Powwow 101: Children (Photo Diary)

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For Indian people, powwows are about friends, family, and children. The powwow is a public celebration and demonstration of community pride in Indian culture and a way of honoring Native American heritage. At the present time, there are powwows held in all fifty states and in most of the Canadian provinces. Some are held on reservations and reserves, while others are held in places such as universities and colleges. Shown below are some of the children at the 45th annual Kyi-Yo powwow at the University of Montana in Missoula.

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Photos & Video of Event Honoring Kossack Carter Camp in White Eagle, Oklahoma

Last Saturday I announced I was in Oklahoma to attend a special Ponca dance to honor Kossack Carter Camp aka cacamp for his role in the Wounded Knee take over 40 years ago. As promised, here are photos and video from that terrific event.

We gathered at the Ponca Cultural Center in White Eagle, OK. The event started with traditional gourd dancing, this is a 60 second video just to give you a taste:

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I was welcomed by Carter’s family as we were waiting for him to arrive.

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Casey Camp-Horinek and I think, her husband. Casey is Carter’s younger sister, she’s an actress and activist. She organized this event and directed it during the day and evening. With more than 200 in attendance you can imagine how much work that involved. She hardly sat down. When Carter arrived I told him Casey had been taking care of me and he said, “Isn’t she something!” He loves her.

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I was also welcomed by Duane Camp, Carter’s younger brother, who was at Wounded Knee.

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A close-up of Duane Camp’s sash

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Carter’s sons were there, Kenneth there on the left helped me set up my chair next to the family and caught me up on all the details unfolding around me

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This is Bear aka Sugar Bear, I was sitting near him. He was very friendly and brought me water. He made sure I was okay for the 9 hours I was there. He’s a Wounded Knee vet, his photo is here from ’73.

Speaking of old photos, Casey put on display her collection of Carter’s photos from Wounded Knee 73′:

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Carter led Military Operations for the take over of Wounded Knee

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MANY MORE PHOTOS BELOW!

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Dennis Banks was there, here he asked to read Carter’s essay I mounted as a gift for Carter. Dennis said he’s never read it before.

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Carter arrives!

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Carter holds court the rest of the night

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Carter signs a patch on an AIM blanket

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All the attending Wounded Knee vets signed, the blanket was later presented to Carter

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Casey had a special song created just for this event, one to honor all her brothers as Wounded Knee vets. Here they are listening to the song.

After that an honor dance:

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Me presenting gifts to Carter Camp

My new friend, Glenda Sue Deer took this photo of me presenting Aji & Wings’s jewelry gifts to him. (h/t mimi)

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Carter holds his new silver bracelet up for all to see, the one made by Wings

Carter then publicly thanked Native American Netroots. He said, “What you’re doing is the next wave of Indian activism. Technology is now connecting us all and we can be stronger. When you started NAN at Dkos there was nothing for a long time. Now, look what you’ve built. Thank you for telling our stories and getting our words out there to educate the public about our causes.” (paraphrased)

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Linda and Carter Camp with their sleeping grandbaby

This is a day I’ll always remember. My chance to meet my hero and tell him how much he is loved by the Native American Netroots Kossacks.

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Click on photo to see notes

You can see all 250 photos I took here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/n…

Please read Aji’s diary for Ponca history: * New Day * – This Week In American Indian News: Carter Camp’s Ponca Nation

Posted in Uncategorized

Powwow 101: Men’s Traditional (Photo Diary)

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The powwow is a public celebration and demonstration of community pride in Indian culture and a way of honoring Native American heritage. At the present time, there are powwows held in all fifty states and in most of the Canadian provinces. Some are held on reservations and reserves, while others are held in places such as universities and colleges. One of the mainstays of most powwows is the men’s traditional dance which has its heritage is the older Plains Indian warrior dances. The dance regalia for the men’s traditional are characterized by a feather bustle. Shown below are some of the women’s fancy shawl dancers at the 45th annual Kyi-Yo powwow at the University of Montana in Missoula.

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Travelers’ Rest State Park (Photo Diary)

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For thousands of years, the Indian peoples of western Montana were connected to the rest of the world through an intricate network of trade routes. The natural hub of these routes is Travelers’ Rest which is today operated as a state park.  

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Travelers’ Rest is located at the east end of the Lolo Trail. This trail crosses the Bitterroot Mountains and connected the Salish-speaking people of western Montana to the Nez Perce and other Indian nations in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

To the east, the trails led into the buffalo country of the Great Plains, a resource area whose importance increased after the acquisition of the horse in the eighteenth century.

To the north, the trails led into the rich hunting and gathering areas of the Mission and Flathead Valleys and beyond. These areas were rich in camas as well as deer, elk, and caribou. The north trails also connected them with other Salish-speaking groups (Pend d’Oreille, Kalispel, Spokan, Couer d’Alene) and the Kootenai.

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While the site of today’s Travelers’ Rest State Park was an important and frequently used Indian camp site, the designation “Travelers’ Rest” comes from the American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. In September 1805, the party of American explorers known officially as the Corps of Discovery arrived in the Bitterroot Valley. They had crossed into the valley via the Lost Trail Pass which had been blanketed by the season’s first snow. They were lost and hungry. As was their custom, the Bitterroot Salish (also known as the Flathead) provided the strangers with food and friendship. Indian agent Peter Ronan would later report:

“During the stay of the explorers in the Flathead camp Captain Clarke took unto himself a Flathead woman. One son was the result of this union, and he was baptized after the missionaries came to Bitter Root valley and named Peter Clarke.”

Meriwether Lewis named the creek on which they camped “Travellers’ Rest.” On their return trip the following year, they camped here again. Today it is the only archaeologically verified Lewis and Clark campsite.

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Shown above is the Lewis and Clark campsite with tent frames showing the locations of their tents. As a military expedition, they laid out their camps according to the military manual.

In 1960, Travelers’ Rest was established as a National Historic Landmark in recognition of the site as a critical decision point for the leaders of the Corps of Discovery (also known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition).

Archaeology:

For many years it was thought that the Travelers’ Rest campsite was located at the confluence of Lolo Creek and Bitterroot River, about 1.5 miles east of the current park. In 1996, investigators came to suspect that this location was incorrect. Historical archaeologist Dan Hall used remote sensing equipment to identify places where the magnetic properties of the soil had been altered. In 2002, archaeologists excavated these anomalies and found evidence of the expedition’s latrine and campfire.

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Among the medications which the Corps of Discovery carried with them was Dr. Rush’s Thunderbolts, a powerful purgative that was commonly used by the members of the expedition. The medication contained mercury and thus the feces deposited in the latrine by the members of the expedition also contained mercury, an element not found in American Indian feces. When the archaeologists had the soil from the latrine site analyzed, it revealed mercury vapor.

The charcoal from a hearth site was analyzed using Carbon-14 dating and provided a date range from 1785 to 1855, well within the range of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The archaeologists also uncovered a military uniform button, a blue glass trade bead, and a spilled piece of lead.

