Chief Sealth (Seattle)

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Sealth was born about 1786. His father, Schweabe, was Suquamish and his mother, Scholitza, was Duwamish. As a young boy in 1792, he witnessed the arrival of the first Europeans: British Captain George Vancouver entered Puget Sound and traded with the Suquamish.  

As a young adult, Sealth successfully stopped an attack against the Suquamish by the Cascade tribes. About 1825, he set up a successful ambush on a river bend near present-day Auburn. As a result of this military success, he was designated as a tribal chief. From 1820 to 1850 he was a spokesman and diplomat for the Suquamish and other Puget Sound tribes in their dealings with fur traders and missionaries.

In 1852, he formed a partnership with David “Doc” Maynard from Olympia to set up a fishery on Elliot Bay. He hired the Duwamish to help him build a new store and named it the “Seattle Exchange” after Chief Sealth. He filed a city plat with Seattle as the new settlement’s name. Maynard obtained Sealth’s permission in exchange for an annual payment during his lifetime. Among the traditional Suquamish, the names of the dead are not mentioned for at least five years and the names of dead chiefs are not to be uttered for ten. The payment, a kind of royalty, was an acknowledgment of the pain which would be inflicted on Sealth after his death because a variation of his name-Seattle-would continue to be spoken.

Seattle became an important economic outlet for the Suquamish and Duwamish people and allowed them easier access to American goods.

In 1855, Sealth and other tribal leaders in the Puget Sound area signed the Treaty of Point Elliott. In this treaty, the Suquamish gave up most of their land in exchange for a small reservation, health care, education, and acknowledgment and protection of their rights to continue to fish and hunt.

The 1855 treaties imposed on the Indian nations of Washington by Governor Isaac Stevens led to a war east of the Cascade Mountains led by Kamiakin, and the Puget Sound War led by Leschi. Despite these wars and the many grievances of the Indian people against the American invaders, Sealth kept his people at peace.

He died in 1866 at the Old Man House winter village and is buried in the Suquamish cemetery.

Chief Seattle’s (Sealth’s) Grave:

Shown below are some photographs of Chief Sealth’s grave.

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Comcomly, Chinook Chief

The river known to the Chinook Indians as Hyas Cooley Chuck collides with the Pacific Ocean to create the worst wave conditions on the planet. While Native people crossed the Bar in their large ocean-going canoes, the rough water stopped many of the early European explorers who were looking for the mythical River of the West. In May 1792, the American fur trader Captain Robert Gray waited out nine days of adverse conditions on the Bar before finally crossing into the river. He named the river for his ship, the Columbia Rediviva.  

The ship’s young fifth mate kept a journal in which he recorded:

“The Indians are very numerous, and appear’d very civil (not even offering to steal).”

He described the Indians:

“The Men, at Columbia’s River, are strait limb’d, fine looking fellows, and the Women are very pretty. They are all in a state of Nature, except the females, who wear a leaf Apron.”

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A replica of a Chinook longhouse is shown above.

Among the Chinook men who met with the American fur traders was a young man known as Comcomly, who would later become a major chief.

In 1795, the British trading ship Jane under Captain John Myers sailed into the Columbia River. The ship carried a cargo of axes, chisels, hammers, copper sheets, small bells, paints, clothing, china beads, buckets, firearms, and ammunition to trade with the Chinook.

Soon after Jane, the British ship Ruby under Captain Charles Bishop sailed into the Columbia. The ship traded for furs for eleven days. When the Chinook ran out of furs, the British traded for clamons, a kind of body armor made by the Chinook. These were in high demand by the Indian nations farther up the Pacific coast. The captain noted in his journal:

“The Sea Otter skins procured here, are of an Excellent Quality and large size, but they are not in abundance and the Natives themselves set great value on them.”

Captain Bishop invited Chief Comcomly to spend the night aboard the ship and provided him with a fine coat and trousers. Comcomly then led a Chinook expedition 300 miles upriver to obtain more clamons. Some of these were obtained by less than peaceful trading.

Over the next two decades, Comcomly solidified his leadership among the Chinook bands using a combination of trading skills, diplomacy, and marriage. Some writers report that he had a wife from nearly every tribe in the confederation as well as some outside of the confederacy. With regard to his physical appearance, Comcomly is generally described as being short and blind in one eye.

In 1805, the American Corps of Discovery under the leadership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached the mouth of the Columbia River and established their winter camp, Fort Clatsop, on Chinook land. Thanks to the cooperation of the Chinook and the Clatsop, the Americans were provided with the food that enabled them to survive the winter.

While Comcomly did not greet the Americans when they first arrived, he did sit in council with them at his village later. The Americans provided him with a medal and an American flag. Both Clark and Lewis admired Comcomly’s sea-otter robe and tried to bargain for it. Comcomly pointed to Sacagawea’s belt of blue beads and indicated that is what he wanted for the robe. One of the captains then gave Sacagawea a blue coat for her belt and she gave the belt to Comcomly. The journals do not indicate who finally got the robe.

