Indian Town Names on the Nez Perce Reservation

The Nez Perce Reservation in what is now the state of Idaho has its origins in the 1855 Treaty of Walla Walla. Governor Isaac had come to the treaty council with area tribes with the intent of establishing two reservations in the region: one in Nez Perce country for the Nez Perce, Cayuse, Walla Walla, Umatilla, and Spokan, and one in Yakama country for the Yakama, Palouse, Klikatat, Wenatchee, Okanagan, and Colville.

Upon arriving at the treaty council, the Nez Perce put on a show of horsemanship and dancing. Governor Stevens fails to recognize the significance of the Nez Perce entrance. According to the Nez Perce Tribe:

“Our Nez Perce ancestors were not only honoring him as an important person: they were also demonstrating that the Nez Perce are a strong and important people who expect to be treated as equals.”

The man chosen by the United States to be the supreme chief of the Nez Perce was Lawyer, who was regarded by the Nez Perce as a tobacco cutter (a sort of undersecretary for Looking Glass, Eagle of the Light, Joseph, and Red Owl). Duncan McDonald, Eagle of the Light’s nephew, put it this way:

“In other words, for certain considerations he was prevailed upon to sign away the rights of his brethren-rights over which he had not the slightest authority-and although he was a man of no influence with his tribe, the government, as if duty bound on account of his great services, conferred upon him the title and granted him the emoluments of head chief of the Nez Perces.”

Today, there are about 3,300 Nez Perce tribal members, two-thirds of whom live on or near the reservation.

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According to Nez Perce tradition, the people were created at Kamiah, on the Clearwater River. It was here that they had a winter village with a large longhouse. During the winter they would braid ropes from cannabis hemp and dogbane which would then be used in their basketry. Some sources feel that the name “Kamiah” means “tattered ends of hemp” while others feel it means “many rope litters.”

In 1805, the Nez Perce had their first recorded encounter with Americans when the Corps of Discovery under the leadership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark came into their territory. The Americans had crossed over the Lolo Trail, a traditional route used by the Nez Perce in going to the buffalo country east of the Rocky Mountains. However, the season was late and the Americans floundered in snowstorms and almost starved. The Nez Perce found William Clark and six hunters from the Corps of Discovery sick with dysentery from gorging themselves on roots and fish. Nez Perce warriors considered killing the sick men for their rifles, but they were stopped by a Nez Perce woman, Watkuweis, who had been captured by the Blackfoot and sold to an American trader before returning home. She had been treated well by the trader, so she asked the warriors not to hurt the Americans.

On their way home in 1806, the Corps of Discovery camped with the Nez Perce at Kamiah.

Today, Kamiah has a population of about 1,300.


The Nez Perce word “Lapwai” means “butterfly” and refers to the many butterflies that gather in the area. The community began as a Presbyterian mission established by Henry Spalding in 1836. Spalding gave the name Lapwai to the new community.

Fort Lapwai was established in 1863 by the U.S. Army for the purpose of keeping non-Indians off the reservation.  The fort was abandoned in 1884.

Today, Lapwai is the capital of the Nez Perce nation and has a population of about 1,144.


Ahsahka appears to come from the Nez Perce word that means “the spot where two rivers meet.” The community is located on the north fork of the Clearwater River. Presbyterian missionaries established a church here for the Nez Perce in 1884.


The name “Kooskia” comes from the Nez Perce name for the Clearwater River: Kooskooskee. In actuality, Kooskooskee means “this is smaller” and probably comes from their attempts to explain to Lewis and Clark that there were two rivers: the Clearwater (the smaller one) and the Snake (the larger one). The Nez Perce word for Clearwater is “Kaih-kaih-koosh.”

Breaking News About Indian Voting in Montana

The state of Montana has a long history of attempting to deny or reduce the Indian vote. The Montana state constitution was amended in 1932 to permit only taxpayers to vote. Since Indians on reservations did not pay some local taxes, they could not become voters.

The Montana state legislature in 1937 passed a law requiring all deputy voter registrars to be qualified, taxpaying residents of their precincts. Since Indians living on reservations were exempt from certain taxes, this requirement excluded almost all Indians from serving as deputy registrars. It thus denied Montana’s Indians access to voter registration in their own precincts.

In 2012, a federal judge denied a request to establish satellite election offices for American Indians on three Montana reservations: Crow, Northern Cheyenne, and Fort Belknap (Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes). The judge ruled that there was no evidence that Indians were being prevented from voting for the candidates of their choice.  

This week, civil rights attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief contending that the election offices were wrongly denied. According to the brief, the judge overlooked the discrimination suffered by Indians who had to travel long distances. Not only are the reservations rural, but many of their inhabitants are poor and thus lack the resources, such as availability of a car and ability to take time off, to travel to the distant county seat.

There are no alleged problems with voting on election day, when polling stations are set up on the reservation. Rather the discrimination is in early voting and late registration. Montanans can vote by mail with early absentee ballots or by delivering them in person to county offices which are located some distance from the reservation. Late registration begins at county offices a month before Election Day. According to Derrick Beetso of the National Congress of American Indians:

“Effectively, this gives folks living near the county seat almost 30 days more to vote. Indian tribal members living on the reservation effectively have only one day.”

The National Congress of American Indians has also filed briefs in support of the plaintiffs.

The defendants in the case include election officials from Big Horn, Blaine, and Rosebud Counties as well as Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch. Attorneys for the defendants have tried to get the appeal of the judge’s ruling dismissed, arguing the case was moot because the election has passed. However, this was denied by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  

Insecurity on Modern Reservations

Not sure if this is where I should post this, but I have a great belief in the power of forums as information generators…

If someone would be so kind as to answer my (probably naive) questions, I’d be very grateful to them.

It is no secret that poverty and need plague today’s NA communities. One study of South Dakota reservations showed an average income of less than 3,800$ a year per household- far below the acknowledged American line of 5,000$ (which would be difficult enough to live on! Trust me, I know!)

Poverty is the enemy of progress anywhere- it saps the strength of a people, disallows them the advantages of a full life, and has unfortunately been used as a dark method of social control in history. It still enslaves members of ‘developed’ countries, trapping the masses in a struggle for basic survival. I think that’s wrong, wherever it’s happening: India, Oklahoma, or inner Chicago. And apathy from those higher up on the chain only perpetuates inequality’s grip.

A child in need anywhere is a blemish on the face of anyone capable of providing help… And it’s something I’ve promised my life to rectifying.

In this vein, I’d like to pose a few questions to the NA community here about what they know of need on modern reservations.

(I ask both for an economics project I am heading for a class, and out of sincere respect for our brothers and sisters who have suffered too long from desperate want. Knowledge is power- and this may turn out to be very strong in determining my life direction.)

Please address any of these with your thoughts and recollections:

1. Do you know a child growing up on a reservation or in a predominately poor area? What are the biggest difficulties in growing up, receiving an education, and staying safe?

2. What services are provided where you live/lived to help people in the Native American community cope with poverty, need, and the like? How heavily does availablity of assistance vary from community to community?

3. In your experience of the last 5-10 years, please describe the education system available to children and teens from reservations and needy areas. What can be improved, both in regards to their culture and the quality of their education?    

4. How do programs that would provide social assistance form in your communities, and where do they get the funding? Do you know of any programs that have had success where you live?

5. What in your opinion is the greatest challenge to providing basic neccessities (decent food, clean water, health care, etc.) to reservation communities?

Thank you for reading~

Information sources:……


Andrew Johnson and the Indians

Following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 his Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, assumed the Presidency and completed Lincoln’s term. Johnson, who is best known as the first American president to survive impeachment, is generally ranked by historians with James Buchanan and George W. Bush as among the country’s worst presidents.

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With regard to American Indians, the Johnson administration faced massive problems with corruption in the Indian Service (today known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs), what to do with the “southern” Indians, concerns over the pacification of the western Indians, and the acquisition of Alaska.  

Indian Administration:

In the United States, the person most directly in charge of Indian Affairs was the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, a political appointment within the Department of the Interior. While the Johnson administration lasted slightly less than a full four-year term, during this time three different men held the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs.  

The first Commissioner of Indian Affairs appointed by Johnson was Dennis Nelson Cooley, a man who had no experience in Indian affairs but who was a close friend of the Secretary of the Interior. Since the Secretary of the Interior had vowed to clean out the “pack of thieves” in the Indian Office, he planned to set policy from above and simply needed a Commissioner of Indian Affairs who could be controlled and trusted. Like the Secretary, the new Commissioner of Indian Affairs was a devout Christian who saw no value in Indian cultures.

The Secretary of the Interior, in an 1865 letter to the Indian Peace Commission:

“No attempted coercion of the religious faith of the latter will be tolerated, nor should any denomination of Christians be suffered to have the exclusive control of their educational interests.”

He went on to write:

“It is the purpose of the government to encourage the Indians to gain a livelihood, advance in the pursuits and arts of civilized life, and improve their moral, intellectual, and physical condition. The nation cannot adopt the policy of exterminating them.”

General Alexander McCook announced in 1865 that there were only three basic alternatives for federal Indian policy: (1) preserve the area west of the Kansas settlements and east of California for Indians alone; (2) place Indians on reservations and use the military to keep them there; or (3) exterminate them.

