Monday, May 20, 2019

American artist Seth Eastman (1808-1875) portrays an Indian Council Meeting

Seth Eastman (American artist, 1808-1875) Indian Council

Born in 1808 in Brunswick, Maine, Seth Eastman (1808-1875) found expression for his artistic skills in a military career. After graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point, where officers-in-training were taught basic drawing & drafting techniques, Eastman was posted to forts in Wisconsin & Minnesota before returning to West Point as assistant teacher of drawing. --- While at Fort Snelling, Eastman married Wakaninajinwin (Stands Sacred), the 15-year-old daughter of Cloud Man, Dakota chief. Eastman left in 1832, for another military assignment soon after the birth of their baby girl, Winona, & he declared his marriage ended when he left. Winona was also known as Mary Nancy Eastman & was the mother of Charles Alexander Eastman, author of Indian Boyhood. --- From 1833 to 1840, Eastman taught drawing at West Point. In 1835, he married his 2nd wife & was reassigned to Fort Snelling as a military commander & remained there with Mary & their 5 children for the next 7 years. During this time Eastman began recording the everyday way of life of the Dakota & the Ojibwa people. Transferred to posts in Florida, & Texas in the 1840s, Eastman made sketches of the native peoples there. This experience prepared him for the next 5 yeas in Washington, DC, where he was assigned to the commissioner of Indian Affairs & illustrated Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's important 6-volume Historical  Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition, & Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. In 1867, Eastman returned to the Capitol to paint a series of scenes of Native American life for the House Committee on Indian Affairs. From the office of the United States Senate curator, we learn that in 1870, the House Committee on Military Affairs commissioned artist Seth Eastman 17 to paint images of important fortifications in the United States. He completed the works between 1870 & 1875. Of his 17 paintings of forts, 8 are located in the Senate, while the others are displayed on the House side of the Capitol. Eastman was working on the painting West Point, when he died in 1875.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

George Catlin (1796 –1872) A Dog Feast - Sioux

 George Catlin (1796 –1872) A Dog Feast - Sioux

The Sioux ( Dakota), are groups of Native American tribes & First Nations peoples in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation's many language dialects.

The Dakota are first recorded to have resided at the source of the Mississippi River & the Great Lakes during the seventeenth century.  They were dispersed west in 1659 due to warfare with the Iroquois. By 1700 the Dakota Sioux were living in Wisconsin & Minnesota, at this time they exterminated the Wicosawan, another Siouan people in 1710. A split of branch known as the Lakota had migrated to present-day South Dakota.  Late in the 17th century, the Dakota entered into an alliance with French merchants.  The French were trying to gain advantage in the struggle for the North American fur trade against the English, who had recently established the Hudson's Bay Company.

The first recorded encounter between the Sioux & the French occurred when Radisson & Groseilliers reached what is now Wisconsin during the winter of 1659–60. Later visiting French traders & missionaries included Claude-Jean Allouez, Daniel Greysolon Duluth, & Pierre-Charles Le Sueur who wintered with Dakota bands in early 1700.  In 1736 a group of Sioux killed Jean Baptiste de La Vérendrye & twenty other men on an island in Lake of the Woods.  However, trade with the French continued until the French gave up North America in 1763.

The Pawnee Indians had a long tradition of living in present-day Nebraska.  Their first land cession to the United States took place in 1833 when they sold land south of the Platte River. The Massacre Canyon battlefield near Republican River is located within this area. Forty years & two land cessions later, the tribe lived in a small reservation on old Pawnee land, present-day Nance County. The Pawnees had kept a right to hunt buffalo on their vast, ancient range between the Loup, Platte & Republican rivers in Nebraska & south into northern Kansas, now territory of the United States. They had suffered continual attacks by the Lakota that increased violently in the early 1840s. The Lakota lived north of the Pawnee. In 1868 they had entered into a treaty with the United States & agreed to live in the Great Sioux Reservation in present-day South Dakota. By Article 11 they (also) received a right to hunt along the Republican, almost 200 miles south of the reservation.  Both the Pawnee & the Lakota complained regularly over attacks by the other tribe. An attempt to make peace in 1871 with the United States as intermediary came to nothing.

