"YOUR HEROES ARE NOT OUR HEROES"
Tall Oak -Narraganset-
"What has happened has happened and can not be changed. We must find a way to move forward, together"
"What seems to matter most is the great silence, the denial of any holocaust."
"The danger lies in forgetting."
"The truth shall make you free."
|Christopher Columbus||General Jeffery Amherst||John Sutter||Louis Agassiz|
|King Ferdinand||Georges de Buffon||Brigham Young||U.S. Grant||Robert Peary|
|Francisco Coronado||Benjamin Franklin||Governor Leeland Stanford||General George Crook||Theodore Roosevelt|
|Governor Peter Burnett||Dr. Saxon Pope|
|Don Juan Onate||The Militia Men||Samuel Morton||Phillip Sheridan||Gutzon Borglum|
|Hernando DeSoto||George Washington||Horace Greeley||William T. Sherman||Harry S Truman|
|Ponce de Leon||Thomas Jefferson||General Pope||George Armstrong Custer||John Wayne|
|Captain John Smith||Martin Van Buren||Abraham Lincoln||L. Frank Baum||Ronald Reagan|
|King James of England||Daniel Boone||Doctor William Mayo||Mark Twain||William Renquist|
|The Pilgrims||Andrew Jackson||John Evans||"Pa" Engalls||Rush Limbaugh|
|John Winthrop||Commisioners of Indian Affairs||Colonel John Milton Chivington||Senator Henry L. Dawes||George W. Bush|
|Peter Minuit||Oliver Wendell Holmes||Colonel George Shoup||The Donner Party|
(NOTE: footnoted quotes and facts can be accessed on the "Sources" page)
|Christopher Columbus: |
"So tractable, so peaceable, are these people that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy." 1)
"The King [the leader or "chief"] observes such a wonderful estate in such a dignified manner that it is a pleasure to see. Neither better people nor land can there be. The houses and villages are so pretty. They love their neighbors as themselves and they have the sweetest speech in the world and they are gentle and they are always laughing" 1) -The Old Navigator, Christopher Columbus-
Columbus ran his flagship, the Santa Maria, aground on the island of Hispaniola on Christmas Eve in 1492. The Taino people helped rescue Columbus and his men and helped salvage the shipwrecked Santa Maria. The Taino people helped Columbus dismantle the wrecked flagship and erect a fort with the salvaged timbers. 40)
In his journals Columbus wrote of the peaceful, generous nature of the Taino People. He noted their language did not have a word for war. 64) He named them Indios, and referred to the Taino People as, "Children of God." But he also wrote, "I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased." 1) Columbus also noted that the Tanio People, "....should be good and intelligent servants." 71). 91).
"Now I have ordered my men to build a tower and a fort. Not that I believe it to be necessary for it is obvious that with these men that I bring, I could subdue all of this island, since the people are naked [without armor] and without arms. But it is right that this tower be made so that with love and fear they will obey." -Christopher Columbus- 1493.
When Columbus left Hispaniola he rewarded the Taino people by kidnaping 25 of them, and selling the handful of survivors into slavery. 1). 40).
"In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil wood which could be sold."
On Columbus's second voyage, he returned with 17 heavily armed ships 1500 men, cannon, guns, crossbows, and attack dogs. All of which he used to fulfill his wishes of conquest of these "Children of God." After his attempts of conquest and enslavement were met with resistance his descriptions of these people became less complementary. 39) 1) 64)
The Taino People were forced to pay a stipend to the Spanish. All Taino People living in the gold mining districts that were over the age of 14 were required to produce three ounces of gold, four times a year. 39) 1)
"Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to paradise." 39) -Christopher Columbus-
Other Taino People were levied taxes of food, cotton, and forced sex. Columbus would casually note in his journals that young girls of the ages 9 to 10 were the most desired by his men. 1) A story recorded by Michele de Cuneo is frightening proof of this abomination. After Columbus and his men fought a battle on Santa Cruz with a small band of Native People, Columbus presented Michele de Cuneo with a captured Taino girl that de Cuneo described as, "....most beautiful." The young maiden was taken by de Cuneo to his cabin where the young woman defended herself so fiercely that de Cuneo wrote, "...I wished I had never started. But to tell you the end of it, I seized a rope and beat her well. She cried out in such a way that you would not believe it! Finally we reached an agreement...." 40)
For a more detailed account of the Spanish legacy of rape and sexual exploitation go directly to:
THE LEGEND OF ITABA, THE CRYING INDIAN MAIDEN OF JATIBONICU http://www.taino-tribe.org/page3.html
Failure to produce tribute to the Spanish brought swift and terrible punishment. Those that did not comply were given an "attitude adjustment" that consisted of removal of their nose, ear, hand or foot. Those that actively resisted were burned alive. The Taino People were even forced to carry their oppressors, to spare the Spanish the drudgery of walking. 1)
So great was the death rate of Native slaves as they were being shipped from one location to the next, that Spanish historian Peter Martyr would write in 1516 that , "...a ship without compass, chart, or guide, but only following the trail of dead Indians who had been thrown from the ships could find its way from the Bahamas to Hispaniola." 1)
So great were the cruelties and horrible the degradations that the Taino People suffered at the hands of Columbus and his men, that entire villages would bolt in panic at the sight of a single Spaniard. The whole populations of some villages would, upon the approach of Spanish soldiers, hurl themselves from cliffs, hang themselves, shoot one another with arrows, or take poison to avoid life under the boot of Spanish oppression. Others abandoned their cultivated fields and homes to hide in the forested hills where many thousands starved to death.