Loop Trail:

Shown below are some photographs taken from the loop trail through the park.

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Powwow 101: Women’s Jingle Dress (Photo Diary)

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The powwow is a public celebration and demonstration of community pride in Indian culture and a way of honoring Native American heritage. At the present time, there are powwows held in all fifty states and in most of the Canadian provinces. Some are held on reservations and reserves, while others are held in places such as universities and colleges. One of the common dances at many of these powwows is the women’s jingle dress dance.

The jingle dress dance regalia is distinctive: the dress is ideally adorned with 365 visible jingles which are metal cones made from chewing tobacco can lids. The dance is Anishinabe in origin and was developed from a dream or vision which appeared to a Midewiwin medicine man. Shown below are some of the jingle dress dancers at the 45th annual Kyi-Yo powwow at the University of Montana in Missoula.  

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Powwow 101: Women’s Fancy Shawl (Photo Diary)

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The powwow is a public celebration and demonstration of community pride in Indian culture and a way of honoring Native American heritage. At the present time, there are powwows held in all fifty states and in most of the Canadian provinces. Some are held on reservations and reserves, while others are held in places such as universities and colleges. One of the most popular dances to watch is the women’s fancy shawl dance. This is a colorful, high-stepping dance. Many years ago, when I was still dancing, one fancy shawl dancer explained it this way:

“The idea is to spend as little time touching the ground as possible.”

Watching the women’s fancy shawl competition is like watching a psychedelic blur of color moving in time to the beat of the drum. Shown below are some of the women’s fancy shawl dancers at the 45th annual Kyi-Yo powwow at the University of Montana in Missoula.

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More Plateau Indian Beadwork (Photo Diary)

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In American Indian cultures, art is not separate from daily life. Traditionally, the things people used in their everyday life-clothing, tools, housing, containers-were often decorated to enhance their beauty and their spirituality. Prior to the European invasion, the Indian people of the Plateau area-roughly the area between the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest-decorated their clothing and other items with paintings, with beads made from shell, animal teeth, bone, and other items, and with porcupine quills. With the European invasion, new decorative elements became available to the Indians: glass beads. These beads were quickly adopted into the cultures and began to replace and supplement both painting and quilling. The Plateau Indians soon became well-known for their fine bead work. Shown below are some examples of Plateau Indian beadwork which are on display at the museum at the Travelers’ Rest State Park in Lolo, Montana.  

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Moccasins:

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Gloves:

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Fort Fizzle (Photo Diary)

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Just west of Lolo, Montana is Fort Fizzle Picnic Ground and Historic Sites operated by the Lolo National Forest. This is a day-use facility celebrating Fort Fizzle, an interesting non-battle of the 1877 Nez Perce War. The site also celebrates the passage of the Corps of Discovery under the leadership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.  

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The Fort:

Shown below is a replica of the “fort.”

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Plateau Indian Artifacts (Photo Diary)

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Prior to the European invasion, the Indian people of the Plateau area-roughly the area between the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest-decorated their clothing and other items with paintings, with beads made from shell, animal teeth, bone, and other items, and with porcupine quills. Shown below are some Plateau Indian artifacts which are on display at the museum at the Travelers’ Rest State Park in Lolo, Montana.

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Shown above is an example of quill work. The design is made from porcupine quills.

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Shown above is a parfleche: a large leather envelope.

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Shown above is a feather bustle that was often used as a part of a dance outfit.

Drums:

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Cradleboards:

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Ancient America: Oklahoma

What is now the state of Oklahoma became the new home to many Indian nations during the nineteenth century when the American government forcibly removed these nations from their homelands. However, Oklahoma’s Indian history goes much farther back in time. For thousands of years prior to the European invasion of North America, Native people lived, hunted, farmed, and built their homes and villages in what would become Oklahoma.  

Climate Change:

Climate change has often impacted the human habitation in the Great Plains in general and in the Oklahoma area in particular. At about 6000 BCE, the period which archaeologists call the Archaic Period (also called the Middle Pre-contact Period by some archaeologists) began. At this time there was a climatic change and many large mammals became extinct. The climate became drier and warmer. As the bison deserted the Plains in favor of stream valleys and/or foothill areas, the Native people followed them. During this time, Indian people developed a greater reliance on plant foods, especially small seeds. They also increased hunting of smaller animals, although deer, mountain sheep, and bison continued to be important.

A thousand years later, about 5000 BCE, the Great Plains began to enter into a climate period known as the Altithermal which was a hot, dry episode that lasted for about 2,500 years. During this time, the bison had to shift their ranges and subsequently Indian people either moved with them or changed to other game. During this time, there were relatively few bands of Indians living in the area.

About 2500 BCE, the Medithermal period began with temperatures declining to modern levels. This climate period was marked by a return to cooler temperatures and a reduction in the number, intensity, and duration of drought periods. During this time, there is a gradual westward and southward return of the grasslands which means that the grasslands could support year-round grazing. As the buffalo returned to the Plains, so did the Indian people.

Stone Tools:

Stone tools are a frequent and important part of the archaeological record. Part of the reason for this is that stone survives long after other types of material culture-such as cloth, wood, fiber-have disappeared. The ancient past of Oklahoma includes many different kinds of stone tools, particularly spear points and, later, arrow heads. Many of these points have distinctive shapes and characteristics which make them easy to identify.

By 7500 BCE, Indian people were making a style of spear point with broad, shallow side-notches and an expanded base called Breckenridge by archaeologists. This point is also used as a knife. This type of point was used not only in Oklahoma, but also in Missouri and Arkansas.

At this same time, in a region to the south and west which includes New Mexico and Texas as well as Oklahoma, Indian people were using Milnesand points. These were medium-sized lanceolate dart points with convex sides and a straight basal edge.

By 6900 BCE, Indian people in Oklahoma were using a small dart point with a blade that was straight to slightly convex. Archaeologists designate this as the Palmer point. The basal edge was straight and smoothed by grinding. This type of point was also used in parts of Arkansas and Texas.

A style of point called Calf Creek by archaeologists was being used by 4000 BCE. This medium-sized point had convex sides and basal notches. Some had serrated edges and appear to be used as knives. In addition to being used by the Indian people in Oklahoma, it was also used in Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas.

About this same time, Indian people in Oklahoma were using Williams points which were medium-sized dart points with convex sides, broad corner notches, a convex basal edge, and an acute needle-like point. This style of point was also used in Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

By 3500 BCE, Indian people were now making and using a stone point known as Afton. The point was corner-notched and had a short, expanded stem. The points were usually thin and well-made. Indian people in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas were using Afton points.

Refugio points appear in Texas and Oklahoma by 2000 BCE. These were large ovoid points which were used as dart points and as knives.

By 1000 BCE, archaeologists can associate some stone tool types with specific tribal groups. At this time, the Caddo were using Gary points. These points were a small to medium-sized dart point with straight, concave, or recurved stems. This point was also used as a knife.