In 1866, Secretary of the Interior James Harlan resigned and was replaced by Orville H. Browning. As a result, Cooley resigned as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Lewis Vital Bogy was then appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs. His appointment to the position, however, met with political opposition and the Senate refused to confirm the appointment. Bogy’s demand for military action against landholding Indians and the fact that he had cancelled three large bids awarded by Cooley and awarded them to firms with  higher bids (firms to which he personal ties) generated antagonism against him in Congress.

In 1867, Nathaniel Green Taylor, a minister in the Method Episcopal Church, was appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Like most of the people appointed to this post, he had no real qualifications for the position. With regard to the western Indians, he recommended that three large reservations be created: one north of Nebraska, another one south of Kansas, and a third in an undesignated area in the southwest. Taylor wrote:

“In my judgment, the Indians can only be saved from extinction by consolidating them as rapidly as it can be peacefully done on larger reservations, from which all whites except Government employees shall be excluded, and educating them intellectually and morally, and training them in the arts of civilization, so as to render them at the earliest practicable moment self-supporting, and at proper time clothe them with the rights and immunities of citizenship.”

The Secretary of the Interior, in his 1868 annual report to Congress, wrote:

“It is believed that peaceful relations would have been maintained to this hour had Congress, in accordance with the estimates submitted, made the necessary appropriations to enable this department to perform engagements for which the public was pledged.”

Southern Indians:

Much of the Johnson presidency was focused on southern reconstruction. While not directly a part of the reconstruction efforts, one of the concerns of the Indian Office was what to do with those Indian nations in Indian Territory (now primarily Oklahoma) who had signed treaties with the confederacy.

A commission was formed in 1865 to negotiate with the Indian nations that had joined the Confederacy during the Civil War. The commission is chaired by the Commissioner of Indians Affairs, Dennis Cooley. At the treaty council at Fort Smith, Arkansas, Cooley had his very first encounter with Indians. He was completely ignorant of Indian cultures and protocols. The Indians viewed him as highhanded and arrogant, making demands on them which were totally unrealistic.  

Among the members of the commission was the Seneca Ely Parker, who had been a Union general during the war. Parker’s inclusion on the commission was particularly significant as it demonstrated that the U.S. was willing to include Native voices. The Choctaw and Chickasaw delegations stated that

“the fact that the United States government have seen fit to include a member of an Indian tribe with its commissioners, has inspired us with confidence … we are anxious to have the benefit of his presence and counsel in any deliberations or interviews.”

In 1866, there were two Cherokee delegations negotiating with the federal government in Washington: one was loyal to John Ross (who had supported the North)  and the other to Stand Watie (who had supported the South). The Watie delegation was headed by Elias C. Boudinot. John Rollin Ridge, who was living in California, suddenly appeared and attached himself to the Boudinot delegation. The United States government recognized him as the head of the Southern Cherokee group. Ridge had previously played no leadership role among the Cherokee and his sudden, unanticipated emergence as a leader during the negotiations has baffled a number of historians. Under Ridge’s leadership, the southern delegation won a favorable treaty which was sent to the Senate and to President Johnson for ratification.

President Johnson decides that it didn’t look good to be dealing with former rebels and ordered a new treaty to be drawn up with John Ross.

Western Indians:

In 1864, during the administration of Abraham Lincoln, an American militia group in Colorado has attacked a peaceful Cheyenne camp at Sand Creek. In spite of the fact that the Cheyenne were flying both an American flag and a white flag, the militia brutally massacred women, children, and elders. In 1865, congressional hearings on the Sand Creek massacre in Colorado were held by the Committee on the Conduct of War. Over three days witnesses described the killing and mutilating of the Cheyenne and noted that the Cheyenne had been given assurances of safety by the army. The Committee’s report states:

“It is difficult to believe that beings in the form of men, and disgracing the uniform of United States soldiers and officers, could commit or countenance the commission of such acts of cruelty and barbarity.”

In 1865, Congress authorized a joint special committee of the House and Senate to conduct a field study of the western Indian tribes. The study was to focus on the way in which Indian tribes are treated by both the military and civil authorities. Two years later, the special committee chaired by Wisconsin’s Senator James Doolittle reported that Indians outside of Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) were decreasing. With regard to Indian wars with non-Indians, the committee felt that most

“are to be traced to the aggressions of lawless white men.”

The committee report noted the loss of Indian hunting grounds and that driving the last vestige of the buffalo from the plains will “put an end to the wild man’s means of life”. While commenting on the pros and cons of placing the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the War Department or leaving it in the Department of the Interior, the committee recommends that it stay in the Department of Interior.

Congress debated whether Indian nations should be approached through negotiations and through the use of military force. In general, the view of using negotiations rather than force prevailed with proponents citing the huge cost of warfare with the Plains Indians. One Senator estimated the cost of killing an Indian at $1 million, while others felt that it would take 10,000 soldiers at least three years to “pacify” the Plains. The alternative to exterminating the Indians seemed to be to consolidate them on large reservations, out of the way of “progress” (and railroad lines), and then to “civilize” them.

President Andrew Johnson told Congress:

“If the savage resists, civilization, with the Ten Commandments in one hand and the sword in the other, demands his immediate extermination.”

In 1867, Congress authorized the creation of a Peace Commission of three generals and four civilians to negotiate settlements with the hostile Indians. The Peace Commission was to try to bring together the warring tribal leaders, to determine the causes of their unrest, and to negotiate treaties with them.

Congress appointed the four civilian members of the commission and the President appointed the three army officers. All of the Congressional appointees were well-known opponents to the use of force against Indians. The army officers, on the other hand, were vociferous advocates of military force, stating that peace without punishment is impossible.

The purpose of the commission was rather ambitious: they were to establish a permanent peace with the tribes and to remove them to reservations which would be far away from roads and railroads. Initially, these reservations were to be large enough to allow the Indians to continue to support themselves with hunting, but as they become more proficient as farmers, the size of the reservations was to be reduced. The government was also to provide the Indians with missionary instruction in Christianity. Non-Indians were to be excluded from the reservations, except for those employed by the government.

The initial 1868 report of the Peace Commission on the reasons for Indian hostilities noted that the primary cause for war was injustice. In looking at the almost constant wars with Indians, the Commission then asked:

“Have we been uniformly unjust? We answer, unhesitatingly, yes!”

The report also condemned the cor¬ruption of the Indian Department and noted abundant cases in which

“agents have pocketed the funds appropriated by the govern¬ment and driven the Indians to starvation.”

The Commission reported that while the United States had pledged to protect Indian nations against American depredations, it had failed to do so.


The United States bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867. 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. German geographer Aurel Krause, writing in 1885, reported:

“Since they were not allowed in town, they embarked in their canoes and took positions in the harbor from which, in spite of the distance, they had a good view of the proceedings.”

While the Russians had lived among the Indians and intermarried with them, the Americans were very different. The Americans were not concerned about Indian cultures and pursued their development of Alaska with little regard for Indian heritage.

The American Indian Horse

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While the popular image of Plains Indians is that of the horse-mounted warrior and buffalo hunter, the horse as we know it today only came to this continent with the Europeans. It reached the Plains Indians and dramatically changed their ways of life several generations before the Americans invaded the area.  

It should be pointed out that there had been an earlier horse in North America which the early Indian hunters, such as Clovis, had hunted. However, this early horse went extinct with many other large mammals about 8,000 years ago.

The modern horse spread into the Great Plains from the Spanish settlements in the southwest. While a number of horse-mounted Spanish explorers and gold-seekers had passed through New Mexico during the early 1500s, the horse was actually introduced to the area by the Spanish colonists in 1598. At this time, Juan de Oñate led a large colonizing party-129 soldiers and their families, 10 Franciscan missionaries, 83 wagons, 7,000 cattle, sheep, and goats-into New Mexico and established a colony at San Juan in the upper Rio Grande valley. The Spanish brought with them over 1,500 head of horse and mules: 1007 horses, 237 mares, 137 colts, and 91 mules.

Meeting with leaders from 30 pueblos, Oñate took formal possession of New Mexico for the Spanish and ignored possible Indian ownership of the land. The Indians were told that the Spanish had come to bring them knowledge of God and the Spanish King, on which depended the salvation of their souls and the continuation of the security of their homes. According to the official proceedings:

“Wherefore they should know that there is only one God, creator of heaven and earth, rewarder of the good, whom He takes to heaven, and punisher of the wicked, whom He sends to hell. This God and lord of all had two servants here on earth through whom He governed.”

From the viewpoint of the Spanish, Indians were a form of labor which could be exploited. The success of the Spanish colonies in the Americas was based on this exploitation. Repartimiento was the Spanish policy which gave the Spanish colonists the right to use native labor for religious education. Repartimiento functioned as a part of the Spanish mission system in both the Southwest and in the Southeast. Under this system, labor quotas and the conscription of people to serve on labor gangs were organized through the villages served by the missions (or, from an Indian viewpoint, the villages which served the missions).

Another important part of the Spanish policy was encomienda. This meant that Indian villages were “commended” to the care and protection of an encomendero, a Spaniard who could exact their labor, but as free men (technically) and for pay (technically). In fact the Indians were slaves and the encomenderos spoke of owning their Indians.