Pedro de Cordoba in a letter to King Ferdinand wrote in 1517, "As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide.....Many when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery." 1)
James W. Loewen writes that Columbus was not only the first to ship slaves across the Atlantic but that Columbus was the most prodigious slave trader in recorded history. Over 5,000 Tanio People were exported by Columbus to Europe.
After the surrounding Islands of the Caribbean were likewise depopulated, the African slave trade began to replace the now all but extinct Taino People.
Estimates of the Taino population of Haiti in 1492 range up to 8 million people. In 1496, according to the results of a Spanish census, the populace had dropped to approximately 3 million. By 1516 only 12,000 remained. In 1542, 200 remained alive. By 1555, nearly all 8 million were gone. 1)
The Taino People of the Bahamas did not fare much better. Of an estimated populace of over 50,000 People, the Native population was reduced in the first hundred years after the arrival of the Spanish, to nearly zero. 72)
"How much damage, how many calamities, disruptions and devastations of kingdoms have there been? How many souls have perished in the West Indies over the years and how unjustly? How many unforgivable sins have been committed? ...... What we committed in the West Indies stands out among the most unpardonable offenses ever committed against God and mankind...." 1)
In-spite of the best efforts of Columbus and the Spanish colonialists, the Taino People of the West Indies have survived. I urge you to visit http://www.uctp.org/ or http://www.taino-tribe.org/jatiboni.html two websites of the Taino People.
One of the many ways in which Columbus is honored is through the "Knights of Columbus." This organization does many admirable charitable works and it is through such works that the truth of Columbus' crimes against humanity remain hidden. Contact the "Knights of Columbus," at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to change the name of their organization. Perhaps the "Knights of Las Casas," would better honor the good work this organization does as well as to remember the admirable, although futile efforts of Las Casas to protect the Taino People from the inhuman treatment of Columbus and his compatriots. Feel free to copy the above text and send it to remind the good people at the "Knights of Columbus," that there are people who are aware of the truth.
Ferdinand and Isabella financed Columbus' journeys because they considered it a business venture that would enrich their kingdom's coffers. They were delighted to receive Columbus' gifts of Native American slaves and eagerly embraced and encouraged the plunder and enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Native People on Spanish cotton and cane plantations and in gold and silver mines in the West Indies. After appeals to the King and Queen's Christian beliefs by Bartolome de Las Casas, Ferdinand and Isabella ordered Columbus in 1503, not to engage in the practice of slavery, although exceptions were made for those Indians that refused to convert to Christianity, or for Indians that resisted the Spanish in any manner.. 64)
Pedro de Cieza de Leon wrote of the Spanish Conquistadores, "....wherever Christians have passed , conquering and discovering, it seems as though a fire has gone, consuming everything." 31)
Official state and corporate plunder of the People and land of the "New World" as practiced by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, and described by Pedro de Cieza de Leon is a practice that continues to this day.
|THE MILITIA MEN: Remembered as common men, as hallowed heroes that rose up to overthrow the oppression of English rule, they have other legacies as well.|
On March 7, 1782, a group of Pennsylvania Militia Men under the command of Captain David Williamson, surrounded a village of Delaware Indians near today's town of Gnadenhutten, Ohio. The Delaware had converted to the United Brethren Church, (Moravian), a pacifist Christian faith. Staying true to their new-found faith, the Delaware had refused to take sides in the Revolutionary War, an action that made them friends on neither side of the struggle.
|GEORGE WASHINGTON: |
Known as the, "Father of our Country," he is known by a different name among the Onadaga People. Washington is remembered by the Onadaga as , "The Town Destroyer," and the killer of women and children. 12). 71).
He once described Indian people as, "Having nothing human except the shape." 1).
Having tried twice, unsuccessfully, to enter the British Army, he formed a militia, allied with the British, during the French and Indian War. It was Washington's hope and ambition that this alliance would result in a commission to the British Army.
|THOMAS JEFFERSON: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."|
In 1808, a delegation of Cherokee people, pleaded with President Jefferson to make them citizens, so that they could be granted protection from renegade whites, that were robbing their farms, and business', and killing their people. Jefferson, the father of our democracy, denied their request. 1).
Jefferson wrote that the United States should, "...now to pursue them [Indians] to extermination, or to drive them to new seats beyond our reach." http://www.eyapaha.org
Located on Jefferson's slave plantation of Monticello, were burial mounds that contained the remains of thousands of Native People. Jefferson disinterred many of these bodies to satisfy his curiosity in anthropology. The descendants of these unearthed dead however, were less than satisfied with this behavior.
|MARTIN VAN BUREN: |
President Van Buren would write in 1837: "No state can achieve proper culture, civilization and progress as long as Indians are permitted to remain." 31).
Boone organized "industrial" hunting parties into Shawnee and Cherokee hunting grounds, killing hundreds of deer for their skins. Twice he was stopped by native leaders and warned that he and his men were not welcome and their hunting practices would not be permitted to continue. Ignoring these warnings Boone pressed forward in his quest for riches. Eventually Boone's persistence resulted in hostilities that resulted in the death of his son James. Boone himself would later be captured and adopted into the Shawnee Nation. Boone would return to his old habits and his white relations however. He lost another son, Israel, to hostilities with Native Peoples. Eventually when the First Nations were driven from Kentucky by the onslaught of white "civilization," Boone himself was stripped of ownership of the lands that he had acquired with the blood of his sons. In his later years an embittered Boone would write, "I shun white men and seek the Indian. I am but a common man......I am sorry for any Indian I ever killed, for they were kinder to me than any white man."48).
|ANDREW JACKSON: As a general, he lead an army against the Creek people. Defeating the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, he ordered his soldiers to cut off the noses of the 557, killed Creek warriors to make easier the tallying of the dead. After removal of the noses of the Creek warriors, Jackson's troops skinned the bodies of the dead. The skins were tanned and made into trinkets, and souvenirs such as bridle reins. 6). |
Defying the Supreme Court, as President, he forced the removal of the Choctaw and Cherokee Nations to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Nearly one in four, or over 4000 Cherokee perished on this death march. 31). 1). 12). 11).
