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Monday, December 30, 2019

Untold Native American histories

L.A. author David Treuer discusses his book "The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present” with Native American writer Dina Gilio-Whitaker.
READ: Q&A: David Treuer on uncovering the untold Native American histories of 'Heartbeat of Wounded Knee' - Los Angeles Times

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Lost Bird of Wounded Knee Zintkala Nuni

Lost Bird Story Summary                                

In the spring or summer of 1890, Lost Bird was born somewhere on the prairies of South Dakota. Fate took her to Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation on Dec. 29, 1890.
On that tragic day, hundreds of Lakota men, women and children died in a confrontation with U.S. troops and the woman who likely was the child’s mother was among them. But as she was dying, she and her baby found some scanty shelter from the bitter cold and wind in the bank of a creek.
Four days after the massacre, a rescue party found the infant, miraculously alive, protected by the woman’s frozen body.
The infant was passed from one person to another and her sensational story attracted the attention of powerful white men. Eventually, this living souvenir of Wounded Knee ended up in the hands of a National Guard general.
Lost Bird was adopted by Gen. Leonard Colby and, without her knowledge or consent, his suffragist wife, Clara Bewick Colby. The baby’s original name died on the killing field, along with her chance to grow up in her own culture. She became, literally and figuratively, Zintkala Nuni, the Lost Bird.
So Lost Bird - Zintka, as her adopted mother called her - ended up the daughter of a very socially and historically prominent white couple. She had one big advantage - a mother who came to love her. Though Zintka’s adoption was a surprise to her, Clara Colby took on the duties of motherhood in addition to her work as a suffragette activist, lecturer, publisher and writer.
However, Zintka’s childhood was marred by her exposure to racism, possible abuse from adoptive relatives and the indifference of her father. Poverty entered into the mix when Gen. Colby abandoned his wife for the child’s nursemaid/governess and failed to provide adequate support for Clara Colby and Zintka.
The increasingly restless child endured miserable stays with relatives and at boarding schools and became harder and harder for her mother to control.
At age 17, Zintka was sent back to her father and his new wife in Beatrice, Neb. The result was disastrous. A few months later, Gen. Colby placed his now-pregnant daughter in a stark and severe reformatory. Her son was stillborn, but the girl remained in the facility for a year.
Zintka eventually returned to her mother. At one point, she seemed to have found happiness in marriage, but the relationship disintegrated when she discovered her new husband had given her syphilis, then incurable. She struggled with the effects of that illness for the rest of her life.
She had a number a careers during her short life: work with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, various entertainment and acting jobs, and possibly prostitution. Three times, she managed to visit South Dakota in search of her roots, but her welcome was cool.
By 1916, Zintka was living in abject poverty. She and her then-husband, who suffered from illness, were trying to make a living in vaudeville. She had had two more children. One died, probably that year, and Zintka gave the other to an Indian woman who was better able to care for him. Later that year, she lost her loving mother, Clara Colby, to pneumonia.
Eventually, Zintka and her husband gave up vaudeville and moved in with his parents in Hanford, Calif., in 1918. Zintka fell ill on Feb. 9, 1920, as an influenza epidemic swept across the nation. On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, she died.
Clara Colby tried to raise Zintka as a white girl in an unaccepting society and tried to erase her unceasing attraction to her Lakota culture. In the end, Zintka was rejected by both.
Lost Bird finally came home in 1991, in an effort spurred in part by author Renee Sansom Flood, author of "Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota." Her grave was found in California and her remains were returned to South Dakota and buried at the grave site at Wounded Knee. Her tragic story led to the organization of the Lost Bird Society, which helps Native Americans who were adopted outside their culture find their roots.
Sources: "Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota" by Renee Sansom Flood.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Indigenous Slaves, known as Panis
The Panis territory
The outlined territory shown on this map represents the region from which originate the majority of aboriginal slaves known as Panis. It includes the Pawnee, but also other aboriginal peoples that their enemies enslaved or bartered against European products.

2017- Canada’s 150th birthday prompted much looking back at our history. And one of the things Canadians have long been proud about is our status as the final stop on the Underground Railroad, a safe refuge for American slaves fleeing bondage.

This is true, and we should be proud. But let’s not be too proud ― after all, the colonies that became Canada also had slavery for more than two centuries, ending only 30 years before U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

When Britain took over New France, about 7 per cent of the colony was enslaved, or around 4,000 out of a population of 60,000. Two-thirds were indigenous slaves, known as Panis, and the other third African, who cost twice as much and were a status symbol. The British did not set them free.