The Massacre Canyon battle took place in Nebraska on August 5, 1873 near the Republican River. It was one of the last hostilities between the Pawnee & the Lakota & the last battle/massacre between Great Plains Indians in North America.  The massacre occurred when a large Oglala/Brulé Sioux war party of over 1,500 warriors led by Two Strike, Little Wound, & Spotted Tail attacked a band of Pawnee during their summer buffalo hunt. In the ensuing rout more than 75–100 Pawnees were killed, men with mostly women & children, the victims suffering mutilation & some set on fire.

The Pawnee were traveling along the west bank of the canyon, which runs south to the Republican River, when they were attacked. "A census taken at the Pawnee Agency in September, according [to] Agent Burges  "71 Pawnee warriors were killed, & 102 women & children killed", the victims brutally mutilated & scalped & others even set on fire"  although Trail Agent John Williamson's account states 156 Pawnee died. It is likely the death toll would have been higher, for Williamson noted ". . . a company of United States cavalry emerge[d] from the timber. When the Sioux saw the soldiers approaching they beat a hasty retreat, although "Recently discovered military documents disproved the old theory" per the "Massacre Canyon Monument" article. This massacre is by some considered one of the factors that led to the Pawnees' decision to move to a reservation in Indian Territory in what is today Oklahoma.  The Pawnee disagree.

By 1862, shortly after a failed crop the year before & a winter starvation, the federal payment was late. The local traders would not issue any more credit to the Santee & one trader, Andrew Myrick, went so far as to say, "If they're hungry, let them eat grass."  On August 17, 1862 the Dakota War began when a few Santee men murdered a white farmer & most of his family. They inspired further attacks on white settlements along the Minnesota River. The Santee attacked the trading post. Later, settlers found Myrick among the dead with his mouth stuffed full of grass.

On November 5, 1862 in Minnesota, in courts-martial, 303 Santee Sioux were found guilty of rape & murder of hundreds of American settlers. They were sentenced to be hanged. No attorneys or witnesses were allowed as a defense for the accused, & many were convicted in less than five minutes of court time with the judge.  President Abraham Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 284 of the warriors, while signing off on the hanging of 38 Santee men on December 26, 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass-execution in U.S. history, on US soil.

Afterwards, the US suspended treaty annuities to the Dakota for four years & awarded the money to the white victims & their families. The men remanded by order of President Lincoln were sent to a prison in Iowa, where more than half died.

During & after the revolt, many Santee & their kin fled Minnesota & Eastern Dakota to Canada, or settled in the James River Valley in a short-lived reservation before being forced to move to Crow Creek Reservation on the east bank of the Missouri. A few joined the Yanktonai & moved further west to join with the Lakota bands to continue their struggle against the United States military.

Others were able to remain in Minnesota & the east, in small reservations existing into the 21st century, including Sisseton-Wahpeton, Flandreau, & Devils Lake (Spirit Lake or Fort Totten) Reservations in the Dakotas. Some ended up in Nebraska, where the Santee Sioux Reservation today has a reservation on the south bank of the Missouri.

Those who fled to Canada now have descendants residing on nine small Dakota Reserves, five of which are located in Manitoba (Sioux Valley, Long Plain, Dakota Tipi, Birdtail Creek, & Oak Lake [Pipestone]) & the remaining four (Standing Buffalo, Moose Woods [White Cap], Round Plain [Wahpeton], & Wood Mountain) in Saskatchewan.

Red Cloud's War (also referred to as the Bozeman War) was an armed conflict between the Lakota & the United States Army in the Wyoming Territory & the Montana Territory from 1866 to 1868. The war was fought over control of the Powder River Country in north central Wyoming.

The war is named after Red Cloud, a prominent Sioux chief who led the war against the United States following encroachment into the area by the U.S. military. The war ended with the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The Sioux victory in the war led to their temporarily preserving their control of the Powder River country.

The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles & negotiations which occurred in 1876 & 1877 between the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, & the United States. The cause of the war was the desire of the U.S. government to obtain ownership of the Black Hills. Gold had been discovered in the Black Hills, settlers began to encroach onto Native American lands, & the Sioux & Cheyenne refused to cede ownership to the U.S. Traditionally, the United States military & historians place the Lakota at the center of the story, especially given their numbers, but some Indians believe the Cheyenne were the primary target of the U.S. campaign.

The earliest engagement was the Battle of Powder River, & the final battle was the Wolf Mountain. Included are the Battle of the Rosebud, Battle of Warbonnet Creek, Battle of Slim Buttes, Battle of Cedar Creek, & the Dull Knife Fight.