Edgewood points begin appearing in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas about 500 BCE. Edgewood points were small dart points with an expanded stem and short barbs. At this same time, in north-central Texas and southern Oklahoma, Indian people were using Godley points. These were small dart points with corner-notches. In Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, Indian people were using a corner-notched arrow point which archaeologists call Scallorn.

By 700 CE, the Caddo were making a small arrow point with a narrow rectangular stem which archaeologists call Bonham.

By 900 CE, the Caddo began making an arrow point with triangular to recurved blades and parallel-sided to bulbous or fan-shaped stems. Some of the points were finely serrated or have needle-like tips. Archaeologists will later refer to these as Alba points.

At this same time, the Caddo were using a small arrow point which archaeologists call Hayes. The point had recurved sides, barbs, and a dovetail shaped stem. They were also using a small, triangular arrow point which archaeologists call Morris. The point had straight sides, side-notches, and a basal notch.

Washita points appear about 1100 CE in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Kansas. These were small, triangular arrow points with side notches.

About 1200 CE, the Caddo were using Howard points. These arrow points had 4 to 12 deep serrations on the edge of the blade. At this same time, the Caddo were also making and using Haskell points. These were small, side-notched arrow points.

At this same time, the Caddo were making a small, ovoid arrow point with side notches which archaeologists call Keota.

By about 1400 CE, the Quapaw were using Nodena points. These were small, willow leaf-shaped arrow points with convex sides and a rounded base.

At this same time, the Caddo were making Fresno points. These were thin, slender, triangular arrow points.

The Mammoth Hunters and Buffalo Hunters:

By the time Europeans were first entering what was to become Oklahoma, the Native peoples had been harvesting herd animals, primarily the American bison (commonly called buffalo), for thousands of years.

There are early, and controversial, indications the Indian people may have been hunting an ancient buffalo (bison latifrons) as early as 38,000 BCE. Some of the stone points left at the Burnham Site are from Edwards Chert which is found in Central Texas. This suggested either a wide migratory range or extensive trade networks.

In Farra Canyon, Oklahoma, Indian people were hunting mammoths as well as other mammals by 9550 BCE. The canyon appears to have been occupied only for short periods of time.

In 8900 BCE, Indian buffalo hunters painted a zigzag line on a buffalo skull and carefully placed it at the entrance to a kill site.

By 8500 BCE, Indian people were using the Jake Bluff site (34HP60) for killing buffalo (a sub-species of Bison antiques). The site is located on a small hill bordering the Beaver River. At least 22 bison were killed here. The site was used from mid-August to October. Butchering was carried out at another site on the west bench of the arroyo.

In addition to bison, the hunters also killed a bear. At some point during the butchering, a black bear came into the area and was killed and butchered. The bear was probably attracted to the area by the smell of the dead bison.

Most of the projectile points were made from Alibates chert which came from an area about 200 kilometers (120 miles) to the south and west.

Agriculture:

About 1500 years ago, there was the beginning of a major change: agriculture, more specifically corn (maize) agriculture, begins to appear. This brings some major changes in the Native cultures of the area.

By 750, the Indian people at the Toltec site were using corn in ritual feasting. The archaeological evidence suggests that corn was being grown initially for ritual use rather than general subsistence purposes.

By 800, the territory occupied by the Caddo included portions of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. While their settlements centered in the Red River Valley, they also extended into the western Ozarks as well as into east Texas and central Arkansas.

About this same time, Indian people began to establish permanent villages in the Washita and Canadian River Valleys. The villages were small: 3 to 10 houses. The houses were rectangular with grass thatch coverings. The exterior frame was made of poles. The roof was supported with four center poles. The people were making a variety of pottery styles.  Archaeologists will later call this the Paoli Phase.

About 900, Mississippian people established the village of Spiro which would grow into a major trade center. Mississippian culture is associated with the city of Cahokia in present-day Illinois.

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Shown above are some of the artifacts from Spiro.

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Shown above is a reconstructed house from the Spiro site.

By 1100, trade at the Spiro site in the Arkansas River Valley intensified. At this time, populations in the Central Mississippi Valley had outstripped the local environment’s ability to provide them with needed resources. Therefore people began moving into new areas.

There appear to be some connections between Mexican civilizations and Spiro: archaeologist have determined that an obsidian scraper from Spiro originated in Pachuca, Hidalgo, in central Mexico.

In 1250, Indian people established a fortified village on the North Fork of the Red River. Their economy was based on farming and hunting.

In 1265, the Zimms site was occupied by Indian people. During this time, people were living in small villages which were situated on high terraces above tributary streams. Their houses tended to be square or rectangular with a central hearth and two central support posts. The walls were plastered. The economy was based on hunting and gathering – bison, deer, cottontail, prairie dog, box turtle, and birds – and was supplemented with some farming.

In 1300, Spiro was now the principal town in the Caddoan region. The burials at Spiro show that important people were interred with treasures of pearls and ocean-shell beads, red pipestone effigy pipes, carvings, repoussé copper plates probably ornamenting headdresses, stone ceremonial axes, bundles of delicately chipped flint-tipped arrows, ceramic pots from all over the Southeast. Archaeologists have also found fragments of what may have been finely-woven cloaks, some with feathers twined into the cloth.

In 1450, the economy of the villages on the North Fork of the Red River changed. While farming continued to be important, there was a greater emphasis on buffalo hunting and on trade with the Pueblos in New Mexico. From the Pueblo people they acquired polychrome glaze pottery, turquoise, and obsidian.

The Kowa

The Kiowa speak a language which linguists classify as a part of the Tanoan language family and is related to the Pueblos of Taos, Jemez, Isleta, and San Ildefonso in New Mexico. Yet the oral traditions of several tribes place the homeland of the Kiowa not in New Mexico, but much farther north in what is now Montana. It was here that they made the transition from elk and deer hunting to buffalo hunting. It was on the plains of Montana that they acquired the horse and many elements of Northern Plains culture, including the Sun Dance. In was in the north that the Kiowa made close and lasting friendships with the Sarsi, the Crow, and the Arikara. It was here that they first encountered the Plains Apache (also known as the Kiowa-Apache).  

Kiowa oral tradition tells of a time when they lived far to the north, beyond the territory of the Crow and the Lakota in the Northern Plains. It was a country that was very cold most of the year. This was a time when they used dogs to carry their burdens as they did not know of the horse. One of their warriors went far to the south where he was captured by the Comanche. The Comanche treated him well and gave him a horse so that he might return home with honor. Upon returning home, he told the tribe of a land stocked with game where the summer lasted nearly all of the year. The council decided to follow the man back to the country he had seen and the following spring they began their migration south. They traveled south until they were attacked by the Comanche.

The Kiowa maintained a tribal history or chronology which was painted on hides and later on paper. The chronology was arranged in a continuous spiral starting in the lower right and ending near the center. Winter was symbolized by a black bar and summer by a drawing of the Sun Dance lodge. In this way, the Kiowa kept a fairly accurate account of their history.