The Americans generally expressed mistrust and contempt for both the Chinook and the Clatsop. There is some indication that Comcomly also mistrusted the Americans as evidenced by the fact that he did not visit their camp.  

In 1810, the Boston ship Albatross under the command of Nathan Winship sailed up the Columbia River past Chinook chief Comcomly’s trading headquarters. About 45 miles upstream, the Bostonians built a fort. As an old hand in the Pacific fur trade, Winship wanted to bypass Comcomly’s monopoly on trade with the Indians of the Columbia River and to establish direct trade with the Indian nations upstream.

Comcomly was insulted by this action, and a delegation of warriors, all fully armed, paddled to the newly established fort. There was some hostile confrontation in the form of shooting and shouting. One of the Bostonians recorded:

“Much to our chagrin we find it impossible to prosecute the business as we intended, and we have concluded to pass farther down. On making this known to the Chinooks they appeared quite satisfied and sold us some furs.”

The Bostonians abandoned their enterprise after eight days.

The first permanent settlement of American traders at the mouth of the Columbia River came in 1811when the Pacific Fur Company established Fort Astoria. The first group of Astorians arrived on the ship Tonquin. Two of the American partners, Duncan McDougal and David Stuart came ashore in a small boat and met with Chief Comcomly. They found Comcomly agreeable to the idea of a trading post for his people.

When the Americans set out to return to their ship, Chief Comcomly pointed out that the rough conditions on the river would make the trip across the Bar difficult in their small vessel. The Americans didn’t listen and set out anyway. Chief Comcomly, knowing that they couldn’t make it, simply followed in one of his canoes. When the traders’ boat capsized, Comcomly rescued them. Comcomly took the wet men ashore, built a fire, dried their clothes, and then took them to a Chinook village. He advised them to wait until conditions were more suitable for the return to their ship.

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The Americans found that the Chinook village consisted of about 30 very large, wood houses. For three days they were entertained in the village (it is assumed that this included having sex with Chinook women). Then Comcomly took his guests back to their ship in his royal canoe. This helped firm up the good relations between Comcomly and the traders.

The trading alliance with Fort Astoria added to the prestige and wealth of the Chinook in general and Comcomly in particular. The power which Comcomly held over the trade along the Columbia can be seen in the log of the Pacific Fur Company. Fort Astoria was visited by few Clatsop and Chehalis and when asked about why they didn’t trade directly:

“They told us that being cautioned by the Chinooks, against coming, as we were very inveterate against their Nation, for their conduct to former Visetors they did not wish to put themselves in our power. This we made them sensible to be an egregious falsehood imposed upon them by the Chinooks, merely to monopolize the Trade….”

In order to solidify the alliance even further, McDougal dispatched one of his clerks with an important message for Comcomly: he wanted to marry one of Comcomly’s daughters. Comcomly, who had many daughters, was pleased to oblige.

Comcomly made almost daily visits to Fort Astoria and was admitted to the most intimate councils of his son-in-law. He was also given his own quarters in the fort.

Word that the United States was at war with Britain reached the Astorians in 1813 along with a party of Nor’westers (traders from the North West Company-owned by the British). The Nor’Westers informed the Astorians that a British war ship was on its way to take over the fort and consequently the Astorians hastily sold the fort to the Nor’westers.

When the British warship Racoon arrived, Fort Astoria was renamed Fort George. Comcomly was soon aboard the Racoon telling the captain that he was delighted to see a British ship on the river. He left with a British flag, coat, hat, and sword. The following day, he wore his new regalia to Fort George. Duncan McDougal, the working partner of the Pacific Fur Company who sold the company to the Nor’Westers, stayed on at the fort in the employ of the Nor’Westers. This meant that Comcomly retained his connections with the trading post.

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In 1821, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and the Nor’westers merged. In 1824, HBC governor George Simpson and Dr. John McLoughlin, the new chief factor for the fort, arrived at Fort George. Simpson was not pleased with either the fort or with Comcomly’s relationship to it. With regard to Comcomly and the Chinook, Simpson said:

“They never take the trouble of hunting and rarely employ their Slaves in that way, they are however keen traders and through their hands nearly the whole of our Furs pass, indeed so tenacious are they of the Monopoly that their jealousy would carry them the length of pillaging and even murdering strangers who come to the Establishment if we did not protect them.”

HBC moved their trading operation 90 miles upriver where they established Fort Vancouver. This moved deprived Comcomly of his role of middleman, thus diminishing his prestige and wealth.

Comcomly had an excellent understanding of the Columbia River and its dangerous Bar. With the increasing number of ships attempting to cross the Bar bringing in trade goods and supply, Comcomly’s skill as a pilot was soon in great demand. His skill as a pilot earned him the respect of the HBC captains as well as Chief Factor McLoughlin.