With this system of encomiendas or land grants, Spain granted a colonist a certain amount of land which gave the recipient the right to work the land and to collect tribute in the form of goods and services from the Indians who lived within the boundaries of the grants. Each Spanish hacienda had its corps of Indian serfs to till the fields, maintain the livestock, tend the house, and make whatever the master wanted to eat, to wear, or to sell in the growing trade with Mexico. In return for the grant, the colonist was expected to help convert the Indians to Christianity.

Since the Indians worked for the Spanish, this meant that they had to be taught the Spanish ways of farming and caring for the animals. While the Southwestern Indians had been farmers for more than a thousand years, livestock was new to them. From the Spanish they learned how to care for the horses, how to breed them, and how to ride them. They also learned how to make all of the accouterments-bridles, saddles-which were needed in using the horses.

The horse which the Spanish colonists brought with them was a descendent of the Barb-a Moorish horse that originated in North Africa-which had been interbred with Spanish horses during the Moorish occupation of Spain. This was a desert-bred horse that was tough and bred to live on desert grasses. It could cover vast distances between water holes. It was very different from the huge, heavy, grain-fed animal of northwestern Europe and the British Isles.

The breeding of horses in the Spanish occupied areas was regulated by the Council of the Indies. Spanish law also prohibited Indians from owning horses. While the Spanish law allowed the Indians to work around horses, they were not allowed to ride them. It was also forbidden to trade horses to the Indians.

While the Indians became peasants working for the Spanish, the Spanish viewed their own life in New Mexico as being very difficult. In 1608, the Spanish colonists and their Franciscan priests concluded that the area was not profitable and therefore should not be a part of the Spanish empire. They petitioned the Council of the Indies for permission to withdraw from the area. While Spanish authorities were inclined to grant the petition, the inflated reports regarding the number of Indian converts was a major concern. The Franciscans claimed a total of 7,000 converts at this time. If the Franciscans were to withdraw from the area, this would mean that the Indians would be allowed to lapse once again into barbarism. Thus the Spanish Crown decided to support the colonial efforts and to deny the petition.

During this early Spanish colonial period in New Mexico, there were raids by the “nomadic” Indians-Navajo and Apache-in which horses were captured. However, there are no reports of these Indians riding the horses. Without a basic understanding of how to care for a horse, the horse would appear to the Indians to be similar to an elk. Since elk were killed and eaten, it may be presumed that most of the captured horses were used for food rather than for riding.

In 1621, the Spanish governor in New Mexico gave the Spanish ranchers permission to use Pueblo men on horseback to tend the horse and cattle herds. When some of these men escaped from their Spanish vassalage, they took the horses-and the knowledge about how to care for them and ride them-with them. The first official record of horse-mounted Indians was in 1623 when Fray Benavides, a Franciscan, encountered a band of Gila Apache and reported that their war chief was riding a horse.

By 1640, some of the Spanish colonists in New Mexico were violating Spanish law by trading horses to the Apache in exchange for buffalo hides and other pelts. At this time, the Navajo and some of the Pueblos entered into an informal alliance to overthrow the Spanish. In some instances, Pueblo herders turned over their Spanish horse herds to the Navajo. As a result, the Navajo began to wage horse-mounted raids against both the Spanish and the Pueblos.  

A fresh infusion of horses arrived in New Mexico in 1676 when the Franciscans sent Fray Ayala to New Spain to obtain several hundred horses.

In 1680, the Pueblos revolted against the Spanish and drove them out. As a result of this revolt, the large Spanish horse herds were traded from tribe to tribe and began their diffusion into the Great Plains.

Following trade routes from Taos Pueblo, the horse was traded to the Ute, traditional trading partners with Taos. From the Ute, the horse spread out in two directions: to the east and then north through the Comanche and to the west and north through the Paiute and the Shoshone. The Comanche, Paiute, and Shoshone are linguistic relatives of the Ute.

The Comanche moved east into the Southern Plains of Oklahoma and Texas and spread the horse into the Southern Plains tribes. The Comanche quickly became preeminent horse traders and horse-mounted warriors. Once they had acquired familiarity with the horse, the Comanche became well-known for their raids against the Spanish ranches in Texas and northern Mexico to obtain more horses. Years later, they would say that they allowed the Spanish to remain in Texas only to raise horses for them.

The Shoshone introduced the horse to the tribes of the Plateau-the Cayuse, the Nez Perce, and the Salish-speaking Flathead. With the horse, the Plateau tribes now crossed the Rocky Mountains to hunt buffalo in the Great Plains. This put them into conflict with some of the Northern Plains tribes, such as the Blackfoot.

By 1733 the Blackfoot on the Northern Plains of Montana and Alberta had obtained horses and were beginning to expand their territory. Coupled with the fact that the Blackfoot also had guns, this made them a formidable force on the Plains. According to oral traditions, they obtained their first horses from the Shoshone.

The Sioux, whose aboriginal homeland had been in Minnesota obtained horses from the Arikara in North Dakota about 1750. Between 1766 and 1772 horses became more common among the Sioux and they began to expand to the west. By 1775, according to American Horse’s Winter Count, some of the Teton Sioux bands were hunting in the Black Hills area.

It should be noted that when we talk about the diffusion of the modern horse, we are talking about more than the animal itself. If an Indian who had never seen a horse before were to encounter one in the wild, it would resemble a funny-looking elk. One does not ride an elk in Indian culture: instead, the elk is killed and eaten. Thus the coming of the horse into Indian cultures refers to the cultural package that must come with the horse if it is to be incorporated into the culture as a domesticated animal. This includes the knowledge about how to care for the horse, to ride it, and to make the accessories (saddles and bridles) that are needed.

While the Hollywood stereotype shows Indians riding their horses bareback, in reality the saddle and bridle diffused with the horse. Plains Indians copied the Spanish saddles by stretching green buffalo hide over wooden frames. Later, warriors and hunters developed a kind of “pad” saddle which was a kind of pillow stuffed with hair or grass to which a girth and short stirrups were attached.



The saddles shown above on display in the Portland (Oregon Art Museum.

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The saddle shown above is on display at the Blackfoot Gallery of The Fort-Museum of the North West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada.

Following the Spanish and Moorish custom, Indians mounted horses from the right side. As working animals, the horses were also trained to respond to their rider’s knees. This left the rider’s hands free.

Once the horse had diffused to the Plains, the Indians acquired additional horses by breeding them, by trading for them, and by sending raiding parties to capture them from other tribes and from non-Indians. While there were herds of wild horses on the plains, these wild horse herds were never an important source of horses for the Plains Indians. The wild horses were difficult to catch and to train, and they frequently died soon after captivity.

The horse enabled the Plains tribes to hunt buffalo over a larger area and this, in turn, brought the tribes into more conflict with one another. Prior to the horse, a tribe would cover only 50 miles or so during a hunt, but with the horse this expanded to 500 miles.  As a consequence, war became more frequent. Plains Indian warfare was most frequently carried out by small war parties, often 10 warriors or less. The purpose of this warfare was to capture horses and count coup. Counting coup involved different feats of bravery, often including touching an enemy warrior, taking the weapon from an enemy warrior, and stealing an enemy warrior’s war horse. Warfare rarely involved an entire tribe and was never conducted with the primary purpose of annihilating another people or converting them to a different religion.

Prior to the modern horse, the Plains Indian people had only one domesticated animal: the dog. In the traditional oral histories, the period of time before the coming of the horse is referred to as the dog days. During this time period, the dog served as a beast of burden, pulling a travois made of tipi poles on which many belongings had been placed.  

With the adoption of the horse, the tipi became much larger. Since horses are significantly larger than dogs, they were able to pull a larger travois. Since the travois was made from tipi poles, this meant that the poles could be much longer. Prior to the horse, a typical tipi would be 10-12 feet in diameter and would stand about eight feet high at the center. With the acquisition of the horse, the tipi grew to be 20 or more feet in diameter and as tall as 30 feet at the top of its lodge poles.

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Shown above is a replica of a dog days’ tipi which is on display at the Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump in Alberta, Canada.

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Shown above is a modern horse era tipi on display at the Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump.  

Fracking on the Blackfeet Reservation (updated)

Anshutz Exploration Corp., an energy exploration company that has been searching for oil and gas on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, has just announced that it would cease drilling and shut down the project. The company notified the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council of its decision on Monday.  

The Blackfeet Reservation’s western boundary forms the eastern boundary of Glacier National Park. In 2006, the Blackfoot Tribal Business Council granted oil exploration and fracking leases on the western edge of the reservation to the Denver-Based Anshutz Exploration Corp, owned by Philip Frederick Anshutz, one of the richest men in the nation. Many tribal members are concerned about the impact of Anshultz’s operations on the natural resources, including clean water. Anshutz has refused to conduct a cumulative environmental assessment, something that is of great concern to officials in Glacier National Park and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Opposition to Anshutz and to fracking on the reservation has resulted in the formation of the Blackfeet Anti-Fracking Coalition on Facebook.  The Facebook group was started by Destini Vaile, a Blackfeet tribal member who has studied the fracking process and opposed full-field development on the reservation.

For more background see:…

Glacier National Park:

One of the companies looking at bidding on the concession for Glacier National Park is Xanterra, which currently holds the concession for Yellowstone National Park. Xanterra is owned by Philip Frederick Anshutz who made his fortunes in oil, railroads, telecom, and entertainment. Anshutz purchased Xanterra in 2008.