Among the Kiowa, there were three kinds of horses: (1) those which were used as pack animals, (2) those which were ridden by the family, and (3) those which were used for hunting, war, and racing. The average Kiowa household included about five adults.  The ideal size for the horse herd was approximately ten pack animals, five riding animals and two to five buffalo horses.

The Kiowa would form fairly large winter camps which were located along streams where there was firewood and shelter from the winter storms. In early spring, when food supplies were low, the camp would break up into several smaller bands which would scatter in search of game. Later in the summer, the bands would come back together for the buffalo hunt.

Kiowa men wore buffalo robes to cover the upper part of the body. The tanned side of these robes was often painted in a sunburst design. Women’s dresses would be decorated with a simple beaded band across the shoulders.

Among the Kiowa, the basic social unit was composed of a group of brothers, their wives and children. These kinship groups were then loosely organized into a variable number of bands under the leadership of a chief or headman who was spoken of as “father”. Bands ranged in size from about 20 individuals to over 60, with the typical band having about 35 people.

People were attracted to a Kiowa band because of the generosity of the chief. Chiefs who were not generous and who failed to maintain internal peace soon found themselves without a band. The primary functions of the chief involved the directing of the band’s hunting activities and the maintenance of internal peace. The chief usually decided when and where to move.

The Kiowa tribe existed as a sense of common identity and in reality the tribe came together only once a year (sometimes less) for the Sun Dance. In Kiowa tradition there were seven autonomous tribal divisions, each composed of several bands: Biters, Elks, Kiowa proper, Big Shields, Thieves, Pulling Up, and Black Boys. During the annual encampment these divisions occupied set places in the camp circle. Each of these divisions had a head chief who was selected on the basis of ability (the position was not inherited) and there was a nominal chief for the entire tribe.

Warfare was an important part of Kiowa culture, particularly during the nineteenth century. This importance was expressed through ceremonial song and dance. There were two kinds of raids: (1) horse raids, and (2) revenge raids. The typical size of a horse raiding party was 6-10 warriors while the revenge raiding parties were much larger. The smaller horse raiding parties might stay out for a long time – some were gone for a year or two – while the revenge parties soon returned to the band to help with hunting and other activities.

The Kiowa recognized about twelve different deeds of valor during war. When a man had performed four of these deeds he was acknowledged as a warrior.

Among the Kiowa there were several warrior societies:

Horses’ Headdresses: this was the lowest in rank and tended to have younger members.

Black Legs: membership in this society required the achievement of war honors.

Skunkberry People: this is the oldest of the men’s societies and during the twentieth century it became known as the Gourd Dance Society. The society demanded brave conduct from its members in warfare.

Principal Dogs: this was the most exclusive of the men’s societies and membership was open only to the highest ranking war chiefs. Members had to have obtained at least four war honors.

Each of these societies had two leaders and two whipbearers. Each of these societies also had its own songs, dance, insignia, and duties. Membership in the Koisenko was reserved for the bravest warriors and there were 10-40 members. The Koisenko led the most dangerous charges and were not allowed to retreat in battle.

These societies functioned primarily during the four weeks of the Sun Dance encampment. During this time they would sponsor feasts and entertainment and initiate new members. The primary functions of the Kiowa men’s societies were social and economic. In hosting feasts and giving gifts to honored guests they would redistribute wealth.

The Kiowa also had a number of shield societies in which supernatural power was shared. Of the shield societies, the oldest was the Taime Shields which represented the power of the Taime. During the Sun Dance, the Taime shields would be hung in the Sun Dance Lodge.

The Kiowa Eagle Shields had prestige similar to the Taime Shields. Eagle power was associated with war and therefore those who owned Eagle shields were courageous in battle.

The Kiowa Buffalo Shields society cured wounds and broken bones. Members of this society often went with war parties as doctors. The Buffalo Shields society is younger than the Eagle Shields society and while it was founded by a woman, no woman could be a member. The leaders of the society were descendents of the founder. Originally there were 12 Buffalo Shields.

The members of the Kiowa Old Shield Society had the ability to see the future and to talk with the spirits of the dead about finding lost articles. The society was founded by Mamanti (Sky Walker) following the Treaty of Medicine Lodge in 1867.  

The Kiowa also had a women’s society, the Calf Old Women, which was equal in rank to the Skunkberry People. Since the society had war power, men would present its members with gifts before leaving on a war party.

Another Kiowa women’s society was the Bear Old Women which was a secret society that controlled bear power. This is one of the oldest Kiowa societies.  

Fort Fizzle and the Nez Perce

The War Department in 1907 officially enumerated 1,470 incidents of military action against American Indians between 1776 and 1907. According to the War Department, only two of these actions have the formal status of “war” under U.S. Army terminology: the 1877 Nez Perce War and the 1878 Bannock Indian War. One of the interesting non-battles of the Nez Perce War was Fort Fizzle-the battle that never happened and the fort that fizzled.  

While many of the Nez Perce bands had not signed a treaty with the United States and had not relinquished their lands, the United States government decided in 1877 that all of the bands had to move to the reservation in Idaho. There were a number of reasons for this decision. First, American settlers-technically squatters-who were claiming Nez Perce land insisted that the Nez Perce be moved. While the American government had negotiated a treaty with the American supported and appointed Nez Perce chief Lawyer, the minutes from the negotiations make it clear that Lawyer had not signed the treaty on behalf of the bands outside of the reservation area.

Second, the United States wanted to put down what it felt to be an illegal religious movement inspired by the Wanapam prophet Smohalla. Commonly called The Dreamers by the Americans, the United States had sent in America’s Christian General, O.O. Howard, to put down this religious movement and to make it clear to the Indians that their only chance of survival involved their conversion to Christianity. The Nez Perce reservation in Idaho was run as a theocracy by the Presbyterians, and other religions, including Catholicism, were actively discouraged. In fact, other religions were not allowed.

General Howard met with the non-treaty Nez Perce bands and made it clear that he intended to go to war against them by making logistically impossible demands regarding their move to the reservation. As the Americans had intended, violence erupted and with that they now had a “just” war. What wasn’t expected, however, was the American defeat at Clearwater, Idaho.

The Nez Perce bands did not want war and sought only to escape the violence which they knew contact with the army would bring. On war footing, the warriors (those who had actually counted coup in battle) met in council to discuss their options. Many felt that Montana was a separate region from Idaho and that the army would not follow them there. With Looking Glass in supreme command, the non-treaty Nez Perce bands decided to leave the war behind in Idaho and cross over into Montana. The Nez Perce felt that they would be able to find peace in Montana. With 200 warriors, 550 women and children, nearly 3,000 horses, and several hundred dogs, they started up the Lolo Trail across the Bitterroot Mountains. The Nez Perce column stretched out for several miles.

In the meantime, non-Indian settlers had started to move into the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, often ignoring the treaty rights of the Bitterroot Salish (also known as the Flathead). While the Bitterroot Salish had always extended the hand of friendship to the Americans, starting with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the newcomers always demanded more and acted as if they owned the land. Many feared the peaceful Indians and asked the government to send in troops to protect them from the Indians. Many wanted the Indians removed from the area, and there were those who advocated total extermination.