In 1830, the epidemic known as the “cold sick” (possibly malaria) swept through the Native populations of the region. One of the victims of this epidemic was Comcomly. He was estimated to be in his mid-sixties when he died. His body, together with his war weapons, ceremonial dresses, and other possessions, was placed in a canoe. The canoe was placed on a raised platform near Point Ellice.

The Tulalip and Europeans

The Tulalip tribes–Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and others-have lived along the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) for thousands of years. Dramatic changes in their cultures began 1792 with the arrival of the British ship Discovery. Several of the displays at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve tell the story of these changes from the Tulalip perspective.

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The initial contacts involved trade: the Europeans offered the Tulalip many different kinds of European manufactured goods in exchange for furs and food. The fur trade intensified after the Hudson’s Bay Company established For Langley in what is now British Columbia. Unfortunately, the European traders also brought with them epidemic diseases-smallpox, measles, chicken pox, influenza, tuberculosis, and alcoholism-which devastated the Native population. In a few short years, half of the population died.

The fur trade also brought over hunting which resulted in fewer animals. Then came the European and American settlers who ignored Native rights to the land and simply cleared the land they wanted for their homesteads. This culminated in the Treaty of Point Elliot in 1855. Eighty-two chiefs attended the treaty conference near present-day Everett, Washington. Fifteen tribes signed over to the United States 10,000 square miles of their ancestral lands. Each of the tribes was to receive $150,000 in annuities to be delivered over a twenty year period

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According to one display:

“Not everyone agreed that signing the treaty was a good idea. Some leaders felt they did not have a choice and that signing was the only way to preserve their traditional way of life for future generations.”

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A copy of the treaty is shown above.

Under the reservation system established by the treaty, the people were impoverished. Laws and regulations were imposed on the people as to how they were to live and where they could fish, gather, and hunt. The boarding schools were designed to destroy tribal cultures.

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Religion:

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The United States government sought to exterminate all vestiges of Native American religion and from 1884 to 1934 traditional Indian practices were illegal. The Indian Shaker Church was organized on the Tulalip Reservation in 1810 as a means to continue Native spirituality.

Revitalization:

The exhibits at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve also tell a story of cultural revitalization: reviving Tulalip culture in the twenty-first century.

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Ranald MacDonald, Teacher of English to the Japanese

In 1853 Commodore Matthew C. Perry brought the American Navy to Japan and forced Japan to end its policy of isolation from the rest of the world. In the negotiations, the Japanese government had interpreters who spoke English. Since Japan had isolated itself from the rest of the world and had barred foreigners from their island nation, how did Japanese interpreters come to speak English? The answer to this question lies in the hidden history of American Indians.  

About Japan:

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Japan had closed its doors to the outside world. This was in response to aggressive Christian missionaries from Spain and Portugal who were converting Japanese and threatening traditional Japanese society. The Shogunate expelled the missionaries and then forced the converts to revert to Japanese religions or die.

After 1635 and the introduction of Seclusion laws, foreigners were forbidden to enter Japan and the Japanese were not allowed to leave. Some foreign trade was allowed from the southern port of Nagasaki, but here the foreigners, mostly irreligious Chinese and a few Protestant Dutch, lived in prison-like conditions. Inbound ships were allowed only from China, Korea, and the Netherlands. These ships, known as Red Seal Ships, were required to have a permit from the Shogun.

With the discovery of Hawaii by Americans and Europeans in the late eighteenth century, the establishment of Fort Astoria in the early nineteenth century, and the development of the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest generated a great deal of interest in Japan. A lucrative system of triangular trade developed in which American ships acquired furs from Indians along the coast of present-day Oregon and Washington, then took these furs to China where they were traded for Chinese goods, and then transported their Chinese cargoes to the Northeastern United States. Now if Japan could be added to this trade, American and English businessmen speculated, even greater profits could be made.

In 1822, John Quincy Adams urged that:

“it was the duty of Christian nations to open Japan, and that it was the duty of Japan to respond to the demands of the world, as no nation had a right to withhold its quota to the general progress of mankind.”

Ranald MacDonald:

Ranald MacDonald was born near present-day Astoria, Oregon in 1824. His mother was generally called Princess Raven or Princess Sunday. Her Chinook name was Koale’xoa and her father was  the prominent Chinook leader Comcomly MacDonald’s father, of Scots heritage, was Archibald McDonald, the Chief Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Shortly after he was born, the Hudson’s Bay Company moved its operations from Fort George (now Astoria, Oregon) 90 miles upstream to Fort Vancouver. As a Métis child in a fur trading community and household, he grew up hearing a mixture of languages-French, English, Gaelic, Chinook, Iroquois, and other Indian languages. Thus he was able to quickly adapt to different cultures.