“We don’t know about what happened before the Underground Railroad, which is that indigenous and black Canadians endured slavery.” —Afua Cooper, historian

Unlike our American cousins, Canada did not itself end its slavery ― in fact, in 1777 slaves began fleeing Canada for Vermont, which had just abolished slavery. It took Britain to finally outlaw the practice across their entire empire in 1834.

There had been a history of First Nations enslaving prisoners of war prior to colonialism, however they were often exchanged as part of alliance-making or to replace their own war dead. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights reports that “unlike Aboriginal peoples, Europeans saw enslaved people less as human beings and more as property that could be bought and sold. Just as importantly, Europeans viewed slavery in racial terms, with Aboriginals and Africans serving and white people ruling as masters.”

The Other Slavery

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He also played a central role in the European adoption of Indian or Native American slavery.

When we think of slavery in early America, we often think of the practice of African and African-American chattel slavery. However, that system of slavery wasn’t the only system of slavery that existed in North America. Systems of Indian slavery existed too. In fact, Indians remained enslaved long after the 13th Amendment abolished African-American slavery in 1865.

LISTEN: Episode 139: Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: Indian Enslavement in the Americas - Ben Franklin's World

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Kikotan Massacre

Commemorating the 400th anniversary of what the English colonizer John Rolfe described as the “20 and odd Negroes” (a number that was actually closer to 30) has dominated social media and the summer’s newscycle. But there’s an aspect of this commemorative activity that hasn’t received much attention. I refer specifically to the violence that occurred at Point Comfort less than a decade before the slave ship White Lion made anchor in August 1619. On that spot, a bloody event worthy of historical introspection took place: the massacre of the Kikotan Indians.
That bloody event is important because it made it possible for the English to take Native lands and build Fort Henry and Fort Charles. 
The Kikotan massacre prepared the ground for the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia.

READ: How the Kikotan Massacre Prepared the Ground for the Arrival of the First Africans in 1619 | History News Network

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Breaking the Maya Code: The Intolerance Meme

One Catholic Priest Destroyed the Entire Mayan Written Language

By Craig A. James |  The Religion Virus

The New York Times described the decipherment of the Maya hieroglyphs as “one of the great stories of twentieth century scientific discovery.”
Tragically, this decipherment was only necessary because of a one-man Spanish Inquisition, a deliberate, decades-long campaign by a single Catholic priest to destroy the Mayan language and culture. The priest, Diego de Landa, wiped out all knowledge of the written language, and nearly destroyed the spoken language too.
Diego de Landa’s one-man inquisition perfectly illustrates the power of the Intolerance Meme, an idea that evolved in the Jewish religion a few centuries before the birth of Jesus, and was taken up with a vengeance by Christians in the third and fourth centuries AD.
The Intolerance Meme declares that not only is Yahweh the only god, but in addition, anyone who worships other gods is committing a sin. The Intolerance Meme justifies all sorts of atrocities in Yahweh’s name: Murder, slavery, forced conversion, suppression and destruction of other religions, racism, and many other immoral acts.
This was Diego de Landa’s background when he discovered that many of his Mayan “converts” had actually incorporated the Catholic Yahweh/Jesus/Spirit, along with the various saints and angels, into their own traditional religion. When Landa discovered “idol worship” among some of his converts, he felt that his “children” had turned their backs on him, and his life’s work was a failure.

Being a good Roman Catholic, and a carrier of the Intolerance Meme, Landa was furious – he saw this as a betrayal, and started an inquisition that resulted in torture and death across the Yucatan region. He was determined to wipe out all knowledge of the Mayan religion, and saw the Mayan language and hieroglyphs as a key. Fifty years later, in 1699, Spanish soldiers burned a town that had the last school of scribes who knew the Mayan hieroglyphs. By 1720, not a single person alive knew what the hieroglyphs meant.

The Roman Catholic church’s response? They punished Landa. But not for murder, not for torture, and not for destroying an entire culture’s history. No, none of these things were worthy of the Church’s sanctions. Diego de Landa’s crime was that he carried out an inquisition without authorization.

It took over two hundred years, and an international team of linguists, anthropologists, archeologists, mathematicians, an architect, a few brilliant hobbyists, and one twelve-year-old child prodigy hieroglyphics expert, to undo the damage that Landa caused. Armed with their fierce determination and perseverance, they recovered the written language, bit by bit, word by word, symbol by symbol.

Thanks to this dedicated group, the meaning of almost 90% of the hieroglyphs is now recovered.

As for Landa, he had to spend a few years under house arrest in Spain, contemplating his disobedience and praying. Once he’d done his penance, he was promoted to Bishop of Yucatan, and sent back to Central America where he lived out the remainder of his life.

