he was told that Esteván had been killed. His Indian escorts refused to travel farther, and so Fray Marcos turned back. Before leaving, however, he took possession of Cibola for the Spanish king by erecting a pile of stones with a small cross on top. While Fray Marcos never reached Zuni, he still described it as being bigger than Mexico City. The stories that Fray Marcos brought back inspired more Spanish interest in the Southwest and resulted in other expeditions seeking the fabled gold cities.  

American Indian Biography: Crispus Attucks, Revolutionary War Leader

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American colonists, unhappy with the English tax laws, attacked a detachment of British troops in Boston in 1770. The soldiers fired into what they viewed as a rioting crowd. One of their primary targets was the leader of the group – a man known as Crispus Attucks. Ultimately, five colonists, including Attucks, were killed.  

There are many who view this incident – often called the Boston Massacre – as the first battle of the Revolutionary War, a battle fought more than six years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  The man who led the colonists is considered to be the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War.

The battle started when a British sentry stuck a boy for complaining that a British officer had been late in paying a barber bill. Anger escalated and the townspeople hurled snowballs at the soldiers. Then a group of men led by Crispus Attucks approached the government building (now known as the Old State House) with clubs in hand. Violence erupted when a soldier was struck with a thrown piece of wood-thrown, according to observers, by Crispus Attucks. The soldiers opened fire and Attucks took two bullets in the chest. He was the first of five Americans to be killed in the battle.

It should also be noted that some people feel that Crispus Attucks was not a leader in this attack, or even a participant. There are those who feel that he was simply collateral damage: a bystander who happened to get killed.

Two of the British soldiers would later be found guilty of manslaughter and were branded on their thumbs. In defending the British soldiers on the premise of self-defense, John Adams called the crowd:

“a motley rabble of saucy boys, negros and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs.”

Two years after the event, Samuel Adams, a cousin of John Adams, dubbed it the Boston Massacre and Boston artist Henry Pelham created an image of the event showing a dark skinned man (Crispus Attucks) with chest wounds. This image was copied and distributed by Paul Revere.

Boston Massacre

There are many history books which claim that Attucks was African-American. In the strange view of American racism during the two centuries following the Revolutionary War, a person was considered to be Black if they carried a single drop of Black “blood.” Under this notion, Attucks was indeed Black. At the same time, he was Indian, as his mother was Massachuset (the tribe that gave the state its name). At the time of his birth, she was living at the Christian Indian settlement at Natick. The surname “Attucks” was common among the Praying Indians in Massachusetts and appears to be an Anglo version of an Alongonquian word “ahtuq es” meaning “little dear.”

Crispus Attucks was a direct descendent of John Attucks, an Indian executed for treason in 1676 during the King Philip War.

Crispus Attucks symbolizes the dilemma faced by many Indian people over the past two centuries. The problem is not just that of having a genetic heritage from more than one “race”, but that the fuzzy notion of race inherent in American racism assigns an individual to only one race. In addition, the old notion that “inferior blood dominates” means that many people of Indian heritage were considered Black by the dominant society. Today there are some who feel that mixed blood people should be able to celebrate all of their heritage, not just part of it.

In 1888, the Crispus Attucks Monument was erected on the Boston Common. This monument should serve as a symbol for Americans to celebrate their diverse heritage. The five who fell at the Boston Massacre were buried at the Granary Burying Ground and there is a stone marker today showing the grave.

Crispus Tomb

The Russians and the Tlingit Indians

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In 1741, the Russian Second Kamchatka Expedition under the leadership of explorer Vitus Bering extended Russian sovereignty over northwestern North America. The Russians were interested in enlarging the lucrative fur trade. Officially, the purpose of the expedition was to determine if Asia and the Americas are joined.

The Russians encountered the Tlingit in Alaska and lost two boats, each with ten men. According to oral tradition, the Tlingit lured the unsuspecting crew members with a bear skin and killed them.

