START A PETITION34,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Group Discussions
  Blue Label
| track thread
« Back to topics
10 years ago

Here's a great link with lots of history on lots of nations.  Wonderful reading stuff.

10 years ago

Culturally, the Mohegan were identical to the Pequot - the only difference being their political allegiance. The Mohegan were English allies for almost a century after 1633, while the Pequot fought the colonists and were nearly destroyed in five years. From the perspective of the colonists and their descendants (who wrote the history of New England), Uncas and the Mohegan were the "good Indians," while Sassacus and the Pequot were "bad Indians." Most native Americans, however, would probably see this "good" and "bad" in reverse. It is interesting to note that, although the Mohegan and Pequot tried to cope with the Europeans by very different means , their ultimate fate was the same ...impoverishment, loss of their land, and near-extinction.

For the history of the Mohegan, click here:

The Mohegan
10 years ago
Mohegan Location

Originally a part of the Pequot, the Mohegan came from the upper Hudson River Valley in New York near Lake Champlain. Sometime around 1500, both tribes left this area and moved to the Thames River Valley in southeastern Connecticut. The Mohegan called their homeland Moheganeak and occupied the upper and western portions of the Thames Valley, while the Pequot lived closer to the coast.


The Mohegan and Pequot together numbered about 6,000 in 1620. Internal divisions occurred after 1633, and Uncas and his followers separated from the main body to become the Mohegan. A smallpox epidemic during the winter of 1634-35 reduced both groups by about 30 percent. After the Pequot War, the two groups were forcibly reunited when 1,500 Pequot and western Niantic were placed under the control of Uncas and the Mohegan creating a combined population of about 3,000. A second smallpox epidemic in 1639 lowered this to less than 2,500. The English moved the Pequot to separate reserves in 1655 and later population estimates sometimes included them as part of the Mohegan and sometimes not. Despite the incorporation of Mattabesic, Nipmuc, and Narragansett, the Mohegan population continued to drop - mainly from disease. Smallpox appeared at regular intervals (1649, 1662, 1670, 1677, 1687, 1729, 1755) and combined with influenza (1647, 1675), diphtheria (1659), and measles (1687) to decimate Connecticut's native population. Although the Mohegan were considered an ally by the colonists, it is likely their close association accelerated the decline of the Mohegan by exposure to infection.

By 1675 the Mohegan numbered less than 1,200. Thirty years later (1705), they were only 750. In the years which followed, groups began to separate from the main body - most notably, the 300 Mohegan who left Connecticut with the Brotherton Indians between 1775 and 1788 to live with the Oneida and Stockbridge Indians (Mahican) in upstate New York. The Brotherton, Oneida, and Stockbridge sold their New York lands in 1822 and by 1834 had moved to northern Wisconsin. Currently, there are Mohegan descendants in Wisconsin among the Stockbridge west of Green Bay and Brotherton (not federally recognized) east of Lake Winnebago. After these defections, there were only 206 Mohegan in Connecticut in 1774. By 1809 this had fallen to 70. There was a sudden increase to 360 in 1832 - the result of either an amazing birth-rate or a count which included native peoples other than Mohegan. The 1850 census listed 125 Mohegan in Connecticut, most of whom afterwards merged quietly into the general population. The 1910 census found only 22. Recently reorganized as a tribe, the Mohegan have almost 1,000 members (600 live in Connecticut) and received federal recognition in 1994.


In their language, "Mohegan" means wolf - exactly the same as "Mahican" from the Mahican language, but these slightly different names refer to two very distinct Algonquin tribes in different locations. It is very common for the Mohegan of the Thames River in eastern Connecticut to be confused with the Mahican from the Hudson Valley in New York (a distance of about a hundred miles). Even James Fenimore Cooper got things confused when he wrote "Last of the Mohicans" in 1826. Since Cooper lived in Cooperstown, New York and the location of his story was the upper Hudson Valley, it can be presumed he was writing about the Mahican of the Hudson River, but the spelling variation chosen (Mohican) and use of Uncas, the name of a Mohegan sachem, has muddled things. Other factors have contributed to the confusion, not the least of which was the Mohegan were the largest group of the Brotherton Indians in Connecticut. After the Brotherton moved to the Oneida reserve in upstate New York in 1788, they became mixed with the Stockbridge Indians (Mahican) from western Massachusetts. Because of this, the present-day Stockbridge Tribe should contain descendants from both the Mahican and Mohegan. Anyone not confused at this point may consider himself an expert.

Spelling variations used for the Mohegan in Connecticut and Mahican of New York and western Massachusetts (Mohiggan, Monahegan, Morihican, etc.) frequently overlap and have been applied equally to both tribes. Alternative names only for the Mohegan were: Seaside People, Uncas Indians, Unkas, and Upland Indians.


Algonquin. Y-dialect like the Pequot, Narragansett, Niantic, and Montauk. It should be noted that the Mahican of New York spoke an N-dialect.


Ashowat, Catantaquck, Checapscaddock, Groton, Kitemaug, Mamaquaog, Mashantackack, Massapeag, Mohegan, Moosup, Moraigan, Nawhesetuck, Pachaug, Paugwonk, Pautexet, Pigscomsuck, Poquechanneeg, Poquechanock, Poquetanuck, Shantuck, Shecomeco, Shetucket (Showtucket), Wabaquasset, Wanungatuck (Waunungtatuck, Wongattuck), Wauregan, and Willimantic (Weammantuck).

11 years ago

Bayogoula (Choctaw: Báyuk-ókla 'bayou people')
     A Muskhogean tribe which in 1700 lived with the Mugulasha in a village on the west bank of the Mississippi, about 64 leagues above the mouth and 30 leagues below the Human town.  Lemoyne d'Iberbille (Margry, Dec., IV 170-172, 1880) gives a brief description of their village which he says contained 2 temples and 107 cabins; that a fire was kept constantly burning in the temples, and near the door were kept many figures of animals, as the bear, wolf, birds, and in particular the choucoüacha, or opossum, which appeared to be a chief deity or image to which offerings were made.  At this time they numbered 200-250 men, probably including the Mugulasha.  Not long after the Bayogoula almost exterminated the Mugulasha as the result of a dispute between the chiefs of the two tribes, but the former soon fell victim to a similar act of treachery, since having received the Tonica into their village in 1706, they were surprised and almost all massacred by their perfidious guests (La Harpe, Jour. Hist. La., 98, 1831) Smallpox destroyed most of the remainder, so that by 1721 not a family was known to exist.

Kiowa (cont)
11 years ago

One Kiowa story tells about a place far up north, Bear Butte. That's the Indian name. The white man name is Devil's Tower. I like the name Bear Butte better. A butte is like a small mountain with a flat top. Bear Butte is in Montana near the South Dakota border. It is near the Black Hills in South Dakota. The Black Hills a very holy place for several Plains Indian tribes. The Lakota were the last tribe to live there, but the Kiowa, Cheyenne and several other tribes consider Bear Butte and the Black Hills a sacred place. Here are some pictures of Bear Butte. These pictures was taken at a ceremony on the old Sun Dance grounds next to the butte. These pictures were taken with the permission of the ceremony leaders because they wanted people to see that it took place. The fact that the Kiowa consider Bear Butte one of their sacred places shows they have been there and not just on a short visit.

Bear Butte. The Kiowa say a boy and girl were being chased by a giant bear and they climbed to the top of the butte to escape. The bear clawed at the sides trying to climb up and get them. Look close and you can still see the claw marks on the sides of Bear Butte. That is how it got its name.

So, where are the Kiowa today?

They were moved to a reservation in Oklahoma. The Kiowa used live on the same reservation as the Caddo and Wichita Indians around Anadarko Oklahoma. Times were pretty hard on the reservation.

The reservation was closed down, but the Kiowa still live there. In 1989 there were about 5000 of them living in Oklahoma.

11 years ago

The Kiowa lived in and around the Texas panhandle. This includes western Oklahoma and northeast New Mexico. They were nomadic buffalo hunters. That makes them hunter gatherers. They were famous for their long distance raids. Some of these raids went all the way down into Mexico and way up almost to Canada. They were friends and close allies with the Comanche who lived in the same region.

Like the Comanche, they lived in tee-pees. Tee-pees are easy to move and being nomads the Kiowa moved all the time. They moved to follow buffalo herds. Buffalo meat was their most important food. They also gathered plants, roots and berries to eat when they could find them. The women did this gathering. The men hunted.

They organized themselves by age. This is called age grade social organization. This means people of certain age ranges would belong to social organizations. As a person got older he or she would move from one social organization to the next. The boys and young men's organizations were the most important.

The Kiowa speak a language called Tanoan or Kiowa-Tanoan. Tanoan is a large family of several related languages. Kiowa is a form of Tanoan. This is important because there are other Tanoan speakers, the Pueblo Indians. Not all of the Pueblo Indians speak Tanoan. But, most of the Rio Grande river valley Pueblos speak a form of Tanoan. Tiwa is one branch of the Tanoan language. Towa and Tewa are two other closely related Tanoan languages.

Language is an important way to trace ancestry because whole tribes do not drop one language and start speaking another. By looking at the relationship between cultures who speak related languages you can begin to see how societies are related and where they come from.

Most of the Tanoan speakers live in south New Mexico along the Rio Grande river. The Tigua in El Paso Texas are another Tanoan speaking tribe. They speak a form of Tanoan called Tiwa. In fact, the word Tigua in Spanish is pronounced Tiwa. Also, you can add or remove the "o" and compare Kiowa with Tiwa or Tiowa or Kiwa with Tiwa. The "T" and the "K" are pronounced very much the same way.

The other Texas tribe that probably spoke Tiwa or a form of Tanoan are the Jumano. In fact, Dr. Nancy Hickerson, author of "The Jumano", UT press, speculates that the Kiowa may be descendants of the Plains Jumano.

Another Tiwa speaking Pueblo tribe is still close to the old Kiowa land. The Taos Indians live in the Taos Pueblo in northern New Mexico. You can find this on a map. Just look in north eastern New Mexico for the city of Taos. The pueblo is right next to the town. It is still there and the Taos Indians still live there.

It is a little know fact that the land the Kiowa claim in the Texas Panhandle used to have Pueblo villages. There are a number of Pueblo ruins along and near the Canadian River. These ruins were abandoned around 1350-1400

There are other Tiwa speaking Pueblo tribes. The Isleta Pueblos speak Tiwa and live near modern Albuquerque. In Spanish times a whole region just south of modern Albuquerque with many Tiwa Pueblos was called Tiguex.

The Pueblo Indians live in big buildings called, ready now, pueblos. A pueblo is like a big apartment house with lots of rooms. Pueblos are made of big mud bricks. They look pretty cool and you should get a picture of one to look at. They grow corn, beans and squash. Taos Pueblo is famous for trading with the plains Indian tribes for buffalo hides and meat. They traded corn for these things. Now that you know about the Kiowa’s relatives, lets look at the Kiowa

It is not clear just where the Kiowa came from. Kiowa tradition says they came from the north up near Montana. The fact that they speak Tanoan suggests they came from New Mexico. It is possible that they are a group of Puebloan Indians who migrated north long ago and then migrated back. The Pueblo have old stories that say that they migrated in all four cardinal directions -- north, south, east and west. This was long ago. The stories say that after they had migrated east, west, south and north they returned to New Mexico and Arizona. They say where they live now in New Mexico and Arizona is the center of the earth, the best place to be.

Some of these stories tell about monkeys and parrots that could only be found far to the south. Other stories tell about ice and deep snow, like what is found in the far north. The Kiowa also have stories of going south till they saw monkeys and parrots and of the far north and snow and ice. The Kiowa stories match up nicely with the Puebloan stories.

11 years ago

Language: Little is known of the Beothuk language today. Our only records are a few Beothuk words collected from children and young women the British captured as slaves, usually at the cost of their families' lives. The vocabulary sets provided by these traumatized youths are small and don't match each other well (it didn't help that the Beothuks were asked to name housecats, glass, tea, and other European objects they had never seen before.) Nothing was recorded about the structure of the Beothuk language at all. Some linguists believe it was an Algonquian language, possibly related to Innu.

People: The Beothucks were probably the Skraelings described by Viking Explorers  and therefore the first American Indians ever to encounter Europeans. It's possible the Skraelings were Mi'kmaq or Innu instead; however, the Newfoundland Viking Ruins were unearthed in territory known to belong to the Beothuck people. Also, the Norse description of natives obsessed with the color red matches the Beothucks, who decorated themselves so extensively with red ochre that the British called them Red Indians (a term that has found an unfortunate second life as a racist epithet.) Anything Beothuck oral history may have said about this encounter has been lost to time. The Beothucks and the second wave of European colonists never even learned to communicate with each other before the Beothuck people were wiped out completely, so they will always remain something of an enigma. Almost everything we know about their culture comes from the stories and drawings of two Beothuk women, Demasduit and Shanawdithit, who were captured by the British in the 19th century and learned a bit of English before dying of tuberculosis.

History: Many American Indian cultures are wrongly declared "extinct" when in fact they have only been relocated or forced into a different lifestyle. The Beothuks, though, really are extinct. The only natives of the eastern seaboard to ally with neither the French nor the English (or, for that matter, the Iroquois or Wabanakis), the Beothuk tribe paid a heavy price for their isolation. That the French paid the Mi'kmaq to annihilate the Beothuks is denied by both, but the French and Mi'kmaq certainly drove them inland from the Newfoundland coast they relied on for food, and starvation is blamed for many Beothuk deaths. The English shot them on sight, and the Mohawks raided Beothuk villages for slaves. By 1800 the Beothuks only made the history books as the occasional captive servant of an Englishman, and in 1829 the last known Beothuk, a woman named Shanawdithit, died in English captivity. A few Beothuk descendants surfaced among the Mi'kmaq and Mohawk after that (those tribes often adopted captured enemies), and other Beothuks may have fled to theInnus for protection. By 1900, though, the assimilation of any refugees into those neighboring tribes was complete. There are no known descendants of the Beothuk Indians today.

Acolapissa (cont.)
11 years ago

The sudden influx introduce a wave of new epidemics (malaria, yaws, and leprosy). With their villages located just above the new settlements at New Orleans, the Acolapissa, Bayougoula, and Houma during 1721 were hit by smallpox that killed at least half of them. The French census the following year no longer bothered with separate count for each tribe and listed their combined population as about 1,000. The area grew increasingly crowded as French settlement spread north along the river banks from New Orleans, so shortly after 1722, the Acolapissa, Bayougoula, and Houma moved upstream to Ascension Parish where they continued to serve as loyal allies throughout the remaining years of French rule in Louisiana. Increasing friction between the colonists and natives led to the Natchez War (1729-31) in which the Natchez rose in revolt in November, 1729 and massacred more than 250 French at Fort Rosalie and Fort Pierre just to the north.

Because the Natchez had offered freedom to any of the French slaves who joined them, the French were concerned that the uprising would not only spread to other tribes but also their black slaves. To preclude this possibility by making the native peoples in area hate blacks, Governor Etienne Boucher de la PŽrier armed and unleashed a black slave army against the Chawasha, a small (150 people) Chitimacha sub-tribe just south of New Orleans which had no connection whatsoever with the Natchez uprising. Once this was done, PŽrier assembled an army, including 1,500 Choctaw, Tunica, Acolapissa, Bayougoula, and Houma warriors, at Point CoupeŽ and proceeded upstream to deal with the Natchez. The Natchez were hunted down and destroyed by the French in almost genocidal fashion with the few prisoners sold to Santo Domingo as slaves. Bankrupt, the Mississippi Company returned its charter to the king in 1732, and Louisiana became a royal colony two years later with Bienville as its governor. His subsequent efforts to force the Chickasaw to surrender their Natchez refugees led to the Chickasaw Wars (1736 and 1739) which resulted in the worst defeats that the French ever received from Native Americans.

By 1739 the Acolapissa, Bayougoula, and Houma combined had fewer than 500 people, all of which were living in a single village along the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish. Although each tribe still maintained their own chief, this was more pretense than political reality. In the years afterwards, they were increasingly referred to only as the Houma. The British blockade of Canada during the King George's War (1744-48) cut the supply of French trade goods to Louisiana as well. When this happened, some of the Choctaw turned to the British traders for their needs, and by 1746 this most-loyal of the French allies had divided into pro-French and pro-British factions. Civil war followed during which pro-British Choctaw warriors attacked French settlements on the German Coast north of New Orleans during the spring of 1747. A second raid occurred that November. Still loyal to the French, the Acolapissa, Houma, and Bayougoula (together with the Biloxi and Pascagoula) provided warriors to defend the area until the pro-French faction finally triumphed and a peace was signed in 1749.