The Choctaw fared better. Only one in seven perished, or approximately 2500 men, women and children. To add insult to injury the Choctaw were forced to pay the cost of, $5,097,367.50 for their own removal. Their land in Mississippi was sold for $8,095,614.89. The balance, $2,998,000.00, was kept by the US government. 71).
Jackson felt that conditions of the Cherokee removal, the "Trail of Tears," was so desirable that he noted, "How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions?" 64). Let the record show that no U.S. citizen took Jackson up on his offer.
|COMMISSIONERS OF INDIAN AFFAIRS:|
Lewis Cass (Secretary of War) In 1832 Cass cut off funding of a smallpox vaccination program for Indians of the Upper Missouri fearing the pro British Blackfeet tribe may benefit. Five years later a smallpox epidemic broke out and over 20,000 Native People perished. 67).
|OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES: the celebrated author wrote in 1855, in the poem "Oration.":|
|JOHN SUTTER (huge landholder in California on whose land was found the gold that started the California gold rush): |
Enjoyed the easy life of luxury due to his extensive "ownership" of Indian slaves. In 1844 Sutter's manager, Pierson Reading, wrote, "The Indians of California make as obedient and humble slaves as the Negro in the South."1).
|BRIGHAM YOUNG (apostle in the Latter Day Saint movement. Young was the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death, the founder of Salt Lake City and the first governor of the Utah Territory, United States. Brigham Young University was named in his honor):|
In 1857 Brigham Young ordered an armed force of Mormon men under the command of Mormon elder John D. Lee to, "...waylay our enemies, attack them from ambush, stampede their animals , take their supply trains.... to waste away our enemies." Elder Lee followed Young's order in his attack on a wagon train in the infamous Mountain Meadows massacre. The attack was deliberately fashioned to blame the attack on Paiute Indians, which helped inflame public attitudes against the First People of Utah.
Twenty years later the truth of the conspiracy was brought to light. It was widely reported at the time, that Brigham Young believed that sacrificing Lee would pave the way for Utah's admittance as a state to the United States. Lee was taken to the site of the Mountain Massacre and made to sit on his coffin. As the firing squad drew aim Lee cried out, "Center on my heart boys. Don't mangle my body." 55).
|GOVERNOR LEELAND STANFORD (governor of California, Stanford University was named in his honor): |
California was once the most densely populated Native population center in North America. During the administration of Governor Stanton rag-tag militias ranged across the countryside of California killing Native People to facilitate White settlers in the appropriation Indian lands. 77).
Between the years 1850 and 1863 it is recorded that an estimated 10,000 California Indians were sold into slavery or forced into indentured service. Many of these slaves and servants were Native children that had been taken from their parents.
It has been estimated that the Native population of California was once in excess of 700,000 people. By 1840 this Native populace had plummeted to under 200,000 and by 1870, after twenty years of American rule, their number had dwindled to 31,000. A decline of nearly 8500 people per year.
It has been argued by many historians that in California existed perhaps the most pervasive and murderous record of genocide in American history. One California settler would write that parties of Anglo men would go out two or three times a week and kill an average of 50 or 60 Indians on each trip. 31). One survivor of the Humboldt Villages from Needle Rock wrote later, "About 10 o'clock in the morning some white men came. They killed my grandfather, and my mother and my father. I saw them do it. I was a big girl at the time. They killed my baby sister and cut her heart out and threw it in the brush where I ran and hid.... I didn't know what to do. I was so scared that I guess I ran and hid there a long time with my little sisters heart in my hands," 77).
To view a more complete history of the First People of California go to: http://www.indiancanyon.org/homeframe2000.html
|SAMUEL GEORGE MORTON: Regarded as among the foremost scientific minds in America in the mid 1800's|
Like many of his colleagues of the 1800's Dr. Morton mined scientific evidence to fit a worldview dominated by Christian theology and Euro-centric bias. Morton believed that skull size determined cognitive ability. Aware of the danger of amassing a collection of skulls from Caucasian gravesites, Dr. Morton instead concentrated on acquiring skulls from American Indian burial grounds. The world's best known biologist at the time, Louis Agassiz, wrote his mother that Morton's collection of over 600 skulls, nearly all of which were Indian, was alone worth a trip to America. Morton's collection eventually grew to over 1,000 specimens.
Based on skull size and phrenology (bumps on the skull) Morton determined that Caucasians were the highest race, American Indians according to Morton had an inferior intellect. Morton stated, "The Indian brain was so deficient that the race would be impossible to civilize." Morton also noted that, "....He who has seen one Indian tribe has seen it all." Morton's work influenced anthropology for decades and his work was regarded as among the most advanced of it's time.
After the death of Albert Einstein, Einstein's brain was removed, measured and found to be smaller than the average human brain and far smaller than the largest recorded brain size . It was then that the long discredited work, the nonsense, and bigotry of Samuel Morton and his generation of anthropologists was finally put to rest, once and for all. 64).
|HORACE GREELEY: regarded as one of the most influential journalists of his time, prominent opponent of slavery and the death penalty, he would become the Democratic nominee for President in 1872. Perhaps best remembered for his advice to Josiah Bushnell Grinnell, "Go West young man, go West." |
In 1859 Mr. Greeley wrote the following passage: " To the prosaic observer, the Indian of the woods and prairies is a human being who does little credit to human nature, a slave of appetite and sloth, ...I could not help saying, 'These people must die out, there is no help for them. God has given this Earth to those who will subdue and cultivate it, and it is vain to struggle against his righteous decree."
|GENERAL POPE: First commander of the Military Department of the Northwest, and later a Civil War leader in the Union Army:|
"It is my purpose to exterminate the Sioux."