In 1833, the Japanese ship Hojun-maru washed ashore near Cape Flattery. The ship had set sail more than a year before from the Japanese port of Toba with a cargo of rice and ceramics. A storm blew the ship off course. When the crippled junk made landfall, the Makah captured three Japanese sailors. The Hudson’s Bay Company bought the sailors from the Makah hoping to use them to open up trading with the Japanese. As a child growing up in the Hudson’s Bay Company trading post of Fort Vancouver, he heard many stories about Japan and about the Japanese sailors who had been shipwrecked.

For hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, ships from Japan and China had been riding the Kuroshio (Black) Current from Asia to North America. The Hojun-Maru was not the first crippled Asian ship to make the trip, nor would it be the last. MacDonald, like many others, felt that his Native American ancestry was linked somehow to Japan. The stories of the Japanese ships coming to North America nourished within him the dream of visiting this island nation.

As an aside, it should be noted that the Hudson’s Bay Company, once they had purchased the Japanese sailors from the Makah, transported them first to Fort Vancouver in present-day Washington, and then to London. In London, they were placed on a ship with Christian missionaries to return them to Japan with the hope of opening up Japan to both trade and Christianity. The Japanese, however, fired upon the vessel and refused to allow it to land.

Ranald MacDonald started his formal education by attending a Hudson’s Bay Company school at Fort Vancouver, Washington. At the age of ten he was then sent to the Hudson’s Bay Company school at the Red River Settlement in Manitoba (Canada). After graduating from school, he became a bank clerk apprentice, but soon quit, journeyed to New York City, and looked for a ship to take him to Japan. Failing to find such a ship, he went to Europe and later to San Francisco as a sailor.

One of his shipmates describes him this way:

“a man of about five feet, seven inches; thick set; straight hair and dark complexion…He was a good sailor, well-educated, a firm mind, well calculated for the expedition upon which he embarked.”

In 1848, Ranald MacDonald made a deal with the captain of a U.S. whaling ship in Hawaii. The ship carried him across the Pacific. After successfully taking a number of whales near Japan, MacDonald purchased from the captain a small boat rigged for sailing. With supplies for 36 days and located about five miles from the nearest island, he bid farewell to the ship to set out on his adventure.

He came ashore on Rishiri Island in northern Japan. When he landed he was met not by Japanese but by Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan. The Ainu, whose men have beards and abundant body hair and whose women tattooed their upper lips, do not look Japanese. The Ainu, after welcoming him, turned him over to the Japanese authorities. The first word spoken by the high-ranking Japanese official who first interviewed him was Nippon-jin (Japan-man, indicating that MacDonald looked Japanese).

The Japanese took him to Nagasaki. Here he spent six months as a prisoner. The question of his citizenship at this point in time is interesting: he was Chinook, an American Indian nation, because of his mother; he had been born in Astoria when the British flag was flying there and his father was British; he had been educated in Canada; but at the time of his capture, Astoria had just become a part of the United States.

During his time in Nagasaki he taught English to the Japanese interpreters, Moriyama and Tokojiro, who would later carry out the negotiations with Commodore Perry. He would later write:

“Without boast, I may say that I picked up their language easily, many of their words sounding familiar to me-possibly through my maternal ancestry.”

He also wrote:

“In look, facial features, etc. I was not unlike them; my sea life and rather dark complexion, moreover giving me their general colour-a healthy bronze.”

He was deported from Japan in 1849, but instead of returning to the United States or Canada, he continued traveling around the world. He spent some time working at various jobs in British Columbia and in 1882 moved to the old Hudson’s Bay Company trading post of Fort Colville in Washington.

MacDonald wrote a book about his adventures in Japan and in 1853 left the original manuscript with a friend of his father’s, Malcolm McLeod, in Ottawa. He did not communicate with McLeod again for 25 years. By 1887, he had prepared a second draft of the manuscript and a third by 1891. At this time, however, no publisher was willing to produce the book as public interest in Japan had faded.

By 1891 he had returned to Astoria, Oregon where he was respected as the only lineal descendent of chief Comcomly. He died in 1894 on the Colville Reservation in Washington. As he died in his niece’s arms, his last words were “Sayonara, my dear, sayonara…”

Today, the Japanese remember Ranald McDonald as the “first teacher of English.” There is a monument to him in Nagasaki, Japan. In addition, there is another monument to him in Astoria, Oregon with the inscription written in Japanese.

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Suquamish Canoes (Photo Diary)

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The Northwest Coast culture area is oriented toward water: both the ocean and the many rivers flowing into it. Before the coming of the Europeans, the villages were built near water, either on the sea coast or on a river. Transportation was primarily by water. Distances were measured by how far a canoe could travel in a single day. The traditional cultures of the Norwest Coast Indians nations, such as the Suquamish, is often characterized as a canoe culture.

The Suquamish are the people of the clear salt water. For more than 10,000 years they have occupied that area known today as the Kitsap Peninsula, Bainbridge Island, Blake Island, and parts of Whidbey Island.