While the army saw no military need for a fort in Western Montana, political pressure from Washington required that one be built. In 1877, shortly before the breakout of the Nez Perce War, the army reluctantly authorized the construction of Fort Missoula. Captain Charles Rawn and 34 men from the 7th Infantry were dispatched from Fort Shaw (located near Great Falls, Montana) to build the new fort. Since the fort had no real military function, it was not walled in and the men started putting up some buildings which would serve as housing and storage.

In the midst of their building project, a courier arrived from Fort Shaw, bringing word of the Nez Perce War. It was known that the Nez Perce were crossing over the Lolo Trail-a well-known, well-used road to the buffalo hunting grounds east of the Rocky Mountains. Captain Rawn and his men were to intercept the Nez Perce as they came out of the Lolo Trail into the Bitterroot Valley.

Captain Rawn had only 30 regular army soldiers at Fort Missoula. He quickly recruited 100 volunteers from the non-Indian farms and ranches. Another 100 were recruited from Missoula. He then led this anxious and untrained group into the mountains to meet the fierce Nez Perce warriors. At the narrowest part of the Lolo Canyon, Captain Rawn had his men and the volunteers construct a barrier about three feet high using sticks and logs. They then dug rifle pits to provide additional protection. They then loaded their guns and waited for the “hostile” Indians.

Nez Perce scouts spotted the make-shift fort and the main body camped about two miles away. The Nez Perce were not seeking war or conflict and were rather surprised to find soldiers waiting for them.

The next day, Looking Glass and Whitebird, accompanied by Delaware Jim as their translator, approached Fort Fizzle. They explained to Captain Rawn that they had peaceful intentions and wanted simply to pass through the Bitterroot Valley. While Captain Rawn agreed that he would grant them passage, he stipulated that they must surrender their arms, ammunition, and horses. Once again the chiefs faced what they felt were unreasonable demands by the American military. They realized that Rawn was asking for unconditional surrender and that a fight would have negative consequences for both sides.

Captain Rawn suggested that they meet again the next day to finalize their agreement. Rawn was hoping that reinforcements would arrive by then and reinforce his position. The Nez Perce chiefs agreed and then sent out scouts to survey the countryside.

The next day, Looking Glass and Delaware Jim returned to meet with Captain Rawn. Looking Glass again told the captain that the Nez Perce are peaceful and Rawn reiterated his demands to surrender their guns, ammunition, and horses. Looking Glass indicated that he would discuss the matter with the other chiefs and left.

When the American volunteers found out that Rawn was negotiating peace, most of them left. They had volunteered to kill Indians, not talk to them.

In the meantime, the Nez Perce broke camp, moved up the slopes, and outflanked the barrier. W. R. Logan, who was stationed at the breastworks, later reported:

“About ten o’clock we heard singing, apparently above our heads. Upon looking up we discover the Indians passing along the side of the cliff, where we thought a goat could not pass, much less an entire tribe of Indians with all their impedimenta. The entire band dropped into the valley beyond us and then proceeded up the Bitter Root.”

The Americans reported that the Nez Perce were in good humor, cracking jokes, and being amused at the way they fooled the soldiers. While Captain Rawn attempted to catch up with the Nez Perce, all of his volunteers had deserted.  

Fort Fizzle and the Nez Perce

The War Department in 1907 officially enumerated 1,470 incidents of military action against American Indians between 1776 and 1907. According to the War Department, only two of these actions have the formal status of “war” under U.S. Army terminology: the 1877 Nez Perce War and the 1878 Bannock Indian War. One of the interesting non-battles of the Nez Perce War was Fort Fizzle-the battle that never happened and the fort that fizzled.  

While many of the Nez Perce bands had not signed a treaty with the United States and had not relinquished their lands, the United States government decided in 1877 that all of the bands had to move to the reservation in Idaho. There were a number of reasons for this decision. First, American settlers-technically squatters-who were claiming Nez Perce land insisted that the Nez Perce be moved. While the American government had negotiated a treaty with the American supported and appointed Nez Perce chief Lawyer, the minutes from the negotiations make it clear that Lawyer had not signed the treaty on behalf of the bands outside of the reservation area.

Second, the United States wanted to put down what it felt to be an illegal religious movement inspired by the Wanapam prophet Smohalla. Commonly called The Dreamers by the Americans, the United States had sent in America’s Christian General, O.O. Howard, to put down this religious movement and to make it clear to the Indians that their only chance of survival involved their conversion to Christianity. The Nez Perce reservation in Idaho was run as a theocracy by the Presbyterians, and other religions, including Catholicism, were actively discouraged. In fact, other religions were not allowed.

General Howard met with the non-treaty Nez Perce bands and made it clear that he intended to go to war against them by making logistically impossible demands regarding their move to the reservation. As the Americans had intended, violence erupted and with that they now had a “just” war. What wasn’t expected, however, was the American defeat at Clearwater, Idaho.

The Nez Perce bands did not want war and sought only to escape the violence which they knew contact with the army would bring. On war footing, the warriors (those who had actually counted coup in battle) met in council to discuss their options. Many felt that Montana was a separate region from Idaho and that the army would not follow them there. With Looking Glass in supreme command, the non-treaty Nez Perce bands decided to leave the war behind in Idaho and cross over into Montana. The Nez Perce felt that they would be able to find peace in Montana. With 200 warriors, 550 women and children, nearly 3,000 horses, and several hundred dogs, they started up the Lolo Trail across the Bitterroot Mountains. The Nez Perce column stretched out for several miles.

In the meantime, non-Indian settlers had started to move into the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys, often ignoring the treaty rights of the Bitterroot Salish (also known as the Flathead). While the Bitterroot Salish had always extended the hand of friendship to the Americans, starting with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the newcomers always demanded more and acted as if they owned the land. Many feared the peaceful Indians and asked the government to send in troops to protect them from the Indians. Many wanted the Indians removed from the area, and there were those who advocated total extermination.

While the army saw no military need for a fort in Western Montana, political pressure from Washington required that one be built. In 1877, shortly before the breakout of the Nez Perce War, the army reluctantly authorized the construction of Fort Missoula. Captain Charles Rawn and 34 men from the 7th Infantry were dispatched from Fort Shaw (located near Great Falls, Montana) to build the new fort. Since the fort had no real military function, it was not walled in and the men started putting up some buildings which would serve as housing and storage.

In the midst of their building project, a courier arrived from Fort Shaw, bringing word of the Nez Perce War. It was known that the Nez Perce were crossing over the Lolo Trail-a well-known, well-used road to the buffalo hunting grounds east of the Rocky Mountains. Captain Rawn and his men were to intercept the Nez Perce as they came out of the Lolo Trail into the Bitterroot Valley.