Later, after uttering these words, General Pope over-saw the military trial of the Santee-Dakota People, arrested after their desperate attempt to drive out the settlers in southwest Minnesota. The Santee-Dakota were slowing starving to death due to chronic shortages of promised government rations and rampant theft of government commodities by traders and corrupt government officials. After a trader named Andrew Myrick told a council of elders, "So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry let them eat grass or their own dung," 92). the Santee-Dakota rebelled and drove off 1000's of settlers, killing hundreds before their rebellion failed against the weight of General Pope's Army. Of the 392 prisoners tried, 306 were sentenced to death. So gross was the miscarriage of justice in these proceedings that all but 38 of the death sentences were commuted.
|ABRAHAM LINCOLN: |
In my opinion the greatest man ever to hold the office of president. I however in all fairness must also point out the fact that after commuting the death sentences of 268 Dakota warriors in 1862, he allowed the execution of 38 Dakota men at the largest mass hanging in U.S. history. Many of the condemned men played no part in the rebellion. One of the executed, was a man named Chaska. Chaska's sole involvement in the rebellion , consisted of protecting a young white woman named Sarah Wakefield. To ensure the young lady's safety and to protect her honor Chaska went so far as to "take" Miss Wakefield as his wife. After the hostilities ended Miss Wakefield courageously but futilely defended Chaska's actions and conduct. Chaska, and his 37 condemned compatriots, plunged through the trap doors of the gallows on December 26th, 1862, the day after the Christian celebration of Christmas. 94).
|Doctor WILLIAM W. MAYO: frontier doctor |
After the mass execution of the Dakota warriors in 1862, Doctor William Mayo and other frontier doctors dug up the bodies of a number of the Dakota warriors. Taking the body of a man named Cut Nose, Doctor Mayo returned the body to his office were he de-fleshed, bleached and cleaned the bones. He then wired the bones together so that he may have a "first rate" display for his office. His two sons developed a boyhood fascination with the skeleton, a fascination that would develop into an interest and obsession for the study of medicine. These two sons of the grave robber, William Mayo, would one day open in Rochester, MN. the world famous Mayo Clinic. 4).
|JOHN EVANS: ( administrator of Rush Medical College, co-founder of the city of Evanston, Illinois, territorial governor of Colorado)|
In the fall of 1864, Black Kettle, White Antelope and other leaders of a band of Cheyenne People, marched into Denver to meet with the governor and the Methodist minister, Colonel John Milton Chivington, and Colonel George Shoup the commander of the Colorado Third Regiment of Volunteers. Black Kettle wanted to impress upon the governor and the Colonels his desire for peace. Black Kettle was to say, " I want you to get all these chiefs here to understand that we are for peace and we have made peace and we may not be mistaken for enemies."
After Black Kettle left the peace conference, Evans was overheard saying, "What shall I do with the 3rd Regiment if I make peace? They were raised to kill Indians and they must kill Indians!"
Governor Evans would eventually help establish the University of Denver and the citizens of the state would honor him in death by holding a state funeral and naming one of North America's highest mountain peaks in his honor.
|COLONEL JOHN MILTON CHIVINGTON (The Bloody Preacher): |
"Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians!" -The Reverend John M. Chivington-
Chivington's, 3rd Regiment of Colorado Volunteers, was commissioned for 100 days and by late October of 1864 had exceeded their "commission," without engaging any "hostile" Indians. The territorial newspapers had openly mocked Chivington and his volunteers by calling them, "The Bloodless Third." Chivington's inability to locate any Indians was resolved as he watched Black Kettle and White Antelope ride back to their village after their peace parley with Gov. Evans in Denver. Black Kettle had left specific directions to the location of his people, who were camped nearby Fort Lyon. The fort's commander, Major Scott Anthony had invited Black Kettle and his people to camp nearby the fort so that they would not be mistaken for "hostiles."
As the soldiers advanced upon the village, Black Kettle and his wife took up a large white flag and walked toward the advancing volunteers crying out for peace. Black Kettle was shot, his wife suffered nine bullet wounds. Thinking her dead, Black Kettle left her in the bloody sand. She would survive the massacre as would Black Kettle.
POSTSCRIPT: On April 25th, 2002, Southwest Entertainment of Minneapolis, MN, purchased the 1,465 acre Dawson Ranch for 1.5 million dollars. Southwest is planning to turn over title of the land to the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes. Ultimately the plan is to have the National Park Service administer the site as a National Historic Site. Jim Druck, president of Southwest Entertainment, was the driving force behind the purchase and transfer to the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes. Mr. Druck was one of the few non-Indian people invited to witness a reburial of Sand Creek victims whose bones had been discovered at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.. "I said then I wanted to do something." -Jim Druck-
|COLONEL GEORGE SHOUP:( one of the founding fathers of Salmon, Idaho, first territorial governor of Idaho and first elected governor of that state, first U.S. senator elected from Idaho)|
Before George Shoup achieved the above mentioned accomplishments he had served as the second in command of The Third Colorado Volunteers, the unit responsible for the slaughter and mutilation of the Cheyenne and Arapaho People at Sand Creek.