A similar blockade during the French and Indian War (1754-63) cut the supply of trade goods once again, but this time the pro-French Choctaw were firmly in control. The Choctaw remained French allies throughout the war, but there was little fighting in the area. Although the war did not officially end until 1763, the French were finished in North America following the British capture of Quebec in September, 1759. In a secret treaty at Fontainebleau in November, 1762, France ceded Louisiana to Spain to keep it from falling to the British. Spain was somewhat overwhelmed by this sudden bequest and did not actually take administrative control until 1765. In the meantime, thousands of French and their former allies had moved west of the Mississippi to escape the British. Louisiana suddenly became a crowded "melting pot," a situation that grew worse when more French settled in Louisiana when it was under Spanish rule than had when it had belonged to France.

The Acolapissa disappeared as a separate tribe during this period, and their subsequent history is identical with the Houma with whom they merged. The Houma remained in Ascension Parish until 1776 when they were overrun by settlement. They sold their land to two French Creoles that year, but small groups of them remained in the vicinity until 1840. However, by 1785 the majority had moved southwest and concentrated in La Fourche and Terrebonne Parishes (Houma, Louisiana) about 25 miles from New Orleans. Their descendents have remained in this area since but have never been federally recognized because there were no treaties signed with the United States. Although recognized by the state of Louisiana, the last petition for federal status by the 11,000 members of the United Houma Nation was denied by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1994.

Acolapissa (cont.)
11 years ago

Bienville honored his brother's pledge and began providing arms to the Choctaw, Acolapissa, and other French allies in the region. This allowed the Choctaw to hold their own, but the smaller tribes could not withstand the assaults and were forced to abandon their villages and move south towards the French settlements. As if Chickasaw raids did not provide enough misery, many of these displacements resulted in incredible violence and treachery between French allies. Threatened by both the Chickasaw and Yazoo, the Taensa accepted the Bayougoula invitation to move in with them on the lands formerly occupied by the Mougulasha. Perhaps they were unwilling to wait until the Bayougoula got angry one night and slaughtered them in their sleep , or they wanted all of the land for themselves. In any case, the Taensa, shortly after their arrival, attacked their hosts and killed over half of them.

The Bayougoula survivors fled south and settled downstream near the Acolapissa, but the Taensa had more mischief. Shortly afterwards, they invited some Chitimacha families to eat with them but took them prisoner to sell as slaves to the French. For the Chitimacha, this was the final straw after four years of St. Denis and men stealing their women, and in January, 1707 one of their war parties killed Father Jean Francois Buisson de St. Cosme and three other Frenchmen descending the Mississippi River. Ignoring the reasons for this, Bienville demanded the murderers be brought to Mobile and asked that the Acolapissa and other tribes in the area declare war on the Chitimacha. The man responsible was ultimately brought to Mobile and executed by tomahawk inside the fort, but it did not end there. The war continued for 12 years with the French and their allies forcing the Chitimacha deep into the natural fortress of the southern Louisiana swamps. A peace was finally signed in 1718.

The renewal of the Chickasaw raids had also forced the Tunica from their village on the Yazoo river in 1706, and they received permission from the Houma to settle near them opposite the mouth of the Red River. During the next two years, tensions between the two tribes grew until the Tunica in 1708 attacked the Houma and, driving them south, took over their lands. The Houma joined the exodus of resident tribes to the south and settled near the Acolapissa and Bayougoula just above New Orleans where all three tribes provided warriors to the French for the war against the Chitimacha. Meanwhile, the British had captured and burned the Spanish fort at Pensacola in 1707 which left Mobile as the only French or Spanish post still standing on the Gulf Coast. The following year, a combined Catawba, Cherokee, and Alibamu (Creek) war party acting in the British interest attacked the Tawasa, Chatot, Apalachee, TohomŽ, Naniaba, and Mobile who had collected around the French at Mobile. The French fort, however, was too strong and survived the war.

During the peace following the Queen Anne's War, the French set about extending their influence west into eastern Texas which was claimed by Spain. Late in 1713, St. Denis sent word to the Natchitoches (who were still living with the Acolapissa) that he intended to establish a trading post at their old village and asking them to return with him to their former home. When the Acolapissa saw the Natchitoches preparing to leave, they attacked them killing 17 men and capturing 50 women and children for adoption into the tribe. The French were forced to negotiate with the Acolapissa to arrange (pay) for the release of the Natchitoches women and children. By 1715 the Acolapissa had relocated again and were living on the east bank of the Mississippi near the Houma and Bayougoula with whom they were now closely allied. The alliance made the Taensa so nervous that in 1715 they left the area and moved to Mobile.

Following the defeat of Chitimacha and founding of New Orleans in 1718, the alliance of the Acolapissa, Bayougoula, and Houma was the most important French native ally in southern Louisiana. Up to this point, there had been little French settlement near the river. This changed in 1712 when Louis XIV granted a charter to Antoine Crozat, but after five years of failure, Crozat returned his charter to the king who in turn handed it to John Law, a Scottish financier and the unlikely director of the Bank of France. Law had no problem finding investors, many of whom were members of the French nobility, for his so-called "Mississippi Scheme" to colonize the lower Mississippi Valley. Before its collapse in 1725 due to overspeculation, Law's Mississippi Company awarded several large land grants at the sites of present-day Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi. More than 1,000 new French colonists arrived soon afterwards bringing with them 500 black slaves for the heavy labor of clearing the land.

Acolapissa (cont.)
11 years ago

The plan was to follow Tonti's route overland from the Taensa villages in northeast Louisiana. Iberville sent Bienville and Louis Juchereau de St. Denis ahead to secure guides and provisions from the Taensa while he stopped enroute to visit the Bayougoula, Houma, and Natchez. The French at Biloxi were suffering from a serious dysentery which had spread to the tribes in the region with deadly results. There had also been a renewal of warfare between the Houma and Bayougoula that required Iberville to arrange a truce. By the time he reached the Taensa villages, his knees were bothering him so much that he was forced to send Bienville and St. Denis on alone. They reached Natchitoches (Caddo) and beyond before returning via the Red River that May. The return journey through swamps was so gruelling that his Taensa guides deserted him, but upon reaching the Bayougoula, Bienville learned that they had massacred the Mougulasha. Since they were still threatened by the Chickasaw, the Bayougoula invited some Acolapissa and Tioux to occupy the now-deserted lands of the Mougulasha, but the offer found "no takers."

Shortly after the beginning of the Queen Anne's War, Iberville shifted his headquarters in 1702 to Fort St. Louis on Mobile Bay, not only to be closer to his Spanish allies, but because the location provided better access to the interior via the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers. Mobile remained the focus of French activity in the region until the establishment of New Orleans in 1718. St. Denis, who had continued to trade with the Natchitoches and other Caddo to the west, remained as commandant of the French fort and trading post on the Mississippi. Remaining close to the French for protection and trade, the Acolapissa, who had in the meantime been hit by another epidemic, left the Pearl to settle in new villages on Bayou Costine on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. Unable to cope with the royal decree suspending the fur trade in the Great Lakes, Tonti abandoned his trading posts in Illinois and came to Mobile. Iberville immediately utilized his experience to negotiate a truce between the Chickasaw and Choctaw to allow the Chickasaw minkos (chiefs) to attend a peace conference at Mobile in the spring of 1702.

Tonti arranged the truce, but apparently some Chickasaw did not "get the word" and continued to raid the Choctaw. To assure their safety, Tonti was finally forced to personally escort the Chickasaw to Mobile. Iberville began the conference by distributing gifts but soon got down to business warning the Chickasaw that the British would eventually take their land and demanding that they terminate their trade (slaving) with them. If refused, he threatened to arm the Acolapissa, Choctaw, and other tribes in the region against them, but after the "stick" held out the "carrot" with an offer to supply them with French trade goods at lower prices than the British charged. The Chickasaw agreed, and a tense peace settled briefly over the lower Mississippi Valley. South Carolina colonists, as part of the Queen Anne War, combined with their Yamasee and Creek allies to destroy the Spanish mission system in northern Florida (1703-04) which brought hundreds of Apalachee, Tawasa, and Chatot refugees west to live under the protection of the French at Mobile.

At the same time, disease was taking its toll of the French as well as the native populations. Sauvole died in 1701, and Tonti fell victim to the yellow fever which hit Mobile in 1704. Iberville succumbed to the same dread disease after leading French troops against the British West Indies, and leadership of the French in Louisiana was passed by default to his 23 year-old brother, Bienville. Considering his age, Bienville proved to be an amazingly competent administrator, but it sometimes worked against him. In the spring of 1702 a flood along the upper Red River destroyed the crops of the Natchitoches, and in danger of starving, they came down the river to the Mississippi to seek the help of their friend and trading partner at Fort Mississippi, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis. St. Denis received them with kindness and food and then sent them to live with the Acolapissa on the north side of Lake Ponchartrain.

His assistance also carried a price. The French had brought few of their women to Louisiana, and facing another cold, lonely winter in the fall of 1702, St. Denis and his French-Canadian companions asked the Acolapissa and Natchitoches to help them raid the Chitimacha to capture some feminine companionship. Bienville was upset upon learning of this. The Chitimacha had been one of the tribes west of the Mississippi that had signed a treaty with his brother in 1699, and this "love raid" made the French appear as predatory as the British. Unfortunately, his orders for St. Denis to stop were ignored, and the relationship between the Chitimacha and French quickly deteriorated. Meanwhile, the British had not sat by quietly and allowed the French to steal their customers. Carolina traders lowered prices to meet the new competition and redoubled their visits to the Chickasaw. The minkos who had signed a peace with Iberville at Mobile in 1702 soon lost control, and after a lull of three years, the Chickasaw resumed their slave raids against the Choctaw in 1705.

Acolapissa (cont.)
11 years ago

France had emerged from the King William's War (1688-97) in a dominant position in North America and was ready to reassert its claim to Louisiana. Since the royal proclamation had placed the fur trade in limbo, the first effort was by missionaries. In 1698 the bishop of Quebec proclaimed Louisiana part of his diocese and sent Fathers Francis Joliet de Montigny and Antoine Davion to establish Jesuit missions along the lower Mississippi. Meanwhile, plans were under way in France for Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, a hero of the King William's War against Great Britain, to fulfill La Salle's dream of a French colony on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi. Spain claimed the entire Gulf Coast and, up to this point, had defended it against French attempts at settlement. However, with approach of a new war in Europe against Britain (Queen Anne's War 1701-13), the Spanish found themselves in the awkward position of being France allies and no longer able to directly oppose the establishment of a French colony on the Gulf. When they learned of the Iberville expedition in 1698, all Spain could do was to hastily build a fort at Pensacola to protect its claim.

Iberville's fleet departed France in late 1698 and arrived in January, 1699. After noting the new Spanish fort at Pensacola, he sailed west towards the entrance of the Mississippi, but the maze of waterways at the mouth proved as formidable a barrier to French navigators as Spanish, and on February 13th he decided to anchor to the east off Biloxi, Mississippi. An exploration party was dispatched overland to locate the Mississippi just to the west. Immediately, the French were aware that the area was a war zone because of recent Chickasaw slave raids. There were also obvious signs of the smallpox epidemic that had devastated the native populations the previous year. Most natives avoided contact, but Iberville finally met a Bayougoula chief who was in the area with a hunting party looking for buffalo. Once they learned that the French had no intention of enslaving them, the Bayougoula proved friendly and invited the French to accompany them to their village on the west bank of the Mississippi.

The Bayougoula also introduced the French to the Houma upstream and then escorted them back to Biloxi. Iberville also managed to make them sign a treaty with the Chitimacha during this trip west, and although he was told of the Acolapissa along the Pearl River, he did not actually meet with them. After deciding Biloxi was a suitable location for the new colony, Iberville ordered the construction of Fort Maurepas and departed for France in May leaving his brother, the Sieur de Sauvole de la Villantry in charge. Shortly afterwards the Bayougoula chief visited Fort Maurepas, and another of Iberville's brothers (Iberville's settlement of Louisiana was a family affair), Jean Baptiste Le Moyne d'Bienville, accompanied him back to the Mississippi. Near the mouth of the Pearl River, they encountered 300 Acolapissa warriors ready for battle. The Bayougoula chief kept Bienville and his men back and went forward to inquire about what was the matter. It turned out that, only two days before, the Acolapissa had been attacked by 200 Chickasaw under the leadership of British traders.

Strangely, it seems that, by a matter of 48 hours, the first white men that the Acolapissa had seen were British, not Spanish or French. After the Bayougoula chief explained that the French belonged to a different tribe of white men that wanted to protect them from the British slavers, the Acolapissa struck up a enduring friendship with the French. The French were immediately intrigued by resemblance of the Acolapissa's name to the Quinipissa who had attacked La Salle and Tonti in 1682, but the Acolapissa assured them that they were not only not the Quinipissa, but they had never heard of La Salle or Tonti. As it turned out, the answer to this puzzle was standing next to Bienville at the time in the form of the Bayougoula chief. After being hit by a devastating epidemic, the surviving Quinipissa had abandoned their village and moved in with the Bayougoula. Thinking that the French were still be angry for the attack, the Bayougoula had hidden their presence from Iberville by referring to the Quinipissa who were living among them as the Mougulasha.

The French were not the only Europeans with plans to colonize the lower Mississippi. When Iberville returned in January of 1700, he learned that the previous September Bienville had discovered a British ship that had found it's way through the delta and, after fending off attacks by the Chitimacha, had made its way upstream to a point 70 miles above the mouth. While Bienville was informing its captain that he was intruding into territory claimed by France, he was told of a British plan to colonize the lower Mississippi with French Huguenots. Iberville took no chances and ordered the construction of a fort 40 miles above the mouth to block British access to the river. Learning that the Acolapissa were finding pearls while fishing along the Pearl River (hence the name given the river), Sauvole was sent to investigate only to be disappointed when they turned out to be the fresh water variety. Father Paul du Ru also accompanied him and, upon entering the main Acolapissa village, discovered a large phallic symbol which he destroyed. Apparently ready to endure any indignity if the French would protect them from the Chickasaw, the Acolapissa took the priest's actions in stride. However, the Acolapissa chief did take the precaution of personally escorting Sauvole and Du Ru back to Biloxi. Meanwhile, Iberville organized an expedition to explore the Red River to the west and renew the contacts Tonti had made with the Caddo (Cenis) in 1690.

Acolapissa (cont.)
11 years ago

La Salle had added a vast new region to the French Empire, but there was little immediate interest among the French in Canada in his "discovery." Their focus was on the conflict in the Great Lakes with the Iroquois and the growing tension with the British that would soon explode into the King William's War (1688-97). La Salle returned to France (where he had greater influence) to gather support for his plan for a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi. Many questioned his sanity, but he received permission from the king and, after collecting 200 colonists from the cut-throats of France, sailed for the Gulf of Mexico in 1685. The plan called for Tonti to come down the Mississippi from Illinois and meet him at the mouth, but La Salle's navigator somehow managed to completely miss the large, conspicuous delta, and the expedition landed over 400 miles to the west at Matagorda Bay on the Texas coast.

Tonti waited until April, 1686, but La Salle was nowhere to be found. Tonti eventually was forced to return to Illinois, but in the meantime he had finally managed to establish peaceful relations with the Quinipissa and left a letter for La Salle with their chief. La Salle never read it. In March, 1687 he was murdered by his own men on the plains of eastern Texas. Knowledge of this did not reach Tonti until 1689, whereupon he headed south to rescue the survivors of La Salle's colony. This time, however, he stopped at the Taensa villages (north of the Acolapissa) to make the rest of the journey to Texas overland. Despite the French and Spanish moving all about them, by 1690 the Acolapissa, because of their location 75 miles east of the Mississippi River, had yet to meet their first "no hollo" (white man). Ironically, it was the activity of British traders from Charleston, South Carolina (600 miles to east) that set in motion the forces which would finally end the isolation of the Acolapissa and their neighbors.

Charleston's main purpose when it was established in 1670 was to slow the extension of Spanish missions up the Atlantic coast from Florida towards the initial British colony at Jamestown, Virginia (1607). It was successful in this, but South Carolina was also intended to turn a profit as a commercial venture through its plantations and trade with surrounding native populations. Unfortunately, the plantations floundered during the early years because of a labor shortage, and with a sixty-year head start, Virginia traders dominated trade with the Cherokee and Siouan-speaking tribes in the Piedmont immediately to the west. Charleston traders were forced to look elsewhere for markets, and they reached west with astonishing speed. By 1685 they had a permanent trading post among the Upper Creeks in Alabama and had visited the Chickasaw villages in northeast Mississippi.

Deerskins were a major item of this trade, but because of the demand for large amounts of labor to operate the Carolina and West Indies plantations, the British traders from Charleston were more interested in acquiring Native American slaves and willing to provide firearms to tribes willing to do their dirty work for them. The Yamasee and many Creeks found this type of "business" attractive and began raiding the tribes near the Spanish missions in northern Florida. Farther west in the lower Mississippi Valley, the Chickasaw were being pressed by their more numerous Choctaw cousins, and the British offer of firearms proved irresistible. Chickasaw slave raids began during the early 1690s and ultimately carried thousands of Native Americans to the slave docks at Charleston. The Choctaw were the main target, but they were organized into a large confederacy and, even without firearms, continued to be a dangerous opponent. The Natchez were also powerful and somewhat immune to predation, and Chickasaw raiders often bypassed them to attack the small, independent tribes (such as the Acolapissa) along the Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi River.

