Red Jacket, Seneca Sachem

Red Jacket photo Red_Jacket_2_zps92ee32c4.jpg

In 1830 Red Jacket, the most famous Seneca orator, died in New York at the age of 74. Seneca writer, historian, and archaeologist Arthur Caswell Parker described the deathbed scene this way:

“He murmured that his old comrades were around him, some chiding him for his mistakes and urging him to see that there was a task ahead.”

 

Red Jacket was born to the Wolf Clan (since the Seneca are matrilineal he belonged to his mother’s clan) and was given the name Otetiani (“He is Prepared”) and took the name Sagoyewatha (“He Causes them to be Awake”) when he became a chief. His English name, Red Jacket, came from the scarlet coat given to him by the English for fighting on their side during the Revolutionary War.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War Red Jacket argued for neutrality, but the Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, and Cayuga-all part of the larger Iroquois Confederacy-decided to support England. He served with the British forces. During the war he served primarily as a dispatch courier.

During the Revolutionary War, animosity developed between Red Jacket and the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant. Brant alleged that during the Battle of Newtown in 1779, when the Seneca and the Mohawk were allied with the British, Red Jacket had killed a cow, then used the blood to claim that he had killed an American rebel. In the years that followed, Brant would contemptuously refer to Red Jacket as “cow killer.”

Red Jacket became the principal spokesperson for the Seneca following the Revolutionary War.

After the Revolutionary War, the United States assumed that since it had defeated the British it had earned the right to superimpose a series of treaties on the Indian nations. In 1784, American negotiators met with the Indian nations of the Iroquois Confederacy at Fort Stanwix. The Americans refused to recognize the Iroquois Confederacy (Six Nations) and insisted on dealing with each nation by itself. The American negotiators were aided by force of arms and by hostages to be used in negotiating the treaty terms. One notable leader was absent from the Fort Stanwix council: the Seneca sachem Red Jacket. According to Arthur Caswell Parker:

“Red Jacket remained aloof, not caring to face the humiliation that would be heaped upon his disorganized and distracted people.”

In 1791, the federal government held a council with the Iroquois Six Nations. The American emissary, Timothy Pickering, pressured the Iroquois to provide the United States with warriors for the Indian wars in Ohio. Pickering boasted of American military supremacy and unwittingly insulted the Iroquois. For the Iroquois, public councils were settings which were meant to nurture a friendly, peaceful frame of mind. Councils were to build consensus. This error created an opportunity for Seneca leader Red Jacket to utilize oratory and to create an image for himself as the conservator of hallowed traditions.

In 1792, Red Jacket was among a number of Iroquois leaders who met with President George Washington in Philadelphia. Here he received a large silver medal.

That same year, three Seneca chiefs-Red Jacket, Cornplanter, and Farmer’s Brother-attended a council in Ohio with the Shawnee, Miami, Delaware, and Wyandot in which they presented a peace proposal from the Americans. Shawnee leader Painted Pole reminded the Seneca that while the Iroquois were doing nothing, the Shawnee and their allies had defeated the American army twice. Ridiculing the Seneca, the Shawnee hurled the written copy of the American peace proposal into the fire.

In 1794, Red Jacket along with 50 other Iroquois leaders signed the Treaty of Canadaigua in which they ceded much of their land to the United States.

In 1801, the Seneca Council debated the possible sale of a strip of land along the Niagara River to the Americans. The prophet Handsome Lake opposed the sale on the grounds of revelations given to him by angels. His nephew Red Jacket, the speaker of the Seneca Nation, favored the sale. Handsome Lake accused Red Jacket of witchcraft and Red Jacket accused Handsome Lake of manufacturing his visions.

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

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

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

In 1805, Seneca chief Red Jacket responded to a Christian missionary’s proposal to convert his people:

“You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.”

He went on to say:

“We are told your religion was given to your forefathers and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive, to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.”

He told the missionary:

“Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own.”

War broke out between England and the United States in 1812. In New York, the Americans call together a council of the Iroquois nations. The Americans invite the Iroquois to join them in their war against the British. Seneca leader Red Jacket told the Americans:

“My people care more for peace than for war.”

According to Arthur Caswell Parker:

“Though Red Jacket argues for the neutrality of his people, he clearly declared their loyalty to the United States.”

Red Jacket argued against joining the British and urged his people to ally themselves with the Americans. When the Seneca declared war against the British, Red Jacket became a captain in the United States Army.

In 1816, the Iroquois Six Nations met with the Shawnee, Ottawa, and Wyandot in Ohio to discuss the possibility of the removal of the New York tribes to Ohio. Mohawk leader Joseph Brant felt that it would be a good idea for the Seneca to move to Sandusky where they could join with the Wyandot. Arthur Caswell Parker described the council:

“The chiefs of the Six Nations, long accustomed to the clothing of the white man, were once more dressed in their ancient costumes.”

Seneca leader Red Jacket addressed the council and reminded them that those tribes who recently sided with the British had lost a great deal. Red Jacket told them:

“We have always lost by taking up the hatchet. Even the British, upon whom we pinned our hopes, sold our land to the Americans after every war in which we were allied with them.”

Red Jacket spoke against selling land to the Americans:

“To command respect, you must possess extensive territory! Keep your holdings sufficiently large so that you may not be crowded on any side by the whites.”

In 1819, the Ogden Land Company, with the approval of the federal government, met with the Seneca to discuss buying their land. To watch out for the best interest of the Indians, the government appointed two agents to make sure that the Indians were not cheated or deceived. The Seneca chiefs-Little Billy, Red Jacket, Tall Chief, Young King, Two Skies, Infant, and Destroy Town-listened to the offer which was expressed in glowing terms about its benefit to the Seneca. One of the agents appointed by the government told the Seneca that the President James Monroe felt that it was in their best interest to sell their lands. The Seneca gave in and sold their land for 55 cents an acre and the land company quickly resold it for many times that amount. Arthur Caswell Parker wrote:

“Federal commissioners, delegated to prevent ‘cheating of the Indians,’ entirely forgot that they might have insisted upon a much higher compensation at a public sale, the profits of which could have been used to benefit these Indians for many years.”