Shoup would brag in a letter that as a result of the whipping he and his men had administered, the Indians would lose their will to resist. In fact it was after the atrocities at Sand Creek that warfare broke out all across the Plains. Shoup's political connections shielded him from criminal charges relating to the atrocities committed under his command. Shoup was never brought to trial. 37).
|LOUIS AGASSIZ: regarded as America's foremost anthropologist of the mid 1800s|
Given charge of a new museum at Havard University, Agassiz wrote to Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton in 1865, "Let me have the bodies of some Indians....I should like one or two handsome fellows entire, and the heads of two or three more." The good doctor was kind enough to include detailed instructions for preservation of the bodies, "....in case the weather was not very cold." 64).
|President U.S. GRANT: |
As Commanding General of the Union Army, Grant was appalled by the slaughter at Sand Creek. He said the actions of Colonel Chivington were nothing less than murder. In October of 1868 however General Grant was quoted by the New York Times, "....the settlers and emigrants must be protected, even if the extermination of every Indian tribe is necessary to procure such a result." 42).
Violating the separation of state and government President Grant issued an executive order in 1870, that gave franchise to various religious denominations on the reservations. The intent of this executive order was to destroy Native spiritual belief and further hurry along the process of "whipping the Indian out of the man." Some denominations went so far in making church services mandatory, rations were denied those that did not attend services, or were with-held from those that continued to practice their traditional beliefs. In some cases, when denial of rations to a reluctant "convert" did not work, rations were also denied to the relations, and family of the reluctant "convert" in an effort to prod the person along the path of Christianity. It was in effect, convert or starve, an American version of feeding the "Martyrs" to the lions.
After the Panic of 1873, President Grant was looking for a way to divert citizen's attention from the economic crisis gripping the country and the growing scandals that plagued his administration. President Grant ordered George Armstrong Custer to scout the Black Hills in search of gold, in direct violation of the treaty of 1868. One provision of the Treaty of 1868 stipulated that the government of The United States was responsible for keeping white settlers out of the Black Hills area. When thousands of miners invaded the Black Hills President Grant again violated the treaty and ordered the Army to do nothing. It was his hope that hostility would break out. It did, thus giving the U.S. government the justification to make war upon the Lakota people. 23).
In the brutal winter of 1876, President Grant ordered all Lakota People to move to the various agencies by January 31, 1876. The order stated that all Lakota that did not move to the agencies by this date would be considered "hostiles." Deep snow and temperatures that reached 45 degrees below zero prevented some of the messengers from even reaching the far flung winter encampments before the deadline passed. Those that received the order ignored it as foolishness and refused to place the lives of their elderly and young at risk and instead sent word that they would comply when the weather broke. Regardless, after the deadline passed, President Grant ordered the military campaign that ended the freedom of the Lakota People as well as led up to the demise of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and approximately one-third of his command at the place the Lakota called, Greasy Grass.
As President, Grant advocated and encouraged the slaughter of the buffalo. Between the years 1870-1875 the buffalo were reduced in number from more than 15 million to less than 1 million. 44). From 1874 through 1875 between ten to twenty tons of buffalo bones a day were shipped East on the Santa Fe Railroad alone. 55).
After his gross violation of the Treaty of 1868 Grant sent military negotiators to force the Lakota to "sell" the Black Hills to the United States. These very negotiators would write in 1876 of the sins that they were compelled to commit: "....Our country must forever bear the disgrace and suffer the retribution of its wrongdoing. Our children's children will tell the sad story in hushed tones, and wonder how their fathers dare so trample on justice and trifle with God." 31).
|GENERAL GEORGE CROOK: |
In the spring of 1876 food had run out at many of the government agencies, in-spite of the fact that many bands of the Lakota people had "stayed out." The bands that had obeyed President Grant's ultimatum now found themselves beginning to starve. Many of the bands left the agencies in search of game. General Crook ordered one such band pursued by Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds. Reynolds caught up with this mixed band of Cheyenne and Oglala Lakota people and attacked the sleeping village at dawn on March 17th, 1876. He drove off the Cheyenne and Lakota people, destroyed the village and what belongings and food they had, and captured all the horses. That night the warriors snuck back and recaptured their horses and escaped. General Crook was less than pleased with Colonel Reynolds' conduct in the field and had Reynolds court-martialed.
|GENERAL PHILLIP SHERIDAN: |
Attributed with saying, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." (The actual quote is, "The only good Indian I ever saw was dead.")
Ironically in later years General Sheridan had this to say, "We took away their country and their means of support, and it was for this and against this they made war. Could anyone expect less?" 1). YOUR PEOPLE MAKE BIG TALK AND SOMETIMES MAKE WAR IF AN INDIAN KILLS A WHITE MAN'S OX TO KEEP HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN FROM STARVING. WHAT DO YOU THINK MY PEOPLE SHOULD SAY WHEN THEY SEE OUR BUFFALO KILLED BY YOUR RACE WHEN YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY!
YOUR PEOPLE MAKE BIG TALK AND SOMETIMES MAKE WAR IF AN INDIAN KILLS A WHITE MAN'S OX TO KEEP HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN FROM STARVING. WHAT DO YOU THINK MY PEOPLE SHOULD SAY WHEN THEY SEE OUR BUFFALO KILLED BY YOUR RACE WHEN YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY!
|GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN: |
In a telegram to President U.S. Grant, "First kill off the buffalo, then kill off the Indian. We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, men, women, and children."
Ever the ruthless soldier and never one that could be mistaken as an "Indian lover," Sherman, never-the-less, was also quoted in his astute observation when he described a reservation as, "...a parcel of land inhabited by Indians and surrounded by thieves."
|GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER: |
After graduating last in his class at West Point and setting a record for demerits and reprimands Custer quickly proved his willingness to please his superiors and to succeed at any cost. Rising quickly through the ranks, Custer became the youngest man ever to attain the rank of General. His reckless bravado resulted in many Civil War victories but at the cost of troops under his command suffering the highest casualty rate in the war. 35). 23).