Captain Rawn had only 30 regular army soldiers at Fort Missoula. He quickly recruited 100 volunteers from the non-Indian farms and ranches. Another 100 were recruited from Missoula. He then led this anxious and untrained group into the mountains to meet the fierce Nez Perce warriors. At the narrowest part of the Lolo Canyon, Captain Rawn had his men and the volunteers construct a barrier about three feet high using sticks and logs. They then dug rifle pits to provide additional protection. They then loaded their guns and waited for the “hostile” Indians.

Nez Perce scouts spotted the make-shift fort and the main body camped about two miles away. The Nez Perce were not seeking war or conflict and were rather surprised to find soldiers waiting for them.

The next day, Looking Glass and Whitebird, accompanied by Delaware Jim as their translator, approached Fort Fizzle. They explained to Captain Rawn that they had peaceful intentions and wanted simply to pass through the Bitterroot Valley. While Captain Rawn agreed that he would grant them passage, he stipulated that they must surrender their arms, ammunition, and horses. Once again the chiefs faced what they felt were unreasonable demands by the American military. They realized that Rawn was asking for unconditional surrender and that a fight would have negative consequences for both sides.

Captain Rawn suggested that they meet again the next day to finalize their agreement. Rawn was hoping that reinforcements would arrive by then and reinforce his position. The Nez Perce chiefs agreed and then sent out scouts to survey the countryside.

The next day, Looking Glass and Delaware Jim returned to meet with Captain Rawn. Looking Glass again told the captain that the Nez Perce are peaceful and Rawn reiterated his demands to surrender their guns, ammunition, and horses. Looking Glass indicated that he would discuss the matter with the other chiefs and left.

When the American volunteers found out that Rawn was negotiating peace, most of them left. They had volunteered to kill Indians, not talk to them.

In the meantime, the Nez Perce broke camp, moved up the slopes, and outflanked the barrier. W. R. Logan, who was stationed at the breastworks, later reported:

“About ten o’clock we heard singing, apparently above our heads. Upon looking up we discover the Indians passing along the side of the cliff, where we thought a goat could not pass, much less an entire tribe of Indians with all their impedimenta. The entire band dropped into the valley beyond us and then proceeded up the Bitter Root.”

The Americans reported that the Nez Perce were in good humor, cracking jokes, and being amused at the way they fooled the soldiers. While Captain Rawn attempted to catch up with the Nez Perce, all of his volunteers had deserted.  

Kiowa Religion

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While the Kiowa today have a reservation in Oklahoma, their own oral tradition as well as that of other tribes tells of their migrations from Montana to the Southern Plains. Kiowa religion is based on a sacred power (dwdw), a force that permeated the universe and could be found in spirits, objects, places, or natural phenomena. This spiritual power permeates the universe, including the sun, the moon, and the stars. On earth, this power permeates the mountains, rivers, streams, plants, and animals. This spiritual power is neither good nor bad, but it can help or harm depending on the user.  

There is a hierarchy of spiritual power: the spiritual power of predators is more powerful than that of their prey; the spiritual powers from above, such as the sun, are stronger than the earthly animals.

For humans, the spiritual power could be obtained through the vision quest. Through the successful completion of the vision quest, the seeker obtains a guardian or tutelary spirit. This special spirit gives instructions on how to paint the face, as well as imparting special songs, and guidance for making special amulets. Traditionally it was considered unlikely that a man could be successful in life without a guardian spirit.

The vision quest, usually done only by men, involved going to an isolated place and fasting wearing only a breechcloth and moccasins. A buffalo robe might be draped over the shoulders with the hair side out. The seeker would carry a black stone pipe with a long stem. For four days the seeker would fast, smoke, and pray, attempting to obtain a vision.

Among the Kiowa, successful vision seekers traditionally obtained spiritual power related to either curing or war. These two realms of spiritual power were generally mutually exclusive: one became either a great warrior or a great curer. For those who became curers, life was more difficult as there were both responsibilities and restrictions which came with the spiritual power. Typically, restrictions might include the need to avoid certain animal foods-bears, moles, or fish-or animal parts-brains or marrow.

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

Among the Kiowa, the ten sacred medicine bundles – the Ten Grandmothers – were very important. One of the functions of the medicine bundle priests was to adjudicate disputes. The bundles also had the power to cure the sick. Anyone in the tribe could make gifts to a bundle and to pray for it. Success in war was traditionally the most common supplication.

The eleventh tribal bundle among the Kiowa is the Taime or Sun Dance bundle which became the focal point of the Sun Dance. This medicine bundle is placed at the western side of the Sun Dance lodge where it symbolizes the spiritual powers of the sun and mediates between the people and these spiritual powers.

According to one story, the Kiowa obtained two Taime medicine bundles, one male and one female, about 1770 from an Arapaho man who had received them as a gift from the Crow. When the Arapaho man married a Kiowa woman the two bundles come into possession of the Kiowa people.

The Sun Dance was the only time in which the entire Kiowa tribe camped together. This ceremony unified the tribe socially and spiritually. Traditionally, the Kiowa Sun Dance was held between mid-June and mid-July and was not an annual dance: it was held only when someone pledged it. The keeper of the Sun Dance bundle selected the location for the dance and was the nominal head of the tribe during this ceremony.

The Kiowa Gourd Dance (Tdiepeigah) began as a spiritual gift from the red wolf to a Kiowa warrior who was separated from his war party. The dance honors the battles of the Kiowa warriors during their migration from the Northern Plains to the Southern Plains.  

Massachusetts, 1700 to 1725

During the first quarter of the eighteenth century-1700 to 1725-the English colonies in Massachusetts sought to strengthen their dominance of the Indian nations of the regions. They expanded into Indian lands, assumed that English law was superior to Indian law, and resorted to the use of military action when necessary.  

In 1700, Mashpee leader Simon Popmonit complained to the General Court about the fraudulent labor practices of their English neighbors. The English would make small loans to the Indians or threaten them with lawsuits and as a result the Indians would be bound to the English settlers for debts. The Court agreed to have two justices of the peace approve all future indentures and empowered them to act on complaints against existing contracts.

In 1701, Massachusetts set aside the Fall River Reservation for the Wampanoag.

In 1702, Magnalia Christi Americana written by Cotton Mather presented the origin story of the Puritans in New England. Contrasting the English Protestant approach to Indian land with that of the Spanish Catholics, Mather wrote that the English

“would not own so much as one foot of land in the country, without a fair purchase and consent from the natives that laid claim unto it.”

Mather did not make any mention of the infectious diseases which killed several thousand New England Indians and reduced their populations.

In 1703, the bounty on Indian scalps in Massachusetts was now ¬£12. In Northampton, Massachusetts, the Reverend Solomon Stoddard urged his parishioners in 1703 to use dogs to “hunt Indians as if they were bears” and he told his congregation that Indians “act like wolves and are to be dealt with like wolves.”

In 1703, the Gay Head produced a 1681 document showing that the sachem Mittark and his counselors had been promised that the land would remain theirs. When questioned about the document, Hossueit admitted that it was written down after Mittark’s death and the court declared it to be a forgery and to uphold the deed for the Gay Head land to the Governor of New York. The document was a valid oral agreement which had been later written down, a common practice among Native Americans at this time.  