In 1821, the Seneca tribal council convicted Kauquatou of sorcery. Acting on behalf of the tribal council Chief Tommy-Jemmy cut Kauquatou’s throat. In response, the state of New York prosecuted Tommy-Jemmy for murder. Red Jacket and Tommy-Jemmy’s court-appointed attorneys argued that the death of Kauquatou was not murder under New York law because it was a legal execution under Seneca law, on Seneca land, by the sovereign Seneca people. The circuit court referred the case to the New York State Supreme Court which noted that no law extended state murder jurisdiction over the Iroquois.

By 1824, Red Jacket was considered the leader of the Seneca Pagan Party which advocated traditional ways and which opposed both the Long House religion of Handsome Lake and European Christianity.

In 1827 Red Jacket traveled to New York City to talk with the Quakers about providing aid for his people. According to Arthur Caswell Parker:

“Red Jacket trusted few persons other than the stalwart Quakers, who could not be intimidated and who were quick to expose a fraud.”

However, the Quakers were involved with helping the Onondaga and did not have any resources with which they could respond to the Seneca request.

While in New York City, Red Jacket agreed to have his portrait painted by R. W. Weir, one of the noted artists of the city. In posing for the painting, Red Jacket dressed in a costume which he felt was appropriate: a caped coat with braid and tassels, a red sash, his Washington medal, and his pipe tomahawk.

In 1827, the Seneca deposed Red Jacket as chief because of his alcoholism and his inflexible political views. Part of the opposition to him stemmed from his involvement with the Pagan Party.

In 1829, Red Jacket once again asked the Quakers for aid. The Quakers provided the Seneca with both farm equipment and sound advice.

Red Jacket photo Red_Jacket_monument_zps1e012a14.jpg

Shown above is the Red Jacket Monument at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. In 1884, Red Jacket’s remains were reburied at this cemetery. Against his wishes, Red Jacket was given a Christian burial.

The Termination Era

In 1945 Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier, who had emphasized cultural pluralism for American Indians, was forced to resign by congressional opponents who sought a return to the policies of assimilation. The new approach was that of termination. The idea was to force individual Indians to assimilate into mainstream, English-speaking, Christian American society by getting rid of Indian reservations, by terminating all treaty obligations to Indian nations, and by terminating all government programs intended to aid Indians.  

In this approach, Indian cultures were considered to be irrelevant at best and anti-American at worst. With little understanding of the historical, cultural, and legal basis of reservations, the proponents of termination viewed reservations as a form of segregation which retarded the assimilation of individual Indians.

Termination was intended to dismantle the reservation system, to transfer the natural resource wealth of the reservations to private non-Indian corporations, and to place Indians at the mercy of local state and county governments. The Terminationists emphasized the need to get the federal government “out of the Indian business.”

Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell wrote:

“In Washington’s infinite wisdom, it was decided that tribes should no longer be tribes, never mind that they had been tribes for thousands of years.”

The Nez Perce Tribe puts it this way:

“This era marked another abrupt change in what can only be described as a schizophrenic federal Indian policy.”

The inspiration for the termination argument stemmed in part from a sense of innate superiority by non-Indians and in part it involved money. It would be cheaper for the United States, which was now heavily committed to rebuilding the war-torn countries and economies of their former enemies, to do away with treaty rights, tribal governments, and support for Indian programs. Under termination reservation lands could be sold and would be subject to local property taxes, a concept strongly supported by local governments which had traditionally been anti-Indian.

Following World War II, the United States underwent a massive housing boom. This meant that there was an increased demand for natural resources, particularly timber. Many of the tribes which were initially selected for termination had valuable timber and mineral resources. With termination, these resources could be privatized-that is, transferred from the public domain to the ownership of large corporations-and then developed.

Termination was set against the backdrop of the Cold War in which the United States saw itself as being involved in a deadly struggle against Communism to maintain its way of life. In the anti-Communist hysteria of the time, many people viewed Indians as aliens and viewed tribal ownership of land as a form of Communism and therefore un-American. To be Indian with a distinct history and culture was viewed as anti-American.

Another aspect of termination was a political philosophy of states’ rights: often used as a shorthand designation giving tacit approval to racial discrimination. Returning to the anti-Indian racism of the nineteenth century, Indians would have little support from local governments.

The cry used by those who wished to return to assimilation and to terminate the relationship between the tribes and the federal government was “Free the Indian.” In order to free Indians from federal control, it was first necessary to destroy the tribal governments.

While the mood of the post-war Congresses was clearly in favor of assimilation and termination, the first strong step toward assimilation as the official policy of the United States came in 1952 with   House Joint Resolution 698. This resolution called for an examination into the conduct of Indian affairs and a list of tribes which were sufficiently prepared for termination. Tribes subject to termination were supposed to have attained a significant degree of acculturation, to be economically self-supporting, and to be willing to accept the termination of government services. In response to the resolution, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) developed an extensive questionnaire for BIA officials to use in evaluating each tribe. The resulting report reflected the judgment of reservation superintendents and BIA staff.

The following year, House Concurrent Resolution 108 called for the formal termination of Indian tribes. The writers of the resolution apparently were unaware that Indians are citizens (Congress had granted all Indians full citizenship 1924 and again in 1940) and that they were not “wards of the state”. As usual, Indians were not consulted. The Resolution specifically expressed the intent of Congress as supporting unilateral withdrawal from its treaty obligations to Native Americans as soon as possible.

Members of Congress were particularly interested in opening up Indian lands for sale and taxation, particularly if those lands contained valuable natural resources such as timber. The Klamath and the Menominee, whose reservations included valuable timberlands, were specifically singled out for early termination.

In response to this resolution, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held an emergency meeting in Washington, D.C. in an attempt to block the legislation. According to NCAI President Joe Garry (Coeur d’Alene):

“Most of the pending legislation, if passed, would result in the end of our last holdings on this continent and destroy our dignity and distinction as the first inhabitants of this rich land.”