Special thanks to filmmakers David Lebrun and Amy Halpern-Lebrun, who graciously agreed to be interviewed during my trip to the Red Rock Film Festival in Utah.

I highly recommend their excellent film, Breaking the Maya Code. You can also watch the shorter one-hour Nova version online, courtesy of PBS and WGBH Boston.

Craig A. James is a writer, computer scientist, evolutionist, and movie producer. He lives in Southern California.
Films that explore the rich ways humans have made sense of their world through myth, ritual, art and science.

Source: Breaking the Maya Code - Night Fire Films - Films that explore the rich ways humans have made sense of their world through myth, ritual, art and science.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Top Stories of 2019: The Indian Child Welfare Act Under Fire

We’re counting down 10 of the biggest stories The Chronicle of Social Change published in 2019. Each day, we’ll connect readers with a few links to our coverage on a big story from this past year.

Forty-one years ago, Congress approved the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) after years of painstaking research and activism revealed that up to 30 percent of all Native American children had been removed from their parents by state and local governments, and were often placed into the homes of white families.
ICWA has been challenged in court numerous times, most recently in the 2018 case Brackeen v. Zinke, which called into question the law’s connection to sovereignty as opposed to race. This year saw a number of developments in the Brackeen case.

Lead Read

Sending Them Home looks at the only annual memorial event in the nation that honors Native children lost to boarding schools and foster care. The founder and lead organizer of the event, long-time activist Frank LaMere, passed away in June 2019.

Also Read

Federal Law Protecting Indian Children and Families Will Stand provides an overview of the Brackeen v. Zinke case with a focus on what happened this year.

Trump Administration Limits New Foster Care Data on LGBTQ, Education, and Native American Families examines the Trump administration’s efforts to cut down an Obama-era plan for 272 new data points on children and families to 183. Many of the rescinded points pertained specifically to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Keep reading

Indian Warriors: The Untold Story of the Civil War

Indian Warriors: The Untold Story of the Civil War

Though largely forgotten, some 20-30 thousand Native Americans fought in the Civil War.
Ely Parker was a Seneca leader who found himself in the thick of battle at the side of General Ulysses S. Grant. Stand Waite, a Confederate General and a Cherokee was known for his brilliant guerilla tactics. Also highlighted is Henry Berry Lowery, who became known as the Robin Hood of North Carolina. Respected Civil War authors Thom Hatch and Lawrence Hauptman help reconstruct these stories, along with descendants like Cherokee Nation member Jay Hanna, whose great-grandfathers fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. Together, they reveal a new perspective and the very personal reasons that drew these Native Americans into the fray.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Genocide at Yosemite

Buffalo Soldiers at Yosemite
Buffalo Soldiers at Yosemite National Park, NPS

The story of genocide at Yosemite National Park

When the conservation community talks about the first major federal actions to preserve land in the United States, we often cite the Yosemite Grant: Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 decision to cede Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to the state of California for use as a public park. Lincoln’s decision set the precedent of the U.S. government setting aside land for the purpose of preservation that led to the establishment of the first national park, Yellowstone.

What is often overlooked when celebrating this event is the violent, forced dispossession in Yosemite Valley carried out by a California state militia force known as the Mariposa Battalion fewer than two decades earlier. In 1851, the unit attacked the villages of the Indigenous Ahwahneechee people living in the valley, burning their homes and food supplies to force them off the land. After the attack, the U.S. allowed a few surviving Ahwahneechee to stay on the land, but only if they agreed to serve as a “cultural attraction” and weave baskets for visiting tourists.
Yosemite National Park’s name is actually derived from an Ahwahneechee word shouted by villagers as militia forces attacked and drove them off the land.
Ironically, the word that eventually became the name of the national park is derived from an Ahwahneechee word shouted by the villagers during the Battalion’s attack. Battalion soldiers thought the word “Yosemeatea”" was a place name, but it was actually the Ahwahneechee word for “killers.” 

Thus, Yosemite National Park is actually named for the act of genocide committed by European-Americans a few years before the valley was federally designated as a state park.
While shocking, this example is not unique to Yosemite. It is emblematic of the fact that the history of parks, forests and other public lands in the U.S. is interwoven with episodes of great cruelty, often inflicted on the original and traditional inhabitants of what we call North America. It reminds us that the legacy of the conservation movement is complex and often dishonorable.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