In 1703, the Indians of the Billingsgate community moved to Potawaumacut.

In 1703, the English colonists in Massachusetts passed legislation which imposed a 9:00 PM curfew on Indians and black slaves in English towns.

French soldiers together with Abenaki and Mohawk warriors attacked Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1704, killing 50 of the colonists and abducting 100 more. The English responded to the raid by attacking Indian villages in the interior. The French-allied Indians also attacked the English at Haverhill in Massachusetts, Oyster River and Dover in New Hampshire, and York in Maine.

In 1704, the Pocasset petitioned the governor of Massachusetts to grant them a plot of land. Benjamin Church was appointed as the tribe’s Indian guardian. Their new reservation was divided into two parcels on opposite sides of the Watuppa Ponds. The Indians who settled on this land were Indians who had supported the English in earlier wars against other Indian groups.

In 1705, the General Court sent to all Indian villages a book of laws which was written in both English and Massachusett to ensure that all natives understood the new regime. At this time, the Indian communities had a moderate amount of local self-government. In some instances there were Indian magistrates who were empowered to prosecute minor infractions on the part of Indians.

In 1705, the General Court debated a bill which would provide extraordinary penalties against the marriage of Europeans with blacks or Indians. Not all favored the bill and the reference to Indians was removed.

In 1707, the Christian Indian community of Natick began holding the annual election of town officers like its English neighbors.

In 1707, John Williams published his book The Redeemed Captive which was an account of his capture at Deerfield in 1704. His story of salvation from heathenism (Indian) and Catholicism (French) made the book a bestseller.  

Also in 1707, the Pocasset petitioned the General Court to have their land holdings consolidated into a single property so they could have a common place for public worship and a school.

That same year, the Wampanoag Fall River Reservation was divided into individual lots.

In 1709, the 160-acre Fall River Reservation is established for the Pocasset who sided with the English during King Philip’s War. The tribe exchanged their two parcels of land on the Watuppa Ponds for land owned by their guardian, Benjamin Church, in the Freetown area. The deed conveying the land to the Indians specified that it was always to be used as a plantation and settlement for the Indians and noted that many of them had been of service to the English in past wars. The Pocasset were to pay one-quarter of good venison to the governor on the winter solstice.

The Pocasset who moved to the Fall River Reservation were distinct from the other Pocasset in the area in their support for the English colonists. Some historians feel that they made this move because they probably needed protection from the other Pocasett.

In 1710, the Mashpee complained that the English town of Barnstable was claiming part of their lands. The General Court sent a committee to review the boundaries but was unable to resolve the issue.

In 1711, the Gay Head Reservation was established on Martha’s Vineyard. The New England Company decided that the Indians should pay for a part of the costs of the reservation and over the objection of the Gay Head, 600 acres were leased to an English settler. The better lands were leased to English colonists at low rates which brought in little income for the Indians.

In 1714, the Monomoy sold their land. Tribal members moved to Potawaumacut and to Sahquatucket.

In 1715, the New England Company asked the Natick to sell them the apparently abandoned praying town of Magunkaquog. The Company proposed to rent out the land to English settlers and share the rent money with the Natick families. The Natick, however, were still growing crops in the area and had deep emotional feelings about the area. Magunkaquog means the “place of the giant trees” in reference to the great trees – oak and chestnut – which were found in abundance in the area. After initially rejecting the offer, the Natick agreed to the deal. After signing the deed, one of the signatories, Isaac Nehemiah, commited suicide by hanging himself with his belt.

In 1716, the Nantucket complained to the General Court about the injustice and oppression which they suffered from their English neighbors. They asked that the island be placed in another county so that their legal conflicts with the English could be heard elsewhere. The Court responded by having two judges on the mainland hear their disputes.

In 1718, the Nantucket complained that the English settlers were forcing them off of their land and taking their resources. They charged that the English did not pay them for the full value of their labor, that they had pulled down Indian houses, that they had plowed Indian land, and that they had taken Indian horses and cattle. The General Court took no action and accepted the settlers’ explanation that this had happened only when Indians built on English land.

In 1718, the legislature passed a law which required that contracts with Indians have the approval of two local justices of the peace. The law sought to prevent Indians being forced into servitude when English settlers forced them into unreasonable debts. These actions were often preceded by the consumption of alcohol so that the Indians were drunk when they signed the contracts.

In 1719, the Natick created a proprietorship – a corporate entity to govern land allotments. The 20 proprietors – 19 men and one woman – were the heads of long established families. The proprietorship provided secure land titles and boundaries under colonial laws which were seen as useful in meeting outside pressures. On the other hand, the corporate entity moved the Indians from traditional concepts of land ownership to more European concepts.

In 1722, the bounty on Indian scalps in Massachusetts was now £100.

Massachusetts governor Samuel Shuttle declared war on the Abenaki in 1722. This war was called Drummer’s War, Grey Lock’s War, Lovewell’s War, or Father Rasles’ War. Part of the concern of the English colonists was the presence of Jesuits among the Abenaki. The colonial Puritans were anti-Catholic and particularly anti-Jesuit. Jesuit Father Sebastian Rasles strongly encouraged the Abenaki to defend their lands and themselves against the English colonists.

Grey Lock, a Woronoco living in the village of Missisquoi, led Abenaki raids against the English settlements in Northfield and Rutland, Massachusetts in 1723. Colonial cavalry and scouts were unable to find the raiders.

In 1724 Massachusetts built Fort Drummer in response to Grey Lock’s raids. In spite of the Fort, Grey Lock struck again. The raid was successful even though the colonists had advance notice that the Indians were coming. Massachusetts sent out a force to find Grey Lock, but he eluded them and continued raiding deep into Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts colonial army attacked the Norridgewock (an Eastern Abenaki group). Father Rasles (also spelled Rale), was killed and his corpse was mutilated.

In 1724, an English force of 87 men under the leadership of John Lovell attacked a small Indian camp, killing ten people. They scalped the dead and then returned home to collect the bounties. With this success and envisioning easy money, Lovell embarked on a campaign to acquire more Indian scalps. This time, however, the English were ambushed and Lovell killed.

That same year land was granted for English settlement along the Housatonic River. The Indians were paid 460 pounds, three barrels of cider, and 30 quarts of rum. Because of disease, the once large Indian population in the area had been decimated and only two major villages remained.

Also in 1724, the New England Company expanded the lease of Gay Head land from 600 acres to 1,000 acres. The Indians protested the new lease.

In retaliation for Grey Lock’s raids, Captain Benjamin, considered an “experienced’ Indian fighter, raised a force of 59 men and in 1725 set out to attack Grey Lock’s home town of Missisquoi. The force returned after a month without encountering any Indians, only to find that Grey Lock had followed them. Grey Lock spent the summer raiding Massachusetts settlements.