Apache tribal leader Clarence Wesley told the NCAI delegates:

“Either the United States government will recognize its treaty and statute obligations to the Indians . . . or we will continue down the bitter road toward complete destruction.”

Between 1945 and 1960 Congress terminated more than one hundred tribes and small bands. This action left these groups with the same legal status as the unrecognized tribes. Through the termination process, about 11,500 Indians lost their legal status as Indians, and nearly 1.4 million acres of land lost its status as trust land. None of the tribes which were terminated improved economically: in most cases the impact of termination was to increase poverty. On the other hand, many non-Indians became wealthy through this process and many corporations gained a great deal of wealth.

Former Commissioner of Indian Affairs Philleo Nash would later write:

“The termination era may appear as a unique event, a failed experiment that was soon corrected. But termination was actually an expression of the national will that the ultimate goal of government policy toward Indians was ‘assimilation.'”

In 1970, President Richard Nixon asked Congress to pass a resolution repudiating termination. He told Congress:

“Because termination is morally and legally unacceptable, because it produces bad practical results, and because the mere threat of termination tends to discourage greater self-sufficiency among Indian groups, I am asking the Congress to pass a new Concurrent Resolution which would expressly renounce, repudiate and repeal the termination policy as expressed in House Concurrent Resolution 108 of the 83rd Congress.”

Since the end of termination, 78 of the 113 terminated tribes have been recognized again by the United States government and 35 now have casinos; 24 of these tribes are now considered extinct; 10 have state recognition but not federal recognition; and 31 are landless.

The Warm Springs Reservation

Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Oregon Territory, met in council with the Indian nations of the Mid-Columbia Region with the purpose of establishing an Indian reservation which would get the Indians out of the way of American settlement.  This was an area that was the traditional homelands for two primary tribes: (1) the Wasco who were the eastern-most group of Chinook-speaking Indians, and (2) the Warm Springs (described in the treaty as Walla Walla) who were Sahaptin-speaking.  

In 1855 at a treaty council at Wasco, near The Dalles, several western Columbia Sahaptin bands of the Walla Walla (Tygh, Wayampam, Tenino, Dock-Spus) and Upper Chinook bands of the Wasco (The Dalles, Ki-gal-twal-la, Dog River) signed a treaty in which they agreed to move to the Warm Springs Reservation. The tribes were given the rights to take fish from the streams running through and bordering the reservation; to hunt, gather roots and berries, and to pasture their stock on all unclaimed lands.

At the time of the treaty council, many of the Indians were away from the area preparing for the annual root harvest and the Americans had been informed that this was not a good time for the meeting. At the beginning of the council, one American-John Edwards-warned the Indians that the purpose of the council was to rob them of their land. He was arrested and placed in the guardhouse.

At the council, Mark Chinook and William Chinook of The Dalles and Iso and Stocketly of the Deschutes strongly opposed the treaty.

At the council, the Americans tell the Indians:

“We have found that the white man and Indians cannot long live together in peace, that it is better that lines should be drawn so that the white man will know where his land is and the Indian where his land is, we may then live without quarreling.”

The Americans told the Indians that the reservation designated for them contained good farming land and that it was close to their fishing stations on the Columbia River. Both statements were false. The negotiator had the translators read the prepared treaty to the Indians. The Americans had come to the council not for the purpose of negotiating, but rather to intimidate the Indians and to force them to accept the dictates of the United States.

Under the treaty, the bands gave up ownership rights to about 10 million acres of land which had been their homelands for at least 10,000 years. The United States, of course, agreed to pay the bands for this land. According to the treaty:

All of which several sums of money shall be expended for the use and benefit of the confederated bands, under the direction of the President of the United States, who may from time to time, at his discretion determine what proportion thereof shall be expended for such objects as in his judgment will promote their well-being and advance them in civilization; for their moral improvement and education; for building, opening and fencing farms, breaking land, providing teams, stock, agricultural implements, seeds, &c.(sic); for clothing, provisions, and tools; for medical purposes, providing mechanics and farmers, and for arms and ammunition.

In other words, the government would control what the money would be used for.

Under federal law at this time, Indians were not allowed to have or consume alcohol and thus the treaty also stated:

In order to prevent the evils of intemperance among said Indians, it is hereby provided, that if any one of them shall drink liquor to excess, or procure it for others to drink, his or her proportion of the annuities may be withheld from him or her for such time as the President may determine.

During the early years of reservation life, the traditional ways changed greatly. First of all, salmon, which had been important to the traditional economy, weren’t as plentiful as they had been on the Columbia River. The climate was harsh and the soil was not good for farming.

In 1865, the tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation agreed to a treaty which relinquished all of their off-reservation rights: hunting, fishing, gathering, curing, and grazing. The tribes were to be given $3,500 in compensation.

The new treaty came about because the Indian agent was annoyed because the Indians spent so much time off the reservation fishing rather than tending their crops. He told the chiefs each Indian needed to have a pass signed by the agent which would show non-Indians, including the Army, that they had a right to be off the reservation. The chiefs, who could not read or speak English, thought this sounded reasonable and put their marks to the paper. The agent then inserted a clause about relinquishing their fishing rights and submitted it to Congress as a treaty.

When Congress sent the $3,500 in goods to the reservation in payment for the treaty rights, the agent simply “borrowed” them and headed for California. He was not heard from again.

In 1870, Tygh prophet Queahpahmah had a dream in which he left the Warm Springs Reservation. Citing this dream as a reason, he asked the reservation superintendent for a pass to leave the reservation. The agent refused. Queahpahmah left the reservation without a pass and avoided capture.

In 1879, the U.S. government decided to move a small group of Paiute to the reservation. Traditionally the Paiute had lived in southeastern Oregon and spoke a Shoshonean language unrelated to any of the other languages spoken by the Warm Springs tribes. The government was either unconcerned or unaware that the Pauite and the tribes of the Columbia River area had a long history of conflict. The government seemed unaware of the cultural differences between the Paiute and the other tribes on the Warm Springs Reservation.

The 38 Paiutes who were moved to the Warm Springs Reservation had been involved in the Bannock Indian war and had been taken first to Fort Vancouver and then to the Yakama Reservation.