A petition opposing Xanterra’s bid for the park concessions can be found at…

For more background on the petition see:…

American Indian Place Names in Glacier National Park

Since there is going to be a meet up in Glacier Park in June, I thought it might be interesting to do a tour of the park from west to east along today’s traditional tourist trail, commenting on some of the Indian names and heritage along the way. As with many national parks, the names of many of the mountains, creeks, and lakes have been changed to reflect the egos of the conquerors and the traditional Indian names are often ignored.  


We are going to start our tour in Kalispell, the closest city to the park. Kalispell was named for the Kalispel Indians who currently have a reservation in eastern Washington. The designation “Kalispel” refers to camas, an important food plant, and we might translate this as “camas eater.”


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The original name of the town at the west entrance to the park was Belton (notice that the sign on the railroad station still says Belton) and it was changed to West Glacier in 1949. The Kootenai call the Belton Hills “Spotted Foot Mountains.”

Flathead River:

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We enter Glacier National Park by crossing over the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Two of the park’s boundaries are formed by the North Fork of the Flathead River and the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. The river is named for the Bitterroot Salish who are also known as the Flathead.

Lake McDonald:  

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Shortly after entering the park (stopping at the entrance stand to pay the fee or show a park pass), we come to Lake McDonald which was probably named after Duncan McDonald, the son of Hudson’s Bay Company trader Angus MacDonald who founded Fort Conah (now on the Flathead Indian Reservation) and Catherine Baptiste (Eagle in the Wind) whose heritage was Nez Perce, Mohawk, and French.

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The foot of Lake McDonald had traditionally been used by the Kootenai as a ceremonial site and thus the Kootenai name for the lake and the area around it seems to have been “good place to dance” or “where people dance.” This is sometimes indicated as “sacred dancing.”

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There is an oral tradition which tells of a time when a Kalispel band was camped at the foot of the lake when they were attacked by a Sixika (North Blackfoot) band.

Upper McDonald Creek, which flows into the lake, was called Barrier Creek by the Kootenai.


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Within Glacier Park, a creek, a lake, and a campground all carry the name Avalanche. Long before this area was part of a national park it was used by the Kootenai who hunted in the area. They designated it as Beaver Head (lake, creek, and basin). They also have creation stories about this area and conducted ceremonies here.

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Logan Pass:

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Located at the top of the Going to the Sun Road, Logan Pass today is a very popular tourist stop that offers spectacular views of the mountains as well as opportunities to see mountain goats and marmots. The pass is named for William Logan, the first superintendent of the park. While he had previously been the Indian agent for the Blackfeet Reservation and for the Fort Belnap Reservation (Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes), he was not known for his empathy for Indians.

For thousands of years, Indian people had used this pass in crossing the Rocky Mountains. The Blackfoot, whose traditional homelands lie just to the east of the mountains, call it the Ancient Road. The Kootenai, whose traditional home is just to the west of the mountains, would cross through this pass on snowshoes in the wintertime. The Kootenai called it the trail “where packs are pulled up in a line.”

St. Mary Lake:

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Leaving Logan Pass and driving down the east side of the mountains on the Going to the Sun Road you will come to St. Mary Lake. The origin of the English designation “St. Mary” is somewhat controversial with lots of speculation about its origin. There are some who champion its origin with the Jesuit missionary Father DeSmet, who probably never saw the lake. Other missionaries, French Canadian métis, fur trappers, and many others have also been credited with naming the lake. However, for thousands of years prior to the European invasion and the arrival of the Jesuits, this was Blackfoot land. The Blackfoot referred to the lake as “inside big water” or “blue banks.” There are also some indications that it might have been called “many chiefs gathered” in reference to intertribal meetings in the area.


There are lots of other waterfalls and mountains which carry Indian names along the Going to the Sun Road. In addition, there are Indian names to many of the lakes, mountains, creeks, and other features in other parts of the park, but these are topics for further discussion.

Lost Identity

I was born in Hampton, Virginia. I lived in Newport News, Virginia until the age of seven. My story starts as a young child with horrible night terrors. My dreams have always played a large role in my life. I remember playing long hours then laying down on my couch and just going into a deep meditation. I remember it clearly. Everything was black, except for lines of color, mostly greens and pink swirling. I remember at the age of four going into one of these deep trances and trying to “remember who I am”. Trying to before my birth.

Aside from that, I remember the night terrors. Dark, evil dreams that to this day disturb me. My Mother tried everything. Painting a cat on my bed to “watch over me”. When that failed they purchased a new bed. Finally, my Grandfather told my Mom that she should make a dream catcher with me. You see, my Grandfather was part Cherokee and French. Except, he tried to hold on to as much Cherokee culture as he can.

The dream catcher was the only thing that worked. I remember one dream in particular. I was standing in a dark catacomb. Terrified. Then a monk entered the doorway and told me “remember you are asleep”. I was age four. Ever since then, I have been able to lucid dream. I believe that “monk” was my spirit guide.

I also believe that the location of my birth and early childhood was no coincidence. Growing up there. Jamestown and the surrounding cities on the James River. I remember learning about it and going on field trips in school. I wore my moccasins that my family got while visiting Oklahoma. (I got to feed a black bear in a cage, I remember loving on him and feeling sad that he was pinned up. I remember looking into his eyes and my Mothers fear to let me close. I had no fear though.)

Anyways, I learned about Jamestown when I was in school, age 6. I learned about my own heritage, Cherokee, English, French and Irish. I remember being filled with anger. I remember my love for nature and for animals.

My entire life people have caught me speaking to animals, mostly my cats, and they tell me “Becky, it’s JUST a cat”. I’ve always been angered about that. How people look at non-human beings as if they are things and not sacred life forms. I look into the eyes of an animal, and I see a being that is on a higher plane than we are.

This post is really jumbled. But there are so many things that have always circled my mind. Our mandalas and art depicting the Trail of Tears hangs in my families den….yet….they’ve become nothing but decoration. Many nights, when everyone is asleep, I go into the den and look at the mandalas and art. I think what they mean. I think about my Grandfather. His gift with plants. And his silent but obvious clinging to that side of our ancestry.

I have looked up my ancestry on my Fathers side. Apparently, Norweigan Vikings that settled in England. One of my ancestors, William Jarrett, was the man who helped John Smith with the plans on how to revive the Jamestown colony. Except, he was a pirate. So no credit went to my family lol. Except when they took land in Virginia and named it “Jarratt Virginia”.

My Father says that he has no Native American blood. I don’t think that is correct. Reading the stories of our ancestors, they were highly involved in the first settlements of Virginia. It would be nearly impossible if they did not mix with Powhatan. However, it’s highly probable that they did but it is forgotten as most Native American heritage, culture and identity have been forgotten.

Killed off.

Blotted out.

Erased from history.

Except that it lingers in the DNA of many people who have found themselves connected to the land, the plants, the animals and a great mystery that lingers within them, even from a very early age.  

Death in Pueblo and Athabascan Cultures

Funerary practices and beliefs about death are more about the living than the dead. They provide some insights into the cultures of the people. The several Pueblo cultures and the Athabascan cultures (Navajo and Apache) live in close proximity to one another in New Mexico and Arizona. These cultures, in spite of their geographic proximity, have very different beliefs about death and how to deal with dead bodies. Some of their funerary customs and beliefs are discussed below.  

Athabascan Culture:

The Athabascan-speaking people – the Navajo and the Apache – migrated from the area north of Edmonton, Alberta.

In the late 1300’s and early 1400’s groups of hunting and gathering Athabascans began arriving in the Southwest from the far north in Canada. These were the ancestors of the Navajo and Apache peoples. While there are some scholars who feel that the Navajo and Apache could have begun arriving in the Southwest as early as 800 CE and some who feel that it was as late at 1500 CE, most tend to place their arrival between 1200 and 1400.

When the Spanish entered New Mexico, they recorded that the Tewa referred to one of the neighboring tribes as Navahú, in reference to large areas of cultivated lands. This is in reference to the Navajo practice of dry-farming in arroyos, and cañadas (canyons). The Tewa also referred to these newcomers as Apachü which means strangers and enemies. The Spanish would later refer to these people as Apache de Navajó meaning the Apaches with the great planted fields.

Among the southwestern Athabascan groups there is a fear of death and of dealing with both the bodies and the possessions of dead people. Among the Jicarilla Apache, for example, there is a great effort to keep children from seeing a dead person. In addition, children do not associate with other children who have family members who have recently died until the family has been cleansed by the proper ceremonies. There is a concern that children may be marked by the aura of death.

With regard to the Chiricahua Apache, at death the spirits begin a four-day journey to the spirit world. For the Chiricahua,  open burial sites are very dangerous between the moment of death and the time when the grave is covered. During this time the spirit of the deceased is loose and free. It is thus able to cause mischief or harm.  Funeral rites are expected to expedite the spirit’s journey.

Traditionally among the Navajo, the body of a dead person was left on the ground in the hogan (home) which was then abandoned or the body was immediately buried. The body was allowed to decompose because the memory, thoughts, and descendents are the part which lives on. The idea of putting someone in a coffin or putting chemicals in the body to preserve the corpse is viewed with disgust by traditional Navajo.

At death, the personal property of a Navajo is buried with the corpse or it is destroyed. Traditionally, the name of the deceased is not mentioned for one year following death. After this year, the name of the deceased is rarely mentioned.