One specific incident during the Civil War would provide particular insight into Custer's character. In 1864, General U.S. Grant issued an order that stated that any men fighting under the command of Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby that were captured, should be summarily executed. The order, relayed through Union General Phil Sheridan, was ignored by all but one of General Sheridan's subordinates, and that lone exception was General George Custer. Custer captured six of Colonel Mosby's men in September of 1864 and had them shot to death on the streets of Fort Royal, Virginia. 34). Soon after the end of the Civil War Custer's ruthless behavior and naked ambition would be brought to bear against the Plains People.
Anxious to prove himself an "Indian Fighter," Custer was given command of an army with which he scoured the states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, hoping to engage any Indians that he might find. During this command Custer had deserters shot without benefit of hearings. This in-spite of the fact that Custer himself on numerous occasions deserted his command to be in the company of his wife or to go off on hunting expeditions. In September of 1867 Custer was court-martialed and convicted of abandoning his command and having deserters executed. He was sentenced to a one year suspension without pay for these crimes. http://leav-www.army.mil/history/custer.htm
Ten months later General Phil Sheridan reinstated Custer to command a campaign against the Southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma. Desperate for action that would redeem his honor, Custer came upon a peaceful camp of Southern Cheyenne camped along the Washita River, on November 28th, 1868.
This encampment was nearby an U.S. army outpost and under the leadership of the "Peace Chief, Black Kettle." The lodge of Black Kettle flew a large U.S. flag identifying the camp as a "friendly village." Black Kettle was given this flag by the United States government and told that as long as it flew over his lodge he and his people would be under the protection of the United States Army.
Custer's scouts identified this small camp circle as a friendly village and warned the general not to attack. Custer ignored his scouts and ordered any man shot that attempted to prevent his plans for attack the next morning. As Custer planned the attack on the village he did not conduct reconnaissance of the village and surrounding area .
The next morning, November 29th 1868, marching to his favorite tune "Gary Owen," Custer and his soldiers attacked the village. The 67 year old Black Kettle and his wife Medicine Women Later, walked toward the attacking cavalry, carrying a white flag and calling out for peace. Black Kettle and Medicine Woman Later were shot down and killed. Their bodies and the white flag were trampled under the hooves of the horses and into the bloody mud, as the Calvary advanced on the village.
Black Kettle, always a voice for peace and accommodation with the Whites, was to be betrayed in his trust a second time. First at the Massacre of Sand Creek when his people were butchered by the Methodist preacher John Chivington and a second and final time along the banks of the river known as the Washita. One-hundred and three Cheyenne people, died there along with Black Kettle and his wife. Ninety-two of the dead were women, children, and old people unable to flee the advance of Custer and his troops.
As the Cheyenne warriors fought a rear-guard action to protect the fleeing villagers, Custer ordered a contingent of 18 men under the command of Lt. Joel Elliot to cut off the escape route of the terrified villagers. The Cheyenne were running in the direction of the rest of the strung-out encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho people. There were, unknown to Custer because of his lack of reconnaissance, over 6000 other Native People camped further downstream on the Washita this day.
Lt. Elliot and his men rode into the face of warriors riding down to investigate the sounds of gunfire coming from Black Kettle's camp. As the sounds from this ensuing battle made its way to Custer's position, Custer realized he was in grave danger. He abandoned his position and left Lt. Elliot and his men without support. Lt. Elliot and his men were all killed.
Custer skillfully manipulated the reporting of these facts and escaped responsibility for abandoning Lt. Elliot and his men. Custer was hailed as a hero for his actions . The fact that he had knowingly attacked a peaceful camp of Indian people and murdered over 100 Cheyenne men, women, and children, did little to tarnish the luster of his growing popularity with the American People. After the massacre at the Washita, Custer was mentioned as a possible candidate for President by the press and many prominent politicians.
In 1873, Colonel D.S. Stanley, Custer's superior officer on a surveying expedition along the Yellowstone, would write to his wife about Custer, " [Custer is] a cold-blooded, untruthful and unprincipled man .... universally despised by all the officers of his regiment." 35).
Colonel Custer would, three years later, confirm Stanley's assessment of him. Blinded by ambition he recklessly unleashed an uncoordinated attack on a gathering of Lakota, and Northern Cheyenne People on June 25th, 1876 at the place called the Greasy Grass. Remembering the lessons of Sand Creek and the Washita massacres, the Lakota, and Cheyenne, fought back. Custer's ambition and reckless actions led 267 soldiers, 34 Lakota and 7 Cheyenne People to their deaths that hot day in June.
Colonel Stanley would eventually rise on his merits to the rank of Brigadier General. But history seldom mentions the steady Colonel Stanley and all but forgets his prophetic assessment of Custer's character. Custer would in defeat, rise to mythic status in Western history and folklore of that of a gallant American hero, and defy in death an accounting of his life.