Warm Springs 1902 photo Warm_Springs1902_zps479367a9.jpg

Shown above are some women on the Warm Springs Reservation in 1902.

The Indian Reorganization Act (Wheeler-Howard Act, often re¬ferred to as the IRA) was passed by Congress in 1934. The IRA has three objectives: (1) economic development of the tribes, (2) organization of tribal governments, and (3) Indian civil and cultural rights. Under the IRA, tribes were able to create a federally chartered corporation which could borrow money, enter into contracts, and sue. In 1937 the tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation organized under the IRA as the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.

Since reorganization under the IRA, the tribes have pursued economic self-sufficiency by establishing several businesses including the Warm Springs Lumber Company (1942), the Warm Springs Power Enterprise (1982), and the Indian Head Casino (1996).

The Warm Springs Reservation

Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Oregon Territory, met in council with the Indian nations of the Mid-Columbia Region with the purpose of establishing an Indian reservation which would get the Indians out of the way of American settlement.  This was an area that was the traditional homelands for two primary tribes: (1) the Wasco who were the eastern-most group of Chinook-speaking Indians, and (2) the Warm Springs (described in the treaty as Walla Walla) who were Sahaptin-speaking.  

In 1855 at a treaty council at Wasco, near The Dalles, several western Columbia Sahaptin bands of the Walla Walla (Tygh, Wayampam, Tenino, Dock-Spus) and Upper Chinook bands of the Wasco (The Dalles, Ki-gal-twal-la, Dog River) signed a treaty in which they agreed to move to the Warm Springs Reservation. The tribes were given the rights to take fish from the streams running through and bordering the reservation; to hunt, gather roots and berries, and to pasture their stock on all unclaimed lands.

At the time of the treaty council, many of the Indians were away from the area preparing for the annual root harvest and the Americans had been informed that this was not a good time for the meeting. At the beginning of the council, one American-John Edwards-warned the Indians that the purpose of the council was to rob them of their land. He was arrested and placed in the guardhouse.

At the council, Mark Chinook and William Chinook of The Dalles and Iso and Stocketly of the Deschutes strongly opposed the treaty.

At the council, the Americans tell the Indians:

“We have found that the white man and Indians cannot long live together in peace, that it is better that lines should be drawn so that the white man will know where his land is and the Indian where his land is, we may then live without quarreling.”

The Americans told the Indians that the reservation designated for them contained good farming land and that it was close to their fishing stations on the Columbia River. Both statements were false. The negotiator had the translators read the prepared treaty to the Indians. The Americans had come to the council not for the purpose of negotiating, but rather to intimidate the Indians and to force them to accept the dictates of the United States.

Under the treaty, the bands gave up ownership rights to about 10 million acres of land which had been their homelands for at least 10,000 years. The United States, of course, agreed to pay the bands for this land. According to the treaty:

All of which several sums of money shall be expended for the use and benefit of the confederated bands, under the direction of the President of the United States, who may from time to time, at his discretion determine what proportion thereof shall be expended for such objects as in his judgment will promote their well-being and advance them in civilization; for their moral improvement and education; for building, opening and fencing farms, breaking land, providing teams, stock, agricultural implements, seeds, &c.(sic); for clothing, provisions, and tools; for medical purposes, providing mechanics and farmers, and for arms and ammunition.

In other words, the government would control what the money would be used for.

Under federal law at this time, Indians were not allowed to have or consume alcohol and thus the treaty also stated:

In order to prevent the evils of intemperance among said Indians, it is hereby provided, that if any one of them shall drink liquor to excess, or procure it for others to drink, his or her proportion of the annuities may be withheld from him or her for such time as the President may determine.

During the early years of reservation life, the traditional ways changed greatly. First of all, salmon, which had been important to the traditional economy, weren’t as plentiful as they had been on the Columbia River. The climate was harsh and the soil was not good for farming.

In 1865, the tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation agreed to a treaty which relinquished all of their off-reservation rights: hunting, fishing, gathering, curing, and grazing. The tribes were to be given $3,500 in compensation.

The new treaty came about because the Indian agent was annoyed because the Indians spent so much time off the reservation fishing rather than tending their crops. He told the chiefs each Indian needed to have a pass signed by the agent which would show non-Indians, including the Army, that they had a right to be off the reservation. The chiefs, who could not read or speak English, thought this sounded reasonable and put their marks to the paper. The agent then inserted a clause about relinquishing their fishing rights and submitted it to Congress as a treaty.

When Congress sent the $3,500 in goods to the reservation in payment for the treaty rights, the agent simply “borrowed” them and headed for California. He was not heard from again.

In 1870, Tygh prophet Queahpahmah had a dream in which he left the Warm Springs Reservation. Citing this dream as a reason, he asked the reservation superintendent for a pass to leave the reservation. The agent refused. Queahpahmah left the reservation without a pass and avoided capture.

In 1879, the U.S. government decided to move a small group of Paiute to the reservation. Traditionally the Paiute had lived in southeastern Oregon and spoke a Shoshonean language unrelated to any of the other languages spoken by the Warm Springs tribes. The government was either unconcerned or unaware that the Pauite and the tribes of the Columbia River area had a long history of conflict. The government seemed unaware of the cultural differences between the Paiute and the other tribes on the Warm Springs Reservation.

The 38 Paiutes who were moved to the Warm Springs Reservation had been involved in the Bannock Indian war and had been taken first to Fort Vancouver and then to the Yakama Reservation.

Warm Springs 1902 photo Warm_Springs1902_zps479367a9.jpg

Shown above are some women on the Warm Springs Reservation in 1902.

The Indian Reorganization Act (Wheeler-Howard Act, often re¬ferred to as the IRA) was passed by Congress in 1934. The IRA has three objectives: (1) economic development of the tribes, (2) organization of tribal governments, and (3) Indian civil and cultural rights. Under the IRA, tribes were able to create a federally chartered corporation which could borrow money, enter into contracts, and sue. In 1937 the tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation organized under the IRA as the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.