I've never told anyone

Stories of life in Indian boarding schools

A young girl prays at her bedside
A young girl prays at her bedside at a boarding school. A new book by an Ojibwe author tells the stories life for American Indian children in boarding schools designed to purge their language and culture.
Courtesy of North Dakota State University Press | Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions
Denise Lajimodiere's interest in the Indian boarding school experience began with the stories of her parents.
"Mama was made to kneel on a broomstick for not speaking English, locked in closets for not speaking English,” she said. “They would pee their pants and then the nuns would take them out [of the closet] and beat them for peeing their pants.”
Lajimodiere is Ojibwe, and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota. She was an educator for 44 years, working as an elementary school teacher and principal before ending her career recently as as an associate professor of educational leadership at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
Her parents were separated from their families and sent to federal government-run boarding schools as children. Thousands of Native children met the same fate during the boarding school era, which scholars estimate lasted from the late 1800s to well into the middle of the 20th century.
children at Indian boarding school
Denise Lajimodiere's grandfather Benjamin an his sister Martha, circa 1898.
Denise Lajimodiere for MPR News
The children were sent to the schools to be purged of their Native cultures, languages and spiritual practices — forced to learn English, and often abused.
The experiences of those children, now with children and grandchildren of their own, have left a deep scar on many in the generations that came after them.
“Papa was beaten with a belt. He saw one of his fellow students die from a beating at the school,” she said.
Her parents rarely talked about their boarding school experience. She only was able to coax stories from her father in the last years of his life.
“Papa said, 'I just couldn't learn that language,'“ she said, “so they put lye soap in his mouth and the kids would get blisters."
Lajimodiere believed her parents’ boarding school abuse was a reason for the family dysfunction she grew up with, so she began a decade-long quest to understand it, interviewing people who went through the experience.
"It's a journey I had to go on to forgive my dad for the way we were raised, for his temper, his verbal abuse and for the beatings,” she said. “So, it was a long journey to understand why my father was the way he was."
What she found was a trove of stories closely guarded for decades by those who lived them. She tells those stories in their own words in her new book, “Stringing Rosaries.” She collected the stories using strict academic research protocols, but the listening was intensely personal.

Many of the former boarding school residents she interviewed prefaced their stories by telling Lajimodiere, “'I've never told anybody my story. I've never told my kids. I've never told my grandkids. I had to think about these stories all my life about what happened to me. I don't want my kids to have to think about it or know about it,’” she said.
Denise Lajimodiere, author of “Stringing Rosaries.”
Denise Lajimodiere, author of “Stringing Rosaries.”
Amber Mattson | Courtesy of Dreamcatcher Photography
For most people, Lajimodiere promised anonymity before they would share with her the stories.
She recalls one elderly woman who refused to even let family know she was being interviewed for the book.
"She became very quiet, even though it was a huge house, and no one was in the house,” recalled Lajimodiere. “She started whispering about being sexually abused and she said, 'I don't know why I'm telling you. I have not told anybody.' Almost every survivor in the book experienced sexual abuse, or they witnessed it."
Lajimodiere found that, while the stories people told her were often infused with painful and traumatic memories, that pain was not universal. Some people recalled their time at a boarding school fondly. But Lajimodiere says even those people — who said they preferred the school experience to alcoholism, abuse or hunger they experienced at home — shared stories of abuse in the boarding schools.
As she traveled the country doing research on boarding schools and collecting stories, Lajimodiere said she would often find herself sitting in her car, sobbing, after an interview.
She realizes now that she was experiencing the collective intergenerational trauma of losing language, culture and identity. Her parents both spoke their native languages, Ojibwe and Cree, before they went to boarding school.
"My father never spoke Cree again; that was completely beaten out of him,” said Lajimodiere. “So, now, at my age, I'm trying to relearn Ojibwe. Ojibwe is the language of our ceremonies — and our ceremonies have come back very strong."
Lajimodiere thinks connecting with traditional ceremony and culture is helping Native Americans across the country recover from the generational impact of the boarding school era.
She asked people she interviewed what it would take to heal from the trauma they experienced.
“Some of the people in the book say an apology would be a recognition of what the government did to us. Others have said, 'Boarding schools destroyed my childhood; I'll never get that back, so an apology would mean nothing,’" she said.
“Many of them said [what would be healing would be] a return to tribal spirituality and to the languages, our traditions and our ceremonies," she said.
Lajimodiere felt compelled to share the stories because many who attended boarding schools in the first half of the 1900s are now elderly and dying.
She's clear that she doesn't want the stories to elicit pity. She wants understanding.
“I want the world to know that part of why we are the way we are,” she said, “with high alcoholism, high diabetes and a lot of other health issues, one of the overarching reasons is the boarding school era.”