Unfortunately, the Russians also found sea otter which was valuable in the Chinese market. This led to the development of the Russian fur trade in the area.  

In 1788, a Russian expedition made contact with the Tlingit under the leadership of Ilchak from the Chilcat River. The Russians gave Ilchak a Russian crest in copper and a picture of the heir to the Russian throne.

In 1793, a group of Russians and Aleut under the leadership of Baron Baranof were attacked by the Tlingit. The Tlingit were wearing armor made of wooden rods bound together with leather thongs. Their faces were protected by masks which represented different animals and gave a frightening appearance. They were wearing wooden hats. The Tlingit fought with lances, bows, and pointed daggers. While the Russians aimed their guns at their attackers’ heads, they soon found that their bullets did not penetrate the thick head coverings. Still, with the superiority of fire power, the Russians were victorious and the Tlingit fled leaving 12 dead behind. Two Russians and nine Aleuts were killed and 15 others in the Russian party were wounded.

Three years later, Baron Baranof established a Russian colony with 80 colonists in Yukatat Bay. Many of the Tlingit chiefs made ceremonial visits to Baranof. They showed their friendliness toward the Russians by leaving some of their own children and relatives to live among the Russian colonists.

In 1799, the Russians under the leadership of Alexander Baranov established a trading post at New Archangel (now called Sitka) in Tlingit territory. The Russians relied on the Natives to supply them with food supplies. This stimulated the Tlingit around Sitka to raise tons of potatoes and bring in quantities of ‘mutton’ (mountain sheep meat) and halibut.

The Russian-American Company (RAC) was formed in 1799 as a quasi-governmental monopoly to control the fur trade and rule the Russian colony in Alaska. RAC was given the power to establish settlements in Alaska. They were to carry on agriculture and commerce, to spread the Greek faith, and to extend Russian territory. There were usually fewer than 500 Russians in Alaska at any one given time. Most of them lived in Sitka. With regard to the Native American populations, the Russians were ruthless and moved villages to different areas where they needed people to work.

Tlingit Map

The peace between the Tlingit and the Russians did not last very long. In 1802, the Tlingit rebelled against the Russians at the settlement of New Archangel. An estimated 600 warriors armed with guns destroyed the fort, killing 20 Russians and 130 Aleuts. Following their victory on Baranov Island, the Tlingit next attacked an Aleut hunting party quartered at Yakutat Bay. The Tlingit accused the Russian commander of robbing them of their fur-bearing animals and also of stealing skins from Tlingit graves.  

Two years later, the Russians returned to Baranov Island. They reasserted their dominance over the Tlingit by sending four ships to Sitka harbor. The Russians destroyed two Indian villages. At the site of New Archangel (Novo-Arkangelsk), the Russians attacked a Tlingit fort. While an initial attack was repelled, the Russians fired their ships’ canons at the fort and soon the Tlingit asked for peace. Following their defeat, the Tlingit moved to the other side of the Island.

This was not the end of the conflicts between the Russians and the Tlingit. The next year the Tlingit attacked and destroyed the Russian fort at Yakatat, Alaska.

In 1806, the Tlingit began to plan an attack against the Russians at New Archangel. While nearly 2,000 warriors gathered for the attack, the Russian commander learned of the plans and invited the important chiefs to the fort. The Russians welcomed the chiefs with great honor, provided them with a great feast, and gave them many presents. As a result of this, the chiefs declared the Russians to be their friends and the war was averted.

In 1822, the charter for the Russian-American Company now permitted the Russians to conscript half of the adult male population between 18 and 50 years of age to work for up to three years hunting sea otters. This undermined the natives’ ability to obtain food for themselves.

In 1836, smallpox struck New Archangel and killed about half of the Tlingit. On the other hand, the Russians who had been vaccinated against smallpox lost only one man. This epidemic weakened the power of the traditional shamans and convinced many of the Tlingit of the superiority of Russian knowledge. As a result of the epidemic, the two groups became closer.