Among the many battles & skirmishes of the war was the Battle of the Little Bighorn, often known as Custer's Last Stand, the most storied of the many encounters between the U.S. army & mounted Plains Indians. The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota & other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass & also commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, & Arapaho tribes & the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of US forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place on June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory.

The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, & Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse & Chief Gall, & had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The US 7th Cavalry, a force of 700 men, suffered a major defeat while under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (formerly a brevetted major general during the American Civil War). Five of the 7th Cavalry's twelve companies were annihilated & Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew & a brother-in-law. The total US casualty count included 268 dead & 55 severely wounded (six died later from their wounds), including four Crow Indian scouts & at least two Arikara Indian scouts. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument honors those who fought on both sides.

That Indian victory notwithstanding, the U.S. leveraged national resources to force the Indians to surrender, primarily by attacking & destroying their encampments & property. The Great Sioux War took place under the presidencies of Ulysses S. Grant & Rutherford B. Hayes. The Agreement of 1877 (19 Stat. 254, enacted February 28, 1877) officially annexed Sioux land & permanently established Indian reservations.

The massacre at Wounded Knee Creek was the last major armed conflict between the Lakota & the United States. It was described as a "massacre" by General Nelson A. Miles in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

On December 29, 1890, five hundred troops of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, supported by four Hotchkiss guns (a lightweight artillery piece capable of rapid fire), surrounded an encampment of the Lakota bands of the Miniconjou & Hunkpapa with orders to escort them to the railroad for transport to Omaha, Nebraska.

By the time it was over, 25 troopers & more than 150 Lakota Sioux lay dead, including men, women, & children. It remains unknown which side was responsible for the first shot; some of the soldiers are believed to have been the victims of "friendly fire" because the shooting took place at point-blank range in chaotic conditions. Around 150 Lakota are believed to have fled the chaos, many of whom may have died from hypothermia.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862) The Captive Charger

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862) a painter of the American West (was also known as Charles Wimar & Carl Wimar) The Captive Charger

Friday, May 17, 2019

American Artist George Catlin (1796-1872) Crow Native Americans

George Catlin (1796 –1872) A Crow chief at his toilette. While touring the U.S. Midwest, Catlin was a guest of the Crow and the Minnetaree on the upper Missouri River.

A group of Crow Natives went west after leaving the Hidatsa villages of earth lodges in the Knife River and Heart River area (present North Dakota) around 1675-1700. They selected a site for a single earth lodge on the lower Yellowstone River. Most families lived in tipis or other perishable kinds of homes at the new place. These Indians had left the Hidatsa villages and adjacent cornfields for good, but they had yet to become "real" buffalo hunting Crows following the herds on the open plains Archaeologists know this "proto-Crow" site in present Montana as the Hagen site.

Some time before 1765 the Crows held a Sun Dance, attended by a poor Arapaho. A Crow with power gave him a medicine doll, and he quickly earned status and owned horses as no one else. During the next Sun Dance, some Crows stole back the figure to keep it in the tribe. Eventually the Arapaho made a duplicate. Later in life, he married a Kiowa woman and brought the doll with him. The Kiowas use it during the Sun Dance and recognize it as one of the most powerful tribal medicines. They still credit the Crow tribe for the origin of their sacred Tai-may figure.

The trading posts built for trade with the Crows. The enmity between the Crow and the Lakota was reassured right from the start of the 19th Century. The Crows killed a minimum of thirty Lakotas in 1800-1801 according to two Lakota winter counts. The next year, the Lakotas and their Cheyenne allies killed all the men in a Crow camp with thirty tipis.

In the summer of 1805, a Crow camp traded at the Hidatsa villages on Knife River in present North Dakota. Chiefs Red Calf and Spotted Crow allowed the fur trader Francois-Antoine Larocque to join it on its way across the plains to the Yellowstone area. He travelled with it to a point west of the place where Billings, Montana, is today. The camp crossed Little Missouri River and Bighorn River on the way.

The next year, some Crows discovered a group of whites with horses on the Yellowstone River. By stealth, they captured the mounts before morning. The Lewis and Clark Expedition did not see the Crows.

The first trading post in Crow country was constructed in 1807, known as both Fort Raymond and Fort Lisa (1807-1813(?)). Like the succeeding forts, Fort Benton (c. 1821-1824) and Fort Cass (1832-1838), it was built near the confluence of the Yellowstone and the Bighorn.