Since reorganization under the IRA, the tribes have pursued economic self-sufficiency by establishing several businesses including the Warm Springs Lumber Company (1942), the Warm Springs Power Enterprise (1982), and the Indian Head Casino (1996).

Posted in Uncategorized

The Warm Springs Reservation

Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Oregon Territory, met in council with the Indian nations of the Mid-Columbia Region with the purpose of establishing an Indian reservation which would get the Indians out of the way of American settlement.  This was an area that was the traditional homelands for two primary tribes: (1) the Wasco who were the eastern-most group of Chinook-speaking Indians, and (2) the Warm Springs (described in the treaty as Walla Walla) who were Sahaptin-speaking.  

In 1855 at a treaty council at Wasco, near The Dalles, several western Columbia Sahaptin bands of the Walla Walla (Tygh, Wayampam, Tenino, Dock-Spus) and Upper Chinook bands of the Wasco (The Dalles, Ki-gal-twal-la, Dog River) signed a treaty in which they agreed to move to the Warm Springs Reservation. The tribes were given the rights to take fish from the streams running through and bordering the reservation; to hunt, gather roots and berries, and to pasture their stock on all unclaimed lands.

At the time of the treaty council, many of the Indians were away from the area preparing for the annual root harvest and the Americans had been informed that this was not a good time for the meeting. At the beginning of the council, one American-John Edwards-warned the Indians that the purpose of the council was to rob them of their land. He was arrested and placed in the guardhouse.

At the council, Mark Chinook and William Chinook of The Dalles and Iso and Stocketly of the Deschutes strongly opposed the treaty.

At the council, the Americans tell the Indians:

“We have found that the white man and Indians cannot long live together in peace, that it is better that lines should be drawn so that the white man will know where his land is and the Indian where his land is, we may then live without quarreling.”

The Americans told the Indians that the reservation designated for them contained good farming land and that it was close to their fishing stations on the Columbia River. Both statements were false. The negotiator had the translators read the prepared treaty to the Indians. The Americans had come to the council not for the purpose of negotiating, but rather to intimidate the Indians and to force them to accept the dictates of the United States.

Under the treaty, the bands gave up ownership rights to about 10 million acres of land which had been their homelands for at least 10,000 years. The United States, of course, agreed to pay the bands for this land. According to the treaty:

All of which several sums of money shall be expended for the use and benefit of the confederated bands, under the direction of the President of the United States, who may from time to time, at his discretion determine what proportion thereof shall be expended for such objects as in his judgment will promote their well-being and advance them in civilization; for their moral improvement and education; for building, opening and fencing farms, breaking land, providing teams, stock, agricultural implements, seeds, &c.(sic); for clothing, provisions, and tools; for medical purposes, providing mechanics and farmers, and for arms and ammunition.

In other words, the government would control what the money would be used for.

Under federal law at this time, Indians were not allowed to have or consume alcohol and thus the treaty also stated:

In order to prevent the evils of intemperance among said Indians, it is hereby provided, that if any one of them shall drink liquor to excess, or procure it for others to drink, his or her proportion of the annuities may be withheld from him or her for such time as the President may determine.

During the early years of reservation life, the traditional ways changed greatly. First of all, salmon, which had been important to the traditional economy, weren’t as plentiful as they had been on the Columbia River. The climate was harsh and the soil was not good for farming.

In 1865, the tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation agreed to a treaty which relinquished all of their off-reservation rights: hunting, fishing, gathering, curing, and grazing. The tribes were to be given $3,500 in compensation.

The new treaty came about because the Indian agent was annoyed because the Indians spent so much time off the reservation fishing rather than tending their crops. He told the chiefs each Indian needed to have a pass signed by the agent which would show non-Indians, including the Army, that they had a right to be off the reservation. The chiefs, who could not read or speak English, thought this sounded reasonable and put their marks to the paper. The agent then inserted a clause about relinquishing their fishing rights and submitted it to Congress as a treaty.

When Congress sent the $3,500 in goods to the reservation in payment for the treaty rights, the agent simply “borrowed” them and headed for California. He was not heard from again.

In 1870, Tygh prophet Queahpahmah had a dream in which he left the Warm Springs Reservation. Citing this dream as a reason, he asked the reservation superintendent for a pass to leave the reservation. The agent refused. Queahpahmah left the reservation without a pass and avoided capture.

In 1879, the U.S. government decided to move a small group of Paiute to the reservation. Traditionally the Paiute had lived in southeastern Oregon and spoke a Shoshonean language unrelated to any of the other languages spoken by the Warm Springs tribes. The government was either unconcerned or unaware that the Pauite and the tribes of the Columbia River area had a long history of conflict. The government seemed unaware of the cultural differences between the Paiute and the other tribes on the Warm Springs Reservation.

The 38 Paiutes who were moved to the Warm Springs Reservation had been involved in the Bannock Indian war and had been taken first to Fort Vancouver and then to the Yakama Reservation.

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Shown above are some women on the Warm Springs Reservation in 1902.

The Indian Reorganization Act (Wheeler-Howard Act, often re¬ferred to as the IRA) was passed by Congress in 1934. The IRA has three objectives: (1) economic development of the tribes, (2) organization of tribal governments, and (3) Indian civil and cultural rights. Under the IRA, tribes were able to create a federally chartered corporation which could borrow money, enter into contracts, and sue. In 1937 the tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation organized under the IRA as the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.

Since reorganization under the IRA, the tribes have pursued economic self-sufficiency by establishing several businesses including the Warm Springs Lumber Company (1942), the Warm Springs Power Enterprise (1982), and the Indian Head Casino (1996).

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Powwow 101: Grass Dancers (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. There are many who feel that the male grass dancers represented the oldest style of dancing at the modern powwows. Originally, the dancers had braids of grass dangling from their belts and during the dance the dancers would move so that the grass braids swayed like the prairie grass in the wind. Today’s dancers use ribbons instead of grass, but the idea maintaining the swaying movement continues. A good grass dancer is balanced: if he makes a series of steps with his right foot, then these steps are mirrored with the left foot. Shown below are some of the grass dancers at the 45th annual Kyi-Yo powwow at the University of Montana in Missoula.