In 1841, the Russian administrator of New Archangel invited the Tlingit to a fair which had a ceremonial feast for the guests. About 500 of the most prominent Tlingit gathered at a special building for the event. The Russians hoped to promote friendly relations with the tribes through the ceremonial feast.

The Russian involvement with the Tlingit ended in 1867 when Alaska was sold to the United States. The Russians had never attempted to force the Alaska natives to recognize Russian ownership, nor had they made any treaties with the natives, nor had they purchased any land from the natives. The Russians had never had any effective control over the natives and the total Russian population in Alaska was less than 800 living in four very heavily fortified towns. Thus the Russians really sold only their tenuous title to Alaska. In the transaction, the natives were barely mentioned and there was more concern for the protection of those Russians who might want to remain.

The Tlingit watched the ceremonial transfer from Russia to the United States at New Archangel (Sitka) with great interest. Since the Tlingit were not allowed in town, they viewed the proceedings from their canoes which were positioned in the harbor.

Tlingit man

American Indian Biography: Attakullakulla, Cherokee Chief

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Ask some non-Cherokees to name some prominent historical Cherokee leaders and there are three names which frequently come up: (1) John Ross, the chief who led the Cherokee during the first half of the nineteenth century, (2) Sequoia, the genius who created Cherokee writing, and (3) Wilma Mankiller, the well-known twentieth century chief. There are, however, many other prominent Cherokee historical figures and there were powerful chiefs before John Ross. One of these was Attakullakulla.  

Attakullakulla was born into a prominent Cherokee family. During his youth he was trained by the elders to assume a position of responsibility. As an adult he became well-known for skills at oratory, diplomacy, and negotiation.

In 1730, Attakullakulla was among the Cherokee leaders who were taken to England to meet with King George. At that time, he was the head warrior of Tassatchee and was known by the name of Oukah Ulah (also spelled Ookounaka and Oukandekah). The English, blissfully unaware of Cherokee government, simply assumed that he was the “King” of the Cherokees.

Upon meeting King George, the Cherokee presented him with a number of gifts, including the “crown of Tannasee” (a crown made from opossum tails), scalps from their enemies, and five eagles’ tails.

During their four months in England, the Cherokee were grandly entertained, taken to fairs, and given gifts. They also competed with the King’s archers and were entertained by plays which included sham fights and acrobats. They also negotiated a treaty of friendship and trade with the English.

After his return from England, Attakullakulla maintained a strong friendship with the English. When the French approached the Overhill Cherokee towns in 1736 to open the doors for peace and trade, Attakullakulla refused to attend the meeting.

In 1738, Attakullakulla was captured by the Ottawa who were French allies. He spent more than six years as a captive.

In 1753, the governor of Carolina called for a meeting with the Cherokee for the purpose of concluding a treaty of peace between the Cherokee and the Creek. Attakullakulla informed the governor that when he had met with King George in England that the king had asked him to avenge the English lives taken by the Creek. When the governor tried to insist that he now spoke for the king, Attakullakulla simply told him that he would go to England again and meet with the king. Attakullakulla’s personal experience with the king plus his knowledge of the treaties with England enabled him to negotiate a favorable agreement with the governor.

In 1755, the governor met with 506 Cherokee chiefs, headmen, and warriors in Saluda near the present-day Greenville, South Carolina. Attakullakulla stood before the group with a bow in one hand and a sheaf of arrows in the other and acted as the principal spokesperson for the Cherokee Nation. The English accounts of the meeting describe Attakullakulla as having “the dignity and graceful action of a Roman or Grecian orator, and with all their ease and eloquence.”

At the meeting Attakullakulla presented a child to the governor saying:

“I have brought this child that when he grows up he may remember our agreement this day and tell it to the next generation that it may be known forever.”

Attakullakulla also asked that the proceedings of the meeting be written down so that it could be kept forever. In this way, he acknowledged both the Cherokee oral tradition and the English practice of writing.