When a Navajo who has lived a full and long life dies, there is no period of mourning as it is felt that the spirit is ready to travel to another world. There is no dread of touching or handling the corpse of an old person.

With regard to life after death, this is an issue of little concern for most Navajo. They feel that they will find out when they die and in the meantime this is something they have no way of knowing anything about and therefore they should not waste time thinking about it. The Navajo cultural orientation is towards life, toward making this life happier, more harmonious, and more beautiful.

For the Navajo, birth and death are seen as opposites: one cannot exist without the other. Life is a cycle. It reaches its natural conclusion in death at old age. It is renewed in each birth. Death before old age is considered to be both unnatural and tragic. Death before old age prevents the natural completion of the life cycle.

Pueblo Culture:

In northern Arizona and New Mexico there are several Indian nations who traditionally lived in compact villages. The Spanish used the word pueblo which means “town” in referring to these people. The Pueblo people are not a single cultural tradition, but are in fact several distinct cultures. They share some features – farming, housing – and are very different in others.

Among many of the Pueblos, food is placed with the body of the deceased. If the deceased had lived a good life, then little food was left with them as they would need little sustenance in traveling straight to the afterworld. On the other hand, if the deceased had not been particularly virtuous then they would need more food for their difficult journey.

Among the Keresian-speaking Pueblos of the Rio Grande area, death is viewed as a natural and necessary event: if there were no death, then soon there would be no room left in the world. After death, both the soul and the guardian spirit leave the body, but remain in the home of the deceased for four days. Then they journey to Shipap, the entrance to the underworld. The virtue of the deceased then determines the assignment to one of the four underworlds. Those who enter the innermost world become Shiwana (rainmakers) and return to the villages in the form of clouds.

Among the Zuni, the spirit of the dead lingers in the village for four days. During this time the door to the deceased’s home is left open to permit the entry of the spirit. On the morning of the fifth day the spirit goes to Kothluwalawa beneath the water of the Listening Spring. Here the spirit becomes a member of the Uwannami (rainmakers). Members of the Bow Priesthood become lightning makers who bring water from the six great waters of the world. The water is poured through the clouds in the form of rain. The clouds are the masks worn by the Uwannami.

Among the Hopi, a mask of cotton is placed over the face of the dead to represent the cloud mask which the spirit will wear when it returns with the cloud people to bring rain to the village. Four days after burial the spirit leaves the body and begins a journey to the Land of the Dead. They enter the underworld through the sipapu (sacred hole) in the Grand Canyon where they meet the One Horned God who can read a person’s thoughts by looking into the heart. Those who are virtuous follow the Sun Trail to the village of the Cloud People.

In the Hopi burials, clothing, water, and piki (a special bread) is often placed with the corpse. In many cases the Hopi will use a quilt as a burial shroud. The grave is then sealed with rocks.

When a kikmongwi (chief) dies, the staff which has symbolized his authority during his life is buried with him. In addition, his body is painted with symbols for important ritual occasions.

Among the Hopi, the spirits of children who die before they are initiated into a kiva return to their mother’s house to be reborn.

For the Hopi, the ancestors are important to their culture and they strongly feel that the physical remains of the ancestors should be treated with respect. Ancestors maintain a spiritual guardianship over the places where they are buried and they are not to be disturbed by archaeologists.

The Hopi see the clouds which bring water to their villages as ancestors and thus they petition their departed ancestors to return and to bring with them the life-giving rain. In this way, the Hopi view death as a return to the spiritual realm and from this comes more life in the form of rain.

Among most of the Pueblos, life after death is the same as before death: the deceased journey to a town where they join a group with which they were associated in life. Only the Hopi express the idea of punishment after death.

At Cochití, when a person dies, an ear of blue corn with barbs at the point is placed in the corner of the room where the death occurred. This ear of corn represents the soul of the deceased which will linger in the area for a while.

Argentina, Catholicism, and Native Peoples

There is a common lie, told over and over again by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church– including the previous Pope–that when the Catholic missionaries landed in South America they were met by people eagerly awaiting the Christian faith. According to this lie, the indigenous people, who had no religion from the Catholic viewpoint, were anxious for the word of God and for conversion to the one true faith.  

In reality, the Catholic missionaries arrived in South America armed with guns, steel, germs, and a legal document-the Discovery Doctrine-which authorized a reign of terror and genocide against all who failed to convert. The Discovery Doctrine declared that Christian nations had a right, if not an obligation, to govern all non-Christian nations. Once an Indian nation had been read the Christian history of the world, even though it might be read to them in a language they did not understand, then they were obligated to be ruled by the “superior” Christian nation.

The Catholic Pope in 1452 laid the foundation for the Doctrine of Discovery by issuing the papal bull dum diversas which instructed the Portuguese monarchy:  

“to invade, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ, to put them into perpetual slavery, and to take away all their possessions and property.”

The Discovery Doctrine asked that the Native Americans come forward of their own free will to convert to Catholicism or

“with the help of God we shall use force against you, declaring war upon you from all sides and with all possible means, and we shall bind you to the yoke of the Church and Their Highnesses; we shall enslave your persons, wives, and sons, sell you or dispose of you as the King sees fit; we shall seize your possessions and harm you as much as we can as disobedient and resisting vassals.”

Furthermore, the Natives who resist are to be held guilty of all resulting deaths and injuries.

What the Catholic missionaries found in South America, in places such as the area which would become Argentina, were American Indians who already had religion and were not eager to abandon their way of life to conform to Catholic standards. What followed were centuries of religious suppression, not of Christianity, but of the Indian religions as well as both cultural genocide-an attempt to eradicate all aspect of indigenous cultures-and physical genocide.

Among Argentina’s Indian nations, groups such as the Diaguita, had successfully prevented the Inka from expanding their empire and these groups vigorously opposed the expansion of European empires into their lands. They carried on a prolonged campaign against Spanish colonization and rule. They stopped several attempts by the Spanish to establish a colony at Buenos Aires and in 1516 killed the Spanish explorer Juan de Solis. It wasn’t until the late sixteenth century that the Spanish gained a firm foothold on the country. Spanish domination came not from the superiority of their religion or their weapons, but from the diseases which they had unknowingly brought with them. These diseases, such as smallpox, decimated the Native populations.

In current times, the previous two popes and the Catholic hierarchy have been asked on numerous occasions to rescind the Discovery Doctrine. By their silence and their inability to acknowledge the truth of the genocide which they committed, the doctrine continues today as church policy. Several protestant churches, including the Church of England, have already renounced the Discovery Doctrine. Native American groups have already indicated that they plan to ask the new pope to rescind what they see as an evil doctrine. According to Tonya Frichner, president of the American Indian Law Alliance:

“Now is the time for the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church to extend a hand and talk about these issues.”


Stephen Rex Brown, writing for the New York Daily News, reports:

The protest against the Discovery Doctrine won’t fade once the white smoke dissipates from the Sistine Chapel chimney. In August, Native Americans will embark on a 13-day canoe trip from Albany to New York City to symbolize the common ground they share with European settlers – a relationship that could be improved with the renunciation of the heinous papal declaration.

There are some today who say that the Latin American people have waited twenty centuries for a Latin American pope. This continues the mythology of Indian people eagerly awaiting Catholicism. It denies the validity of American Indian religions and ignores the genocide perpetrated against them.

Today, the people of Argentina are overwhelmingly of Spanish and Italian descent (97%) and less than 2% can claim indigenous heritage. The many native languages which were once spoken in the country have become extinct, as well as most of the Native American ceremonial practices. Many of the Indian nations which once called this area home have also gone extinct.

American Indian Place Names in Washington

While Washington was named for an American President who was not known for his love of Indians, many of the town names in Washington reflect the many different Indian nations which originally inhabited the state.  

Asotin: this was originally a Nez Perce winter camp site. The Nez Perce called the nearby creek Has-shu-tin which means “eel” for this was an area where the eel where plentiful. When the Americans moved in following the 1877 Nez Perce war, they spelled Has-shu-tin as Asotin (or Assotin).

Cathlamet:  this town is named for the Cathlamet Indian tribe, a Penutian-speaking group linguistically and culturally related to the Multnomah, Clackamas, and Wasco-Wishram. The designation “Cathlamet” (also spelled “Kathlamet”) is said to mean “stone” in reference to the rocky course of the Columbia River in their traditional homeland.

Chehalis: this town is named for the Chehalis Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically and culturally related to the Humptulips and Wynoochee. Governor Isaac Stevens met with the Chehalis and other tribes in treaty council at Grays Harbor in 1855. Stevens and the American negotiators fully intended for the tribe to be placed on the Quinault Reservation, but tribal leaders objected and refused to sign the treaty. They were eventually allowed to have their own reservation.

Chelan: this town is named for the Chelan Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically and culturally related to the Entiat, Method, and Wenatchee. The first fur traders who entered the area in 1811 were told that the name of the river was Tsill-ane which then became Chelan. The name means “land of bubbling water” in reference to the rapids.

Chewelah: this town is named for the Chewelah Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically and culturally related to the Pend d’Oreille, Kalispel, and Flathead.

Chimacum: this town is named for the Chimacum (also spelled Chemakum and Chimikum) Indian tribe, who are linguistically related to the Quileute. Jake Palmer (1847-1881) is generally considered the last of the Chimacum Indians.