With the exception of the Arkansas Post which Tonti built at the Quapaw villages in 1686, France had ignored the Mississippi Valley. So much so, that Jean Couture, the man Tonti left in charge at Arkansas Post, was completely without trade goods, and following the royal decree of 1696 suspending the fur trade in the western Great Lakes, there seemed little hope of a new supply. Feeling abandoned, Couture guided the Charleston trader Thomas Welch to Arkansas Post in 1698. Welch gave the Quapaw thirty guns so they could provide the "merchandise" he needed by attacking the Chakchiuma east of the river, but the Quapaw used them to drive the Chepoussa and Michigamea of the Illinois Confederation from northeast Arkansas. Welch's visit did not produce the results intended, but the sudden appearance of British traders on the lower Mississippi, in territory claimed by France, commanded the immediate attention of the colonial authorities in Quebec

Acolapissa (cont.)
11 years ago

In July, 1543 the Tangipahoa probably were watching as seven makeshift boats, carried the battered remnants of De Soto's army of conquistadors past them to the Gulf of Mexico. For four years, the Spanish had crisscrossed the southeast United States running roughshod over its native peoples, but by 1543 they were beaten men. De Soto had died the previous year, and after failing to reach Mexico overland across Texas, his successor, Luis de Moscoso, returned to the "Great River" (Mississippi) for a last desperate effort to escape the interior by following it to the Gulf. After building seven boats from local materials, the Spanish headed downstream in May, but their grim reputation had preceded them. Forced to fight his way past the Natchez in southwest Mississippi, Moscoso was in no mood to meet the Tangipahoa, Acolapissa, or any other tribe downstream who, under the circumstances, most likely were also hostile.

However, the Acolapissa and their neighbors did not have to meet the Spanish to be affected by them. In the years which followed, the epidemics and destruction left by De Soto (1539-43) brought about the collapse of the large Mississippian chiefdoms which had dominated the Southeast before 1539. The process did not stop when Moscoso finally reached safety in Mexico. In 1565 the Spanish built a permanent settlement at St. Augustine (Florida) and during the next 150 years established two mission systems: the first of which stretched entirely across northern Florida; with a second extending up the Atlantic coast to South Carolina. Because of the tales of suffering and deprivation relayed to them by the De Soto survivors, the Spanish, with the exceptions of De Luna (1559-61) and Pardo (1567), were content to remain near the coasts and avoided the interior.

This served their purposes well enough. Besides their obvious goal to convert the native peoples in the region, the missions also served to secure the claims of Spain against those of France and Great Britain. Trade and settlement were secondary, but native traders carried Spanish goods from the Florida and Georgia missions into the interior as far as the lower Mississippi Valley, and with them came a steady stream of the same epidemics which were killing the mission tribes almost as fast as they could be converted. The new diseases passed from tribe to tribe until they had spread across the entire Southeast, and by 1680 the native population in the area was less than half (some sources would say a quarter) of what it had been in 1500. After 150 years of this holocaust, the area was occupied by much smaller tribes which had, for the most part, retained the Mississippian concept of defined tribal territories. However, the area was too attractive to remain empty, and tribes from areas less affected - Alabama, Cherokee, Coushatta, Tukabatchee, and Yuchi - moved south to fill the voids. Unfortunately, their arrival added to tension and rivalries.

Although the responsibility was mostly theirs, the Spanish were witness to only a small part of the unfolding tragedy as they watched the Timucua and Apalachee converts at their Florida missions "drop like flies" from epidemic. Meanwhile, the interior remained mysterious as ever, since the marsh and sand bars of the Mississippi delta prevented the Spanish from entering the lower river from the Gulf. So, other than a brief glimpse of the De Soto expedition, the first European contact for most tribes along the lower Mississippi were with the French who came down the river from the Illinois country. The first were Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673. However, Spain and France were enemies at the time, and when they found Spanish trade goods in the Quapaw villages at the mouth of the Arkansas River, Marquette and Joliet immediately turned around. It was the later expedition of Robert La Salle, and Henri de Tonti that reached the mouth of Mississippi in April, 1682. Making use of the calumet, a universal sign of peace along the lower river, La Salle had been welcomed by the tribes encountered enroute, but south of the Red River, the tribes were hostile and suspicious of strangers.

Just above the present site of New Orleans, an attempt to meet with the Quinipissa provoked an attack. Firearms kept the warriors who followed the expedition downstream at bay, but on the east bank about five miles below his encounter with the Quinipissa, La Salle noted several destroyed Tangipahoa villages, the apparent result of a recent war (for reasons unknown) with the Houma to the north. The Tangipahoa who escaped had merged with the Acolapissa just to the east, but at the time that the French passed by, there were no Tangipahoa or Acolapissa in the vicinity. La Salle proceeded on to the Gulf where they claimed the entire Mississippi Valley (Louisiana), including its native peoples, for France. The return journey was similar to the experience coming downstream. The Quinipissa were still hostile, and since no Acolapissa or Tangipahoa were seen, there was no opportunity for the French to inform them that they had just become the subjects of Louis XIV.

11 years ago
Acolapissa Location

Originally, both sides of the lower Pearl River which is the current eastern border of Louisiana with Mississippi. During 1702 the Acolapissa left their original location and moved a short distance west to Bayou Costine on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. By 1718 they relocated once again, this time to the east bank of the Mississippi just above the new French settlement at New Orleans. Pressured by the expansion of French settlement during the next few years, the Acolapissa were absorbed by the Houma and moved upstream with them to Ascension Parish (Donaldsonville, La.). The Houma remained in this area until they sold their land in 1776 and moved to Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes southwest of New Orleans. Their descendants still live in this area and have provided the name for present-day Houma, Louisiana.


Like most of the original tribes near the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Acolapissa was not large, probably numbering in 1600 no more than 3-4,000. In 1699 Iberville credited them with 300 warriors indicating a population of approximately 1,500. However, the native populations of the region had been decimated by disease and warfare during the proceeding 150 years. Judging from the losses suffered by the Biloxi and neighboring tribes, it is fair to say that the Acolapissa had lost at least half of their original population. The decline accelerated after contact with the French. By 1702 another epidemic had dropped the Acolapissa to 1,250, and twenty years later, a French census gave them only 200 warriors (1,000 total). By 1739 the Acolapissa were so few that the French no longer bothered with a separate enumeration. The combined population of the Acolapissa, Bayougoula, and Houma for that year was given as only 500, representing a 90 percent population loss for these three tribes in a period of only forty years. Currently recognized by Louisiana, the 11,000 members of the United Houma Nation are the state's largest tribe. However, their petition for federal status was denied by the Department of the Interior in 1994.


A Choctaw word meanings "those who listen and see" which seems to indicate that the Acolapissa were considered a border tribe by their neighbors. Variations of this name were: Aqueloupissa, Cenepisa, Colapissa, Coulapissa, Equinipicha, Kinipissa, Kolapissa, and Mouisa.


Muskogean - closely related to Choctaw and Chickasaw.


Tangipahoa (variously: Tangibao, Tanguahoa, Maheouala, Mahehoualaima) meaning "corncob people." Even without the Tangipahoe, the Acolapissa had at least six villages in 1680.

The Acolapissa were similar in language and culture to the Choctaw just to the north. Villages were relatively small (2-300 people) and located in the flood plains on both sides of the Pearl River about 20 miles inland from the Gulf. Because of poor soil near the coast, agricultural tribes usually lived inland. Most of their diet was provided by agriculture: corn, beans, squash, several varieties of melon, and tobacco. Fields were relatively small because of the difficulty of clearing underbrush and keeping them free of weeds. Larger fields were not really necessary since the growing season allowed the annual harvest of two to three crops from the same field. Farming was supplemented by hunting and fishing, and in what may come as something of a surprise, buffalo were a major source of meat. In fact, there were so many buffalo in southern Mississippi during the early 1700s, that the French considered capturing some and raising them for their WOOL! However, finding someone willing to shear a live buffalo proved difficult, and this remarkable idea was dropped.

The mild climate of the lower Mississippi required little clothing. Acolapissa men limited themselves pretty much to a breechcloth, women a short skirt, and children ran nude until puberty. With so little clothing with which to adorn themselves, the Acolapissa were fond of decorating their entire bodies with tattoos. In cold weather a buffalo robe or feathered cloak was added for warmth. Housing was circular in shape and utilized the wattle-and-daub construction distinctive to the Southeast. Walls were fashioned from vertical poles interwoven with branches and reeds (similar to a basket) to which mud was applied for a stucco effect. Roofs were either palmetto, thatch, or bark. Like the towns of the earlier Mississippian mound builders, each village had two large public buildings: a circular (30' diameter) dome-roofed temple which housed sacred objects and an eternal fire kept by the village priest; and the chief's house (similar in size to the temple) but with a peaked, rather than domed, roof. Some, but not all, Acolapissa villages were fortified in 1699. Like most of the small tribes near the mouth of the Mississippi, each Acolapissa village prior to 1682 was politically independent with its own defined territory. The drawback to this arrangement were frequent wars, usually over boundaries.

11 years ago
1892 Under the Dawes Act, nearly two million acres of Crow tribal land is opened to white settlers in Montana. 1892 John Muir founds the Sierra Club in Yosemite Valley, California, to “protect the nation's scenic resources” and oppose the lumber industry’s encroachments on public forests. 1893

Presidential amnesty is granted to Mormon polygamists, marking the federal government's first step toward closing the book on the "Mormon problem."

Frederick Jackson TurnerFrederick Jackson Turner, a 31-year-old instructor at the University of Wisconsin, declares the closing of the Western frontier in his seminal lecture, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, delivered at a meeting of the American Historical Association held in conjunction with the Chicago Columbian Exposition.

1893 Experts estimate that fewer that 2,000 buffalo remain of the more than 20 million that once roamed the Western plains. 1893 More than 100,000 white settlers rush into Oklahoma's Cherokee Outlet to claim six million acres of former Cherokee land. 1894 Nebraska Congressman William Jennings Bryan -- "The Great Commoner" -- gains national attention as the West's eloquent spokesman against the restrictive economic policies of east coast capitalists, emblemized by the gold standard. 1894 The Carey Act grants one million acres of public land to arid states and territories on the condition they "reclaim" the land by irrigation and sell it to settlers. This attempt to promote irrigation of arid Western lands proves unsuccessful when states find they cannot raise the funds to mount large-scale irrigation projects. Effective land reclamation in the West will require a massive federal investment. 1896 Utah enters the Union. 1896 William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech against the restrictive gold standard makes him the Presidential candidate of the Democratic and Populist parties, but his appeal to rural voters in the West and South does not carry him to the White House. 1896 The discovery of gold at Bonanza Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River near Dawson City, Alaska, sparks the last great Western rush for riches. 1898 The United States annexes Hawaii. 1899 Robert Parker and his partner, Harry Longbaugh, better known as Butch Cassidy and "The Sundance Kid," lead their "Wild Bunch" in a series of bank and train robberies across the West. When they eventually flee to South America in 1901, the era of the outlaw band comes to an end.
11 years ago
1890 Congress establishes the Oklahoma Territory on unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory, breaking a 60-year-old pledge to preserve this area exclusively for Native Americans forced from their lands in the east. 1890 Wyoming enters the Union. 1890

Sitting Bull is murdered in a confrontation at the Standing Rock Reservation when Lakota policemen attempt to arrest him as part of a federal crackdown on the Ghost Dance.

One victim at Wounded KneeFederal troops massacre the Lakota Chief Big Foot and his 350 followers at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation in a confrontation fueled by the government’s determination to stop the spread of the Ghost Dance among the tribes. The incident stands in U.S. military history as the last armed engagement of the Indian Wars.

1890 Congress establishes Yosemite National Park at the urging of naturalist John Muir, who argues passionately for the preservation of its sequoia forests. 1890 Wilford WoodruffThe U. S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the 1887 Edmunds-Tucker Act, denying that its assault on Mormon institutions constitutes a violation of Mormon religious freedom. At the same time, Congress debates the even more punitive Cullom-Strubble Bill, designed to deny all Mormons the right to vote. In response, Wilford Woodruff, leader of the Mormon Church, issues the "Manifesto," a revelation urging all members of the church to comply with the laws of the land regarding marriage. 1891 Congress passes the Forest Reserve Act, which authorizes setting aside public forests in any state or territory to preserve a timber supply for the future. The law marks the first step in a process that will steadily place more and more Western land in the hands of the federal government while leaving less and less available for private purchase and use. As a result, federal priorities in the West gradually shift from selling public land to managing public resources, from land development to land conservation, and federal regulations become a permanent presence on the once wide open spaces. 1892 Congress extends the Chinese Exclusion Act for an additional ten years, adding a requirement that all Chinese workers in the United States register or face deportation. 1892 A strike by silver miners in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, erupts in violence, as miners are killed and a security guard barracks blown up. State and federal troops intervene to restore order by locking miners into an outdoor bullpen. The miners' defeat leads to the formation of the Western Federation of Miners in Butte, Montana, the next year, an organization representing mine workers across the West.
11 years ago
 Who Are The Chumash ?

The Native American that flourished in the Central Coastal California region before the arrival of European settlers are now collectively know as the Chumash. Their territory extends from northern San Luis Obispo County, inland east of New Cuyama, south to the Malibu area, and out to the Channel Islands archipelago. Anthropologists are studying evidence that suggests that Chumash settlements out on the Channel Islands were among the first habitations in North America.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural history houses a research and exhibition team that are undertaking the most in-depth current studies of prehistoric Chumash life. As a Camp Internet Community Partner, the Museum is working with us to present The Great Eagle Expedition, and we will rely on their research on the Chumash to present an overview of Chumash life. The quotations below are from the Museum's publication The Chumash People - materials for teachers and students, 1982.
" Like most California Indians, the Chumash were hunters and gatherers, dependent for their food on the natural plants and animals of the region. They had a technology - the tools and techniques - for collecting, processing and storing these foods efficiently. And they had a trade network, stretching from the Channel Islands to the highest pine forests, which assured them access to the widest possible variety of foods all year round. Because of their success in using the natural environment, they did not plant crops of corn, beans and other vegetables as so many other American Indians did. Nor did they raise domestic animals.
The natural world was also the source for Chumash craft materials and tools. Their homes, beds and baskets were made from locally gathered plants. Their grinding tools, knives, arrowheads and cooking pots were made of stone. They used animal hides and bones for clothing, tools and musical instruments. Shells were important for dishes, ornaments, even money. No resource was wasted. "
The Chumash are now internationally renowned for their prehistoric rock art, which is one of the most colorful rock painting, or pictograph, forms of ceremonial art in the world. It is thought that the religious leaders undertook special journeys into the foothills and mountains at auspicious times of the year, and during these quests, painting empowering and protective symbols on the sandstone cave walls in rocks and cliffs through out the mountains behind what in now Ventura, Ojai, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. It is from this realm of supernatural spirits on human and animal form, that the Chumash Eagle mythologies were born.
" The Chumash believed that all beings, both human and supernatural, were able to get and use power for either good or bad purposes. Power, therefore, was seen as dangerous. A person could gain extra power only if he or she knew the traditional and secret rules. One could try to get a dream helper - a powerful plant [ Datura ], animal [ Eagle ], natural force [ Wind ], star or planet [ Sky Coyote who was the North Star ] - for assistance.... Each helper could assist a person in various ways, depending on its real and mythic powers. " These dream helpers were acquired only through a sacred ceremony performed by the tribal shaman wherein the initiate would enter a mystical state through the use of dream-inducing plants, and would discover their dream helper during this vision quest.
If you undertook such a vision quest, and found the eagle to be your dream-helper, what qualities do you think the eagle would offer to you as a source of power ?

11 years ago
Perhaps we have not understood this part of America's history before because we did not believe what DeSoto's people wrote. We did not know, until recently, that millions of Indians died due to foreign diseases brought by DeSoto's army. DeSoto died before founding his colony and his army never found the gold they sought to attract more of their kind to North America. The Spaniards failed to colonize America but others would be influenced by their reports of our land, resources and natives. But America changed very fast after the Spaniards arrived; it became almost impossible to find the places Spaniards described because Indian cities were abandoned by the time our Pilgrims landed. Things in America were so different from what the Spaniards saw that Pioneers did not believe their writings, neither did our parents, teachers or scholars.