Traditionally the Suquamish, a Salish-speaking people, were a maritime people. Since settling in the area thousands of years ago, they carried out trade by travelling long distances throughout the Salish Sea. They travelled northward to the islands, westward to the Pacific Ocean and down the coast. They travelled for fishing, trading, visiting, and warfare against enemy nations.

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During the 20th century the canoe culture which had characterized Suquamish life nearly disappeared. Then in 1989, a revitalization began with Paddle to Seattle. This event marked the beginning of the re-emergence of many aspects of Suqamish culture.

Carriers of the Canoe Culture Through Time

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There are many creation stories among the people: these stories do not contradict one another. In the Suquamish Museum there are six sculptures holding up a canoe giving homage to Carriers of the Canoe Culture through Time.

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The two animals at the back of the canoe are Otters: they represent the earliest times of creation, when people and animals could shape shift and had the full freedom of communication.

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The two figures in the center represent the Ancestors, from a time before the land was shared with non-Indians.

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The two people in the front of the canoe are the Suquamish people today.

Modern Canoes:

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Non-Indians and the Makah, 1788 to 1855

Non-Indians first encountered the Makah in 1788 when the British sloop Princess Royal anchored at the Makah village of Classet on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The Makah, who occupy the western-most part of what is now the lower forty-eight states of the United States, had lived in this territory for thousands of years. Unlike the other Indian nations of coastal Washington and the Puget Sound area, the Makah are not a Salish-speaking group, but are instead the southern-most members of the Wakashan language family. Linguistically, the Makah are most closely related to the Nootka (Nuu-cha-nulth) of British Columbia.  

Two years later, the Spanish explorer Manual Quimper traded with the Makah under chief Tutusi at Neah Bay. The following year, the Spanish explorer Francisco de Liza visited the Makah in Neah Bay and traded 33 sheets of copper for 20 small boys and girls. Slavery was common among the tribe of the Pacific Northwest long before European contact. Among the Makah, slaves were captured in warfare, or sometimes they were purchased from other tribes who had acquired them by capture.

In 1792, the Spanish returned with the intent of establishing a permanent colony on Makah territory on the Olympic Peninsula. Under the Doctrine of Discovery, the Spanish, as a Christian nation, felt that they had legal, moral, and religious rights in claiming Indian land. The colonists of Nunez Gaona came to describe the Makah as warlike, thievish, and treacherous. As a result, they soon abandoned the colony. José Cardero, the Spanish artist with the colony, painted the portrait of Chief Tatoosh and his two wives.

In 1828, Captain Henry Kellet landed at a Makah village for fresh water. He met Chief Dee-ah. Kellet was unable to pronounce the name correctly and recorded the site as Neah Bay.

In 1833, the Japanese ship Hojun-maru washed ashore near Cape Flattery. The ship had set sail more than a year before from the Japanese port of Toba with a cargo of rice and ceramics. A storm blew the ship off course. When the crippled junk made landfall, the Makah captured three Japanese sailors. The Hudson’s Bay Company bought the sailors from the Makah hoping to use them to open up trading with the Japanese.

For hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, ships from Japan and China had been riding the Kuroshio (Black) Current from Asia to North America. The Hojun-Maru was not the first crippled Asian ship to make the trip, nor would it be the last.

In 1849, Samuel Hancock established a trading post among the Makah at Neah Bay. The Makah had not requested the trading post and were unhappy about this intrusion on their land. They tried to make Hancock leave and threatened to kill him. Hancock threatened to contact the American government for military support and the Makah backed off their threats.

The non-Indians brought in more than manufactured trade goods, such as metal axes, guns, glass beads, and other items: they also brought with them epidemic diseases such as smallpox, measles, mumps, influenza, and more. These new diseases devastated Indian communities.

In the 1850s, smallpox ravaged the Makah, decimating their population. There was not a single epidemic, but several. Many elders died before they could transmit their cultural knowledge to others. In 1852, the Makah abandoned the village of Biheda because of smallpox. The residents moved to nearby Neah Bay.

Trading vessels from San Francisco carried smallpox to the coastal tribes of Washington and Oregon in 1853. An estimated 2,000-3,000 Indians died. One witness described the impact of the epidemic on the Makah at Neah Bay, Washington:

“The beach for a distance of eight miles was literally strewn with the dead bodies of these people.”

On the heels of the smallpox epidemic, and reeling from the deaths of so many tribal members, the Makah had to deal with another new disease: American greed. Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens imposed a series of treaties on the coastal Indian nations in which they gave up much of their homeland and moved out of the way of American settlement.

The Americans concluded the Treaty of Neah Bay on the Olympic Peninsula in 1855. The Makah agreed to the establishment of a reservation at Neah Bay. None of the five main Makah villages were included within the new reservation. While the Makah had been successful fishing people for thousands of years, the United States wanted them to become farmers on land which is not suited for agriculture.