Clallam Bay: this community takes its name from the Klallam Indians, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Lummi, Saanich, Samish, Semiahmoos, Songhees, and Sooke. The Klallam call themselves Nu’sklaim which means “strong people.”

Claquato: this is a Salish term meaning “high land.”

Cle Elum: this is a Salish term meaning “swift water.”

Entiat: this town is named for the Entiat Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically and culturally related to the Chelan, Method, and Wenatchee. The designation “entiat” is said to refer to “rushing water.”

Enumclaw: this was a traditional campsite for the Duwamish Indians. Translations of “Enumclaw” range from “place of evil spirits” (probably a European misconception of Native sacred places), “thundering mountain,” and “loud, rattling noise.”

Hoquiam: this seems to be an interpretation of the Indian word “ho-qui-umpts” which means “hungry for wood” which refers to the driftwood at the mouth of the river.

Ilwaco: this town was named for the son-in-law of Chinook Chief Comcomly, Elowahka Jim which then became Ilwaco.

Issaquah: This was the hunting and fishing ground of the Snoqualmie Indians. According to some accounts, the Indians called the area “Ishquoh” which may have meant “the sound of the birds.” When pronounced in Indian, the word has a glottal stop which English-speakers have difficulty with and so they pronounced it as “squak” In 1899, the town was officially designated as Issaquah.

Klickitat: this town was named for the Klickitat Indian tribe, a Sahaptian-speaking group who are linguistically related to the Yakama, Kittitas, Upper Cowlitz, and Taitnapam.

Mukilteo: this was a traditional Indian ceremonial and council ground. The name “Mukilteo” means “good camping ground.”

Nahcotta: this community is named for Chinook chief Nahcati who was friendly with the American settlers when the town was established in 1888.

Naselle: this settlement is named for the Na-sil band of Chinook Indians.

Neah Bay: this is the capital of the Makah Indian nation and was named for the Makah chief Dee-ah. In 1828, Captain Henry Kellett met chief Dee-ah and, unable to pronounce his name correctly, named the site Neah Bay. Makah is a designation given to the tribe by the neighboring Klallam which means “generous with food.” They call themselves Kwih-dich-chu-ahtx which means “people who live by the rocks and seagulls.”

Newhalem: this is based on a Salish word which means “goat snare.”

Okanogan: this is based on the Salish word “okanagen” which means “rendezvous.”

Omak: this town takes its name from the name of a lake, Omache, which means “great medicine.”

Palouse: this town takes its name from the Palouse (also spelled Palus, Pallatpallah, and Pelusha) Indian tribe. This is a Sahaptian-speaking tribe linguistically related to the Walla Walla and Wanapam.

Queets: this town is named for the Queets Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Quinault, Copalis, and Oyhut.

Quilcene: this was originally the home of the Twana Indians who apparently called it Kwil-sid. The name may mean “salt water people.”

Salkum: probably means “boiling up” which refers to a section on the Cowlitz River where the falls are located.

Seattle: is named for Suquamish Chief Sealth. Alki Point takes its name from the Suquamish word “alki” which means “by and by” or “after a while.”

Sequim: located in the homeland of the S’Klallam Indian tribe, the bay was called Such-e-kwai-ing which means “quiet water” and was then Anglicized into Sequim (which is pronounced “skiwm”.)

Skamania: this is a Shahala Indian word which means “swift water.”

Skykomish: this town is named for the Skykomish Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, Skagit, Snohomish, Steilacoom, Stillaguamish, and Swinomish.

Snohomish: this town is named for the Snohomish Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Skykomish.

Snoqualmie: this town is named for the Snoqualmie Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Skykomish.

Spokane: this town is named for the Spokan Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Kalispel, Cheweleh, Pend d’Oreille, and Flathead.

Steilacoom: this town is named for the Steilacoom Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Skykomish.

Tacoma: the Salish-speaking Indians in the area referred to it as Shubahlup which means “the sheltered place.” American settlers later named it Tacoma which is supposedly from Takohoma which has been reported to mean “frozen waters,” or “nourishing breast,” or “near to heaven” which may refer to the nearby Mt. Rainier.

Tenino: this name comes from the Chinook word which means “meeting place” in reference to it being a meeting ground and trading place. In addition, the Tenino are a Shaptian-speaking tribe related to the Umatilla and the Celilo.

Tonasket: this was a traditional Okanogan Indian camping place and was named for Chief Tonasket.

Toppenish: located on the Yakama Indian Reservation, this name may come from Thap-pahn-ish meaning “People of the trail which comes from the foot of the hills.” Some people, however, feel that it comes from Qapuishlema which means “people from the foot of the hills.”

Tumwater: the Salish-speaking Indians called the Deschutes River Tum Chuk which referred to the falls. While the town was originally named New Market, it changed to Tumwater in 1857.

Twisp: appears to be from the Chinook word “t-wapsp” which means “yellow jacket.”

Walla Walla: this is named for the Walla Walla Indian tribe, a Sahaptian-speaking group linguistically and culturally related to the Palouse and Wanapam. Walla Walla is often translated as “many waters.”

Wapato: this is from the Chinook word “wapatoo” which means “potato” referring to the camas root which was commonly used for food.

Wenatchee: this town is named for the Wenatchee Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group linguistically related to the Chelan, Entiate, and Method.

Wishram: this is a Chinook word meaning “flea” or “louse.”

American Indian Place Names in Oregon

The etymology of Oregon begins in 1765 with a petition to the British King regarding Ouragon, the mythical River of the West. According to the petition, Ouragon was the name given by the Indians to this great river. By 1778, the spelling had shifted to Oregon. While the 1765 petition seems to imply that Oregon has its origins in a Native American language, there are others who feel that its roots are in French (“ouragan” which means “windstorm” or “hurricane”) or in Portuguese (“Aure il agua” meaning “hear the waters.”)

When the Europeans first began their invasion of Oregon, it was occupied by many different Indian nations with different languages and histories. Part of Oregon’s Indian heritage can be seen in some of the place names in the state.  

Champoag: known in Oregon histories as the “Birthplace of Oregon Government,” the Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post at this location in 1821 because it was a part of the Kalapooian Indian territory and it was a place where Indians gathered to trade. The name “Champoag,” according to some sources, comes from Cham-poo-ick which was the name for some type of unidentified edible plant.

Clatskanie: this town is named for the Klatskani Indian tribe (also spelled Klats-kani, Tlatskani, Klaatshan, and Klatsskanine), an Athabaskan-speaking group related to other Athabaskan groups on the Northwest Coast such as the Haida, Tlingit, Eyat, Tututni, and others. In 1851, the tribe signed a treaty with the United States in which they ceded their land to the United States. In exchange, they were to be paid in goods and service. The U.S. Senate, however, did not ratify the treaty and so tribal members were never paid even though the U.S. assumed title to their lands.

Imnaha: this community is named after the Nez Perce chief Imna and the name means “land where the Imna lives.”

Klamath Falls: this community is named after the Klamath Indian tribe, who are linguistically related to the Modoc. They called themselves Eukshikni which means “people of the lake.”

Molalla: this community is named after the Molalla (also spelled Molala) Indian tribe. Some people feel that the name means “deer berries.”

Necanicum: this community started off as Ahlers in 1896, then changed its name to Push and then to Necanicum. The name may come from Ne-hay-ne-hum which describes an Indian lodge.

Neskowin: this was the aboriginal home of the Nestucca band of Tillamook Indians. When the first American settlers moved into the area in the 1880s, they often used wood for their homes which had been stolen from the Nestucca burial canoes. The bones in the canoes were simply dumped on the ground.

Netarts: By 1400 CE, archaeological findings show that the Tillamook Indians were inhabiting the Netarts area. The Tillamook called the area Ne-Ta-At which then became Netarts.

Scappoose: the Chinook used Scappoose Plains area for their potlatches. The Hudson’s Bay Company moved into the area in 1828 looking for land for their livestock. Scappoose supposedly means “gravelly plains.”

Siletz: the Siletz Indian Reservation was established in 1856 as the new home for 26 bands of Indians. The traditional territories of the bands were being invaded by gold miners and the government wanted the Indians out of the way of the miners. There are two possible origins for the designation “Siletz.” Some people feel that the name comes from a Rogue River Indian word, “silis” which means “black bear.” Another source says that “Siletz” comes from “Se-La-Gees” meaning “crooked rope” which refers to the many bends in the river.

Tillamook: this community is named for the Tillamook Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group related to the Nehalem, Netucca, and Siletz. The name means “land of many waters.”

Umatilla: this community is named for the Umatilla Indian tribe, a Sahaptian-speaking groups related to the Celilo and Tenino-Tygh. There are some reports that indicate the name means “water rippling over sand.”

Yachats: the Alsea Indians, a Penutian-speaking group, had lived in this area for thousands of years. In Alsea “ya” refers to “water” and a number of possible meanings for Yachats have been advanced: “silent waters,” “little river with the big mouth,” “dark water between the timbered hills,” and many others.

Yoncalla: this community is named for the Yoncalla Indian tribe, a Salish-speaking group, linguistically related to the Alsea, Cathlamet, Chinook, Clackamas, Clatsop, Coos, Hanis, Kalapyan, Kiksht, Miluk, Multnomah, and others.  