Today it is even harder to visualize what DeSoto's people described here - forests have been cut down, rivers diverted, animals removed, and land cleared for huge farms - but America has withstood "civilization" enough for us to use modern maps to track DeSoto's army using their directions. Desirable homesteads, which were Indian Villages when DeSoto was here, are American Cities today. Our pioneers settled those places to grow the same foods, trade the same furs and travel the same rivers and roads which Indians did for centuries before Whites and Blacks settled them; just as various Indian tribes had done in Central and South America before Spain displaced those Indians. Spanish records described Indians living along our great rivers in large cities; they did not describe Indians riding horses seeking refuge, as Pioneers typically described them. Pioneers saw Indians after Spanish Conquest; Indians had moved away by then. Their Nations had been destroyed by diseases...
11 years ago
America's Great River basin, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, DeSoto's army encountered 100's of 1,000's of Indians living where our cities are today. The Spaniards described their journey between our landmarks - mountains, rivers, plains, forests, shores and, yes, our cities - in order to return to desirable places to homestead them once DeSoto founded his colony. The best places for them to do that were Indian villages, just as those places were best for French and English Pioneers to settle a century later when they arrived.

Indian villages were pillaged by DeSoto's people while collecting valuables to attract more Spaniards to America. Indians were not treated as humans; they were chained around the neck and forced to gather and carry food and clothing for the Spaniards. Indian women were raped, their children were abused; all were infected by foreign diseases. Indians had never seen horses ridden before, and vicious dogs, the likes of which they had never seen, became their worst enemies. DeSoto had honed his Indian fighting skills in South America; North American Indians, with slings, spears and arrows, never stood a chance of stopping him.
11 years ago
They would trudge Florida's swamps from Charlotte Harbor to Tallahassee and beyond; spend the Winter among hostile Indians near Panama City (where Spaniards had been before), then enter a peaceful Alabama, Georgia and Carolina (where Spaniards had never been). Foreign diseases, brought here by the Spaniards, destroyed Indian lifestyles. Descriptions of Indians living in places which are cities today were well recorded, and have been translated into English. They are available on-line, but were not understood until recently because scholars never knew where DeSoto went in America.
11 years ago
DeSoto's people sighted Florida in May, 1539, at a port discovered by Ponce de León, who called this place "The Island of Florida." DeSoto brought 640 "soldiers" from Spain and Africa. Most of them were young. Some even brought their wives; 200 of them brought horses; many brought their dogs; and all brought equipment for hiking, camping and fighting. DeSoto brought tons of supplies - cannon, gun powder, cross bows, shields, lances, armor, helmets, blood hounds, seeds, nails, axes, saws, pigs and mules - to colonize and hold America for Spain.

Along for the riches of Conquest were carpenters, priests, navigators, lords, engineers, ship builders, blacksmiths, farmers, herdsmen, merchants and prospectors. Some had sold their houses and farms to be with DeSoto, the famous Conquistador, but most had never been trained as soldiers. Many had never been outside their own villages, much less in a land so vast that even the worldly DeSoto misjudged its size. Spain and Portugal could be walked from one end to the other in less than one month. This "army" would hike America for 4 years without seeing an ocean, not one of them ever knowing what they were up against.

11 years ago
DeSoto got very rich by Conquering the Incas of Peru. Spain became the richest nation on Earth. To spend their New World fortunes, DeSoto believed he could reach China from Spain by traveling north from Cuba, Spain's stronghold in the New World. He planned to raid Indian villages for food and slaves along his way to the Great Northern Sea which Indians had told other Spaniards about. DeSoto believed America's Northern Sea (Lake Michigan) was the Pacific Ocean... and that he could sail a short distance across it to China. Coronado would explore America's West at the same time.

The King of Spain gave DeSoto four years to conquer North America. If he could do that he could keep a big part of it. His long journey across America, searching for a passage to China and enough gold to attract more settlers to his new colony, was well recorded by people caught up in something they had little understanding of and no control over. Their records, misunderstood for centuries, are the only spoils of Spain's "Conquest of America." Our land and Indians would never be the same again; theirs is the only account of what it was like when White and Black people, young and old, first penetrated America. What follows is their story, sketchy in places, incredible in others. It's the oldest written history of America.

11 years ago
Native Americans were invaded by Conquistadors five centuries ago. Not long after Columbus discovered the New World, Spain settled Indian villages along our coasts. Hernando de Soto invaded Panama in his teens. He was "inspired" by three Conquistadors: Ponce de León, Balboa and Magellan. All were famous New World Explorers: Ponce de León discovered North America, Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean, and Magellan sailed across it to China, the greatest market in the World.

Ponce de León, who had sailed with Columbus, and Balboa made their discoveries when DeSoto was 13 years old. Later, on "Missions" with Balboa in Panama, DeSoto learned that vicious dogs, fast horses, and extortion worked wonders on Natives. He was called the "Child of the Sun" by the Natives for attacking villages at dawn, capturing women and children, then holding them for ransom for their release. Land and Indians became objects of ownership. Magellan then sailed to China but lost his life on the long voyage when he took the long way - around South America.
11 years ago
1492: An Ongoing Voyage has focused on those people who were in this hemisphere before 1492 and on those from Europe and Africa who arrived in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Indian, European, and African peoples continued to shape new American societies. By the end of the 18th century, these new Americans began to rebel against their European masters. Independence movements spread, creating many separate nations. While colonial languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, French and English became widespread, millions of people continued to speak their own languages, such as Navaho, Quechua, Guarani, and Nahuatl.

While distinct peoles from throughout the world continue to come together in the Americas, many hold on to or reclaim their uniqueness. The process of cultural exchange and adaptation can be seen in religion, festivity, ceremony, and daily life. However, the tensions between tradition and change, prosperity and poverty, tolerance and intolerance in the hemisphere continue to create turbulence for the Ongoing Voyage.

Incursions in North America
11 years ago
The French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English arrived in North America in the 16th century, sporadically and in small numbers. Fishermen plied their trade off the Newfoundland coast from around 1500. Some Europeans hoped to find an alternative route to Asia (the Northwest Passage), wealthy civilizations, or precious metals, but few found what they sought. They did not however, confront an untamed wilderness but rather people who often lived in villages and towns.

The European intruders depended almost entirely on the indigenous people, who provided them food and guides, sometimes under duress. They made few serious attemps to settle in the early years. Frequently, the most enduring impact of their expeditions was negative. Their diseases devastated native populations, and violence and wholesale commandeering of food supplies left a legacy of fear and hostility.

The Spanish and French Disrupt Life in FloridaAlmost from the outset, European arrivals in the Florida peninsula produced violent confrontations. The Spanish came first, presumably as an extension of slave raiding in the Caribbean islands. Ponce de Leon's expeditions, in 1513 and 1521, failed because of Timucua and Calusa resistance. Subsequent Spanish expeditions moved on without fouding any permanent settlements until St. Augustine was established in 1565.

In the early 1560s, French Huguenots established a colony at the mouth of the Saint Johns River. Jacques Le Moyne, who mapped the area and wrote an account of his experiencies, survived the 1565 Spanish attack that destroyed the French colony. Engravings based on his drawings show the site in Florida where the French first landed; Timucua men and women carrying fruit; and a battle scene in which French soldiers aided their ally Outina against his enemy Potanou.

Europeans Along the South Atlantic
11 years ago

Portugal's claim to Brazil resulted not only from Cabral's 1500 landing, but also from the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas. French efforts to exploit the resources and to establish settlements in the area persisted through much of the 16th century. The Spanish concentrated on the Riode la Plata region and established the cities of Buenos Aires in 1536 and Asuncion in 1537.

Intense Portuguese colonization of Brazil began in the same decade. The capital, Salvador, was established in 1549 at the Bay of All Saints. The first Jesuits, who would play a crucial role in Brazilian society, arrived the same year. They established missionary settlements called aldeias in which they hoped to bring Tupinambas and other groups into "civilized" society by subjecting them to a disciplined routine and making them full-time farmers. Portuguese efforts to use indigenous labor were never very successful. Gradually they began to import African slaves as sugarcane cultivation got underway in the northeast.

Conquest in the Andes
11 years ago

The conquest of Peru was similar to that of Mexico in many ways. Inspired by rumors of a rich empire, Francisco Pizarro and others reconnoitered the western coast of South America in the 1520s. In 1532, in the midst of a civil war, the Spaniards seized the Inca emperor Atahualpa. After exacting a huge ransom in gold and silver, they executed him, but it was some time before they consolidated their conquest.

The Spaniards conquered the Inca capital of Cuzco, but found the imperial city too high and remote. Instead, they established a new capital, Lima, near the coast. Highland communities, therefore, experienced less contact with Spanish culture than did lowland communities. However, all Indian communities were subject to Spanish tribute and labor demands, adapted from the Incan mita system. These often onerous obligations brought disruption, change, and hardship.

Middle America
11 years ago
After having organized the expedition in Cuba, Hernando Cortes led the conquest of the Mexica (Aztec) empire from 1519-1521. Tenochtitlan, the capital city, was razed and rebuilt as Mexico, the capital of the viceroyalty of New Spain.

Within thirty years, it had the first printing press in the Americas, a cathedral, and a university. Indian residents far outnumbered the 8,000 or so Spaniards, and perhaps 5,000 Africans of diverse origins, living there by 1550. From the capital, the Spanish spread out to adjoining areas and eventually into today's New Mexico and Guatemala.

Silver mining assured that the economy would flourish. Spaniards used Indian laborers to establish their farms, ranches, and towns, and religious orders mounted intensive missionary campaigns. Despite a great reduction in population, native cultures and communities nonetheless survived, adapting to the new circumstances of Spanish rule.

By 1531, the conqueror Hernando Cortes had acquired dominion over far-reaching properties in Mexico and the title of Governor of New Spain. After a lengthy absence from the region, he was asked by the people of the town of Huejotzingo (located in what is today the State of Puebla) to initiate a lawsuit against certain members of the high court of New Spain, concerning their burdensome utilization of the people and the unjust use of the incomes and profits secured from the town during his absence. The legal case that ensued and the accompanying testimony -- eight sheets of handsome indigenous drawings on native paper of maguey and amalt -- are known today as the Huejotzingo Codex of 1531.

This poignant and visually stimulating document reveals a highly stratified Nahuatl Indian social structure, with a complex and precise accounting system and an impressive diversity of crops, products, and professions. It contains one of the earliest known images of the Madonna and Child in these types of documents, a representation of a costly banner made of precious feathers and gold. The use of this highly revered form of indigenous artwork to display a Christian symbol introduced by the Iberian religious missionaries is striking testimony to the confluence of Spanish and Indian cultures and belief systems that was to occur later throughout America.

The Caribbean
11 years ago
Las Indias

The arrival of Europeans proved disastrous for the people of the Caribbean. Within 20 years, it is estimated that native population of Hispaniola dropped from one million to 30,000.

The Spaniards settled first on the island of Hispaniola and later moved on to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica, forcing the Tainos to mine for gold. The local population quickly declined as a result of mistreatment, flight, disruption of agriculture, and disease. African slaves were imported as early as 1502 to replace the dwindling labor supply.

As mining decreased, the Spanish introduced livestock, crops, and fruit trees. Cattle ranching and sugarcane became important and a stable Spanish society took hold in the large islands. The Caribbean played a crucial role as a staging ground for further exploration and conquest, and as a strategic defensive point for the Spanish empire.

Europe Claims America
11 years ago
The Atlantic Joined
The dramatic encounters of Europeans and American peoples from 1492 to 1600 varied considerably from place to place and over time. This section of the exhibit examines the immediate consequences of contact in the five geographical areas of America reviewed previously.

The Indian peoples sometimes greeted Europeans warmly, provided them with food, and taught them important new survival skills. In some cases, they perceived them as being divine, or at least spiritually powerful. Some used the newcomers as allies against old enemies. Others saw them as new enemies, to be grudgingly tolerated or strongly resisted. Native peoples were quickly disillusioned by treachery or mistreatment at European hands.

The Europeans brought technologies, ideas, plants, and animals that were new to America and would transform peoples' lives: guns, iron tools, and weapons; Christianity and Roman law; sugarcane and wheat; horses and cattle. They also carried diseases against which the Indian peoples had no defenses.

The interaction among groups produced a complex mosaic of relationships. Varying forms of resistance and adaptation among Indian, African and European peoples occured throughout the region.

11 years ago
Inventing AmericaThe name America was given to the Western Hemisphere by European writers and mapmakers after Columbus's death. Nothing in their experiences had led the first explorers to realize that they had come into contact with a vast and unrecorded continent, many times the size of Europe. Previously there had been no accounts, or even rumors, of the "unknown" peoples of this "new" continent in European scholarly literature and discussion or in popular chronicles.

Mediterranean explorers in search of the spices and riches of the Far East initially believed that they had reached Asia. In part due to this confusion, Europeans conjured up or "invented" images and tales to explain America that would conform to the descriptions of Marco Polo and others.

In early allegorical images, "America" was sometimes portrayed as a noble, native woman submissively awaiting European arrival. Ferocious sea animals and exotic creatures filled early maps of the region. Regrettably, we still have incomplete knowledge of the world view and everyday life of the varied peoples of the Americas before European settlement.

Yaquina Indian Tribe
11 years ago

Yaquina. A small tribe, but the most important division of the Yakonan family, formerly living about Yaquina river and bay, west Oregon. By the early explorers and writers they were classed with the Salishan tribes to the north, but later were shown to be linguistically independent. The tribe is now practically extinct. There are a few survivors, for the greater part of mixed blood, on the Siletz Reservation, Oregon. According to Dorsey (Jour. Am. Folk-lore, 111, 229, 1890) the following were villages of the Yaquina:

On the north side of Yaquina river:

Iwai, Khaishuk
Kyaukuhu Kyuwatkal
Tkhakiyu Tshkitshiauk

On the south side of the river:

Kilauutuksh Kumeukwu
Pikiiltthe Pkhulluwaaiithe
Haida Indian(cont)
11 years ago
An estimate of the Haida population made, according to Dawson, by John Work, between 1836 and 1841, gives a total of 8,328, embracing 1,735 Kaigani and 6,593 Queen Charlotte islanders. Dawson estimated the number of people on the Queen Charlotte islads. In 1880 as between 1,700 and 2,000. An estimate made for the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs in 1888 (Ann. Rep., 317) gives 2,500, but the figures were evidently exaggerated, for when a census of Masset, Skidegate, and Gold Harbor was taken the year after (Ann. Rep., 272) it gave only 637. This, however, left out of consideration the people of New Kloo. In 1894 (Ann. Rep., 280), when these were first added to the list, the entire Haida population was found to be 639. The figures for the year following were 593, but from that time showed an increase and stood at 734 in 1902. In 1904, however, they had suffered a sharp decline to 587. Petroff in 1880-81 reported 788 Kaigani, but this figure may be somewhat too high, since Dall about the same time estimated their number at 300. According to the census of 1890 there were 391, and they are now (1905) estimated at 300. The entire Haida population would thus seem to be about 900.
     The Alaskan Haida are called Kaigani. By the Queen Charlotte islanders they are designated Kets-hade (Qts xa'dē), which probably means 'people of the strait.' The people of Masset inlet and the nort end of Queen Charlotte islands generally are called by their southern kinsmen Gao-haidagai (Gao xā'-idAga-i), 'inlet people,' and those living around the southern point of the group are called Gunghet-haidagai (GA' ñxet-xā'-idAga-i), from the name of one of the most southerly capes in their territory. All of these latter finally settled in the town afterward known to whites as Ninstints, and hence came to be called Ninstints people.
Haida Indian
11 years ago
Haida (Xa'ida, 'people'). The native and popular name for the Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands., British Columbia, and the south end of Prince of Wales island., Alaska, comprising the Skittagetan family. By the natives themselves the term may be applied generally to any human being or specifically to one speaking the Haida language. Some authors have improperly restricted the application of the tend to the Queen Charlotte islanders, calling the Alaskan Haida, Kaigani. Several English variants of this word owe their origin to the fact that a suffix usually acompanies it in the native language, making it Hā'dē in one dialect and Haidaga'i in the other.
     On the ground of physical characteristics the Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian peoples should be grouped together.  Language and social organization indicate still closer affinities between the Haida and Tlingit.
     According to their own traditions the oldest Haida towns stood on the east shore, at Naikum and on the broken coast of Moresby island. Later a portion of the people moved to the west coast, and between 150 and 200 years ago a still .larger section, the Kaigani, drove the Tlingit from part of Prince of Wales island and settled there. Although it is not impossible that the Queen Charlotte islands were visited by Spaniards during the 17th century, the first certain account of their discovery is that by Ensign Juan Perez, in the corvette Santiago, in 1774. He named the north point of the island, Cabo de Santa Margarita. Bodega and Maurelle visited them the year after. In 1786 La Perouse coasted the shores of the islands, and the following year Capt. Dixon spent more than a month around them, and the islands are named from his vessel, the Queen Charlotte. After that time scores of vessels from England and New England resorted to the coast, principally to trade for furs, in which business the earlier voyagers reaped golden harvest. The most important expeditions, as those of which there is some record, were by Capt. Douglas, Capt. Jos. Ingraham of Boston, Capt. Etienne Marchand in the French ship Solide, and Capt. Geo. Vancouver (Dawson, Queen Charlotte Ids., 1880).
     The advent of whites was, as usual, disastrous to the natives. They were soon stripped of their valuable furs, and, through smallpox and general immorality, they have been reduced in the last 60 years to one-tenth of then former strength. A station of the Hudson Bay Company was long established at Messet, but is now longer remunerative. At Skidegate there are works for the extraction of dogfish oil, which furnish employment to the people during much of the year; but in summer all the Indians from this place and Masset go to the mainland to work in salmon canneries. The Masset people also make many canoes of immense cedars to sell to other a coast tribes. The Kaigani still occupy 3 towns, but the population of 2 of them, Kasaan and Klinkwan, is inconsiderable. Neighboring salmon canneries give them work all summer.
     Mission stations are maintained by the Methodists at Skidegate, by the Church of England at Masset, and by the Presbyterian at Howkan, Alaska. Nearly all of the people are nominally Christians.
     The Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian seem to show greater adaptability to civilization and to display less religious conservatism than many of the tribes farther south. They are generally regarded as superior to them by the white settlers, and they certainly showed themselves such in war and in the arts. Of all peoples of the north west coast the Haida were the best carvers, painters, and canoe and house builders, and they still earn considerable money by selling carved objects of wood and slate to traders and tourists. Standing in the tribe depended more on the possession of property than on ability in war, so that considerable interchange of goods took place and the people became sharp traders. The morals of the people were, however, very loose.
     Canoes were to the people of this coast what the horse became to the Plains Indians. They were hollowed out of single logs of cedar, and were sometimes very large. Houses were built of huge cedar beams and planks which were worked out with adzes and wedges made anciently of stone, and put together at great feasts called by the whites by the jargon word "potlatch". Each house ordinarily had a single carved pole in the middle of the gable enc: presented to the beach. Often the end posts in front were also carved and the whole house front painted. The dead were placed in mortuary houses, in boxes on carved poles, or sometimes in caves. Shamans were placed after death in small houses built on prominent points along shore. Among the beliefs of the Haida reincarnation held a prominent place.