As in other treaty councils, Stevens told the Makah to select a single man to serve as their supreme chief even though this had never been their traditional way. When they declined to do so, he simply appointed Tse-kow-wootl, an Ozette, as supreme chief.

The Makah, whose orientation was toward the sea, were willing to sign the treaty as long as it allowed them to continue to venture out onto the Pacific Ocean to fish and hunt whales so that they could support their people. The treaty called for the Makah to be paid $30,000 in goods.

In understanding the treaty, it must be kept in mind that the Makah had been devastated by smallpox and many of their traditional leaders were dead. Many of those who signed the treaty were not the traditional leaders.

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Shown above is the longhouse in front of the Makah Cultural and Research Center.

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The figures shown above are in front of the Makah Cultural and Research Center.

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Shown above is a photograph of a Makah woman by Edward Curtis.

Tulalip Canoes (Photo Diary)

For the Salish-speaking tribes of the Washington coast, canoes were traditionally not only their most important form of transportation, they were also cultural icons. The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve honors the Tulalip (Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and others) cultures.

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The importance of canoes to the Tulalip peoples is evident in the Hibulb Culture Center. The canoe theme shown in the windows above is repeated throughout the Center.  

Canoes were made by hollowing out a single log with fire and adzes. By filling the hollowed out log with hot water, the canoe makers could then widen the canoe by forcing stout cross-pieces between the gunwales.

Carving a canoe begins with spiritual preparation: the carvers must prepare themselves with fasting, prayers, and the sweatlodge. It is not uncommon for the task of carving a large canoe to take two years. Once the log is chosen, a prayer is said for the cedar and an offering is given to thank it for its sacrifice.

The final stage in carving the canoe involves the use of hot rocks and water to steam-bend the sides outwards. This steaming also draws the bow and stern upwards as well as adding strength to the vessel. For the large ocean-going canoes, the prow and stern pieces are added last, the thwarts and seats are installed, and the exterior is finished. Then the canoe is given a name and is ready to begin its life on the water.

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Three canoes are displayed in the Center.

River Canoe:

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The river canoe shown above was carved about 1880 by William Shelton. It was restored by the Tulalip Tribes Carving and Arts Department.

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The bow of the canoe is shown above.

Small Canoe:

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This small canoe was carved about 1930 from a single log by William Shelton.

Ocean-Going Canoe:

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This canoe was made about 1880 as part of a wedding dowry. The canoe was built by the bride’s family from the Quinault Nation and given to the Tulalip groom is a wedding present.

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Shown above is a detail of where the mast would have been placed. Sails, prior to the arrival of the Europeans, were made from woven mats.

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The canoe was made from hollowing out a single large cedar log. The sides were then spread apart and the bow and stern pieces were then added.

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The bow is shown above.

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The stern of the canoe is shown above. The stern piece was added to the dugout form.

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The photograph above shows the additional piece which was added to the gunnels.

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The photograph above shows how the thwarts (i.e. seats) were attached.

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Ancient America: Tulalip Archaeology

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve has several displays of artifacts found during the archaeological excavation of sites occupied by their ancestors. While it is not a part of the Tulalip cultural beliefs to uncover ancestral remains or ancient village sites, the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve was gifted these artifacts and is now charged with the responsibility to care for them in perpetuity for the ancestors who once owned them. The artifacts were gifted by archaeologist John L. Mattson.  

Hibulb Site:

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve is named in honor of the great village of Hibulb which was the largest village of the Snohomish Tribe. The village was built within a large palisade of upright cedar poles approximately 18 feet high. The village was positioned so that the people could defend themselves against hostile tribe and communicate by messengers with the smaller villages along the shoreline.

Hibulb had the largest longhouse in Snohomish territory: 115 feet and 43 feet. In addition to the big longhouse, the village contained four smaller longhouses (100 feet by 40 feet) and other structures.

Some of the archaeological artifacts from this site are shown below.

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Biderbost Site:

The Biderbost Site (45/SN/100) was the first significant wet site excavated in Washington. Archaeological wet sites exist when waterlogged artifacts like wood weirs, nets, and basketry are preserved in an oxygen-free environment. The site was uncovered during a flood on the lower Snoqualmie River in 1959. The site was occupied about 2,000 years ago.

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Peterson Site:

While Dr. Mattson estimates that this site is probably not more than 3,000 years old, tribal elders feel that it goes back to time immemorial. This was a large fishing and hunting village.

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The Cedar People (Photo Diary)

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The Heritage Museum in Astoria, Oregon has one gallery devoted to displays and interpretation of the Native peoples of the Columbia River: Clatsop, Chinook, Kathlament, Klatskanie, and Tillamook. The Clatsop occupied the areas of Astoria, Warrenton, and down the coast to Seaside. The Klatskanie lived inland along the coastal range. The Kathlamet lived farther upriver. The Tillamook and Nehalem lived on the coast south of Seaside. To the north of the river lived the Chinook, Wahkiakum, and Shoalwater. Shown below are photographs of some of the displays.  