The Abenaki signed a peace treaty ending Grey Lock’s or Drummer’s War in 1726. Grey Lock returned to the village of Missisquoi, but never signed the treaty.

From Boarding School to University

When the English-speaking Europeans began their invasion of North America, they viewed Indians as “savage,” “wild,” and “barbaric.” These English-speaking Europeans viewed themselves as superior to Indians in all ways and were often astounded to find that most Indians did not want to become like them. During the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, the official education policies regarding Indians called for their assimilation into American culture. Assimilation called for Indians: (1) to speak English (preferable as their only language); (2) to be Christian (preferably Protestant); (3) to wear American style clothes; (4) to wear their hair in American fashion; (5) to live in American-style houses; and (5) to work in a cash-based economy (preferably at the low end of the economic scale).  

Government educators felt that the best way to assimilate Indians was to focus on the children. If children could be removed from their homes, thus removing them from the “savage” influences of their language, religion, and community, and place them in boarding schools run by the obviously “superior” Americans, then assimilation could be accomplished. This was the philosophical and pedagogical foundation of the American Indian boarding school.

Since the federal government, and perhaps the American people, didn’t want to spend very much money for Indian education, the boarding schools were expected to be relatively self-sufficient. The students, often under the guise of “industrial education”, served as an unpaid labor pool to provide cleaning, cooking, sewing, farming, dairying, and other services. Since the American educators believed that hard work shaped character, they had justification for not paying students for their work.

Ultimately, the boarding schools were intended to destroy tribal identity. In its place, students were to gain racial awareness. American society is racist and Indians are viewed as a single racial group rather than several hundred distinct tribal or cultural entities. Boarding school students began to view themselves as Indians-a racial group-rather than as tribal members.

Haskell

The Haskell Indian School (also known as the Haskell Institute, shown above) was established in 1884 in Lawrence, Kansas as one of the select schools in the Indian school system. Unlike many of the boarding schools in the system, it offered training beyond the standard eight-year program.

Like the other boarding schools of this era, Haskell trained boys for a number of trades, including tailoring, wagon making, blacksmithing, harness making, shoe making, painting, and farming. The girls were trained in cooking, sewing, and homemaking. The school had its own farm which was worked by the students and which provided the school with much of its food.

Initially, the school had 22 students, but the enrollment increased to 400 within one semester. While the school was initially named the United States Indian Industrial Training School, it was renamed the Haskell Institute in 1887 to honor Dudley Haskell, the U.S. Representative responsible for bringing the school to Lawrence.  

By 1894, the school had 606 students from 36 states. At this time, a normal school was added because teachers were needed in the home communities of the students. In 1895, a commercial department was opened with five typewriters. The first touch-typing class in Kansas seems to have been taught at Haskell.

In a 1903 address to the National Education Association, the superintendent of the Haskell Indian School claimed:

“A really civilized people cannot be found in the world except where the Bible has been sent and the gospel taught; hence we believe that the Indians must have, as an essential part of their education, Christian training.”

In 1904, Haskell sent a delegation of students to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Living in the Model Indian School built by the federal government, the boys from Haskell demonstrated building wagons and blacksmithing skills while the girls demonstrated the domestic arts of sewing, tailoring, and millinery.

While many people would like to believe that the Indian students easily adapted to the foreign way of life in the boarding schools, this was not really the case. The fact that most of the boarding schools had both cemeteries for the students who died while attending and jails for holding those who were rebellious implies that life at the schools was not always easy.  

In 1919, the students at the Haskell Indian School staged a rebellion. The students cut power to the campus just prior to an evening assembly. The students smashed light fixtures, looted the food supply, and rang the school bell. Following the rebellion nine students, four boys and five girls, were expelled.

For many of the Indian boarding schools, athletics were viewed as very important. Indian athletes competed against non-Indian athletes in many different venues. For example, in 1925 there was a football game between the American Indian Haskell Institute and the Jesuit Gonzaga College held in conjunction with the Northwest Indian Congress meeting in Spokane, Washington.

In 1926, thousands of people from many different tribes gathered to dedicate the new football stadium at the Haskell Indian School. The ceremonies included dances in which Sugar Brown, a four-year-old Otoe, was one of the featured dancers. A forty-member Blackfoot dance group which was promoting Glacier National Park, also performed. Indians dancers from 70 tribes participated in dance contests. Among those attending the dedication was Senator Charles Curtis (Kaw) who would later become Vice President. Some historians feel that this event marks the start of the modern powwow on the Southern Plains. It was not, of course, called a powwow at the time, but was considered a gathering.

A free buffalo bar-b-que was provided for the Indian participants. Four buffalo were purchased from the Rainy Mountain Game Reserve in Oklahoma. Many of the Indians in attendance had not eaten buffalo before.

From the 1900s to the 1930s, the Haskell football team played schools such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Texas A&M, and other universities. In 1931, however, the school superintendent shifted from playing colleges to playing high schools. Football was dropped after the 1931 season and did not resume again until 2000.

 photo Haskell1914Football_zps61a0a6a1.jpg

The 1914 football team is shown above.

In 1933, Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago) became the superintendent of the Haskell Institute, which was the largest American Indian high school in the country at this time. He was the first full-blood Indian to hold this position.

Henry Roe Cloud

Henry Roe Cloud is shown above.

One of Roe Cloud’s assignments at Haskell was to investigate the Athletic Association. The school had a huge and heavily mortgaged stadium. The Association had been active in getting contributions from oil-rich Indians, particularly children who had corrupt non-Indian guardians. While some of this money had helped finance the stadium, much of the money was unaccounted for. Roe Cloud fired the football coach.

Roe Cloud began to transform the school from one in which the primary emphasis had been on vocational training, athletics, and military instruction, to a school that would function as a leadership and cultural activism training center.

In 1965, Haskell graduated its last high school class. In 1970 the school became the Haskell Indian Junior College. By 1988, planning had begun to transform the school from a Junior College into a baccalaureate degree-granting institution. In 1993 it became the Haskell Indian Nations University and offered a four-year elementary education teacher training program. In 1998, Haskell began offering degrees in American Indian Studies, Business Administration, and Environmental Sciences.

In 2002, the Cultural Center and Museum opened on the campus of the Haskell Institute. The center features a permanent exhibit Honoring Our Children Through Seasons of Sacrifice, Survival, Change, and Celebration. Among the many artifacts from the school’s past on display is a heavy iron lock and key for the school jail, which was used for holding unruly students

The university’s current vision statement:

Haskell Indian Nations University, the premier national intertribal university, empowers American Indian and Alaska Native scholars for leadership and service to sovereign first nations and the world by virtue of its excellent academic programs and research, creative activities, and culturally diverse student experiences.

The university’s current mission statement:

The mission of Haskell Indian Nations University, a land grant institution, is to serve members of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native nations as authorized by Congress and in partial fulfillment of treaty and trust obligations. With student learning as its focus, Haskell embraces the principles of sovereignty and self-determination through a culturally based holistic lifelong learning environment that promotes and upholds respect, rights, and responsibility.