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Adults bamboozled me into believing in Santa Claus

I was shocked. It had never occurred to me that anyone would create false documents to protect birth parents from their own children. Hearing this information was an emotional low. When I was a child, adults had bamboozled me into believing that Santa Claus existed—and I had believed them. My reaction was the same now as it had been then. Childish stories about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and a dozen other fairy tale characters living in pumpkins and tree houses in Never Land seemed harmless at the time, but these stories offered conclusive proof that adults lied to children to intentionally deceive them.

Indian Land Forever

"Indian Land Forever": The 50th anniversary of the Alcatraz Island takeover

The 1960s comedian Lenny Bruce once wrote that Native Americans' worst mistake when Europeans supposedly discovered America was believing possession really is nine-tenths of the law.
It's now common knowledge that the arrival of European settlers ushered in centuries of violence and misery for America's First Peoples. But when Bruce wrote those words, American mythology hadn't yet accepted that stark reality.
So, it was a wake-up call when, 50 years ago this fall, Native American activists seized the notorious prison island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, which had recently been closed by the government. Their leader, 27-year old Mohawk Richard Oakes, cited an 1868 Indian treaty that gave natives the rights to abandoned federal land. "We invite the United States to acknowledge the justice of our claim," he said.
keep reading 

For more info:

Friday, December 20, 2019

Native Americans Weren't Guaranteed the Right to Vote in Every State Until 1962

Native people won citizenship in 1924, but the struggle for voting rights stretched on much longer.
Calvin Coolidge and Native American group at White House
Do U.S. citizenship and voting rights go hand and hand? For most of the country’s history, the answer has been no—just look at the example of Native voting rights, which weren’t secured in all states until the 1960s.
Native Americans couldn’t be U.S. citizens when the country ratified its Constitution in 1788, and wouldn’t win the right to be for 136 years. When black Americans won citizenship with the 14th Amendment in 1868, the government specifically interpreted the law so it didn’t apply to Native people.

Keep Reading

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Slaughtered in the Name of ‘Civilization’

The Gnadenhutten Massacre, 1782. (Credit: Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Their skin was dark. Their languages were foreign. And their world views and spiritual beliefs were beyond most white men’s comprehension.

On a cool May day in 1758, a 10-year girl with red hair and freckles was caring for her neighbor’s children in rural western Pennsylvania. In a few moments, Mary Campbell’s life changed forever when Delaware Indians kidnapped her and absorbed her into their community for the next six years. She became the first of some 200 known cases of white captives, many of whom became pawns in an ongoing power struggle that included European powers, American colonists and indigenous peoples straining to maintain their population, their land and way of life.
While Mary was ultimately returned to her white family—and some evidence points to her having lived happily with her adopted Indian tribe—stories such as hers became a cautionary tale among white settlers, stoking fear of “savage” Indians and creating a paranoia that escalated into all-out Indian hating.
A group of Native Americans look at a sailing ship in the bay below them. (Credit: Corbis/Getty Images)
A group of Native Americans look at a sailing ship in the bay below them. (Credit: Corbis/Getty Images)

From the time Europeans arrived on American shores, the frontier—the edge territory between white man’s civilization and the untamed natural world—became a shared space of vast, clashing differences that led the U.S. government to authorize over 1,500 wars, attacks and raids on Indians, the most of any country in the world against its indigenous people. By the close of the Indian Wars in the late 19th century, fewer than 238,000 indigenous people remained, a sharp decline from the estimated 5 million to 15 million living in North America when Columbus arrived in 1492.

Keep Reading 

Battle of White Bird Canyon: For the historian in you..there are many interesting narratives about this “first fight of the Nez Perce”; here is one of them.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

What the winter solstice means in the Cree tradition | Ask an Elder

#MMIWG on The View

What started out as a loose pile of beads in Manitoba is generating a discussion on American television about murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.
Mish Daniels, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, is elated after seeing her elaborate beadwork around the neck of movie star and host of The View Whoopi Goldberg.
Daniels nearly lost it when she turned on Monday's episode of The View and noticed Goldberg wearing her handmade red jingle dress dancer medallion."I lost my voice yesterday morning because I was screaming so much," said Daniels, who was raised in Winnipeg and now lives in Selkirk, Man."It's like you're winning the lottery or something, and I just can't believe my little fingers and my work made it to New York City and Whoopi Goldberg and The View."