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Fishing was an important economic activity. Shown above is a fishing spear.

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Shown above is a net weight used for anchoring fishing nets.

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The Indian nations of the lower Columbia were well-known for their basketry skills (see above).

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One of the unique features of the Indian cultures of the Northwest Coast is the basketry hats such as the one shown above, often used to protect the wearer from rain.

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Shown above is a picture of food preparation.

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One of the cultural practices of the Indian people of the Lower Columbia was cranial deformation: the flattening of the head. As an infant, the child would be placed in a cradleboard which had a board that came down over the child’s forehead. The board would then be tied firmly in place. The result, seen in the painting above, was the high forehead. This custom was practiced especially by more prestigious members of the tribes.

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The Indian nations of the Lower Columbia traditionally buried their dead in raised canoes along with all their worldly possessions. The name of the dead person was never spoken again. A burial in a raised box is shown in the painting above.

Language:  

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The Chinook, Clatsop, and Kathlamet languages all belong to the Chinookan language family. The Tillamook language, spoken farther south, belongs to the Salish language family, and the Klatskanie language, spoken to the east, belongs to the Athapascan language family.

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Shown above is Charles Cultee (1850-1897). According to the display:

“Little would be known about the Lower Chinook proper and Kathlamet languages once spoken along the Lower Columbia River if not for Charles Cultee. He was one of the last speakers of those two languages.”

Franz Boas, often regarded as the “Father of American Anthropology,” interviewed Cultee over a period of several years beginning in 1890.  Cultee told Boas the old stories in Chinook proper and in Kathlamet. Boas wrote these stories down and published them along with an English translation as Chinook Texts (1894) and Kathlamet Texts (1901). As a result of their collaboration, the languages, myths, and traditions of both groups were preserved.

Housing:

The Indians of the Lower Columbia River lived in villages of 5 to 20 permanent longhouses. The houses, made from cedar planks and cedar logs, ranged in size from 20 to 60 feet in length and from 14 to 20 feet in width. The roof was a pitched gable with a long overhanging eve. The houses were built over a pit that was 4-5 feet deep and roughly the same size as the dwelling.

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The doorway to the house (shown above) was an oval shaped opening just large enough for one person to pass through at a time.

Several families would live in a single longhouse. Bunks made from cedar planks lined the interior of the outside walls and served as shelving and storage areas as well as providing sleeping quarters. A single house might be home to 20 to 50 people. Cooking was done over a large fire pit in the center of the house. Large houses might have more than one hearth.

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Shown above is the inside of the longhouse at the Heritage Museum.

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The Heritage Museum is shown above.

Modern Indian Scouts For Christian Fascists

A historical paradox is that once a people are freed, they sometimes become the aggressors. For instance, the Texans who defeated the Mexicans in the Texas Revolution fought exterminated the Comanche; some freed slaves became Buffalo Soldiers and joined the genocide campaign. Today, there are Christianized American Indians, and Christianized into Dominionism, who commit cultural genocide. They are the hidden face of Dominionism.

These dominionist American Indians are either ignorant of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and their history, or they do not care (anymore).


American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978

On and after August 11, 1978, it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.

These modern day Indian scouts for the Christian Fascists may do it for one reason or another, but no one knows why they do it but them.


Source

After his conversion Chief Red Cloud gave up the land where Holy Rosary Mission was built. He asked to be buried at the Holy Rosary cemetery in the black robe of the Catholic priests. He was granted his wish. He and other tribal leaders then proceeded to give up land for other religious orders to build their churches and schools.

Would Crazy Horse have done the same if he had surrendered his freedom to become an Agency Indian?

Despite the general history.


Source

Since the colonizing British, and subsequently the Americans, had little use for Indian servitude, but only wanted Indian land, they appealed to other Christian and European sources of wisdom to justify their genocide: the Indians were Satan’s helpers, they were lascivious and murderous wild men of the forest, they were bears, they were wolves, they were vermin. Allegedly having shown themselves to be beyond conversion to Christian or to civil life-and with little British or American need for them as slaves-in this case, straightforward mass killing of the Indians was deemed the only thing to do.

Or despite the more specific history.

Theodore Roosevelt…

The fourth face you see on that “Stony Mountain” is America’s first twentieth century president, alleged American hero, and Nobel peace prize recipient, Theodore Roosevelt. This Indian fighter firmly grasped the notion of Manifest Destiny saying that America’s extermination of the Indians and thefts our their lands “was ultimately beneficial as it was inevitable”. Roosevelt once said, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth”. (Stannard, Op.Cit.)

They have nonetheless chosen to be modern Indian scouts for the Christian Fascists.