To view the 1876 Chicago Tribune's opinion of Colonel Custer and his actions at the Greasy Grass hit on the hyperlink below.
|L. FRANK BAUM: (editor of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer) |
In 1890, Baum, first after the assassination of Sitting Bull, and again after the slaughter of 300 Lakota People (mostly women and children) at Wounded Knee, called for the extermination of all remaining Indian people.
|MARK TWAIN: In 1871, America's favorite author and humorist would write of the Gosiute People of the Great Basin area: ".... [the Gosiutes are] the wretchedness type of mankind I have ever seen up to this writing....The Bushmen and our Goshoots are manifestly descended from the self-same gorilla, or kangaroo, or Norway rat, whichever animal-Adam the Darwinians trace them to." 31). |
Nineteen years later, in 1890, Twain would write, "....I have been an author for twenty years and an ass for fifty-five." 38). Although I disagree and condemn the first quote of Twain's, I concur with the second.
|"Pa" ENGALLS: |
The real life person portrayed by Michael Landon in "Little House on the Prairie," was an illegal squatter on land the U.S. government set aside for Native People. He had hoped that the government would vacate the Indian title to his homestead so that he, like many before him in similar circumstances would gain "ownership" to land that had been deeded to the original people of this country. To his bitter disappointment, he and his family were removed by the government in a rare action that actually followed the treaty law as it was agreed upon.
|Senator HENRY L. DAWES: |
Senator Dawes complained of Indian society, "There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization." 19). Senator Dawes was the author of the "General Allotment Act," which broke up the tribal land masses into individual allotments, perhaps the single most harmful legal maneuver ever foisted upon the Native people.
|The DONNER PARTY: |
Sympathetically remembered as people that were reduced to cannibalization of the dead in order to survive, the complete story is somewhat different.
The party, overburdened by material goods and far behind time, pressed forward into the ill-fated mountain pass against the advice and council of their two Indian guides. Although the two Indian men had been rebuked in their warnings they refused to abandon the party. As the snows came as predicted by the two Indian guides, the party floundered in the snow, and starvation set in. Some of the Donner party expressed their intent to consume the bodies of their deceased partners. The two Indian guides were abhorred and sickened by such thoughts and strongly voiced their disapproval, which earned them the attention of the hungry pioneers. Perhaps to silence any dissent over the plans to cannibalize the dead, talk soon turned to killing the two guides and consuming them as well. One member of the Donner party warned the two Indian guides of this talk. The two horrified guides attempted to remove themselves from the snow-bound mountain pass but in their weakened condition were only able to place a short distance between themselves and their recently nourished pursuers. They were overtaken, shot, butchered, parceled out, and devoured.
Some cynics say that, "No good deed goes unpunished." Certainly in the example of the two Indian guides of the Donner Party, this was true. They paid with their lives for their humanitarian concerns in attempting to protect the members of the Donner Party from their own self-inflected disaster.
But in a larger sense, this tragedy is a microcosm of Native and White relations. The two Native guides helping and guiding the Anglo newcomers, until the time in which the newcomers inevitably would turn on their benefactors.
|ROBERT PEARY, famed Polar explorer:|
Peary speciously discredited Frederick Cook, and two Native men's, Etukishook and Ahwelah, successful accomplishment of reaching the North Pole in 1908 a year before Peary's 8th and final attempt in 1909. It has since been determined that Peary's last attempt itself most likely fell well short of the Pole.
Peary, a man driven to achieve fame at any cost, respected the Native People of the Polar regions only to the extent that they served his means. In 1897, in Greenland, Peary robbed a number of Native graves and sold the remains to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Peary, knowing of the susceptibility of Native People to civilization's microbes, also transported six living Natives to be studied at the museum. Within one year, 4 of the 6 Natives had perished. 87)
"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."
Perhaps the most undeserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize of all time, Roosevelt, described the slaughter, the butchery and debauchery that occurred at Sand Creek in 1864, "as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier." 79).
President Roosevelt eagerly described the Dawes Act as, "...a mighty pulverizing engine to break up the tribal mass." 31).
As President he issued numerous executive orders that transferred over 2.5 million acres of Indian Reservation lands to the National Forest System.
|DR. SAXON POPE: ( famed for his fascination with the art of the bow and arrow and one of the two men the "Pope and Young Archery Records" are named for): |
Became fascinated with the bow and arrow after his friendship with the last of the Yahi People, the man known as Ishi. He once wrote that Ishi, "... was the best friend I had in the world." As a close friend of Ishi , Doctor Pope was aware that Ishi was vehement in his wishes that in the event of his death, no autopsy was to be preformed in accordance with Ishi's religious beliefs. After a long bout with tuberculosis, in the care of Doctor Pope, Ishi died on March 25th, 1916. Doctor Pope, having received a strongly worded letter from Dr A.L. Kroeber that stated, "...science can go to hell," yielded to science the dignity of this man, Ishi, that he once described as his, "best friend in the world." After performing the autopsy upon Ishi's body, Doctor Pope removed the brain, placed it in a jar of formaldehyde, and sent it to Washington, D.C. were it languished, forgotten on a shelf, in the Smithsonian for the next 84 years. In August of the year 2000, Ishi's brain was returned to his homeland where it was given back to the Earth, by the Yani People, relatives of Ishi's now extinct tribe. 27). 3).
|GUTZON BORGLUM: |
Hailed by this country, as the man who supervised the carving of Mount Rushmore, he is remembered in a different way by the Lakota People. Borglum was an avowed white supremacist and racist. Before carving Mount Rushmore he joined the Ku Klux Klan and rose through its ranks to serve in the inner sanctum of the Klan's highest advisory board, the Imperial Kloncilium. He wrote stilted prose hailing the conquest of the Lakota People and rejoiced in the illegal confiscation of their land, upon which, in the heart of their most holy ground, the Black Hills, was carved the monument we know as Mount Rushmore. In the lavish, taxpayer funded Mount Rushmore Interpretation Center these facts are nowhere to be found. But the Lakota People remember, and so should we. 19).
|HARRY S TRUMAN: "Give 'em hell Harry" certainly gave Indians hell in 1950 when he appointed the hard-line Dillion S. Myer as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. |
Myer had served the nation in WWII as the man in charge of internment and resettlement of Japanese-Americans. Myer's aggressive and paternalistic attitudes were thus brought to bear on Native People and set in motion an attitude towards Native People that would outlast the decade. Myer saw fit to interfere in tribal elections, sold Indian land without consent, removed BIA officials that defended Native rights, and supported an act that would have allowed Indian Service employees to be armed and given the authority to arrest and imprison Native People without a warrant. Myer would state: "We must proceed, even though Indian co-operation may be lacking in certain cases." 31).
|RONALD REAGAN: The Great Communicator: |
While campaigning in South Dakota during the 1980 presidential campaign, candidate Reagan promised to uphold treaty law and to fulfill America's obligation to Native People. Reagan quickly broke these promises upon becoming President. As president, Reagan cut funding to Indian programs in unprecedented proportions.