The Pueblos: 1700 to 1725

In 1680, the Pueblos of New Mexico revolted against the Spanish and drove them from the region. A decade later, however, the Spanish returned and began their re-conquest of New Mexico. In 1696, eleven Pueblo villages along the Rio Grande revolted again against the Spanish, but the revolt was quickly crushed. By 1700 the Spanish were again firmly entrenched in the region and for the next generation the Pueblo people had to adjust to the Spanish, their strange religion, and their insistence that the Pueblos totally submit to Spanish rule.  

Conflicts with the Spanish:

Adjustment to the return of the Spanish and their priests was not always peaceful. In northern Arizona, the Hopi attacked and destroyed the Spanish occupied village of Awatovi in 1700. The Spanish priests and their male converts were sealed in a kiva and then suffocated by having hot ground chilies poured in through the roof opening. The women and children were taken to other Hopi villages. Some of the Hopi survivors from Awatovi were taken in by the Navajo where they founded the Tobacco Clan.  

In 1703, three of the Spanish soldiers sent to protect the priest at Zuni were killed by the Zuni. The soldiers had been living with Zuni women.

In 1706, the Spanish re-established Galisteo Pueblo and re-named it Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. They forced 90 Indians to live in the pueblo.

Also in 1706, the Franciscan friar noted that the mission at Cochití Pueblo had a bell without a clapper. He wrote:

“The Indians took all the clappers away, to make lances and knives.”

In 1719, Spanish authorities tried a Taos man for having drunk a beverage made with peyote. The Spanish felt that peyote was associated with black magic and that it gave visions to witches.


During this re-adjustment period, some Pueblo villages were abandoned; some were relocated; some older village sites were re-occupied; and some new villages were established.

In 1700, the Zuni re-occupied the village of Halona (present-day Zuni Pueblo). At this same time, the pueblo of San Felipe on top of Black Mesa was abandoned and a new pueblo was constructed at the foot of the mesa.

In 1702, a group of Tewa from New Mexico sought refuge among the Hopi in Arizona. The Hopi chief did not fulfill the promise of land until they demonstrated their prowess. The Tewa defeated a Ute attack and were given a site on First Mesa where they built the village of Hano.

That same year, the Jemez returned to their valley and resettled on an earlier village site.

In 1706, the people of Picuris pueblo, decimated by disease and warfare, returned to their pueblo from their exile in Kansas. They had fled their homeland during the Pueblo Revolt of 1696.

In 1709, the Spanish government approved the purchase of land at the mouth of the Río Jémez by nine Indians from Santa Ana Pueblo. The seller was Spanish colonist Manuel Baca. In order to regain their farm lands which had been lost through the Spanish land grants, Santa Ana Pueblo had started to buy these lands back from the Spanish settlers. First, they had to wait until the settler was ready to sell the land, and then they had to petition the Spanish government for permission to buy it. Then all parties had to agree on the price, the land’s boundaries, and the terms of the sale.

In 1716, some of the people who had fled from Jemez following the Pueblo Revolt of 1696 returned to the village from Walpi in Hopi country.


In 1700, Pueblo pottery began to change in shape and decoration. Previously, the Pueblo potters had used a lead glaze, but this process was abandoned and the potters began to substitute pigments made from ores which were rich in iron or manganese. This produced a dark brown to black look.

The potters at Acoma Pueblo began making a type of pottery known as Ako Polychrome. The Ako Polychrome jars have a top-heavy, mushroom-shaped upper body with a wide bulge at about the middle of the jug. There is a very short neck and a tapered underbody. A range of small motifs, including feather clusters, was used for decoration.

An example of an Ako Polychrome jar can be found

at Fenimore Art Museum.


The potters at Santa Ana and Zia developed a new style of pottery which archaeologists call Purname Polychrome. Many of the jars have a motif consisting of a cluster of bird feathers. Many of the jars from Zia have a band of red or black arcs around the circumference below the main design area.

At Zuni, Potters began using concave bases for jars, a style which may have been borrowed from the southern Tewa. The new style of pottery, which is decorated with red and black matte mineral paints, is known as Ashiwi Polychrome.

A Novel Set in the Ancient Hopewell Civilization

Greetings all, I have been a fan of this site for years, but have not been a frequent poster.  I thought readers of this site might be interested in my first novel, The Copper Tale, an adventure set within the moundbuilding civilization often referred to now as the “Hopewell Complex.”  I hope you enjoy it! The e-version is available on Amazon here:… ,

and the paperback is here:…  

The Moravian Missions to the Indians

During the eighteenth century, a small Protestant Christian sect known as the Moravians sent missionaries to North America in an attempt to convert American Indians to Christianity.  

The Moravians:

Moravia is now a part of the Czech Republic. In 1648 the Thirty Years’ War ended and as a result a number of Protestant refugees from Moravia found refuge in Saxony in Germany. In 1722 Count van Zinzendorf invited some of these refugees to form a community on his estate. This community became the Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren), also known as the Moravian Brethren.

One of the key elements of Moravian worship is the Love Feast: the sharing of a communal meal. While the Moravians look to the scriptures for guidance on faith and conduct, they do not overemphasize doctrine, but prefer a religion that comes from the heart.

The Misssions:

The Moravian missions to the American Indians began in 1740. In New York, Moravian missionaries, inspired by the success of the Presbyterian mission at Stockbridge, established missions among the Mohegan at the village of Shemomeko.

The Moravian mission was financially supported by the English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. The Moravian focus on religion from the heart and their Love Feast were compatible with Native American spiritual traditions. Unlike other Protestant missionaries, the Moravians lived and dressed like the Indians and it was not uncommon for European visitors to mistake the Moravians for Indians.

While the Indians apparently had little animosity toward the Moravians, the same cannot be said of the English settlers in the area. Since the local English were hostile toward the Indians, they were also hostile toward the Moravians since the two groups were friendly and integrated. The English preferred a policy of strict segregation between Indians and Europeans. Soon the English were spreading rumors that the Moravians were somehow either secret Jesuits or they were somehow allied with the Jesuits. The Protestant English viewed the Jesuits, who were Catholics, as “atheistic papists”, a group more hated than the Indians.  In addition, the Moravians sought to prevent the sale of liquor to the Indians and the liquor trade was important to the English. Because of the death threats from the English colonists, the Moravians abandoned their mission at Shemomeko in 1745.

In 1741, the Moravians established a mission community in Pennsylvania which was intended to convert the Lenni Lenape (also known as the Delaware). The community was established on Christmas Eve and was named Bethlehem after the biblical town in Judea. From here they also established a number of other missions among the Indians.

The Lenape people were not a single unified political entity, but a loose affiliation of peoples who spoke closely related Algonquian languages: Unami, Munsee, and Unalachtigo. In 1682, some Lenape leaders had signed a treaty with William Penn which allowed the establishment of the Pennsylvania colony.

Penn Treaty photo Treaty_of_Penn_with_Indians_by_Benjamin_West_zps66498235.jpg

Shown above is a painting showing the treaty council with William Penn.

Lapowinsa photo Lapowinsa01_zpsdbc547cd.jpg

Shown above is a portrait of Lenape Chief Lapowinsa.

In 1755, the Delaware raided the Christian Indian Mission at Gnadenhutten, Pennsylvania. They burned it to the ground and killed several Moravian missionaries. The Indian converts – Mohican and Delaware – escaped. The surviving Indians left the area and established a new settlement in southern Ontario, Canada. Eventually they became known as the Moravian of the Thames and currently have their own reserve.

In 1799, Little Turkey advocated to the Cherokee council in Georgia that it permit Moravian missionaries to establish a school within the nation.  In 1801, the Moravians established a mission among the Cherokee. In the 1830s, when the Cherokee were forced to move to Oklahoma, the Moravians moved with them. The Moravian mission to the Cherokee remained active until the end of the Civil War in 1865. The mission was then transferred to the Danish Lutheran Church and has continued as the Oaks Mission School.  

Renaming Indians

American government policies regarding American Indians, particularly during the nineteenth century, were primarily focused on “civilizing” the Indians.  This meant that Indians were to change their language (they were to speak only English), their religion (they were to become Christians, preferably Protestants), their houses, their clothes, their history (they were to embrace European history as their own), and, finally, they were to change their names. Changing Indian names into something which sounded more “American” would show that they had become truly assimilated into the American mainstream.  

Traditionally, American Indians had neither surnames nor Christian first names. In many Indian nations, such as those of the Great Plains, a person would be given several names during the course of their life. Shortly after birth they would often be given a baby name. As they grew older and their personality had begun to emerge, they would be given a child’s name. Finally, as a mark of becoming an adult, they would be given an adult name. Later an individual might acquire another new name reflecting some deed they had done or in honor of some new status. Europeans found Indian names confusing and, because they rarely spoke any Indian languages, difficult to pronounce.

American Indians have often noted that non-Indians have an obsession with private property. Government concerns with Indian surnames stems from this concern. The concern for private property goes beyond the individual accumulation of property and includes the ability to pass this property on to the property owner’s descendents, thus helping to create family fortunes.  Family lineages are an important part of private property.

In 1887, the Congress passed the General Allotment Act (Dawes Act) with the intent of assimilating Indians by making them land-owning farmers. The idea of the Dawes Act is to break up the reservations by giving each Indian family an allotment of land, similar to the homesteads given to non-Indian settlers.