GREAT NEWS: 'Can't believe it': Sagkeeng First Nation beader's work ends up on Whoopi Goldberg's neck | CBC News

One Thousand Wars

Look at me. I was a warrior on this land where the sun rises, now I come from where the sun sets. Whose voice was first surrounded on this land – the red people with bows and arrows. The Great Father says he is good and kind to us. I can’t see it…  – Red Cloud
There was a time when the land was sacred, and the ancient ones were as one with it. A time when only the children of the Great Spirit were here to light their fires in these places with no boundaries…
In that time, when there were only simple ways, I saw with my heart the conflicts to come, and whether it was to be for good or bad, what was certain was that there would be change.
– The Great Spirit
May 26, 1637 - Mystic Massacre - The Mystic massacre took place on May 26, 1637 during the Pequot War, when Connecticut colonists under Captain John Mason and their Narragansett and Mohegan allies set fire to the Pequot Fort near the Mystic River. They shot anyone who tried to escape the wooden palisade fortress and killed most of the village in retaliation for previous Pequot attacks. The only Pequot survivors were warriors who had been with their sachem Sassacus in a raiding party outside the village.  Estimates of Pequot deaths range from 400 to 700, including women, children, and the elderly.
February 29, 1704 – Deerfield Massacre – A force comprised of Abenaki, Kanienkehaka, Wyandot and Pocumtuck Indians, led by a small contingent of French-Canadian militia, sack the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 56 civilians and taking dozens more as captives.

March 8, 1782 – Gnadenhutten Massacre – Nearly 100 non-combatant Christian Delaware (Lenape) Indians, mostly women, and children, were killed with hammer blows to the head by Pennsylvania militiamen.

1854-1890 – Sioux Wars – As white settlers moved across the Mississippi River into Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, the Sioux under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse resisted to keep their hunting grounds.

1855-1858 – Third Seminole War – Under Chief Billy Bowlegs, the Seminole mounted their final stand against the U.S. in the Florida Everglades. When Bowlegs surrendered; he and others were deported to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.

1855-1856 – Rogue River Wars – In the Rogue River Valley area southern Oregon, conflict between the area Indians and white settlers increased eventually breaking into open warfare.

1860-1865 – California Indian Wars – Numerous battles and skirmishes against Hupa, Wiyot, Yurok, Tolowa, Nomlaki, Chimariko, Tsnungwe, Whilkut, Karuk, Wintun and others.

1861-1864 – Navajo Wars – Occurring in Arizona and New Mexico Territories, it ended with the Long Walk of the Navajo.

Did you know there were 1,000 (one thousand!) wars on Indians by the US Army?
America doesn't tell you the truth. It never has. It never will.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Halfbreed, a memoir

Nearly five decades after Maria Campbell first published her seminal memoir Halfbreed, she says she finally feels like it's finished.

LISTEN: Maria Campbell on the pain and relief of re-releasing Halfbreed with uncut account of RCMP rape | CBC Radio

Top Book of 2019

Becoming Mary Sully by Philip J. Deloria

Becoming Mary Sully by Philip J. Deloria (University of Washington Press)
Author, Harvard professor, and historian Philip J. Deloria describes the era captured in the nearly lost art of his great aunt, Mary Sully, as a “critical moment — sometime in the 1920s, perhaps — when many American Indian people crafted new and different lives for themselves.” Deloria writes this characterization as part of an introduction to Becoming Mary Sully (University of Washington Press), a detailed survey of the extant works of the Dakota Sioux artist. The book underscores her unique position as an American Indian Modernist and examines the wider historical context of her surprising and original work, and the political, social, and aesthetic forces that shaped it. Emerging from potential obscurity, Sully’s work deepens cultural perceptions of American Indian abstraction. —Sarah Rose Sharp

What does Manifest Destiny mean?

How Manifest Destiny Stretched the U.S. From Sea to Shining Sea

Of course, there's more to Manifest Destiny than some woman in white or the encouraging hand of the Almighty. The concept was inextricably tied into the politics of the time, which were (as now) fueled by something decidedly unholy: money.

What Lies Behind the Woman in White

America's land-lust was driven, first and foremost, by the thirst for more wealth for its settlers. But distributing that often ill-gained bounty was not easy. In a time when the scourge of slavery already was beginning to rip apart the nation, the issue of how to divide the newly acquired land — which states-to-be would allow slavery, and which would not — became a political hot potato.
Declaring the land grabs a divine right seemed, if nothing else, a nice cover story for expansionists of the time. But even more than money, politics or religion, Manifest Destiny demonstrated something else about the mindset of many Americans.
"Implied in the notion of Manifest Destiny is that we know best," says Don Haider-Markel, the head of the department of political science at the University of Kansas. "And basically, when we say 'we,' we mean sort of Anglo-Saxon Protestant, otherwise known as sort of white.
"That's telling Native Americans, that's telling Mexicans, that's telling Africans we kidnapped and used as slaves that we are superior. Our way is superior.
"I don't see how you can escape from the notion," Haider-Markel says, "that this is a form of white supremacy."
President James Polk
President James Polk was a champion of Manifest Destiny and built his presidential campaign around the idea.
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Did People Really Accept the Idea?