Bellacoola (Bí'lxula).
11 years ago

Bellacoola (Bí'lxula). A coast Salish tribe, or rather aggregation of tribes, on north and south Bentinck arm, Dean inlet, and Bellacoola river, British Columbia. This name is that given them by the Kwakiutl, there being no native designation for the entire people. They form the northernmost division of the Salishan stock, from the remaining tribes of which they are separated by the Tsilkotin and the Kwakiutl. In the Canadian reports on Indian affairs the name is restricted by the separation of the Tallion and the Kinisquit (people of Dean inlet), the whole being called the Tallion nation. The population in 1902 was 311. The chief divisions mentioned are the Kinisquit, Noothlakimish, and Nuhalk.

The gentes of the Bellacoola without reference to the tribal divisions are:

The following are mentioned as gentes of the Nuhalk division:
Spukpukolemk, and

The Bellacoola villages (chiefly after Boas) are:

Nusatsem Nuskek
Slaaktl Snutele
11 years ago
Kutchin ('people'). A group of Athapascan tribes in Alaska and British North America, inhabiting the region on the Yukon and its tributaries above Nuklukayet, the Peel river basin, and the lower Mackenzie valley. They have decreased to half their former numbers owing to wars between the tribes and the killing of female children. Chiefs and medicine-men and those who possess rank acquired by property have two or more wives. They usually live in large parties, each headed by a chief and having one or more medicine-men, the latter acquiring an authority to which even the chiefs are subject. Their dances and chants are rhythmical and their games are more manly and rational than those of their congeners. They have wrestling bouts which are begun by little boys, those next in strength coming on in turn until the strongest or freshest man in the band remains the final victor, after which the women go through the same progressive contest.  They are exceedingly hospitable, keeping guests for months and each head of a family takes his turn in feasting the whole time, on which occasion etiquette requires him to fast until the guests have departed.  The Kutchin tribes are Tenakutchin, Natsitkutchin, Kutchakutchin, Hankutchin, Tortsikkutchin, Tutchonekutchin, Vuntakkutchin, Tukuthkutchin, Tatlitkutchin, Nakotchokuchin and Kwitchakutchin.
11 years ago
The Tatsanottine have a myth that one of their women was kidnapped and carried blindfolded off to the country of the Eskimo in Asia and married to one of these, and that she made her escape with her infant in an umiak, reached the shore of America by paddling from isle to isle of the Aleutian archipelago, being protected on the voyage by a white wolf. Reaching the shore of Alaska she abandoned her Eskimo child because it robbed her of pemmican she had made. Seeing a blazing mountain she ascended it, thinking to find a party camping on the summit. She found that the flames were emitted by a molten metal, and when eventually she reached the camp of her own people they accompanied her back by the path she had marked with stones to get some of the metal, which they called bear's dung or beaver's dung, because it was red. They thought she was a woman descended from the skies, but when they had made the journey for the third time some of them laid violent hands on her, whereupon she sat down beside her precious copper, refusing to go home with them. When they came back some time later to seek the volcano of molten copper, she was still there, but sunk to her waist into the earth. She gave them copper, but again refused to go back with them, putting no faith in their promises. She said she would give good metal to those who brought her good meat, iron if the gift were lung, liver, or heart of the caribou, copper for whomsoever gave red flesh, but if anyone brought bad meat they would get brittle metal in return. Those who came back later for more metal found her buried to the neck in the ground. The last time they came she had disappeared in the bowels of the earth, and from that time no more copper could be found on the bank of Copper river, though there may still be seen the huge stones which the metal woman placed to mark the way. Her tribe have since been called the Copper People, for water scum and beaver dung are both figurative names for this metal.
11 years ago
Tatsanottine ('people of the scum of water,' scum being a figurative expression for copper). An Athapascan tribe, belonging to the Chipewyan group, inhabiting the northern shares and eastern hays of Great Slave lake, Mackenzie Dist., Canada. They were said bt Mackinziei n 1789 to live with other tribes on Mackenzie and Peace rivers. Franklin in l8244 (Journ, Polar Sea, 16, 1824) said that they, had previously lived on the south side of Great Slave lake. Gallatin in 1836 (Trans..Am. Antiq. Soc., ii, 19, 1856) gave their location as north of Great Slave lake on Yellow Knife river, while Back placed them on the west shore of Great Slave lake. Drake (Bk. Inds. vii, 1848) located them on Coppermine river; Riehardson (Arct. Exped, ii, 4, 1851) gave their habitat as north of Great Slave lake and from Great Fish river to Coppermine river. Hind in 1863 (Labrador Penin., ii, 261, 1863) placed them north and north east of Great Slave lake, saying than they resorted to Ft Rae and also to Ft Simpson on Mackenzie river. Petitot in 1865 (MS., B. A. E.) said they frequent the steppes east and north east of Great Slave lake: but 10 years later (Diet. Dènè-Dindjiè, xx, 1876) he located then, about the east part of the lake. They were more nomadic than their neighbors, which doubtless accounts for the wide area ascribed to them by some of the earlier travelers who met theist during their hunting trips in territory belonging to the Etchareottine. Prior try 1850 they were in the habit of visiting the north end of Great Bear lake to hunt muskoxen and reindeer: but many of their influential men were killed by treachery in a feud with the Thlingchadinne; since then they have kept more to the east end of Great Slave lake. In their hunting trip, northward they came in contact with the Eskimo residing near the mouth of Rick river, with whom they were continually at war, but in recent years they seldom traveled farther coastward than the headwaters of Yellow Knife river, leaving a strip of neutral ground between them and their former enemies. According to Father Morice, "they now hunt on the dreary steppes lying to the north east of Great Slave lake," and that formerly they were "a bold, unscrupulous and rather licentious tribe, whose members too often took advantage of the gentleness of their neighbors to commit acts of high handedness-which finally brought down on them what we cannot help calling just retribution" (Anthropos, i, 266, 1906). Back, in 1836, stated that the Tatsanottine were once powerful and numerous, but at that time they had been reduced by wars to 70 families. Ross in 1859 made the census for the Hudson's Bay Company as follows, but his figures evidently included only one band: At Ft Resolution, 207; at Ft Rae, 12; total, 219, of whom 46 males and 54 females were married, 8 unmarried adult males, 14 widows and unmarried females, 44 boys, and 53 girls, giving 98 males and 121 females of all ages. According to Father Morice they now number about 500, of whom 205 are at Ft Resolution. The Tatsanottine were the Montagnais of the Hudson's Bay Company, for whom a special alphabet was designed and books printed in it by the English missionaries (see Pilling, Bibliog. Athapascan Lang., 1892). Petitot found them serious and religiously inclined like the Chipewyan, from whom they differed so lightly in physique and in language that no novice could tell them apart. They formerly manufactured, and sold at fabulous prices, copper knives, axes, and other cutting tools, according to Father Morice. The metal was found on a low mountain in the vicinity of the river called Coppermine river by the traders on Hudson bay. The diffusion of iron and steel implements at length so depreciated the value of the aboriginal wares that, finding the main source of their revenue cut off through the new order of things, they finally moved to the south.

11 years ago
the 20th century. It was at this time that the great American whaling collections began and the fishery became the stuff of history. Many artists and photographers recorded in pictures the romantic old sailing ships like the Charles W. Morgan, the Rousseau, the Desdemona, the Wanderer and the schooner John R. Manta. Historian Elmo Hohman writing in his book The American Whaleman (New York, 1928) captured the essence of the end of Yankee whaling. He wrote: "When the Wanderer, tired of dragging out her days in the uncongenial atmosphere of the twentieth century, at length piled up on the rocks of Cuttyhunk in 1924, the [Charles W.] Morgan was left as the sole (and inactive) survivor of a fleet which once whitened every sea." The last American voyage under sail was made in the schooner John R. Manta, Antone J. Mandly, master out of New Bedford in 1925. As the final vestige of this history the larboard whaleboat from that vessel is now in the collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
11 years ago

The golden age of Yankee whaling
After the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 that ended the War of 1812, American shipping was free to carry on and the whaling ports began to grow. New Bedford in particular built its whaling fleet from 10 vessels in 1815 to 36 vessels five years later. Like Nantucket, the bulk of these were employed in sperm whaling voyages and New Bedford vessels were hunting throughout the oceans of the world. At this time the classic American whaleship came into general use. These sturdy vessels were generally square-rigged ships of about 300 tons with the brick tryworks built onboard. They had wooden planks hanging from the starboard side (right side of the vessel looking forward) where the officers of the vessel could stand to cut in the whales tied up alongside. There were usually 30-35 men onboard and they carried between three and five whaleboats. They would be outfitted with whaling gear and provisions enough to last for a cruise of up to four years. Many of these vessels were built for the purpose of whaling but many others were converted merchant ships. In 1841 alone, 75 whalers sailed out of New Bedford and the city was fast becoming one of the wealthiest in the nation. New Bedford was not alone. In 1834, 38 East Coast ports between Wiscasset, Maine and Wilmington, Delaware were endeavoring to make money in the whale fishery. Most of them failed. Industrial infrastructure and whaling expertise separated through intense competition those ports that could maintain success in the fishery from those that could not. The New Bedford fleet reached its peak in 1857 when 329 vessels valued at more than $12 million employed over 10,000 men. The Whaleman’s Shipping List newspaper listed 20 ports in 1855 and most of these were the venerable New York and New England regions that also made up the list of whaling ports from before the American Revolution. There was one important addition to that list, however, and it was San Francisco, California.

Arctic whaling and the Civil War
In 1849 the Sag Harbor whaling master Thomas Welcome Roys sailed the ship Superior through the Bering Straits and into the Western Arctic. His quarry was the bowhead whale (Eubalæna mysticetus). With the hunting of this species a new chapter in the history of American whaling had begun. The bowhead whale is a very fat animal with thick blubber and baleen plates up to thirteen feet long. The stocks of this whale in these waters had never been commercially exploited but it was dangerous work in the icy seas. While markets for whale oil and baleen had been steady for many years, the baleen market spiked around the time of the Civil War as the dictates of women’s clothing fashion in the form of hoop skirts and corsets brought long, flexible baleen into a pricey marketplace. At the same time the necessity for sperm whale products for lighting purposes was superceded by the discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania in 1859 and the market for sperm whale products slacked. This slack marked the end for ports like Nantucket that had never wholly embraced Arctic whaling. Interestingly enough, Provincetown, Massachusetts, a port that specialized in short voyages and small vessels continued successful whaling for many more years, but the peak of Yankee whaling had been passed. Access to the Western Arctic was easier from San Francisco and the New Bedford whaling merchants moved offices and agents there so that they could continue their business on both coasts. The opening of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 further consolidated the duel coast whale fishery. Voyages to the Eastern Arctic also increased at this time but bowhead whale populations there had been commercially exploited for two hundred years and filling the ships often required the crews to winter over, a proposition equally dangerous as whaling in the Western Arctic. The Civil War, like the wars before was very bad for the whaling fleet. Confederate cruisers like the Shenandoah, the Alabama and the Florida destroyed over 50 Yankee whalers. Additionally New Bedford contributed 37 old whaling vessels to the war effort in the form of the "Stone Fleet." These vessels were filled with rocks and sunk at the mouths of Southern harbors in an attempt to block shipping in and out. After the war, two Arctic disasters, one in 1871 and another in 1876 claimed 30 New Bedford vessels and 15 from other ports. Whaling ports lost millions of dollars in these disasters and as vessels were lost owners could seldom afford to replace them as the markets for whale products continued to decline.

The end of Yankee whaling
Many reasons are listed as excuses for the decline of Yankee whaling including the invention of the electric lamp in 1879 and the 1906 development of spring steel. The bottom line, however, is the American refusal to adopt new technology. Americans did employ steam-assisted sailing vessels while whaling out of San Francisco in the final decades of the Arctic fishery, however, Americans never systematically employed steamboats and harpoon cannons of the type invented and adapted to whaling by the Norwegian Svend Foyn in the late 1860’s. While the Motor Ship Patterson did whale out of San Francisco returning from her final voyage in October of 1928, mostly Americans limped along whaling under sail for the first 25 years of the 20

11 years ago

Decline of shore whaling and commencement of deep-sea voyages
The seasons of the 1720’s saw a noticeable decline in whales off the coasts of Cape Cod and Nantucket and during that time the whalers began to outfit single-masted sailing vessels called sloops to pursue the animals into deeper water. These voyages led the whalers further out to sea northward into the well-known whaling grounds off Newfoundland, into the St. Lawrence River and further north. Voyages proceeded through the Straits of Belle Isle along the coast of Labrador into the Davis Straits west of Greenland. When whales were captured the blubber would be removed and stored raw in barrels until it could be boiled out later on shore. While the cool temperatures of these northern voyages kept the blubber from spoiling, the oil was of a poorer quality than that obtained while the blubber was fresh.

The development of a colonial whaling industry
With the advent of the systematic hunting of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) that began from Nantucket after 1712, American commercial whaling grew dramatically in its economic importance. Sperm whales differ from other types of whales in several important ways but they were hunted for two major reasons. The first reason is that sperm whale oil burned cleanly and brightly and was a superior lubricant. Secondly, the spermaceti found in the head of the sperm whale was used in the manufacture of the finest grade of candles and colonial exports of candles to England was a profitable business. Occasionally ambergris was found in the bowels of the whales and this material was extremely valuable as a perfume fixative. It was literally worth its weight in gold! Two-masted schooners and small square-rigged brigs gradually replaced the single-masted sloops. With these vessels whalemen pursued sperm whales out into deep water throughout the North and South Atlantic as far as the Coast of Guinea in Africa and the Coast of Brazil in South America. The adaptation of try-works to use on shipboard enabled these vessels to stay at sea for longer periods while boiling out their oil. This try-works installation of two iron pots in a brick furnace onboard ship was the major technological innovation that enabled the success of the Yankee whaling industry. Also at this time the light, cedar planked, double-ended whaleboat came into general use. While double-ended boats had been employed in the whale fisheries of Europe for many years the unique design of the Yankee whaleboat allowed the whalers great versatility, speed and maneuverability. This design remained in use throughout the history of the American whale fishery. Two years prior to the start of American Revolution in 1774, the colonial fleet numbered 360 vessels hailing from 15 New England and New York ports. It as around this time that the port of Dartmouth, later to be called New Bedford, was beginning its rise to greatness as a whaling port.

The impact of war and the Embargo of 1807
American whaling came to a disastrous halt during the American Revolution as British Naval vessels blockaded American ports and harassed American shipping on the high seas, capturing or destroying many vessels and impressing many American sailors into His Majesty’s Naval service. American whaling ports suffered but Nantucket in particular was strangled during the war, as whaling was the primary industry there. After the war, with heavy duties placed on the importation into England of whale products, some Nantucket whaling families emigrated back to France and England or north to Nova Scotia to continue their avocation and to avoid the heavy taxes. The post-war 1790’s were a short period of re-growth between the American Revolution and the War of 1812 as spermaceti candles and sperm oil for lighthouses was in demand in both the U.S. and Europe. During the Napoleonic wars neutral American shipping was cut off from ports in England and France. In response, President Thomas Jefferson enacted the Embargo Act that forbade American vessels from embarking on foreign voyages. This loss of foreign markets once again impeded American whaling commerce. Three years after the repeal of the act in 1809, the War of 1812 with England once again shut down American ports bringing maritime commerce to a halt.