The Blood Blackfoot Bad Head's winter count tells about the early and persistent hostility between the Crow and the Blackfoot. In 1813, a force of Blood warriors set off for a raid on the Crows in the Bighorn area. Next year, Crows near Little Bighorn River killed Blackfoot Top Knot.

A Crow camp neutralized thirty Cheyennes bent on capturing horses in 1819. The Cheyennes and warriors from a Lakota camp destroyed a whole Crow camp at Tongue River the following year. This was likely the most severe attack on a Crow camp in historic time.

The Crows put up 300 tipis near a Mandan village on the Missouri in 1825. The representatives of the US government waited for them. Mountain Crow chief Long Hair (Red Plume at Forehead) and fifteen other Crows signed the first treaty of friendship and trade between the Crows and the United States on August 4. With the signing of the document, the Crows also recognized the supremacy of the United States, if they actually understood the word. River Crow chief Arapooish had left the treaty area in disgust. By help of the thunderbird he had to send a farewell shower down on the whites and the Mountain Crows.

In 1829, seven Crow warriors were neutralized by Blood Blackfoot Indians led by Spotted Bear, who captured a pipe-hatchet during the fight just west of Chinook, Montana.

In the summer of 1834, the Crows (maybe led by chief Arapooish) tried to shut down Fort McKenzie at the Missouri in Blackfeet country. The apparent motive was to stop the trading post's sale to their Indian enemies. Although later described as a month long siege of the fort, it lasted only two days. The opponents exchanged a few shots and the men in the fort fired a canon, but no real harm came to anyone. The Crows left four days before the arrival of a Blackfeet band. The episode seems to be the worst armed conflict between the Crows and a group of whites until the Sword Bearer uprising in 1887.

The death of chief Arapooish was recorded on September 17, 1834. The news reached Fort Clark at the Mandan village Mitutanka. Manager F.A. Chardon wrote he "was Killed by Black feet."

The smallpox epidemic of 1837 spread along the Missouri and "had little impact" on the tribe according to one source. The River Crows grew in number, when a group of Hidatsas joined them permanently to escape the scourge sweeping through the Hidatsa villages.

Fort Van Buren was a short-lived trading post in existence from 1839-1842. It was built on the bank of the Yellowstone near the mouth of Tongue River.

In the summer of 1840, a Crow camp in the Bighorn valley greeted the Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet.

From 1842 to around 1852, the Crows traded in Fort Alexander opposite the mouth of the Rosebud.

The River Crows charged a moving Blackfeet camp near Judith Gap in 1845. Father De Smet mourned the destructive attack on the "petite Robe" band. The Blackfeet chief Small Robe had been mortally wounded and many killed. De Smet worked out the number of women and children taken captive to 160. By and by and with a fur trader as intermediary, the Crows agreed to let 50 women return to their tribe.

De Smet map of the 1851 Fort Laramie Indian territories (the light area). Jesuit missionary De Smet drew this map with the tribal borders agreed upon at Fort Laramie in 1851. Although the map itself is wrong in certain ways, it has the Crow territory west of the Sioux territory as written in the treaty, and the Bighorn area as the heart of the Crow country.

Fort Sarpy near Rosebud River carried out trade with the Crows after the closing of Fort Alexander. River Crows went some times to the bigger Fort Union at the confluence of the Yellowstone and the Missouri. Both the "famous Absaroka amazon" Woman Chief and River Crow chief Twines His Tail (Rotten Tail) visited the fort in 1851.

In 1851, the Crow, the Sioux and six other Indian Nations signed the Fort Laramie treaty along with the US. It should ensure peace forever between all nine partakers. Further, the treaty described the different tribal territories. The US was allowed to construct roads and forts. A weak point in the treaty was the absence of rules to uphold the tribal borders.

The Crow and various bands of Sioux attacked each other again from the mid-1850s. Soon, the Sioux took no notice of the 1851 borders and expanded into Crow territory west of the Powder. The Crows engaged in "… large-scale battles with invading Sioux …" near present-day Wyola, Montana. Around 1860, the western Powder area was lost.

From 1857 to 1860, many Crows traded their surplus robes and skin at Fort Sarpy (II) near the mouth of the Bighorn River.

During the mid-1860s, the Sioux resented the emigrant route Bozeman Trail through the Powder River bison habitat, although it mainly "crossed land guaranteed to the Crows."  When the Army built forts to protect the trail, the Crows cooperated with the garrisons. On December 21, 1866, the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho defeated Captain William J. Fetterman and his men from Fort Phil Kearny. Evidently, the US could not enforce respect for the treaty borders agreed upon 15 years before.