Attakullakulla then gave the governor some earth and some corn and asked that they be sent to the king as a symbol of Cherokee recognition of English authority. Then he raised the bow and quiver over his head and told the governor that this is all the Cherokee have for their defense. He then asked for guns and powder so that they could fight those who were enemies of the English.

Following the meeting, Attakullakulla became the most powerful Cherokee leader of the time and through his influence he held the Cherokee to their ties with England. To demonstrate Cherokee loyalty to England, Attakullakulla with Cherokee war leader Oconostota led a series of raids against the French and their Indian allies on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

In 1759, Attakullakulla, Oconostota, and other Cherokee leaders met with the Governor of North Carolina. While they were originally met with peace, the leaders were soon imprisoned and forced to sign a new treaty under duress.  

In 1760, Old Hop, the Cherokee Beloved Man (supreme chief) died. Instead of Attakullakulla, Standing Turkey was named as the new Beloved Man. Attakullakulla’s support of the English had eroded his support among the Cherokee. The Cherokee then went to war against the English traders and colonists.

The following year, the Cherokee sought peace with the English. Attakullakulla served as one of the primary negotiators for the new treaty.

During the next 20 years, Attakullakulla helped negotiate numerous treaties and agreements with the English. As a result of these treaties, the land controlled by the Cherokee shrank as the English hunger for land seemed to be endless.

Attakullakulla died around 1780 (he was about 80 years old) and the leadership of the Cherokee passed to a younger generation including Dragging Canoe (Attakullakulla’s son) and Bloody Fellow.  

LONGEST WALK 3 (Reversing Diabetes): Fundraiser!

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Dennis Banks spoke on the Tuscarora Reservation about the war on diabetes and what inspired him to fight diabetes. It was when he spoke to the Hopi, who were at least 90% in wheelchairs, that he realized diabetes must be defeated for the survival of the 7th Generation.

LW32011 (2)

Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:


CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

Thank you again for all your help. :)

Dennis Banks also talked about tribal sovereignty. He said we must “turn it around.” He said that we must read the news everyday and “see what they’re up to.” Then he exclaimed, “Make them be the ones having to read the news and see what we’re up to.”

“Turn it around.”

It’s no “longer less than 6 months,” it is now less than 3.

(Printed with permission)

THE LONGEST WALK 3 (Reversing Diabetes) Feb 14 – July 8, 2011

In less than 6 months we will embark on another historic journey — an event so great and much needed for all of America!

This is a 5,000+ mile Walk Across America to bring awareness of the devastating effects of diabetes and how it can be reversed by changing our entire diet and lifestyle! This disease is at epidemic levels across America, and throughout Indian Country.

We will hold community talks along the way about reversing diabetes, and heart disease. We will be advocating for major changes in our eating habits, while promoting beneficial exercise programs. Our goal will be to REVERSE DIABETES AND RAISE THE CONSCIOUS OF AMERICA THAT WE MUST HALT THE WORST DIET IN THE WORLD! Along both routes we will be launching a CLEAN UP MOTHER EARTH campaign, picking up trash along both routes!!

Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:


CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

Thank you again for all your help. :)

We will be leaving La Jolla (San Diego County), California on February 14, 2011 (Valentine’s Day – Heart Day) following a pipe ceremony, and other events, and entering Washington DC on July 8th, 2011 (Note: Facebook only allows events to be posted that are 4 months or less — this walk is actually about 5 months).

Southern Route:

California- Feb 14 – Feb 24

Arizona – Feb 24 – Mar 16

New Mexico – Mar 16 – Apr 6

Texas(panhandle) – April 6 – Apr 8

Oklahoma – Apr 8 – Apr28

Arkansas – Apr 28 – May 1

Louisiana – May 1 – May 17

Mississippi – May 17 – May 20

Alabama – May 20 – May 22

Florida – May 22 – June 12

Georgia – June 12 – June 19

South Carolina – June 19 – June 25

North Carolina – June 25 – July 2

Virginia – July 2 – July 8

The Longest Walk 3 is welcoming a NORTHERN ROUTE from Portland, Oregon to Washington DC!! Chris Fransisco will be leading this route. Please help support both routes. We Need Your Help!!