Researching U.S. Army Indian Scouts, 1866-1914 By Trevor K. Plante

The Army Reorganization Act of 1866 authorized the President “to enlist and employ in the Territories and Indian country a force of Indians not to exceed one thousand to act as scouts, who shall receive the pay and allowances of cavalry soldiers, and be discharged whenever the necessity for further employment is abated, at the discretion of the department commander.” One of the most significant measures in the act was that Indians would receive the same pay as white cavalry soldiers.

Jay Swallow of the New Apostolic Reformation, Cheyenne-Sioux, is in charge of Christianizing Native Americans nationally, and he runs the Spiritual Warfare Military training camp in Bixby, Oklahoma.


In 2004 Drs. Swallow and Bigpond saw the need of Spiritual Warfare Training and developed The Strategic Warriors At Training Boot Camps. There was an enormous amount of prophetic information throughout this nation concerning a major move of the Spirit of God in visiting the Tribes of this hemisphere. It was discerned that the enemy had planted himself within the areas targeted for transformation. A state of emergency had risen as the result of this resistance by the enemy in Indian country.

(Start at 5:50)

You Tube Video

They “practice” burning sacred Native American objects at that “training camp” in Oklahoma. Directly or indirectly, his influence to motivate somebody to commit cultural genocide spread up to Wisconsin (2012) and down to Texas (2007).


Will Arson Attack Cause Holy War Between Born-Agains and Natives?

On the night of July 17 and early morning of July 18, six suspicious fires destroyed three traditional ceremonial structures on the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe (LCO) reservation in northern Wisconsin, and two other structures were also severely damaged. The destroyed buildings included a ceremonial lodge, historic home for generations of big drum ceremonies and two private sweat lodges. A big drum dance ring as well as a structure at the pow wow grounds, home of the long-running Honor the Earth pow wow was damaged. An RV that served as the residence for Paul DeMain, a longtime journalist on LCO, was completely destroyed, and the main building on his property, home to News From Indian Country was also partially burned.

snip

Christopher Grover, an LCO tribal member, was reportedly arrested not long after as a “person of interest” in the cases. Grover, 38, has ties to local evangelicals who embrace elements of a growing ideological movement that has been known to equate  traditional Native spirituality with a dangerous form of idolatry, even witchcraft.

snip

Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action, a website dedicated to challenging the claims of the religious right, published what he says is an archived report by International Coalition of Apostles member Tom Schlueter in which he describes a ceremony in Olney, Texas in 2007 during which apostles-including Jay Swallow, Cheyenne-Sioux-smashed “Native American matrimonial vases” representing the demon powers of Baal and Leviathan.

And what is the correlation between the States and Canada in 2011, insofar as this Cultural Genocide is concerned?


“The Council hereby unanimously declares that the sweat lodge is to be dismantled and removed, and that all sweat lodge practices in the community immediately cease. Oujé-Bougoumou will continue to uphold its faith in and guidance by God.”

Though disappointed by this ruling, Mianscum hoped the council would reconsider, but he also began seeking legal and political assistance, writing to human rights attorneys and other Cree leadership.

Meanwhile, the Oujé-Bougoumou band council notified Lana Wapachee by letter in early December that several elders and community members were coming to her property to take the sweat lodge down. And they did. It was dismantled on Dec. 6 as Mianscum and dozens of community members stood witness. Police said the outer structure had to be dismantled as well. All the materials were left in a pile in the yard.

I can’t say if there is a direct correlation, yet the mindset is very similar here and in Canada. I’ve written 8 diaries over this since 2009, and I can only come to one conclusion.

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The Sand Creek Massacre brought to light one predominant thought: the whites didn’t kill them just for the land, the whites wanted all Indians dead. So, these plastic Christians aren’t assimilating Native Americans to “save” them, they want ALL INDIAN RELIGION DEAD. Furthermore, they must use modern Indian Scouts to “track” them. Combat tracking was used as a method of trailing and gathering information on the enemy until finally locating and attacking them. Units such as Churches Rangers tracked enemy Indian bands through forests and swamps to conduct attacks on their camps.

I conclude with a line from the Two Rivers Native American Training Center’s website.

(bold mine)


A state of emergency had risen as the result of this resistance by the enemy in Indian country.

Indeed.


Source

Greatly varied though the specific details of individual cases may be, throughout the Americas today indigenous peoples continue to be faced with one form or another of a five-centuries-old dilemma. At the dawn of the fifteenth century, Spanish conquistadors and priests presented the Indians they encountered with a choice: either give up your religion and culture and land and independence, swearing allegiance “as vassals” to the Catholic Church and the Spanish Crown, or suffer “all the mischief and damage” that the European invaders choose to inflict upon you. It was called the requerimiento. The deadly predicament that now confronts native peoples is simply a modern requerimiento: surrender all hope of continued cultural integrity and effectively cease to exist as autonomous peoples, or endure as independent peoples the torment and deprivation we select as your fate.

Red Jacket, Seneca Sachem

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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.

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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.

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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).

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.

 

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.

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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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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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.