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The Canon and the Mule

The Blackfoot were the most feared Indian nation on the Northern Plains in the nineteenth century. The United States established their reservation in 1851 at a treaty council held in Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Since no Blackfoot chiefs were in attendance, the government probably felt safe in declaring all of the land north of the Missouri River as their reservation.

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The Blackfoot signed their first treaty with the United States in 1855, when they met with Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens and others at the Judith River. The Treaty of Judith River establishes the Great Blackfeet Reservation which includes 17.5 million acres north of the Missouri River and east of the Rocky Mountains. Governor Stevens told the Blackfoot:

“This country is your home. It will remain your home.”

Meeting in the council were not only the various Blackfoot tribes (Piegan and Blood), but also the Flathead, Nez Perce, Gros Ventre, Kootenai, Pend d’Oreille, Cree, and Shoshone. One of the primary Blackfoot concerns was hunting rights. They feared that being restricted to the reservation would restrict them from their traditional hunting grounds. On the other hand, the other tribes did not want to see the Blackfoot granted exclusive hunting rights to contested areas. In the end, the western Indians were given the right to hunt from the Mussleshell River to the Yellowstone River.  

The treaty promised to provide the Blackfoot with annuities, to provide them with instruction in agricultural pursuits, to educate their children, and to promote civilization and Christianization. Indian treaty violations were to result in deductions from the annuities. This assumed that only the Blackfoot would violate the treaty. There was no penalty for non-Indians, including the federal government, if they were to violate it.

Fort Benton was designated as the Indian Agency for the Blackfoot. The Indian Agent’s duties were to distribute annuities to the tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy and to maintain peace between the Indians and non-Indians in the region.

By 1865, non-Indian settlement in Montana was increasing and these new settlers felt that they were somehow entitled to Indian land. Therefore, the United States met with the Blackfoot and the Gros Ventre to convince them to move their southern boundary in order to allow American settlers to move in.

Many U.S. and Indian dignitaries assembled at Fort Benton for the Treaty Council. The Indian agent for the Blackfoot is described by his contemporaries as knowing as much about Indians as he did about the inhabitants of the planet Jupiter.

As all were assembling just outside of the fort, someone decided that the chiefs who had gathered for the treaty council should be shown American military might. A freight train which had been passing through included a mule which was carrying a cannon barrel strapped to its back. Some non-Indian of questionable intelligence decided that it would be a good idea to set off the cannon while it was still being carried by the mule.

The cannon was carried so that the muzzle pointed toward the mule’s tail. The gathered non-Indians, intent on impressing the Indians with their might and intellectual superiority, filled the cannon with powder and grape shot. A fuse was inserted and lit. The mule, hearing the fizzle of the fuse, turned to look. The River Press reported:

“As his head turned, so his body turned and the howitzer began to take in other points of the compass. The mule became more excited as his curiosity became more and more intense. In a few seconds he either had his four feet in a bunch, making more revolutions a minute than the bystanders dared count and with the howitzer threatening destruction to everybody within a radius of a quarter mile, or he suddenly tried standing on his head with his heels and howitzer at a remarkable angle in the air.”

Panic set in among the non-Indian dignitaries: some dove into the nearby river, others simply hit the ground, while others ran for the cover of the nearby fort. The Indians simply stood around wondering what all the excitement was about. When the cannon finally went off, the mule’s rear end was pointed at the fort, which absorbed the grape shot. The buffalo mural over the main gate was peppered with shot. No humans were injured and the mule was never seen again.

Having impressed in the Indians with their superior firepower and intellect, the Americans promised the chiefs that they would be paid an additional annual sum for signing the treaty. After signing the treaty, Little Dog, the head chief of the Piegan Blackfoot, said:

“We are pleased with what we have heard today. … The land here belongs to us, we were raised upon it; we are glad to give a portion to the United States, for we get something for it.”

As with all Indian treaties, the Americans assumed that it was immediately binding for the Indians, but it had to be ratified by the Senate before it was binding to the United States. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in retaliation for Blackfoot and Blood war parties which killed miners who were trespassing in Indian territory, refused to recommend ratification to the Senate. When the government refused to ratify the treaty, the Blackfoot decided that the government had lied to them once again.

 

Powwow 101: Fancy Dancers (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. The male fancy dancers are usually crowd pleasers with their brightly colored outfits. They also wear two feather bustles: one high between the shoulders and one low, hanging from the waist. Shown below are some of the fancy dancers at the 45th annual Kyi-Yo powwow at the University of Montana in Missoula.

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American Indian Youth and Budget Cuts

Historically American Indians, particularly those living on reservations, have had the highest poverty rates in the United States. In addition, reservations have some of the highest teen suicide rates in the world. For many American Indian young people the future does not look promising and there is little to break the oppressive cycle of poverty. The most successful approach to dealing with poverty among young people has been education, both classroom education and work education. There are two stories this week about the impact of austerity on Indian youth.  

Summer Job Program Cut:

In 2010, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Salish Kootenai College, and the Creston Fish Hatchery sponsored the Youth Conservation Corps to provide 30 summer jobs for high school students. In this program, the students were exposed to natural resource management careers (this is a high priority for the tribes) and provided them with hands-on work experience. Rich Janssen, Department Head of Tribal Natural Resources, reports in the Charkoosta News:

“Due to federal budget cuts, Flathead Indian Reservation youth will lose the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the outdoors this summer.”

Janssen also says:

“They gained valuable experience while improving the outdoor recreational experience for everyone. This is the kind of cut that hurts our entire community by limiting options for our youth.”

While people in Congress are concerned about the impact of the sequester on people who fly in airplanes and who visit the White House, they have no concern for Indian young people who have never flown in an airplane and who will never visit the White House because they are trapped in the cycle of poverty.

University of Montana:

The University of Montana has announced massive cuts in its teaching staff and reduction of the number of classes being offered. Decreasing support for higher education from the state and federal governments, plus decreasing enrollments due to increased costs of education and the University’s inability to deal with rape scandals associated with its athletic teams, are seen as the causes of the budget shortfalls. While economic austerity has been announced for the University, American Indian students are pushing for a new position in the Financial Aid Office tailored specifically to meet the needs of Indian students.