In breaking the reservations up into individually owned allotments, the first step was to put together a tribal roll. Regarding Indian names on these tribal rolls, Sioux physician Charles Eastman wrote:

“Originally, the Indians had no family names, and confusion has been worse confounded by the admission to the official rolls of vulgar nicknames, incorrect translations, and English cognomens injudiciously bestowed upon children in the various schools.”  

Government concern for Indian names, particularly surnames, was directly connected with allotments. The allotments came under territory and state inheritance laws. All of these laws were based on Euro-American family relationships and therefore the result was confusion if an allottee died intestate and local officials had to determine the heirs.

In 1890, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs ordered Indian names on the reservations to be changed so that each Indian would be given an English Christian name and retain the surname. Surnames were to be translated to English and shortened if they were too long. Care was to be taken to avoid translations of Indian names that might be offensive to non-Indians. The new names were to be explained to the Indians.

One of the ways of creating the new Indian surnames was to use the name of the father as the family name. This also meant that the Indian agents had to attempt to stop the traditional practice of assigning Indian names. This practice ignored the fact that many Indian nations were matrilineal, that is, a person belonged to the mother’s clan or family.

On some reservations, the Indian agent changed names such as Lone Bear to Lon Brown, Night Horse to Henry Lee Tyler, and Yellow Calf to George Caldwell. On some reservations, Indians were given names such as “Cornelius Vanderbilt” and “William Shakespeare.” Presidential names were also popular and so a number of Indians were named George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and others.

On the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, the Indian agent reported that:

“Now every family has a name. Every father, mother; every husband and wife and children bears the last names of these people; now property goes to his descendant.”

He also reported:

“During my administration I took a census of over two thousand names and had them all change, though it took over two years to accomplish the task.”

In noting that Indians often change names in response to events in their lives, Frank Terry, the Superintendent of the Crow Boarding School wrote in 1897:

“Hence it will be seen that the Indian names are nothing, a delusion, and a snare, and the practice of converting them into English appears eminently unwise.”

He also noted that the requirement to give Indians American-style names had not been uniformly carried out:

“While some have made earnest efforts to carry out the wishes of the Department in this particular, others have treated the matter as one of little or no concern. In many cases no attempt seems ever to have been made to systematize the names of the Indians, and in many others where such attempt was made the correct names for want of attention on the part of officers in charge, have been forgotten or permitted to fall into disuse.”

In addition to having the Indian agents give Indians more “civilized” names, the government also assigned new names to Indian students in both their boarding schools and in their day schools.

In 1890, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs published a detailed set of rules for Indian schools. Schools were to give Indian students surnames so that as they could become property owners it would be easier to fix lines of inheritance. Since most teachers could not pronounce or memorize names in native languages, and they did not understand these names when translated into English, it was not uncommon to give English surnames as well as English first names to the students.

In the school established for the Quileute on the Coast of Washington, the schoolmaster gave the students names from the Bible and from American history.

Many Indian families today have stories about how their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents got their surnames. While the government intent was to eradicate the traditional names and naming procedures, what has instead resulted in many cases is a naming duality: the formal names with surnames that the government requires, and traditional names still given in the traditional ways.

Death in the Piman and Yuman Cultures

Funerary practices and beliefs about death are more about the living than the dead. They provide some insights into the cultures of the people. The Piman (O’odham) and Yuman cultures of the American Southwest have diverse beliefs and burial practices even though they are both located in the desert regions of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. In both of these cultural groups, cremation was a common way of disposing of the dead. Some of their funerary customs and beliefs are discussed below.

Yuman Culture:

The Yuman culture tradition is in the desert and semi-desert area along the Colorado and Gila Rivers. This area includes parts of Arizona, California, Sonora, and Baja California Norte.

The Yuma-speaking tribes can be divided into four groups:

Delta: the tribes living along the lower Colorado River. These include the Cocopa, Kahwa, and Halyikwamai. During the nineteenth century, the Kahwa and the Halyikwamai, battered by the Quechan-Mohave alliance, merged with the Maricopa.

River: the tribes living along the Colorado River where it forms the border between Arizona and California, plus those living along the Middle Gila River in Arizona. These tribes include the Quechan, Mohave, Yuma, Maricopa, Halchidhoma, and Kavalchadom. During the nineteenth century, the Halchidhoma and Kavalchadom merged with the Maricopa.  

The designation Maricopa as actually an Anglo term: the people refer to themselves as Pipatsje. They originally lived along the Colorado River near present-day Parker, Arizona, but later moved up the Gila River away from the Colorado River.

Upland: the tribes living in Northwest Arizona. These include the Walapai, Havasupai, and Yavapai. The Yavapai were traditionally divided into three groups: Yavepe (also spelled Yavapé; Northeastern Yavapai), Tolkapaya (also spelled Tolkepaya; the Western Yavapai), and Kewevkapaya (also spelled Kwevkepaya; the Southeastern Yavapai.) The Walapai were divided politically into three subtribes: Middle Mountain People in the northwest, Yavapai Fighters in the south, and Plateau People in the east.

California: the tribes living west of the Colorado River include the Diegueño, Kamia, Paipai, and Kiliwa.

Among the Walapai, the dead were traditionally cremated along with their possessions. The souls of the dead departed for the ancestral land of Tudjupa in the west. There was also an annual burning of clothing and food to commemorate the dead. The practice of cremation, however, was stopped by the U.S. Army in the nineteenth century as the United States required Christian burials.

Traditionally, the Havasupai observed very little ceremony regarding the disposal of the dead. The dead were either cremated or placed in caves or rock cairns.

Among the Mohave, the deceased was cremated upon a funeral pyre. Orators would make speeches about the virtues of the deceased and songs would be sung. Articles burned with the deceased would accompany the soul to the land of the dead. After death there was a taboo on mentioning the name of a dead person.

Among the Cocopa, the soul leaves the body at the time of cremation and goes to the spirit land near the mouth of the Colorado River. However, twins go to a different place and are continuously reincarnated. After death the name of the deceased is never mentioned.

Piman Culture:

The Sonoran desert of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico is home to a number of Piman-speaking groups, primarily the Tohono O’odham (Papago) and Akimel O’odham (Pima). With regard to archaeology, the Hohokam are considered to be the ancestors of the Piman peoples.

The Pima were the village agriculturists of central and southern Arizona. The Pima call themselves O’odham which means “we, the people”. They are divided into four basic groups: (1) River Pima in Central Arizona (Akimel O’odham); (2) Tohono O’odham (also known as Papago) in southern Arizona and northern Sonora; (3) Pima Bajo in Mexico; and (4) the Sobaipuri. The Sobaipuri were driven out by Apache and Spanish and intermin-gled with the other Pima groups. Traditionally they occupied the San Pedro River valley from Fairbank, Arizona, north to the Gila River junction, and the Santa Cruz River valley north to Picacho.

The dead were buried in a rock crevice and covered with stones or in a stone cairn roofed with logs. To accompany the spirit on its four day journey to the Underworld in the east, food and possessions were also interred with the body. A short speech by a relative usually accompanied burial. In this speech, the deceased would be asked not to return.

Among the Tohono O’odham, warriors killed in battle were cremated by scalp takers.  

Among the Akimel O’odham the custom was to destroy a house where death had occurred and to build a new house a few meters away.

The Hohokam cremated their dead. Along with the body, pottery, palettes for preparing body and face paints, and ornaments were also burned.

Wellbriety 4 American Indians in OKC CANCELLED!

A bad spirit rides through the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and thinks to himself, “Nay, keep moving.” Then he rides on to the Center Point Halfway House in Oklahoma City where David Dobbs is the program director and says to himself, “Nay, keep moving, he’s full.” Last, he rides and sees the people that participate in Wellbriety and thinks, “OK, they’ll do.”  

So, why did not the bad spirit stop at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections or David Dobbs, the program director at Center Point where he just revoked the religious rights of halfway house inmates to participate in the Inipi (sweat lodge), and to go to Wellbriety meetings at a Unitarian Church after over 5 years of them being “allowed” to do so?

Too much competition, RIGHT???!!!

Mr. Dobbs has “decided” that since my relatives aren’t picked up by a man to go to the Inipi (sweat) Ceremony, that since sage smells like marijuana, and since he has some personal vendetta against the sacred tobacco required to smoke the chanupa (pipe) – that they just can’t do that no more!!!

Our small circle provides a bridge from the halfway house to being integrated into life after incarceration, increasing their chances of having a good life through the principals of Wellbriety.

The Wellbriety Medicine Wheel

Wellbriety summarizes the Medicine Wheel with the cycle of healing:

East: Recognize means I finally accept the fact that I am powerless or helpless over my addiction and my life is unmanageable.

South: Acknowledge means I am ready to do the hard personal work to allow what I recognized to actually come in and change me.

West: Forgive means to finally take off the backpack full of harms and hurts that I have been carrying around.

North: Change means that I stop doing all the negative behaviors that were associated with my drinking and drugging.

Please contact David Dobbs and encourage him to “allow” the Wellbriety members to have their religious freedom, and likewise with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections on their Twitter page.…

Center Point, Inc. – OKC

Male:  200

Per Diem:  $33.75 (Work Release)

Per Diem:  $39.32 (Treatment)

5245 S. I-35 Service Rd.

OK City, OK  73129

Phone: (405) 605-2488

Fax: (405) 605-2487

David Dobbs, Program Director

Host Facility:  Union City CC

Mitakuye Oyasin