Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “Native Americans

Wounded Knee Massacre – Mass grave for the dead Lakota after the conflict at Wounded Knee Creek; December 29th, 1890

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The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek (Lakota: Čhaŋkpé Ópi Wakpála) on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of South Dakota. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M. Whitsideintercepted Spotted Elk’s band of Miniconjou Lakota and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota near Porcupine Butte and escorted them five miles westward (8 km) to Wounded Knee Creek, where they made camp.

The remainder of the 7th Cavalry Regiment arrived, led by Colonel James W. Forsyth and surrounded the encampment supported by four Hotchkiss mountain guns.

On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it.A scuffle over Black Coyote’s rifle escalated and a shot was fired which resulted in the 7th Cavalry’s opening fire indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their own fellow soldiers. The Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the attacking soldiers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but U.S. cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed.

By the time it was over, more than 200 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 were wounded (4 men, 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Twenty-five soldiers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded would later die).

(Source)

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Geronimo in Council with General George Crook, March 27th, 1886.

 

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This picture was taken during a conference held March 25 and 27, 1886, at Cañon De Los Embudos (Cañon of the Funnels), 20 Miles SSE of San Bernardino Springs, Mexico, on the Sierra Madre Mountains, by a photographer named C.S.Fly.

 

This is the account of the meeting.


How did pre-colonization Midwestern Native Americans deal with tornados?

There is the account of Iseeo, a Kiowa informant to the anthropologist James Mooney. The Kiowa called tornadoes Mánkayía. Mánkayía was a great medicine horse, or a horse-like spirit.

Here is an excerpt from Iseeo’s account. Iseeo was a member of a war party returning from a raid against the Utes, when they encountered a tornado near the Washita River in Oklahoma.

Suddenly, the leader of the party shouted for the men to dismount and prepare for a hard rain. Soon, too, with the approaching cloud, lseeo recalled hearing a -roar that sounded like buffalo in the rutting season. Sloping down from the cloud a sleeve appeared, its center red; from this lightning shot out. The tremendous funnel tore through the timber bordering the Washita. heaving trees into the air.

Some of the young men wanted to run away, but the older, more experienced Kiowas knew what must be done. They called for everyone to try hard and brace themselves. The elders drew their pipes from saddlebags and lit them. They raised their pipes to the storm spirit, entreating it to smoke, and to go around them. The cloud heard their prayers, lseeo explained, and passed by.

This group, at least, tried to make peace with Mánkayía so that they could escape unharmed.

 

Read more of the account (last page, PDF) here, and the whole article is certainly interesting.(https://esirc.emporia.edu/bitstream/handle/123456789/904/Marchand%20Vol%2026%20Num%202.pdf?sequence=1)

The source is Mankaya and the Kiowa Indians: Survival, Myth and the Tornado. By Michael Marchand. pg. 19 Heritage of the Great Plains, VOL. XXVI, #2 SUMMER 1993 Emporia State University.


Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore recording the Blackfoot chief, “Mountain Chief”; February 9th, 1916.

"This 1916 image of Frances Densmore and Blackfoot leader Mountain Chief listening to a cylinder recording has become a symbol of the early songcatcher era."

“This 1916 image of Frances Densmore and Blackfoot leader Mountain Chief listening to a cylinder recording has become a symbol of the early songcatcher era.”

 Part of a series of pictures depicting Frances Densmore at the Smithsonian Institution in 1916 during a recording session with Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief for the Bureau of American Ethnology.


The Spanish Domination of the Tarascan Kingdom

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The Tarascans did not outnumber the Spanish because, as in all of the successful Spanish conquests in the New World, the Spanish had lots of indigenous soldiers fighting alongside them. Cristobal de Olíd is credited with conquering the Tarascans in 1522, and he brought with him a mostly Aztec army numbering in the tens of thousands. (We don’t know exactly). But, as you pointed out, the Tarascans let them simply walk across the border and then surrendered to them without fighting.

This happened because in 1521 there was a smallpox outbreak in the Tarascan region (the same outbreak that hit the Aztecs). It killed the Tarascan monarch Zuangua and most of his male relatives. The newly enthroned monarch Tangaxoan II, was very young and inexperienced. His general, a man named Timas, convinced him that the rest of his blood relatives were plotting to kill him and overthrow him. In response, Tangaxoan II had all of the other surviving members of the royal dynasty killed. With all of the royal family eliminated, Timas made a grab for the throne and took Tangaxoan II prisoner. He placed him under house arrest, and tried to talk him into committing suicide. Tangaxoan, however, managed to sneak out through a secret door in the palace and fled to the western side of the lake.