Between 2004 and 2011, 86% of the American Indian undergraduate students at the University did not graduate. Amanda Stovall, a UM senior and enrolled member of the Crow tribe and former vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Montana, says:

“I really believe that with the Native American center, the University of Montana could become the leading destination for Native American students in the nation. But the reality is we’re not retaining students, so we have to change some things.”

For American Indian university students, the financial aid process is confusing, in part because each tribal government has its own scholarship process, and this means it has its own deadlines for need assessments. This creates additional hurdles for Native students on tuition waivers or higher education scholarships.

In applying a business model to the situation, Stovall says:

“It costs less to retain a student than it does to recruit a student, and we already know we have retention issues around the Native American population. I just feel like it’s the best business decision they could make right now.”

The Powwow (Photo Diary)

Eagle Staff

It begins with the drums. This is the signal for the dancers to enter into the dance arbor, usually led by dancers carrying the eagle feather staff. This marks the Grand Entry which starts each powwow session. This is a powwow: the most common form of Indian celebration.

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The powwow itself is not a religious or spiritual ceremony; nor, in its current form, is it a particularly “ancient” celebration. The powwow is a public celebration and demonstration of community pride in Indian culture and a way of honoring Native American heritage.

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Following the eagle staffs, carried by Fancy Dancers in the powwow shown above, are the flags-American, Canadian, tribal, MIA, state (this varies from powwow to powwow). At many powwows, following the flags are the “royalty” and other dignitaries.

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The dancers continue to file in-it is not uncommon for a grand entry to take a half an hour-until all dancers have entered the arbor.

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On the other hand, for many people – dancers, drummers, and spectators – the powwow is also a spiritual experience and a spiritual ceremony. Many begin their participation in powwow by smudging: cleansing and spiritually purifying themselves, their dance regalia, and their drums with the smoke from sage or sweetgrass.

Background:

During the Dark Ages of American Indian Religious Freedom (1880 to 1934), the Indian Office (the current Bureau of Indian Affairs) and the local Indian agents discouraged all types of Indian dancing as barriers to civilization. Christian missionaries to the reservations often complained that Indian dances “inflamed animal passions and the immoral and uncivilized people.” Indian agents were told by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to prohibit Indian dancing as such activities were deemed to be injurious to the moral welfare of the Indians.

The Baptist field matron for the Kiowa-Commanche Reservation in Oklahoma condemned powwow dancing in 1915:

“These dances are one of the breeding places of illegitimate children, which is becoming the shame of the tribe.”

The new superintendent for the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana addressed his concerns over Indian dances in 1917 by stating:

“I recommend the policy of repression and at the same time instruction to show the uselessness of these practices.”

On the other hand, non-Indian tourists had an interest in seeing the Indians dance. While Indian dancing was discouraged on the reservation, non-Indian groups often invited Indians to put on dances in off-reservation venues as a part of celebrations intended to attract tourists.

In 1911, for example, Colorado Springs, Colorado invited a group of Ute to be a part of an exhibition at an 8-day carnival. The Indians performed dances and other ceremonies that were discouraged at their reservation. The events, while not favored by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, were popular with those attending the event.

In spite of attempts to eradicate Indian dances, the dances continued. In the off-reservation venues, the dancers would often be from different tribes and thus a kind of pan-Indianism developed in which the powwows were not a celebration of one particular Indian culture, but of Indianness in general.

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Contemporary Powwows:

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. Some powwows are held in conjunction with tribal casinos.

People dance at powwows for many reasons. Some dance because they are Indian and this is a way of celebrating their heritage. Powwows are a time for renewing friendships, for seeing family and friends, for coming home.

Many powwows will include naming ceremonies, honoring ceremonies, and give-aways to mark significant life events, such as graduations, birth, marriage, and homecomings (particularly for veterans).

Some dance because they earn money in the contests. Many large powwows run dance contests and some dancers travel a powwow circuit, dancing at different powwows each weekend, and earning enough money through their winnings to stay on the road.

Dance contests are usually categorized by gender and age group. In addition, there may be categories for different types of dances. For men, this might include Fancy Dance, Traditional, Grass Dance, and Straight Dance. For women, this might include Traditional, Fancy Shawl, and Jingle Dress.

Some dance because of their personal spiritual beliefs and vision. It is not uncommon for Indians in the process of recovery from alcoholism and/or drug addiction to dance as a way of spiritually reinforcing their sobriety.

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Grand Entry

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Kyi-Yo:

For 45 years, the Indian students at the University of Montana have been holding the Kyi-Yo Powwow which draws dancers from throughout the region. Shown below are a few photographs from the latest powwow.

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The Carlisle Boarding School

In 1871, the United States governmental policies toward American Indians changed from dealing with tribes as nations to focusing on the assimilation of individual Indians. Assimilation was, and still is, based on a viewpoint that sees immigrants coming to the United States and then becoming “good” Americans by learning English and adopting American customs. If others could do this, the assimilationists argued–and still argue–then American Indians should be required to do the same.  

In the language of nineteenth century assimilation, Indians were viewed as “barbaric” and the goal of assimilation was to “civilize” them. The ideal model of “civilization” was, of course, mainstream American society. One important “civilizing” force in assimilation was education. Schools, according to this viewpoint, could mold American Indian youth into Americans in which the values of thrift, discipline, individuality, and Christianity would more closely reflect those of mainstream America.

Writing in 1893 about the goals of Indian education, Father Palladino states:

“A plain, common English education, embracing spelling, reading and writing, with the rudiments of arithmetic, is book-learning sufficient for our Indians. Anything beyond that for the present at least, in our candid opinion, would prove detrimental, rather than beneficial; since it might serve to encourage their natural indolence at the expense of what they need most, industrial education.”

In explaining the need for boarding schools, Father Palladino writes:

“How can you civilize these savage beings, except you withdraw them from the blighting influences that encompass them on every side?”