Certainly, many people at the time believed in Manifest Destiny; that God wanted the newcomers to take over the continent, to work the land, to bring Christianity to the Indians and Mexicans, to be Biblically fruitful and multiply (as O'Sullivan put it), and, if God found it within His grace, to grow rich while doing it. Expelling more than 100,000 Native Americans from their homes in the American South, murdering thousands of others, and taking land from Mexicans was not simply accepted as a divine American right to these people. It was a duty.
But not everyone bought into that notion. Not by a long shot. Many saw the idea as little more than a dodge.
"There were people, for example, who thought that the drive to annex Texas was a ploy to gain more land to create more slave states, because eastern Texas was suitable for growing cotton," says Harry Watson, a professor of Southern culture at the University of North Carolina. "Even then, there were people who were bitterly opposed to slavery and desperately wanted to abolish it, and the first step to abolishing it might be to prevent it from growing. They did not want to admit Texas, they did not want to fight Mexico to get Texas, they did not want slavery to be allowed to spread. All of this was fought out very bitterly in Congress."
Still, politicians like President James K. Polk found it politically and economically favorable to press onward. His call to annex both Texas and Oregon (which would appeal to both Northern and Southern states) helped win him the presidency in 1845 over anti-expansionist Henry Clay, even though Polk's drive threatened war with both Great Britain and Mexico.
By the time Polk left office in 1849, Manifest Destiny was all but complete. America, barely 60 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified, now stretched from sea to shining sea.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Women of the White Buffalo Trailer

A feature documentary film by Deborah Anderson.

An ancient Native matriarchal society was upended by centuries of genocide and colonialism. This resulted in culturally sabotaged and isolated communities that are in a constant struggle to save what remains of their sacred identity. The Lakota women living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, are rising up against the forces that continue to suppress them. By preserving and protecting their ancestral values and wisdom, they provide a source of hope to their people.

With exclusive access to the lives of 8 women, ranging in age from 10 to 98 years old, we deliver harrowing testimonials of loss and survival and gain insight into what it is to be a modern Native American. With inclusion of current statistics along with historical accounts, we track how these present day conditions came to be.

The unforgettable voices of these determined women inspire us with their strength, gifting us with ancient insights that speak to our current global environmental and cultural crises. These are the powerfully rich stories of brave women and children living in the poorest county in the United States. In their words, “It’s a prisoner of war camp.”

When was American great? Battle of Bad Axe Massacre

When America Was Great, Savage White Un-Settlers Raped a Continent and Assaulted a Planet

The continent’s First Nations people were highly civilized, unscathed by class rule, and harmoniously connected to the natural environment in ways that hold critical significance for human and other living things in our current age of capitalist ecocide...

Predator’s massacre chain ran from Connecticut Captain John Mason’s burning and shooting of hundreds of Pequot villagers near Mystic River in May of 1637 through terrible events like the so-called Battle (massacre) of Bad Axe (1832) and the Sand Creek Massacre (1864) to the Wounded Knee bloodbath (the so-called Battle of Wounded Knee) in December of 1891, when the U.S. Calvary killed 150-300 Lakota men, women, and children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  The United States’ beloved first president, George Washington, was known to the Iroquois as “Town Destroyer.”

1) The 1832 “Black Hawk War” was a one-sided affair, typical of the many pitiless mass exterminations committed by supposedly noble “settlers” seeking to “tame the continent.” As penalty for the warrior Black Hawk and his followers’ determination to reclaim rich tribal lands brazenly occupied by whites in northern Illinois, the Sauk and Fox Indians lost 600 people, including hundreds of woman and children. Just 70 soldiers and “settlers” lost their lives. The conflict culminated in the so-called Battle of Bad Axe, on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River, near the present-day community of Victory in southwest Wisconsin.
Better described as a massacre than a “battle,” this American military triumph involved U.S. General Henry Atkinson killing every Indian who tried to run for cover or to flee across the Mississippi River. On August 1, 1832, Black Hawk’s band reached the Mississippi at its confluence with the Bad Axe River. What followed was an atrocity, committed despite the Indians’ repeated attempts at surrender. “While the Sauk refugees were preparing rafts and canoes, the armed [U.S.] steamboat Warrior arrived,” historian Kerry Trask recounts, “whereupon Black Hawk tried to negotiate with its troops under a flag of truce. The Americans opened fire, killing twenty-three warriors.”
“As we neared them,” one US officer who “served” in the U.S. assault recalled, “they raised a white flag and endeavored to decoy us, but we were a little too old for them.”
Hundreds of Sauk and Fox men, women and children were shot, clubbed, and bayoneted to death on August 2nd. “US soldiers scalped most of the dead. They cut long strips of flesh from dead and wounded Indians for use as razor strops.” The slaughter was supported by cannon and rifle fire from the aptly named Warrior, which picked off tribal members swimming for their lives.
By Major Wakefield’s account, the US troops at Bad Axe “shrank not from their duty. They all joined in the work of death for death it was. We were by this time fast getting rid of those demons in human shape… the Ruler of the Universe, He who takes vengeance on the guilty, did not design those guilty wretches to escape His vengeance…”
The top “demon in human shape” – the old Sauk warrior Black Hawk – lived six years beyond the “war” that bore his name.  He was sent to a US reservation in Iowa after US President Andrew Jackson – a Trump favorite and himself a prolific Indian-killer – had Black Hawk paraded as celebrity war booty – as an exotic “savage” and proof of the United States’ military’s alleged great prowess in defeating such barbarian brutes – before gawking crowds in eastern US cities.