The River Crows north of the Yellowstone developed a friendship with their former Gros Ventre enemies in the 1860s. A joint large-scale attack on a big Blackfoot camp at Cypress Hills (Canada) in 1866 resulted in a chaotic withdrawal of the Gros Ventres and Crows. The Blackfoot pursued the warriors for hours and killed allegedly more than 300.

In 1868, a new Fort Laramie treaty between the Sioux and the US turned 1851 Crow Powder River area into "unceded Indian territory" of the Sioux. "The Government had in effect betrayed the Crows…" On May 7, the same year, the Crow ceded vast ranges to the US due to pressure from white settlements north of Upper Yellowstone River and loss of eastern territories to the Sioux. They accepted a smaller reservation south of the Yellowstone.

The Sioux and their Indian allies, now formally at peace with the US, focused on intertribal wars at once. Raids against the Crows were "frequent, both by the Northern Cheyennes and by the Arapahos, as well as the Sioux, and by parties made up from all three tribes." Crow chief Plenty Coups recalled, "The three worst enemies our people had were combined against us …"

In April 1870, the Sioux overpowered a barricaded war group of 30 Crows in the Big Dry area. The Crows were killed to either last or last but one man. Later, mourning Crows with "their hair cut off, their fingers and faces cut" brought the dead bodies back to camp. The drawing from the Sioux winter count of Lone Dog shows the Crows in the circle (the breastwork), while the Sioux close in on them. The many lines indicates flying bullets. The Sioux lost 14 warriors. Sioux chief Sitting Bull took part in this battle.

In the summer of 1870, some Sioux attacked a Crow reservation camp in the Bighorn/Little Bighorn area. The Crows reported Sioux Indians in the same area again in 1871. During the next years, this eastern part of the Crow reservation was taken over by the Sioux in search of buffalo.  In August 1873, visiting Nez Percés and a Crow reservation camp at Pryor Creek further west faced a force of Sioux warriors in a long confrontation. Crow chief Blackfoot objected to this incursion and called for resolute US military actions against the Indian trespassers. Due to Sioux attacks on both civilians and soldiers north of the Yellowstone in newly established US territory (Battle of Pease Bottom, Battle of Honsinger Bluff), the Commissioner of Indian Affairs advocated the use of troops to force the Sioux back to South Dakota in his 1873 report. Nothing happened.

In early July 1875, Crow chief Long Horse was killed in a suicidal attack on some Sioux, who previously had killed three soldiers from Camp Lewis on the upper Judith River (near Lewistown). George Bird Grinnell was a member of the exploring party in the Yellowstone National Park that year, and he saw the bringing in of the dead chief. A mule carried the body, which was wrapped in a green blanket. The chief was placed in a tipi "not far from the Crow camp, reclining on his bed covered with robes, his face handsomely painted." Crow woman Pretty Shield remembered the sadness in camp. "We fasted, nearly starved in our sorrow for the loss of Long-Horse."

Exposed to Sioux attacks, the Crows sided with the US during the Great Sioux War in 1876-1877.  On April 10, 1876, 23 Crows enlisted as Army scouts. They enlisted against a traditional Indian enemy, "... who were now in the old Crow country, menacing and often raiding the Crows in their reservation camps." Charles Varnum, leader of Custer's scouts, understood how valuable the enrolment of scouts from the local Indian tribe was. "These Crows were in their own country and knew it thoroughly."

Notable Crows like Medicine Crow and Plenty Coups participated in the Rosebud Battle along with more than 160 other Crows.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn stood on the Crow reservation. As most battles between the US and the Sioux in the 1860s and 1870s, "It was a clash of two expanding empires, with the most dramatic battles occurring on lands only recently taken by the Sioux from other tribes." When the Crow camp with Pretty Shield learned about the defeat of George A. Custer, it cried for the assumed dead Crow scouts "… and for Son-of-the-morning-star [Custer] and his blue soldiers …"

On January 8, 1877, three Crows participated in the last battle of the Great Sioux War in the Wolf Mountains.

In the spring of 1878, 700 Crow tipis were pitched at the confluence of Bighorn River and Yellowstone River. Together with Colonel Nelson A. Miles, an Army leader in the Great Sioux War, the big camp celebrated the victory over the Sioux.