Indian Appropriations accounted for .04% of the federal budget when Reagan took office In 1982 2.5% of all federal budget cuts came entirely from that meager .04% of the Federal budget. 77).
Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, called Indians "social misfits" whose homelands were "examples of the failure of socialism." 31).
In all fairness, Reagan was probably unaware of the level of understanding and concern for Native Americans by people outside our country's borders. He was obviously caught off-guard and un-prepared, which explains in part, the nearly incoherent syntax and bewildering logic of his answer. However, his lack of understanding of history, his insensitivity, his Euro-centric sense of superiority, his disdain for Native culture and Native People, was to our collective shame, a fair representation of the nation and the people he served as president
|WILLIAM RENQUIST: most recent past Supreme Court Chief Justice |
While a young man in Phoenix, Arizona, he set up outside a polling place on election day and questioned Black, Hispanic and Indian people on their qualifications to make an informed decision in the election booth. After complaints were filed with the local police over this illegal action he was ordered by a police officer to remove himself and cease this activity or risk arrest.
As a member of the Supreme Court he referred to all Indian law cases as, "S!#T cases."
He was regarded by many Native People and advocates of treaty rights as unsympathetic at best to Native interests. His rulings and opinions ran against Native nations and contrary to previously established rulings in treaty law.
| RUSH LIMBAUGH: (Hosts the most popular radio talk show in America, also regarded as a world class gasbag, pill-popping blowhard, and shameless, self promoting, self absorbed, namedropping sycophant) -In my opinion- |
"I don't give a hoot that [Columbus] gave some Indians a disease that they didn't have an immunity against." 17). (Quote from his best selling book, "The Way Things Ought To Be." pg. 45).
"There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history. Does this sound like a record of genocide?" 17).(Quote from his best selling book, "I Told You So." pg. #68). Rush must be using the "new math" to arrive at this conclusion. Most experts today, feel that in the United States and Canada alone, there were in 1492, approximately 10 to 20 million Native Americans.1). By 1900 there were less than 250,000 Native people left alive, a decline of well over 98%. At the time the "all knowing" Rushkie wrote this book there were approximately 2,300,000 enrolled native people and an additional 1,000,000 other Indian people of various degrees of Native blood. Using a very, very, generous figure of 3,000,000 Native people, there were at the time of this quote at least 15,000,000 fewer Native people alive as compared to 1492, a decline of at least 83%.
"Columbus saved the Indians from themselves."17). (Quote from his radio show.) Left to themselves the Taino People, over a period of thousands of years, formed a peace loving, prosperous civilization that numbered in the millions. After 50 years of Spanish domination they were reduced in number to nearly zero. It is my hope that the United States or any other nation ever again has to face such a "savior."
|PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:|
While campaigning for president, Bush stated that he believed states had higher legal authority than tribal governments, a view that is in direct conflict with established constitutional law. Bush later retreated from this indefensible position.
In December of 2001, an organization of tribal governments from across the nation met with Bush's Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, to protest the Bush administration's proposed re-organization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The tribal leaders protested that tribes were not consulted in the process and had serious questions about the plan. After the gathering unanimously rejected the proposal, Norton told the gathering that the plan would proceed without their support or consent. 48).
In 2003, the Bush administration, effectively stopped completion of a decade long project, named Mni Wiconi.. The ambitious project was designed to pipe treated water from the Missouri River to the arid Pine Ridge Reservation. Mni Wiconi, which means "water of life," would have brought water to what has been historically America's most economically depressed county.
George Bush describes himself as a, "compassionate conservative," and wears his Christian faith on his sleeve. Call the President, and remind him that exacting political retribution and revenge on America's most destitute ethnic group is neither compassionate nor Christian. 63). http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2003/03/17/news/local/news04.txt
James Loewen writes, "The antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad history, but honest and inclusive history." This web page, by it's nature and practical limitations of space and brevity cannot fulfill Mr.. Loewen's more expansive goal of inclusiveness. For that, on our "Sources" page, I urge readers of this site to obtain copies of the quoted research materials.
If you wish to find a balance to the dark side of Indian/White relations that is documented above, I urge you to view another page on our site, "Heroes History Forgot." This page was started in recognition of the need to convey the message that not all European People bent to the tyranny of the prejudice of their time and of the larger society. This page is reserved for men like Thomas Morton, who threatened the Separatist way of life by recognizing Native People as human. Morton's principled beliefs caused him to suffer the disgrace of deportation in 1628 from the Pilgrim community for his sins of embracing the humanity of his fellow man.
It is important to recognize and honor the heroic defiance of people like Thomas Morton, just as we must also remember and reflect on mankind's collective sin of inhumanity to our fellow man. By not acknowledging, by not remembering, by not reflecting on past sins, we are sure to repeat them.
|The Bureau of White Affairs is a fictional representation of History which offers a twist on the roles of Native American and White people, offering a glimpse of how it may be to walk a mile in their moccasins.|