While all of this was happening, the Aztecs sent frantic messages to the Tarascans asking for assistance, but they were all denied. Immediately following the conquest, a Tarascan ambassador was sent to Tenochtitlan where Cortés took him on a tour of the ruins. Cristobal de Olíd then raised an army to go invade the Tarascan region. He arrived at the border in 1522. Scouts on the border informed the border forts, and the border forts sent messengers to the capital, but they got no response. This was about the time Tangaxoan II was sneaking out of the palace to escape Timas, and so the royal court had more immediate concerns. Unsure of what to do, the border forts didn’t do anything. They simply let Olid and his Aztec/Spanish army walk across the border.

At the last second, Tangaxoan II managed to scrounge an army together. He met Olíd outside the lake basin, but then decided to surrender without a fight. Olíd’s army was probably comparable to the Tarascan one, but the Tarasancs were not in a strong position following the attempted coup d’etat by Timas. They also saw what happened to the Aztecs, and decided that they could probably get better terms if they surrendered willingly. And in a sense they did. Tangaxoan II remained on the throne until 1530, and ruled his kingdom as a de-facto independent country within the Spanish Empire. Eventually he was deposed and executed by Nuño de Guzman.

  • Cited Source: J. Benedict Warren: The Conquest of Michoacán: The Spanish Domination of the Tarascan Kingdom in Western Mexico, 1521–1530

History is chock full of people willing to sacrifice comfort, money, safety and their lives in an effort to save others. Unfortunately, they are often unsung.

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William Holland Thomas (February 5, 1805 – May 10, 1893) was Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (the only white man ever to be a chief of the Cherokee) and was elected as North Carolina state senator, serving from 1848-1860. As a youth, he worked at the trading post at Qualla Town, where he learned the Cherokee language and befriended some of the people. He was adopted into the tribe by the chief Yonaguska, learned much of the Cherokee ways, and was named by the chief as his successor.

After becoming an attorney, Thomas represented the tribe in negotiations with the federal government related to Indian Removal, preserving the right for Yonaguska and other Cherokee to stay in North Carolina after the 1830s. With his own and Cherokee funds, he bought land in North Carolina to be used by the Cherokee, much of which is now Qualla Boundary, the territory of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee. Thomas served as a colonel in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, when he led Thomas’ Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders.

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Geronimo

The Apache have been called the greatest guerrilla fighters the world has ever seen. Of these, Geronimo is the most famous. He defied the US government for over 25 years, and while he surrendered twice, he was never defeated. To understand the significance of this, it’s helpful to consider that at his final surrender in 1886 his band consisted of only 16 warriors, 14 women, and six children. The army had been pursuing them with 5,000 troops, a fifth of its entire regular army, and had spent over a million dollars a year to fight them. Yet, he and his small band were never defeated, but voluntarily surrendered. And in spite of what was a huge expenditure of money and troops for that time, it could be argued that the 100 renegade Apache scouts used by the army were the most important element in the limited success that they had in running Geronimo down. His surrender brought to an end to the Indian wars and the violence and uncertainty that had accompanied them.

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A Native American man inspects the newly completed transcontinental railroad, 1868.

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There goes the neighborhood.

(Source)

If you’re every up for a REALLY depressing read on the history of the US — read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”


Pile of Bison skulls in the 1870’s. They were killed by hunters who were paid by the U.S. government.

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How many of you know the actual context behind this picture? It’s one they certainly don’t teach you in school. The U.S. Army promoted the wholesale extermination of bison herds in order to defeat the Native Americans, as bison were their main food supply. The U.S. government actually paid a bounty for each bison skull recovered. A section of the Royal Museum of Alberta in Canada has a small section dedicated to this, with this very picture.” (Source)

Throughout the 1800’s the North American Bison were hunted to such an extreme that their numbers declined from tens of millions to under less than one thousand.

You can see the pile is in front of a processing plant (it’s in the background). Bison bones were ground up into bone meal fertilizer or charred to make bone black, a substance with several uses (one is refining sugar, bone black can be used to absorb impurities and help give the sugar it’s white color).


Oppression Olympics

Oppression

Example: comparing the suffering of Native Americans or European Jews. Each group had its own unique challenges and faced its own unique obstacles. Their persecution or repression evolved from vastly different trends and motivations in society. Short of the objective fact that being considered a piece of property and not a human being is one of the most dehumanizing and traumatic acts it is possible to impose on a person, it is better to look at, in my opinion, a broad struggle for equality within an impersonal legal framework supported by variously motivated establishment figures. Otherwise, you risk obscuring the suffering and struggles of one group because group X had it worse.

So, to conclude, certain acts may have been undeniably worse or more repressive, but to compare them to other groups is of dubious merit and risks starting a meaningless and historically irrelevant competition.