11 years ago

Native American Whaling
Unlike some of the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest such as the Macah, Nootka and Coastal Salish there is little recorded evidence that eastern woodland native peoples either developed whaling cultures or systematically hunted great whales prior to European influence. Hunting small cetaceans and utilizing the carcasses of stranded whales and "drift" whales that washed ashore is a fact common to many littoral peoples and the native use of these resources for food is documented. As European colonists began to regularly hunt great whales sighted from shore native peoples joined them becoming actively engaged in the hunt and integral members of the initial colonial shore whaling operations and the pelagic whaling of later decades.

Explorations and Settlers from Europe
Many early European explorers wrote descriptions of the quantities and types of whales found in the coastal waters of North America foreshadowing the American whale fishery. Jacques Cartier as early as 1535 described beluga’s and other great whales in the St. Lawrence river. Samuel de Champlain wrote a description of Basque whaling for right whales there in 1610. The Pilgrim Fathers William Bradford and Edward Winslow in 1620 wrote: "Cape Cod was like to be a place of good fishing, for we saw daily great whales, of the best kind for oil and bone." These were probably right whales (Eubalæna glacialis), the animal that served as the foundation of North American commercial whaling. The bone to which they were referring is the baleen that the mysticete and rorqual whales have growing in the tops of their mouths instead of teeth. Mysticetes such as the right whale and rorquals such as the humpback whale filter their food through this baleen. Baleen is made of keratin, the same material as human fingernails and after it was extracted from the mouths of the whales was put to use in a wide variety of tools.

The first recorded instance of the colonists efforts to organize community efforts to exploit drift whales was in Southampton, Long Island in March of 1644. Over the next 30 years this organization developed into actual shore-whaling operations, where small boats were launched into the surf when whales were sighted offshore. By 1672 the colonists and their Native American neighbors were working together hunting whales along the coasts from small sailing vessels. While the New Yorkers were developing their seasonal whale fishery generally between October and March, whalers on Cape Cod Bay at Wellfleet had also established a thriving shore fishery during the same months of the year. Whales were captured using harpoons with wooden floats attached to long ropes. After the animals were tired out from dragging the wooden floats through the water, they would be slain using long lances, towed to shore and their blubber removed and boiled down into oil in large iron pots called try-pots. The baleen or whalebone was also removed from the mouths of the whales and the carcass left to rot. As the whalers of Eastham, Massachusetts described this phase of their whaling operation 1706, "ye Rest of ye Boddy of ye Lean of whales Lye on shoare in lowe water to be washt away by ye sea." (Starbuck, History of the American Whale Fishery, 1878, p. 30)


11 years ago

This quelled the people for the time being and up to the killing of Crazy Horse. In the crisis precipitated by this event, American Horse was again influential and energetic in the cause of the government. From this time on he became an active participant in the affairs of the Teton Sioux. He was noted for his eloquence, which was nearly always conciliatory, yet he could say very sharp things of the duplicity of the whites. He had much ease of manner and was a master of repartee. I recall his saying that if you have got to wear golden slippers to enter the white man's heaven no Indian will ever get there, as the whites have got the Black Hills and with them all the gold.

It was during the last struggle of his people, at the time of the Messiah craze in 1890-1891 that he demonstrated as never before the real greatness of the man. While many of his friends were carried away by the new thought, he held aloof from it and cautioned his band to do the same. When it developed into an extensive upheaval among the nations he took his positive stand against it.

Presently all Indians who did not dance the Ghost Dance were ordered to come into camp at Pine Ridge agency. American Horse was the first to bring in his people. I was there at the time and talked with him daily. When Little was arrested, it had been agreed among the disaffected to have him resist, which meant that he would be roughly handled. This was to be their excuse to attack the Indian police, which would probably lead to a general massacre or outbreak. I know that this desperate move was opposed from the beginning by American Horse, and it was believed that his life was threatened.

On the day of the "Big Issue", when thousands of Indians were gathered at the agency, this man Little, who had been in hiding, walked boldly among them. Of course the police would arrest him at sight, and he was led toward the guardhouse. He struggled with them, but was overpowered. A crowd of warriors rushed to his rescue, and there was confusion and a general shout of "Hurry up with them! Kill them all!" I saw American Horse walk out of the agent's office and calmly face the excited mob.

"What are you going to do?" he asked. "Stop, men, stop and think before you act! Will you murder your children, your women, yes, destroy your nation to-day?" He stood before them like a statue and the men who held the two policemen helpless paused for an instant. He went on: "You are brave to-day because you outnumber the white men, but what will you do to-morrow? There are railroads on all sides of you. The soldiers will pour in from every direction by thousands and surround you. You have little food or ammunition. It will be the end of your people. Stop, I say, stop now!"

Jack Red Cloud, son of the old chief rushed up to him and thrust a revolver almost in his face. "It is you and men like you," he shouted, "who have reduced our race to slavery and starvation!" American Horse did not flinch but deliberately reentered the office, followed by Jack still flourishing the pistol. But his timely appearance and eloquence had saved the day. Others of the police force had time to reach the spot, and with a large crowd of friendly Indians had taken command of the situation.

When I went into the office I found him alone but apparently quite calm. "Where are the agent and the clerks?" I asked. "They fled by the back door," he replied, smiling. "I think they are in the cellar. These fools outside had almost caught us asleep, but I think it is over now."

American Horse was one of the earliest advocates of education for the Indian, and his son Samuel and nephew Robert were among the first students at Carlisle. I think one or two of his daughters were the handsomest Indian girls of full blood that I ever saw. His record as a councilor of his people and his policy in the new situation that confronted them was manly and consistent.

As Remembered by Ohiyesa (Charles A. Eastman)
11 years ago

At another time he was drying his sacred war bonnet and other gear over a small fire. These articles were held in great veneration by the Indians and handled accordingly. Suddenly the fire blazed up, and our hero so far forgot himself as to begin energetically beating out the flames with the war bonnet, breaking off one of the sacred buffalo horns in the act. One could almost fill a book with his mishaps and exploits. I will give one of them in his own words as well as I can remember them.

"We were as promising a party of young warriors as our tribe ever sent against any of its ancestral enemies. It was midsummer, and after going two days' journey from home we began to send two scouts ahead daily while the main body kept a half day behind. The scouts set out every evening and traveled all night. One night the great war pipe was held out to me and to Young-Man-Afraid-of- His-Horses. At daybreak, having met no one, we hid our horses and climbed to the top of the nearest butte to take an observation. It was a very hot day. We lay flat on our blankets, facing the west where the cliff fell off in a sheer descent, and with our backs toward the more gradual slope dotted with scrub pines and cedars. We stuck some tall grass on our heads and proceeded to study the landscape spread before us for any sign of man.

"The sweeping valleys were dotted with herds, both large and small, of buffalo and elk, and now and then we caught a glimpse of a coyote slinking into the gulches, returning from night hunting to sleep. While intently watching some moving body at a distance, we could not yet tell whether of men or animals, I heard a faint noise behind me and slowly turned my head. Behold! a grizzly bear sneaking up on all fours and almost ready to spring!

"'Run!' I yelled into the ear of my companion, and we both leaped to our feet in a second. 'Separate! separate!' he shouted, and as we did so, the bear chose me for his meat. I ran downhill as fast as I could, but he was gaining. 'Dodge around a tree!' screamed Young-Man-Afraid. I took a deep breath and made a last spurt, desperately circling the first tree I came to. As the ground was steep just there, I turned a somersault one way and the bear the other. I picked myself up in time to climb the tree, and was fairly out of reach when he gathered himself together and came at me more furiously than ever, holding in one paw the shreds of my breechcloth, for in the fall he had just scratched my back and cut my belt in two, and carried off my only garment for a trophy!

"My friend was well up another tree and laughing heartily at my predicament, and when the bear saw that he could not get at either of us he reluctantly departed, after I had politely addressed him and promised to make an offering to his spirit on my safe return. I don't think I ever had a narrower escape," he concluded.

During the troublous times from 1865 to 1877, American Horse advocated yielding to the government at any cost, being no doubt convinced of the uselessness of resistance. He was not a recognized leader until 1876, when he took the name and place of his uncle. Up to this time he bore the nickname of Manishnee (Can not walk, or Played out.)

When the greater part of the Ogallalas, to which band he belonged, came into the reservation, he at once allied himself with the peace element at the Red Cloud agency, near Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and took no small part in keeping the young braves quiet. Since the older and better-known chiefs, with the exception of Spotted Tail, were believed to be hostile at heart, the military made much use of him. Many of his young men enlisted as scouts by his advice, and even he himself entered the service.

In the early part of the year 1876, there was a rumor that certain bands were in danger of breaking away. Their leader was one Sioux Jim, so nicknamed by the soldiers. American Horse went to him as peacemaker, but was told he was a woman and no brave. He returned to his own camp and told his men that Sioux Jim meant mischief, and in order to prevent another calamity to the tribe, he must be chastised. He again approached the warlike Jim with several warriors at his back. The recalcitrant came out, gun in hand, but the wily chief was too quick for him. He shot and wounded the rebel, whereupon one of his men came forward and killed him.

American Horse
11 years ago
Joseph Brown Thunder
Great-great grandson of American Horse ChiefOne of the wittiest and shrewdest of the Sioux chiefs was American Horse, who succeeded to the name and position of an uncle, killed in the battle of Slim Buttes in 1876. The younger American Horse was born a little before the encroachments of the whites upon the Sioux country became serious and their methods aggressive, and his early manhood brought him into that most trying and critical period of our history. He had been tutored by his uncle, since his own father was killed in battle while he was still very young. The American Horse band was closely attached to a trading post, and its members in consequence were inclined to be friendly with the whites, a policy closely adhered to by their leader.

When he was born, his old grandfather said: "Put him out in the sun! Let him ask his great-grandfather, the Sun, for the warm blood of a warrior!" And he had warm blood. He was a genial man, liking notoriety and excitement. He always seized an opportunity to leap into the center of the arena.

In early life he was a clownish sort of boy among the boys -- an expert mimic and impersonator. This talent made him popular and in his way a leader. He was a natural actor, and early showed marked ability as a speaker.

American Horse was about ten years old when he was attacked by three Crow warriors, while driving a herd of ponies to water. Here he displayed native cunning and initiative. It seemed he had scarcely a chance to escape, for the enemy was near. He yelled frantically at the ponies to start them toward home, while he dropped off into a thicket of willows and hid there. A part of the herd was caught in sight of the camp and there was a counter chase, but the Crows got away with the ponies. Of course his mother was frantic, believing her boy had been killed or captured; but after the excitement was over, he appeared in camp unhurt. When questioned about his escape, he remarked: "I knew they would not take the time to hunt for small game when there was so much bigger close by."

When he was quite a big boy, he joined in a buffalo hunt, and on the way back with the rest of the hunters his mule became unmanageable. American Horse had insisted on riding him in addition to a heavy load of meat and skins, and the animal evidently resented this, for he suddenly began to run and kick, scattering fresh meat along the road, to the merriment of the crowd. But the boy turned actor, and made it appear that it was at his wish the mule had given this diverting performance. He clung to the back of his plunging and braying mount like a circus rider, singing a Brave Heart song, and finally brought up amid the laughter and cheers of his companions. Far from admitting defeat, he boasted of his horsemanship and declared that his "brother" the donkey would put any enemy to flight, and that they should be called upon to lead a charge.

It was several years later that he went to sleep early one night and slept soundly, having been scouting for two nights previous. It happened that there was a raid by the Crows, and when he awoke in the midst of the yelling and confusion, he sprang up and attempted to join in the fighting. Everybody knew his voice in all the din, so when he fired his gun and announced a coup, as was the custom, others rushed to the spot, to find that he had shot a hobbled pony belonging to their own camp. The laugh was on him, and he never recovered from his chagrin at this mistake. In fact, although he was undoubtedly fearless and tried hard to distinguish himself in warfare, he did not succeed.

It is told of him that he once went with a war party of young men to the Wind River country against the Shoshones. At last they discovered a large camp, but there were only a dozen or so of the Sioux, therefore they hid themselves and watched for their opportunity to attack an isolated party of hunters. While waiting thus, they ran short of food. One day a small party of Shoshones was seen near at hand, and in the midst of the excitement and preparations for the attack, young American Horse caught sight of a fat black-tail deer close by. Unable to resist the temptation, he pulled an arrow from his quiver and sent it through the deer's heart, then with several of his half-starved companions sprang upon the yet quivering body of the animal to cut out the liver, which was sometimes eaten raw. One of the men was knocked down, it is said, by the last kick of the dying buck, but having swallowed a few mouthfuls the warriors rushed upon and routed their enemies. It is still told of American Horse how he killed game and feasted between the ambush and the attack.


11 years ago

The Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts

By Karen Riles

What are Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts? Well, Seminoles were Indians that originally lived in Florida. But they later moved to Texas. And the word "Negro" is just another name for black or African-American people. The Seminole-Negro Indians scouted for the United States Army during the Indian wars of the late 1800s in Texas. The Negroes came into contact with the Seminoles during slavery when some Negro slaves escaped. They hid in the Florida swamps where the Seminoles lived. [Did you know that the word "Seminole" comes from the Spanish word Cimarron , which means runaway?] Even though the two peoples lived separate from each other and had their own chiefs, they became friends and lived happily together. There were some marriages between the two people.

Gopher John was the leader of the Seminole Negroes. He led his people to Oklahoma then across Texas to Old Mexico. In Mexico he was given the name John Caballo or John Horse because he was very good with horses. John became very famous when he joined the Mexican Army to fight against Maximillian's troops. John Horse was so brave that he was made colonel. He became known as El Coronel Juan Caballo. The Mexican Army gave John a silver-mounted saddle with a gold-plated pummel in the shape of a horse's head. He used that saddle when riding his favorite horse American.

John Horse and his people lived on the border of Texas and Mexico. They were waiting to move to the Indian Territory. They lived at the reservation at Ft. Duncan as they waited to move. The Seminoles farmed the land and hunted for game. While there in 1870, the Seminole-Negro men enlisted as scouts for the United States Army. The Seminoles Negroes became very valuable to the frontier army. They understood both English and Spanish and could converse in "Mexican" which was the language spoken in that region. Also, they had lived in the border country for more than twenty years and knew the land and the Indian bands that lived or came to the area. The Seminole Negroes were excellent warriors and experts in frontier combat. The scouts wore clothes that looked like Indian fashion. But later on they were given the usual uniform of army scouts. John Kibbetts was made leader of the scouts, and his men respected and obeyed him. His Seminole name was Sittertastonacky (Chitto Tustenuggee) or snake warrior. He was "very smart and reliable." John Horse never became a scout, but he served instead as advisor to John Kibbetts.

11 years ago
If your family has an Indian Grandmother/father myth which you have been unable to prove, and they have been hard to trace and they lived in NC, TN, KY, VA, WV areas in the early migration years or if they seem to have moved back and forth in these areas and if they share any of the certain surnames and characteristics, you may find a connection here.

But some Melungeon descendants do not show the physical characteristics and of course, there are many people with the surnames who are not connected to this group.

Melungeon people were discriminated against by their Scots-Irish and English neighbors as they moved into the areas where the Melungeons lived.

The newcomers wanted the rich valley lands occupied by the Melungeons they found residing there. They discriminated against the Melungeons because they were darker skinned than their own anglo-saxon ancestors and because this helped them obtain the lands they coveted.

This discrimination carried into the 1940’s-50’s and perhaps even longer because of the work of a man called Plecker who was the state of Virginia’s Director of Vital Statistics and an avowed racist.

He labeled the Melungeons, calling them mongrels and other worse terms - some were labeled FPC - Free Person of Color in Virginia. This in turn led to their children being labeled as Mulatto (M) and both of those terms came to mean BLACK.

BUT, if you find such a term for any of your ancestors, it does not necessarily mean that they actually WERE black. Some Melungeon families married white, some black, some Indian, some a combination.

For all of them, the terms led to rulings in which they couldn’t own property, they couldn’t vote, and they couldn’t school their children. As a result, they hid their backgrounds with the Indian myth, with the orphan myth (my family are all dead), and the adopted myth, and they changed either the spelling of their surnames or they picked an entirely new name, moving many times, anything to distance themselves from their Melungeon heritage.

They sometimes became "Black Dutch" or "Black Irish", or some other combination.

Mr. Arlee Gowen wrote an article entitled The Mysterious Melungeons which appeared in the September 1992 issue of Stripes, the Texas State Genealogical Society Quarterly. The following is an excerpt from that article:

"A Dutch revolt against the Spanish monarch began (in)1555 and continued to its successful conclusion in 1609.

The nation could not field enough soldiers to defend the empire, and as a consequence, Spain subjected neighboring Portugal and impressed Portuguese men into Spanish regiments throughout the empire. [Some regiments were in Tennessee on a Spanish expedition which explored eastern Tennessee in 1567].