The model for American Indian boarding schools was the Carlisle Indian School. Founded in 1879 in an abandoned army post in Pennsylvania, the goal of Carlisle was to strip all vestiges of Indian culture from the Indian students: they were to speak only English, they were to dress in the American style, they were to eat American foods, they were to worship the Christian gods, and they were to live in American-style houses.

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By locating the school far away from any reservation, it was felt that the children could be removed from the evil pagan influences of Indian life and Indian families.

The school was headed by Captain Richard H. Pratt, the former commandant of the Fort Marion Prison in Florida, which served as an Indian prison. While Pratt liked individual Indians, he had no use for Indian cultures and felt that these cultures would have to be destroyed if Indian people were to survive. Like many other Americans, Pratt felt that Indian ways were inferior in all respects to those of non-Indians. Thus the slogan for Carlisle was “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”

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When the students first arrived at the school, they were given Anglo-Saxon Christian names (names such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson soon became common among the Indian students), their hair would be cut, and their clothes replaced with European-style dress (their old clothes were usually burned).  To reinforce the superiority of English, they would also be forbidden to speak any Indian language.  A military model was used to instill discipline and conformity. The students wore military-style uniforms and marched to their classes.

The United States government policies viewed agriculture as the only appropriate form of economic development on Indian reservations. Therefore, education in the boarding schools was oriented toward agricultural education. Since men were supposed to do the farming, boys were given an agricultural education while the girls were trained in housekeeping skills. Girls were taught all of the skills-cooking, sewing, cleaning, laundry-that a housewife or a servant would need to know. The emphasis was on the skills necessary for a mythological family farm, not the reality of commercial agriculture as it existed in the late nineteenth century.

Students would spend half of the day in classes where the curriculum emphasized the English language, practical skills, and Christianity. The boys would then spend half a day working on the school farm where they raised most of the food for the school. The girls would work in the laundry where they would not only wash all of the clothes for the school, they would also do all of the mending and other “household” chores. The goal of their education was to train the boys to be farm workers and the girls to become servants.

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.

Speaking English was an important part of not only the school curriculum, but also school life. Students who were caught speaking any Indian language were severely punished. This punishment included beatings, incarcerations (the school had its own jail), and applying lye to the tongue.

Another important part of the curriculum at Carlisle was sports. The school had sports programs that included track, baseball, football, and the newly created basketball. Carlisle sports teams often competed against college and university teams and its football team had a national reputation. Among the Carlisle Indian athletes was Jim Thorpe (Sauk and Fox) who won the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world,” Sweden’s King Gustav V told him. President William H. Taft said “Your victory will serve as an incentive to all to improve those qualities which characterize the best type of American citizenship.”

When students had completed their education, they were indentured to an Anglo family for three years. The government paid the family $50 per year for the stu¬dent’s medical care and clothing.

While the U.S. government touted the Carlisle Indian School as the ideal form of education for American Indians, there were some who were not happy with the school. In 1880, Sioux chiefs Spotted Tail and Red Cloud visited the Carlisle Indian School. Spotted Tail was enraged at the treatment his children had been given. He removed his children from the school and returned them to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. The eastern press portrayed him as violent and savage. School officials complained that both Red Cloud and Spotted Tail made speeches which were offensive and prejudicial to the discipline of the school.  

Stiya: A Carlisle Indian Girl at Home, written in 1891 by a non-Indian teacher at Carlisle, purported to be a realistic depiction of the transition from life at a boarding school to life on the reservation. Written from an assimilationist point of view, the book stressed a rejection of Indian identity. Students at Indian boarding schools were encouraged to read the book which showed that success comes to those who avoided a return to Indian culture.

While the Carlisle Indian School was considered to be the premier boarding school in the United States, its success in actually educating Indian students and assimilating them into mainstream American culture may have been less successful. By 1899, Carlisle Indian School had graduated only 209 of its 3,800 students.

The students at the Carlisle Indian School were told in 1893:

“you are a race thrown by the Providence of God in the pathway of a mighty and resistless tide of civilization, flowing Westward around you. So mighty is the flood, that resistance is fruitless, and the only choice is between submission and destruction on the one hand, or joining the flood and floating with it, on the other.”

Back on the reservations, many of the Indian agents were not enamored with the off-reservation boarding schools. In 1897, the Indian agent for the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana reported that boys returning from off-reservation boarding schools such as Carlisle Indian School can play baseball pretty well, but don’t seem to be interested in work. With regard to the women who returned from the boarding schools, he wrote:

“Their whole life is made abortive and the money spent on their education wasted, by allowing them to return…In many instances the practical results of returning them to the reservation is to furnish a better class of prostitutes for the same; yes, and made prostitutes by the so-called educated young Indian men, not camp Indians, though they naturally drift to becoming their wives.”

Captain Richard Pratt, the founder of the Carlisle Indian School, told a New York Ministers Conference in 1904 regarding the Indian Bureau:

“I believe that nothing better could happen to the Indians than the complete destruction of the Bureau”  and “Better for the Indians had there never been a Bureau.”

A few weeks later, Pratt was told that his services were no longer required. However, he continued to be an outspoken critic of the Indian Bureau and federal Indian policies.

The success of Carlisle’s ability to assimilate Indian students into American culture can be seen in the 1912 address to the graduating class by one of its students who will later be known as Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance, a Lumbee from North Carolina:  

“When we have gone through, for the last time as students, the brick portals of this institution, into the great world of competition, we do not wish to be designated as Cherokees, Sioux, or Pawnees, but we wish to be known as Carlisle Indians, belonging to that great universal tribe of North American Indians, speaking the same language and having the same chief — the great White Father at Washington.”

Ultimately, boarding schools such as the Carlisle Indian School were intended to destroy American Indian tribal identity. In its place, the 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.

In 1918, the Carlisle Indian School was closed. Officially, the school was closed because the Secretary of War requested the property for a hospital for soldiers returning from Europe. Unofficially, it was felt that the school’s administration had angered too many people in the Bureau of Indian Affairs with his criticisms of federal Indian policies.