At Chicago’s United Center at least 41 times each National Hockey League season, more than 10,000 U.S. whites wear jerseys emblazoned with a caricature-like profile image of “chief” Black Hawk, whose people were obliterated and dispersed so that northern Illinois’s fertile fields and pastures could be turned into the private property of white  farmers, merchants, and industrialists.  Oh, but for the return of the days when America was great!

By | November 12th, 2018| Articles

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Amicus Briefs filed in Texas v. Bernhardt #ICWA

All briefs are here.
Intervening Tribes Press Release (released before the Tribal brief with over 400 tribal signatories):

Majority of U.S. States, 75 Members of Congress and more than 30 Organizations File Amicus Briefs in Support of Native American Families and Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 26 states and the District of Columbia, 75 members of Congress and more than 30 organizations filed friend-of-the-court briefs before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in Brackeen v. Bernhardt. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Morongo Band of Mission Indians Chairman Robert Martin, Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill and Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp issued the following statement regarding the amicus briefs:
“We are thrilled to see that more than half of all states across the country, 75 members of Congress and dozens of leading organizations are taking a stand for the best interests of Indian children and families. This continuous support from across the political spectrum is a testament to the critical role that ICWA plays in promoting the stability and security of Indian tribes and families. Together, we are fighting back against the meritless attacks on ICWA. We are confident that the Fifth Circuit will again stand on the side of families and children by upholding the law.”
The Cherokee Nation, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Oneida Nation and Quinault Nation are co-defendants in the case, defending the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) against unwarranted attacks on the law’s constitutionality.
For more than 40 years, ICWA has provided a process for determining the best interests of Indian children in the adoption and foster care systems. The tribes are arguing to defend ICWA alongside the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Interior. The case will be reheard on January 22, 2020.
The amicus briefs filed by the following States – Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin – as well as the District of Columbia, can be found here.
The amicus briefs from members of Congress can be found here, and the amicus briefs from leading organizations here.
Amici include organizations and political leaders from across the country spanning the political spectrum, and the U.S. states are represented by attorneys general from both the Republican and Democratic parties. They also include law professors and Native women writing in support of ICWA.
In 2017, individual plaintiffs Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, a couple from Texas, along with the state attorneys general in Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana, sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and its now-former Secretary Ryan Zinke to challenge ICWA. The Morongo, Quinault, Oneida and Cherokee tribes intervened as defendants in the case, and their recent brief can be found here.
On August 9, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed that the Indian Child Welfare Act is constitutional and serves the best interests of children and families. On October 1, 2019, plaintiffs in Brackeen v. Bernhardt chose to continue their attacks on Indian children and tribal families and requested an en banc rehearing before the Fifth Circuit, which the court granted.
There is broad, bipartisan support against this misguided attack on a law that is crucial for protecting the well-being of Indian children and Indian sovereignty. In addition to states and members of Congress, the Trump administration has strongly defended ICWA and its protections for Indian children, explaining that ICWA is an appropriate exercise of Congress’s authority to legislate in the field of Indian affairs and does not violate the Tenth Amendment or equal protection laws.
For additional information on this case and the Indian Child Welfare Act please visit:

Editor's Note: ICWA is the only thing that can prevent more child trafficking in Indian Country - it happened before and it will happen again. 


Amicus Briefs filed in Texas v. Bernhardt [ICWA]

by ilpc

Wilfred Buck Tells The Story Of Mista Muskwa

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They Took Us Away

They Took Us Away
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You are not alone

You are not alone

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Diane Tells His Name

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60s Scoop Survivors Legal Support


Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie


As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.


Original Birth Certificate Map in the USA

Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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