It is more than credible that Portuguese soldiers would desert or defect in Tennessee if the opportunity presented itself. As a sidelight, a genealogical anomaly resulted from this war.

A new race was created in the southern part of Holland during the six decades that Spanish and Portuguese soldiers were stationed there. Their fraternization with the Dutch girls produced dark-skinned children which were the beginning of the Black Dutch."
Mr. Gowen notes that these Melungeons were a dark skinned people who wore beards and had straight black hair. Many had dark blue eyes. They were found by John Seiver when his expedition crossed the Appalachians in 1774.

The Melungeons
11 years ago
Dr. N. Brent Kennedy, author of, ‘The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People,’  believes the Melungeons were a people who almost certainly intermarried with Powhatans, Pamunkeys, Creeks, Catawbas, Yuchis, and Cherokees.

Melungeons appear to have been located in the southern Appalachias with mining as a common occupation before the English settlers explored the area.

One theory is Melungeons are descended from people of mixed ancestry in Spanish settlements in the South East who kept moving into the interior to avoid English colonists. This is supported by genetic evidence.

Genetic diseases appear in Melungeon populations which only seem to appear elsewhere in populations from the Iberian peninsula and north Africa.

The Melungeons were ‘discovered’ in the Appalachian Mountains in 1654 by English explorers and were described as being ‘dark-skinned with fine European features, (meaning they were not black) and as being a hairy people, who lived in log cabins with peculiar arched windows, (meaning they were not Indians).

These Melungeon people practiced the Christian religion, and told the explorers in broken Elizabethan English, that they were ‘Portyghee,’ but were described as being ‘not white,’ that is, not of Northern European stock, even though some of them had red hair and others had VERY striking blue or blue/green eyes.

Where did these people come from? Recent research is answering that question. It appears that Melungeons may be a combination of Turks, Spaniards, Portugese, Moor, Berber, Jew and Arab.

Some cultural traits of Melungeons include the practice of putting tiny houses over graves, putting a pattern of nails over doors for good luck or protection, and working with metals, gems, or mining.

Melungeon descendants may have some rather unique physiological characteristics. There is a bump on the back of the head of some Melungeon descendants, that is located at mid-line, just above the juncture with the neck. It is about the size of half a golf ball or smaller.

If you cannot find the bump, check to see if you, like some Melungeon descendants, have a ridge, located at the base of the head where it joins the neck, rather than the Anatolian bump.

To find a ridge, place your hand at the base of your neck where it joins your shoulders, and on the center line of your spine. Run your fingers straight up your neck toward your head. If you have a ridge, it will stop your fingers from going on up and across your head.

There is also a ridge on the back of the first four teeth (upper and lower) of some Melungeon descendants. If you place your fingernail at the gum line and gently draw (up or down) you can feel it and it makes a slight clicking sound.

The back of the teeth also curve outward rather than straight as the descendants of anglo-saxon parentage do. Teeth like these are called Asian Shovel Teeth or just Shovel Teeth which are typical of Native Americans.

Some Melungeon descendants have what is called an Asian eye fold. This is rather difficult to describe. At the inner corner of the eye, the upper lid attaches slightly lower than the lower lid. In other words, it overlaps the bottom lid.

If you place your finger just under the inner corner of the eye and gently pull down, a wrinkle will form which makes the fold more visible. Some people call these eyes, “sleepy eyes, dreamy eyes, or bedroom eyes.

Some other Melungeon characteristics are extremely high arches, an extra bone in the foot, the foot may be wider than normal, and double-jointedness is common.

There is also a kind of squat that some Melungeon descendants seem to be able to do which may be connected to being double jointed.

Squat down with your feet and knees TOGETHER, keeping your feet flat on the floor, and your buttocks almost touching the ground. You may put your arms around your legs, but do not lean back on your hands. If you can do this without falling over backwards, you have performed the squat!

Some Melungeon families may have members with fairly dark skin who suffer with vitiligo, a loss of pigmentation, leaving the skin blotched with white patches.

Some Melungeon descendants have had six fingers or toes. There is a family of people in Turkey whose surname translated into English is Six Fingered Ones.

There are some Mediterranean diseases which show up in some of the descendants of the Melungeons. Some of these diseases can be quite severe, even life threatening, and if you or a family member have suffered from a mysterious illness, these should be considered.

There is ongoing research into some areas that are less severe, but which pose problems for some Melungeon descendants who seem to suffer with them.

Sleep problems, including periodic limb movement, shaky (restless/active) leg syndrome, and sleep apnea are one such area. Allergies, including lactose intolerance, are another.

Certain surnames are associated with this unusual and highly interesting group of people. Check them out here.

11 years ago

1998 February 27, 1998 - 25th Anniversary of Wounded Knee, an Oglala Lakota Nation resolution established February 27th as a National Day of Liberation.
July 16-19, 1998 - 25th Annual Lac Courte Oreilles Honor the Earth Homecoming Celebration to celebrate and honor the people of Lac Courte Oreilles and the American Indian Movement who participated in the July 31, 1971 takeover of the Winter Dam and the Birth of Honor the Earth.
August 2-11, 1998 - 30th Anniversary of the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council; Sacred Pipestone Quarries in Pipestone, Minnesota. Welcoming Feast and Celebration/Conference commemorating AIM's 30th Anniversary.

declassified FBI/CIA/Justic Dept/White House docs on AIM: see Council on Security & Intelligence

home | AIMGGC Profile | A Brief History | NCRSM | Archives
AIM/IITC Speakers Bureau | Peacemaker Center | Leonard Peltier
Ministry for Information Press Releases | Council on Security and Intelligence | AIM Store


11 years ago

Education Association Convention.

1986 SCHOOLS LAWSUIT: Heart of the Earth and Red School House--successfully sue the U.S. Department of Education, Indian Education Programs for unfairly ranking the schools' programs below funding recommendation levels. The schools proved bias in the system of ranking by the Department staff.

1987 AIM PATROL: Minneapolis AIM Patrol comes full circle in restarting the Patrol to deal with the serial killings of American Indian women in Minneapolis.

1988 ELAINE STATELY INDIAN YOUTH SERVICES (ESIY: developed to create alternatives for youth as a direct diversion to gang-involvement of Indian youth.
FORT SNELLING AIM ANNUAL POW WOW: With the 20th Anniversary of AIM, an annual pow wow is established at historic Fort Snelling. The event becomes the largest Labor Day Weekend event in any Minnesota state park.

11 years ago

AMERICAN INDIAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE LEGISLATION: AIM introduces legislative language which is adopted, recognizing State responsibility for Indian education and culture. This legislation was recognized as a model throughout the country.

AIM establishes the first adult education program at Stillwater Prison in Minnesota. Programs later established at other state correctional facilities modeled after the Minnesota program.
CIRCLE OF LIFE SURVIVAL SCHOOL established on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota. The school receives funding for three years of operation from the U.S. Department of Education.
RUN FOR SURVIVAL: AIM youth organize and conduct 500-mile run from Minneapolis to Lawrence, Kansas to support "The Longest Walk."
THE LONGEST WALK: Indian Nations walk across the US from California to DC to protest anti-Indian legislation calling for the abrogation of treaties. A tipi is set up and maintained on the grounds of the White House. The proposed anti-Indian legislation is defeated.
WOMEN OF ALL RED NATIONS (WARN): established to address issues directly facing Indian women and their families.

1979 LITTLE EARTH HOUSING PROTECTED: an attempt by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to foreclose on the Little Earth of United Tribes housing project is halted by legal action and the US District Court issues an injunction against HUD.
AMERICAN INDIAN OPPORTUNITIES INDUSTRIALIZATION CENTER (AIOIC): creates job training schools to attack the outrageous unemployment issues of Indian people. Over 17,000 Native Americans have been trained for jobs since AIM created the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center in 1979.
ANISHINABE AKEENG Organization is created to regain stolen and tax forfeited land on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

1984 FEDERATION of NATIVE CONTROLLED SURVIVAL SCHOOLS presents legal education seminars for educators of Indian children at colleges and law schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, South Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma. National conference held in San Jose, California, concurrent with the National Indian Educati

11 years ago

1972 RED SCHOOL HOUSE : the second survival school to open, offering culturally based education services to K-12 students in St. Paul, MN.
HEART OF THE EARTH SURVIVAL SCHOOL: a K-12 school established to address the extremely high drop-out rate among American Indian students and lack of cultural programming. HOTESS serves as the first model of community-based, student-centered education with culturally correct curriculum operating under parental control.
TRAIL OF BROKEN TREATIES : a march on Washington, DC ending in the occupation of BIA headquarters and resulting in the presentation of a 20-point solution paper to President Nixon.

1973 LEGAL ACTION FOR SCHOOL FUNDS: In reaction to the Trail of Broken Treaties the government abruptly canceled education grants to Heart of the Earth Survival School, Red School House and the Indian Community School of Milwaukee. Through successful legal action, the US District Court orders the grants restored and government payment of costs and attorney fees.
WOUNDED KNEE '73: AIM was contacted by Lakota elders for assistance in dealing with the corruption within the BIA and Tribal Council, which led to the famed 71-day occupation and battle with the US. armed forces.

1974 INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCIL (IITC): an organization representing Indian peoples throughout the western hemisphere at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
WOUNDED KNEE TRIALS: Eight months of trials in Minneapolis resulted from events which occurred during the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation. This was the longest Federal trial in the history of the United States. Many instances of government misconduct were revealed with the result that US District judge Fred Nichol dismissed all charges due to government "misconduct" which "formed a pattern throughout the course of the trial" so that "the waters of justice have been polluted."

1975 FEDERATION OF SURVIVAL SCHOOLS: created to provide advocacy and networking skills to 16 survival schools throughout the US and Canada.
LITTLE EARTH OF UNITED TRIBES: HUD chose AIM to be the prime sponsor of the first Indian-run housing project.

1977 MIGIZI Communications founded in Minneapolis. The organization is dedicated to produce Indian news and information and educate students of all ages as tomorrow's technical work force.
INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCIL: establishes Non-government organization status within United Nations in Geneva and attends the International NGO conference and presents testimony to the United Nations.

11 years ago

The Preamble and complete text of the Trail of Broken Treaties 20-Point Indian Manifesto.

These twenty points, twenty-six years later, state clearly what has to happen if there is to be protection of Native rights, and a future free from the dictates of the country that surrounds the Native Nations. These claims clearly reaffirm that Indian people are sovereign people. Despite the history and the accomplishments, AIM is difficult to identify for some people. It seems to stand for many things at once -- the protection of treaty rights and the preservation of spirituality and culture. But what else? Unlike the American civil rights movement, with which it has been compared, AIM has seen self-determination and racism differently. Desegregation was not a goal. Individual rights were not placed ahead of the preservation of Native Nation sovereignty. At the 1971 AIM national conference it was decided that translating policy to practice meant building organizations -- schools and housing and employment services. In Minnesota, AIM's birthplace, that is exactly what was done.

Over the years, as the organizations have grown, they have continued to serve the community from a base of Indian culture. Before AIM in 1968, culture had been weakened in most Indian communities due to U.S. policy, the American boarding schools and all the other efforts to extinguish Indian secular and spiritual life. Now, many groups cannot remember a time without culture. This great revival has also helped to restore spiritual leaders and elders to their former positions of esteem for the wisdom and the history they hold.
All of these actions are in concert with the principles of AIM and came into being at this time in history because Indian people have refused to relinquish their sovereign right to exist as free and uncolonized people.

1968 MINNEAPOLIS AIM PATROL : created to address issues of extensive police brutality.

1969 ALCATRAZ ISLAND occupied for 19 months. AIM was there when United Indians of All Tribes reclaimed federal land in the name of Native Nations. First Indian radio broadcasts--Radio Free Alcatraz--heard in the Bay Area of San Francisco.
INDIAN HEALTH BOARD of Minneapolis founded. This is the first Indian urban-based health care provider in the nation.

1970 LEGAL RIGHTS CENTER : created to assist in alleviating legal issues facing Indian people.(In 1994, over 19,000 clients have had legal representation, thanks to AIM's founding of the Legal Rights Center).

1970 AIM takeover of abandoned property at the naval air station near Minneapolis focuses attention on Indian education and leads to early grants for Indian education.
CITIZEN'S ARREST OF JOHN OLD CROW: Takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' main office in Washington D.C. to show improper BIA policies. 24 arrested for "trespassing" and released. BIA Commissioner Louis Bruce shows his AIM membership card at the meeting held after the release of those arrested.
FIRST NATIONAL AIM CONFERENCE: 18 chapters of AIM convened to develop long-range strategy for future directions of the movement.
TAKEOVER OF DAM: AIM assists the Lac Court Orieles Ojibwa in Wisconsin in taking over a dam controlled by Northern States Power which flooded much of the reservation land. This action leads to support by government officials and eventual settlement, returning over 25,000 acres of land to the tribe and actually providing significant monies and business opportunities to the tribe.

11 years ago

It has not been an easy path. Spiritual leaders and elders foresaw the testing of AIM's strength and stamina. Doubters, infiltrators, those who wished they were in the leadership, and those who didn't want to be but wanted to tear down and take away have had their turns. No one, inside or outside the movement, has so far been able to destroy the will and strength of AIM's solidarity. Men and women, adults and children are continuously urged to stay strong spiritually, and to always remember that the movement is greater than the accomplishments or faults of its leaders.

Inherent in the spiritual heart of AIM is knowing that the work goes on because the need goes on.

Indian people live on Mother Earth with the clear understanding that no one will assure the coming generations except ourselves. No one from the outside will do this for us. And no person among us can do it all for us, either. Self-determination must be the goal of all work. Solidarity must be the first and only defense of the members.

In November, 1972 AIM brought a caravan of Native Nation representatives to Washington, DC, to the place where dealings with Indians have taken place since 1849: the US Department of Interior. AIM put the following claims directly before the President of the United States:

  1. Restoration of treaty making (ended by Congress in 1871).
  2. Establishment of a treaty commission to make new treaties (with sovereign Native Nations).
  3. Indian leaders to address Congress.
  4. Review of treaty commitments and violations.
  5. Unratified treaties to go before the Senate.
  6. All Indians to be governed by treaty relations.
  7. Relief for Native Nations for treaty rights violations.
  8. Recognition of the right of Indians to interpret treaties.
  9. Joint Congressional Committee to be formed on reconstruction of Indian relations.
  10. Restoration of 110 million acres of land taken away from Native Nations by the United States.
  11. Restoration of terminated rights.
  12. Repeal of state jurisdiction on Native Nations.
  13. Federal protection for offenses against Indians.
  14. Abolishment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  15. Creation of a new office of Federal Indian Relations.
  16. New office to remedy breakdown in the constitutionally prescribed relationships between the United States and Native Nations.
  17. Native Nations to be immune to commerce regulation, taxes, trade restrictions of states.
  18. Indian religious freedom and cultural integrity protected.
  19. Establishment of national Indian voting with local options; free national Indian organizations from governmental controls
  20. Reclaim and affirm health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for all Indian people.

11 years ago
A Brief History of the American Indian Movement

by Laura Waterman Wittstock and Elaine J. Salinas

In the 30 years of its formal history, the American Indian Movement (AIM) has given witness to a great many changes. We say formal history, because the movement existed for 500 years without a name. The leaders and members of today's AIM never fail to remember all of those who have traveled on before, having given their talent and their lives for the survival of the people.

At the core of the movement is Indian leadership under the direction of NeeGawNwayWeeDun, Clyde H. Bellecourt, and others. Making steady progress, the movement has transformed policy making into programs and organizations that have served Indian people in many communities. These policies have consistently been made in consultation with spiritual leaders and elders.The success of these efforts is indisputable, but perhaps even greater than the accomplishments is the vision defining what AIM stands for.

Indian people were never intended to survive the settlement of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, our Turtle Island.  With the strength of a spiritual base, AIM has been able to clearly articulate the claims of Native Nations and has had the will and intellect to put forth those claims.

The movement was founded to turn the attention of Indian people toward a renewal of spirituality which would impart the strength of resolve needed to reverse the ruinous policies of the United States, Canada, and other colonialist governments of Central and South America. At the heart of AIM is deep spirituality and a belief in the connectedness of all Indian people.
During the past thirty years, The American Indian Movement has organized communities and created opportunities for people across the Americas and Canada. AIM is headquartered in Minneapolis with chapters in many other cities, rural areas and Indian Nations.

AIM has repeatedly brought successful suit against the federal government for the protection of the rights of Native Nations guaranteed in treaties, sovereignty, the United States Constitution, and laws. The philosophy of self-determination upon which the movement is built is deeply rooted in traditional spirituality, culture, language and history. AIM develops partnerships to address the common needs of the people. Its first mandate is to ensure the fulfillment of treaties made with the United States. This is the clear and unwavering vision of The American Indian Movement.

11 years ago
Further reading

There are two other articles on Native Americans in American Studies Today on-line. Follow the links if you would like to read them.

