Overview of US/Indian relations in 19C
Learn: Syncretism
Cultural imperialism
Ban: civilized, savage, primitive, wilderness, frontier
Three broad periods 1607-1815
characterized by warfare for survival and syncretism—two-way street
North America not a wilderness but a huge food farm, 1000s of years of managing resources
NA foods led to regional cuisines of USA; Indians of Americas cultivated >1/2 world’s foods
Wars: More persons killed in King Phillip’s War than in Revolutionary War or War of 1812
With trade intra-Indian wars increased and got new idea: annihilation
80% of fed budget in GW’s admin was to fund Indian wars
Stereotype of Indian attacking wagon trains:
but 250,000 crossed Plains 362 pioneers and 426 NAs killed; usually NAs guides
Zone of contact: mixed towns, intensive trade that became integrated into international trade
NAs—had tools and skills to survive and thrive
EAs—had more advanced technology like guns and metal tools and weapons
Thousands of NAs were enslaved, even sold to Caribbean and Europe, even into 1860s
What EAs got from NAs: food, place names, 1000s of words, individual rights, freedoms,
concept of federation, farming techniques, hunting techniques, ex. of more rights for women
Many tribes settled down but were rubbed out or removed anyway
Constant: NAs not citizens, can’t sue or testify even when land was stolen
characterized by cultural imperialism and wars of annihilation
The conception of a reservation
Marshall court rulings regarding Indians as wards, not sovereign nations
The word “hostile” as synonym for Indian
Corruption among US officials “buying” land or signing treaties they had no intention of enforcing
Use of infected clothes and blankets to decimate native populations
Pre-Civil War encroachments on Native American land in the West
1849 and following: California gold rush and migration to Oregon
1859 and following: Colorado gold rush and the expulsion of Natives from Colorado
diseases like cholera, smallpox , and typhus spreading from white settlements
discovery of gold in Montana
During Civil War
US forces herded Indians into two great reservations: Dakota and Oklahoma
Homestead Act of 1862 opened up lands inhabited by natives to white settlement
1864 Sand Creek Massacre of Indians who believed they had immunity
Led to Sioux massacre of 81 soldiers in Bighorn Mountains
Led to a treaty in which the US abandoned the Bozeman Trail*
Led to raids on whites in Kansas
Led to division among Indians to accept whites’ terms or not
Led to massacre on Washita River in OK November 27, 1868, ending Indian
resistance S. Plains
1864 Kit Carson rounds up Navahos and sends them on Long Walk to
After the Civil War
1874 discovery of gold in Black Hills of Dakota by an expedition led by GA Custer
*Attacks on whites and soldiers encroaching on Indian lands by Indians led to Custer’s attack
Powder R.
1876 Custer and his forces annihilated at Little Big Horn: last and only real victory: has
become legend; Cheyenne and Sioux led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull
Chief Joseph led the Nez Perce in a flight to avoid being herded onto a reservation
Betrayed into thinking they could return to their ancestral lands, actually sent
to Kansas; 40% died
Southwest: Apaches led by Geronimo resisted white encroachments but in 80s defeated and
went to OK
1880s: the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo for tongues
Ghost Dance—a religious/political ritual aimed at spiritually and actually regaining
lost land and culture; Suppressed by government in 1890s
Wounded Knee Massacre: small creek in South Dakota, Christmas 1890:
Attempt to stamp out Ghost Dance
Indians thought they were protected on reservation, instead attacked
Figurative end of Indian Wars and the native way of life
1887 Dawes Act—attempt to end reservations and establish private property and farms
Dissolved many reservations; promise of citizenship in 25 years if behave selves
Establishment of a system of schools: Carlisle Indian School (PA) and Haskell Institute (KS)
Forcible education in English—native tongues banned
1890-present: trying to work out reservation system and rights & responsibilities of both sides—2B told later
Different possibilities in past:
1. intermarriage
2. multi-racial societies
4. balanced acculturation
3. Indian states; e.g. OK and DE
Questions to ask of EZ-NA relations:
1. Who were nomads and who were settled?
2. Whose warfare was more destructive?
3. Who was more warlike and who was more peaceful?
4. Who has used the land more wisely?
What are the different possibilities now?