There will be a Mid-walk break from May 11 – 17th, while we’re in Louisiana for the walkers to travel back home, or help the communities in that state.

We also welcome a Link run coming in from Rapid City, South Dakota, meeting us in Oklahoma. For more info on this, please contact Tokala Banks.

Each day the walkers will walk a total of 15 – 25 miles, and the runners will run between 50 – 100 miles. This event has a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY on DRUGS/ALCOHOL — this will be your only warning.

We are currently in need of local event planners, volunteers, supporters, and musicians willing to play benefit concerts along the route. If you are interested in making a commitment of this type, or know of anyone, please contact us via email or phone. We will then put you in contact with one of our State Coordinators in your area.

We have only 6 months before the start of this historic event. Our route is taking us along much of the southern coastline. We have and will address any needs while the walk is in your state, with adequate notice. So please let us know as-soon-as-possible.

Goodie Cloud

National Coordinator

The Longest Walk 3/Reversing Diabetes 2011

(218) 209-0232

Tatanka Banks

President, Dennis Banks Co.

(952) 220-9046

Northern Route:

Chris Francisco

(503) 515-6239




Dennis J. Banks

Ojibwa Warrior

Diabetes Information:

Native American Diabetes More Than Double the National Average:


American Diabetes Association Home Page:

Longest Walk Northern Route Information:

Facebook link:…

The birth of the Long Walk to Reverse Diabetes 2010 with Dennis Banks:…

The LongestWalk NorthernRoute Facebook Fundraiser:…

I did an Inipi (sweat ceremony) with a tribal member who had not been able to do the Inipi for a long time due to his diabetes. He looked like a new man afterwards. I have also done ceremony with various tribal members who have to take insulin during the ceremony and have something to keep their blood sugar level up.  Ceremonies, you know those ceremonies that used to banned by the United States because of that religious bigotry that led to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978? But some say the Inipi was to make The People stronger and the seventh most sacred rite is a vision for an entire Nation. What could be more urgent overall –

We will hold community talks along the way about reversing diabetes, and heart disease. We will be advocating for major changes in our eating habits, while promoting beneficial exercise programs.

– since before we can help others, we must take care of ourselves? Read what I say next twice. That man I first mentioned who looked like a new man after the Inipi, adopted a girl he has to help take care of.

Native American Diabetes rate More than double national average

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – More than 16 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives aged 20 and older have diagnosed diabetes, compared to a national average of seven percent.

That man I first mentioned who looked like a new man after the Inipi, adopted a girl he has to help take care of.

Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:


CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

Thank you again for all your help. :)

“Turn it around.”

Longest Walk 3 – Northern Route Fund Raisers:


CHECKOUT OUR STORE!!!!! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, kids clothing, hats, bags,doggie t-shirts, home/office, mugs, cards and calendars!!!!!!!!!ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS MERCHANDISE WILL BE USED DIRECTLY TO FUND THIS WALK!!!!! Please help us reach our goals and destination by purchasing an item! Blessings to you all and Walk in Beauty!

Thank you again for all your help. :)

I need to explain that my two ground efforts to do fund raising for Longest Walk 3 Northern Route have failed. I was going to do a music fundraiser I started working on last summer. The booking agent couldn’t find a willing venue. I was working on a social, and even had a drum group lined up. The person whose place it is suddenly decided his venue was “too small.” I was told twice for two months it could be used. The social had to be done before the holiday season if it was going to be done. So, using this fund raising means is the last resort. They will need food, shelter, and shoes.

Please help “Turn it around” both for the sake of Longest Walk 3 Northern Route and the future generations they will walk for. I have learned from a Tuscarora tribal member there is no word in their language for “please,” only yahweh (thank you).

(not the same words I’ve heard before, but same sentiment)

The Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time.

We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life.

As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. We give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.