The Dancing Ground: David and Valerie Forster describe a day course in Navajo culture which Dennis Dennis Lee Rogers, a Navajo artist and educator conducted at a local adult education college.

The Native American Peoples of The United States Christopher Brookeman looks at the way in which native American culture and values have been misunderstood and misinterpreted by mainstream American society. He examines the conflict between their traditional values and pervasive commericalism, and the debates over assimilation versus cultural identity.

American Studies Today Online is published by

American Studies Resources Centre,  Aldham Robarts Centre, Liverpool John Moores University, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5UZ, United Kingdom

Tel and fax 0151-231 3241

International(+44)151-231 3241


The views expressed are those of the contributors, and not necessarily those of the Centre or the College.

© 1996, Liverpool Community College and the Contributors.

Articles in this journal may be freely reproduced for use in subscribing institutions only, provided that the source is acknowledged.


If you enjoyed reading this article, maybe you would be interested in reading some of the many other interesting articles in American Studies Today Online, Britain's first On-line journal of American Studies. Click here to access our homepage.

11 years ago


11 years ago
The Twentieth Century

The next major change in BIA services came in response to the Meriam Report of 1938, which detailed the government's shortcomings in providing services to reservations. Congress responded to the report by passing the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), which aimed to improve tribal economies and strengthen tribal governments. BIA services were expanded to include forestry, range management, and agricultural extension service, construction, and land acquisition. BIA services continued to expand until the 1950s and 1960s, the termination era, at which time congress dismantled some of the agency's duties. The responsibility for educating Indian children passed to the states and Indian health care became the responsibility of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now called the Department of Health and Human Services).

In the 1970s the new policy of self-determination reversed the policies of termination. Along with the new policy came greater application of Indian culture and tribal governments. Congress passed a series of laws, including the Indian Self-Determination Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Health Care Improvement Act, which aimed to improve the quality of reservation life without destroying tribal government. Today the BIA is trying to change its structure and character from a management to an advisory agency. Its goals, as stated in its manual, reflect this objective: (1) To encourage Indians and train Indians and Alaska Native people to manage their own affairs under a trust relationship with the federal government; (2) To facilitate, with maximum involvement of Indian and Alaska Native people, full development of their human and natural resource potentials; (3) To mobilize all public and private aids to the advancement of Indian and Alaska Native people for use by them; and (4) To use the skill and capabilities of Indian and Alaska Native people in the direction and management of programs for their benefit.

In line with the fourth objective the BIA gives Indian applicants first consideration when hiring employees. Before the 1930s, few bureau employees were Indians. As part of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, Congress required that Indians be given preference in hiring. This requirement was challenged in the 1970s as unconstitutional and racially discriminatory. The Supreme Court ruled, however, that preferential hiring of Indians by the BIA did not violate the law but was proper given the government's special political relationship to tribes. Today more than 95 percent of the bureau's twelve thousand employees are Indian.


11 years ago

With a Bureau or Office of Indian Affairs and a Commissioner to head that section within the War Department, it was now possible to work toward the development of more orderly methods of conducting Indian relations and to bring to a close what had been referred to as a period of confusion in matters that involved Indians. That part of the act of July 9, 1821 authorizing the appointment of the Commissioner was later amended by the act of 1849 that transferred the Office of Indian Affairs to the Department of the Interior. Within a century it controlled virtually every aspect of Indian existence.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), also referred to, until 1947, as the Office of Indian Affairs and the Indian Office, is one of the oldest agencies within the U.S. government. Today the BIA's role has come almost full circle, evolving into an advisory agency as the tribes progress toward self-determination.

In 1849, Congress transferred the BIA from the War Department to the newly created Department of the Interior. With this transfer came a change in policy and responsibilities. The removal of tribes to reservations had brought about disease and starvation, which forced the government to begin providing tribes with food and other supplies. Administering the distribution of this aid became a responsibility of the BIA. By the 1860s, however, the agency was not discharging its duties responsibly. Unscrupulous Indian agents increased misery on reservations and generated hostility. In 1867, Congress appointed a Peace Commission to study the problems of the BIA's administration of reservations. The commission recommended many changes, including the appointment of honest, more effective agents and the establishment of a separate, independent agency for Indian affairs. Some improvements were forthcoming, but the recommendations to remove the BIA from the Interior Department and establish it as an independent agency was never followed.

During the assimilation era, in the 1880s, the BIA's presence on reservations increased dramatically. Indian agents became responsible for operating schools, dispensing justice, distributing supplies, administering allotments, and leasing contracts. By 1900 the Indian agent had, in effect, become the tribal government.


11 years ago
History of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
By C.L Henson



The Nineteenth Century

One of the first acts of the Continental Congress was the creation, in 1775, of three departments of Indian affairs; northern, central, and southern. Among the first departmental commissioners were Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry. Their job was to negotiate treaties with tribes and obtain tribal neutrality in the coming Revolutionary War. Fourteen years later, the U. S. Congress established a War Department and made Indian relations a part of its responsibilities.

The office of superintendent of Indian trade was in the War Department in 1806. The superintendent was responsible for the operation of the factory trading system. Thomas L. McKenney held this office from 1816 to the end of the factory system in 1822.

The abolition of the trading system removed even this effort to centralize the work with the Indians within the War Department. March 11, 1824 Secretary of War John C. Calhoun created what he called the Bureau of Indian Affairs without authorization from the Congress. McKenney, formerly superintendent of Indian trade, was appointed to head the office, with two clerks assigned to him as assistants.

McKenney was instructed to take charge of the appropriations for annuities and current expenses, to examine and approve all vouchers for expenditures, to administer the funds for the civilization of the Indians, to decide on claims arising between Indians and whites under the intercourse act, and to handle the ordinary Indian correspondence of the War Department.

Only Secretary Calhoun seems to have called this newly created agency a Bureau of Indian Affairs. McKenney first designated it the "Indian Office" in his correspondence, and later uniformly used the "Office of Indian Affairs." He and the clerks assigned to him became in actual practice an Indian secretariat within the War Department, handling a large volume of correspondence and other detailed routine business that pertained to Indian matters.

It was apparent to McKenney that he had inherited all the routine work that related to Indian affairs but that the authority and responsibility was still in the Secretary of War. What was needed was the necessary Congressional action creating an Office of Indian Affairs, with the essential responsibility placed in a department head who would receive and act upon all matters pertaining to relations between the United States and the Indian tribes.

Thomas L. McKenney on March 31, 1826 drew up a bill that called for the Office of Indian Affairs created by the Congress, with a responsible head having authority and responsibility to deal with all matters relating to Indian affairs. This requested the appointment of a "General Superintendent of Indian Affairs," to head the Office of Indian Affairs, and to whom would have been assigned all Indian relations that had rested with the Secretary of War. After commitment to the Committee of the Whole, the bill failed to receive further action during that congress.

In 1829, at the request of the Secretary of War, Governor Cass and General Clark included McKenney's proposal in their plan to recognize Indian affairs. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs introduced the measure a third time in the 22nd Congress, and it passed both houses to become law on July 9, 1821. The bill gave the president authority to appoint a Commissioner of Indian Affairs to serve under the Secretary of War, and have "the direction and management of all Indian affairs, and all matters arising out of Indian relations." The Commissioner was to receive an annual salary of $3,000.

11 years ago

James Brantley Harris was a conscription officer who made advances toward the ladies of Scuffletown.  His position and actions made him no friends, but it was through the deaths of three young Indian men that the fate of this rough character was sealed.

A young Jarmen Lowry was the first to be killed.  Oral tradition states that he was killed late one night because he was mistaken for Henry Berry Lowrie.  It seems that Henry Berry Lowrie had earlier told James Brantley Harris that he would no longer tolerate his behavior either as an officer or as a harasser of women.  Scared at the possibility of his own murder, Harris was quick to draw his gun and ask questions later.  Jarmen Lowry was the first victim of this set of circumstances.  After the death, the Robeson County grand jury decided to overlook this unfortunate incident.  

The Lowry Family was not so quick to forget.  Jarmen Lowry's brothers Wesley and Allan Lowry, who had been conscripted into service in Wilmington, were returned home for their brothers funeral.  Their returned presence added to the fear Harris felt.  Shortly after the brothers return to Scuffletown, they were arrested by Harris for being absent without leave.  After being led away by Harris and the Home Guard, the brothers of the slain boy turned up dead at Moss Neck station.

In early January of 1865, Harris was riding with a young Indian woman.  He stopped the buggy and the Indian woman left.  A few moments later, gun shots rang out and Harris' body fell to the floor of the buggy.

With two deaths on their record, the Lowrie Band was sure that there would be quick military action against them.  But instead of waiting for the action, Henry Berry and his followers acted first.  They raided the Robeson County Courthouse where goods were being stored.  

After that coup, the gang made several other smaller raids on local wealthy plantation owners.  February 27, 1865 the raid turned to Argyle Plantation, the Maxton residence of the widow Elizabeth Ann McNair.  After a short gun battle in which the widow herself is alleged to have shot one of the band's followers, the Henry Berry gang helped itself to the goods of the plantation.  Upon returning home, they were hailed as heroes and modern day Robin Hoods by the people they helped.  On the other side the Home Guard's position was strengthened at the attack on a well loved pillar of their society and community.

In March of 1865, the raids on small Indian farms began as the now fortified Home Guard searched for the outlaws.  But as quickly as they started the stopped.  General Sherman was on his way and the larger war took its place in the minds and bodies of the people now in the direst path of the flames of defeat.

11 years ago

The Saga of Henry Berry Lowrie 1864   Part II

Henry and his followers were living in the one safe place they could, in and along the swamps from Union to Moss Neck.  The band supported themselves on the kindness of their community and the community did what it could to lend its support.  With the Civil War gaining strength , the Confederate soldiers and government were beginning their swing into power in the South.   Non-whites were seen as free labor in the Confederate effort.  The slightest indiscretion would see any healthy male sentenced to doing time along the Cape Fear creating barricades and strengthening the forts.

Hunger was quickly overtaking the minorities of Robeson County.  Unable to hunt with a gun, unable to farm without the fear of being seen by a Confederate authority who would demand the healthy men for service, a food shortage began that Henry Berry could not ignore.

Soon into the his siege, Henry Berry and his band began to realize the strain that their entire community was feeling.  Most of the Indian owned land was being left untended, crops were abandoned and the young men were no where in sight.

Henry Berry and his band began following the idea of the others who were in hiding in the swamps; the soldiers and the runaway slaves.  They began to take from those who had plenty and could get more for their families.

Seeing the struggle that the Robeson County natives were under, Henry Berry and his followers began to make visits into the more affluent sections of Robeson County.  They would take from those who had more and then pass out the surplus to the needy families in the community.  Many families could not have survived if it weren't for those raids by the band of Henry Berry.

It was in this way that the first life was taken by Henry Berry.  It was the life of James Barnes.  Mr. Barnes had been accusing the Lowrie Family of theft and evil intent for many years.  Several times he had accused the family and brought along the Home Guard to take the boys to the train headed for Wilmington.   Whenever the Confederate Guard came looking for more "recruits" for Wilmington, Mr. Barnes would lead them through his neighborhood and find the bodies they needed.

In need of food for the band and the community and out of a sense of protection for his community, Henry Berry traveled to the farm of Mr. Barnes.   Somewhere between the post office and the Barnes home, Henry Berry killed Mr. Barnes.  The threat of his silent raids with the Home Guard was gone.

A short time after that, James Brantley Harris stepped forward to be the next in line to face Henry Berry and his band!

11 years ago

The Hero of Robeson County:   The Story of Henry Berry Lowrie

Without justice, defense, or the items necessary for the basics of survival, you enter the world that Henry Berry and his family grew up and existed in.  In 1864, a Confederate officer accused Allen Lowrie and his sons of stealing hogs and butchering them for their meat.  The local Home Guard was sent in to investigate the matter, and they allegedly found firearms on the property.  Attacking the Allen Lowrie Family was a wise idea on the part of the white farmer.  The Allen Lowrie Family was a wealthy, well respected Native family, with an enormous estate for that time of over 2,000 acres.  To shatter them would maintain the fear level in the rest of the Native community.

Allen and his sons were arrested and Mary Cumba Lowrie and her daughters were physically assaulted.  William and Allen were executed for their crimes.  Henry Berry was not home during this violation.  He arrived to find his mother and sisters assaulted, his brother and father murdered.  He promised to to find justice for his family's death and the dishonor reeked upon his entire family.

Shortly after the  murders on the Lowrie farm, Henry Berry's gang was beginning to form.  Comprised of three Lowrie brothers: Henry, Steve, and Tom; two Lowrie cousins: Calvin and Henderson; two brothers-in-law: Andrew and Boss Strong; two Black men: George Applewhite and Eli Ewin (known as Shoemaker John); John Dial and William Chavis,  and a White man, Zach McLaughlin, the Lowrie gang was ready to evoke justice based on the very principles that this nation was founded on:  "...with Liberty and Justice for All.".

With their families in their hearts, justice in their hands, and a love of this land they called home, Henry Berry and his gang began the pursuit of righting the wrong the was shouldered on his family and the other nonwhites of the county.

Henry Berry Lowrie Lumbee Outlaw Indian
11 years ago

Henry Berry Lowrie was and continues to be a hero to the Indians of Robeson County North Carolina.  His defense of the crimes against Indian people was not based on their tribal identity, but on the issue of the fact that they were in the same situation as himself and his family based solely upon their race! 

In order to understand the actions of Henry Berry and his gang, one must first understand the times they were living in.  The 1830's were a time of termination and extermination for the American Indians in the east and across this nation.  This was the era of the Trail of Tears and the mass absorption of Indian lands and civil rights.  Laws, public opinion, and social circumstances all demeaned the status of any non white in the country. And the spark that lit the flame of racism and injustice in Robeson County was the 1840 General Assembly law prohibiting non-whites from owning firearms.

Without the right to carry a gun, Robeson County natives were left without a way to defend themselves and with a prohibited means of hunting.  Soon "tied mule" incidents began to occur.  The concept was that a white farmer would allow his cattle to graze on an Indian farm or tie his mule somewhere on Indian land.  The white farmer would them file a complaint, accusing the Indian of theft of the mule or cattle.  With the complaint filed the Indian farmer would be arrested.   In order to clear himself of the charges, the Indian land owner had two choices: he could sell a section of his farm to the 'victim' as payment for the allegedly stolen cows or mule.  Or, he could work off the price of the cattle or mule through a system of indentured servitude.

11 years ago
History: The Croatan (or Croatoan) Indians first made history when the Roanoke colony left their name carved on a tree. This supposedly mysterious carving has inspired many science-fiction books and conspiracy theories since that time, but in fact it was the name of an island belonging to some friendly Indians, and the colonists probably simply moved in with them when their food supplies ran low. Lumbee historian Adolph Dial made the case that the Croatans and their English guests were among the ancestors of today's Lumbee Indians, who resurfaced some 50 years later speaking English, practicing Christianity, and sporting the same last names many of the colonists had brought with them. Though they are lesser-known to history texts, there were also many Iroquoian and Siouan tribes inhabiting the Carolinas; however, as happened in most of the east coast, the tribes merged together after heavy population losses, and none of their languages have survived. Their descendants, however, still thrive. The Lumbee today are by all accounts a mixed-race people, so mixed-race that they were not even sent to Oklahoma with the other Native Americans of North Carolina in the 1820's and 30's. North Carolina was not the most pleasant place to live in the 19th century if your skin was dark, though, and increasing violence against Lumbees and free mulattos set the stage for the Lumbee folk hero Henry Berry Lowrie in the 1860's. Called the "Indian Robin Hood" by some, Lowrie, enraged by the assault and murder of his family, spent the next decade wreaking vigilante justice on those who harassed Indians and stealing supplies to give to the disenfranchised. He was never caught, and his legend--brave, proud, dangerous when provoked, and above all else free--remains a powerful tribal metaphor.

N.A. Indian History 4
11 years ago
| Blue Label
Lumbee (Croatan, Croatoan, Pamlico, Carolina Algonquian) Language: The language most commonly referred to as 'Lumbee' was an Algonkian language also known as Croatan or Pamlico, but the ancestors of the modern-day Lumbee Indians also included speakers of several other languages, including Tuscarora, Catawba, Cheraw, and other Iroquoian and Siouan languages little is known about today. English was used extensively among the Lumbee tribe, both as a practical lingua franca and also as a first language (due to intermarriage with English speakers), and the original Lumbee languages fell into disuse and finally extinction. The unique Lumbee dialect of English spoken by their descendents, known as "Lumbee English," is still in use today.

People: the Lumbee Indians have been denied federal status as an Indian nation because of their high degree of mixed blood--their ancestors include Cheraw, Tuscarora, and Croatan Indians, many African-Americans (the tribe was known for sheltering runaway slaves), and, in all likelihood, members of the original "lost" colony of Roanoke. The Lumbees are recognized by the state of North Carolina if not the federal government, and they are 40,000 people strong, making them one of the largest Native American tribes remaining in the eastern US.