Friday, August 30, 2019

Artist Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) Indian Capture of the Calloway Girls and Jemima Boone

Attributed to Karl Bodmer (Swiss Artist, 1809-1893) Capture of the Calloway Girls and Jemima Boone 

The capture and rescue of Jemima Boone and the Callaway girls were captured by a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party and rescued by Daniel Boone and his rescue team, celebrated for their success. The incident was portrayed by James Fenimore Cooper in a fictionalized version of the episode in his 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans. After the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, violence increased between American Indians and settlers in Kentucky. American Indians, particularly Shawnee from north of the Ohio River, raided the Kentucky settlements, hoping to drive away the settlers, whom they regarded as trespassers. The Cherokee, led by Dragging Canoe, frequently attacked isolated settlers and hunters, convincing many to abandon Kentucky. This was part of a 20-year Cherokee resistance to pioneer settlement. By the late spring of 1776, fewer than 200 Americans remained in Kentucky, primarily at the fortified settlements of Boonesborough, Harrodsburg, and Logan's Station in the southeastern part of the state.

On July 14, 1776, a raiding party caught 3 teenage girls from Boonesborough as they were floating in a canoe on the Kentucky River. They were Jemima, daughter of Daniel Boone, and Elizabeth and Frances, daughters of Colonel Richard Callaway. The Cherokee Hanging Maw led the raiders, 2 Cherokee and 3 Shawnee warriors. The girls' capture raised alarm and Boone organized a rescue party. Meanwhile, the captors hurried the girls north toward the Shawnee towns across the Ohio River. The girls attempted to mark their trail until threatened by the Indians. The 3rd morning, as the Indians were building a fire for breakfast, the rescuers came up. As one Indian was shot, Jemima reportedly said, "That's Father's gun!" He was not immediately killed, but two wounded Native American men later died. The Indians retreated, leaving the girls to be taken home by the settlers. The episode served to put the settlers in the Kentucky wilderness on guard and prevented their straying beyond the fort. Although the rescuers had feared the girls would be raped or otherwise abused, Jemima Boone said, "The Indians were kind to us, as much so as they well could have been, or their circumstances permitted." The Cherokee may have abducted the girls as a response to what they viewed as D. Boone's failure to observe Cherokee treaties. The Treaty of the Green River Wilderness promised Kentucky to Cherokee Tribe for "as long as the waters flow." 

The artist Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809-1893) developed a remarkable talent for drawing & painting while studying with his uncle, painter & engraver Johann Jacob Meyer. After further studies in Paris, he joined his brother on a sketching trip through Germany in 1832 where he met Prince Maximilian zu Weid. Maximilian, known for his natural history research in the coastal forests of Brazil, was searching for a professional artist to accompany him on his expedition to North America. Bodmer signed a contract with Maximilian &, 3 weeks later, they set sail for America. From 1833-1834, the two traveled up the Missouri River, retracing the 1805 journey of Lewis & Clark. On the expedition, Bodmer depicted some of the same characters that George Caitlin had painted just months before. Bodmer was the last artist able to paint the Mandan Indians in North Dakota before the fatal 1837 smallpox epidemic that nearly obliterated the tribe. He also painted portraits of the Sioux, Blackfeet, Hidatsa, & other tribes, while Maximilian conducted studies & made notes on the botany & zoology of the areas. Before the end of the journey, Bodmer had completed 81 paintings, illustrating Maximilians expedition. Each elegant painting displayed extremely detailed & accurate accounts of Indian ceremonies & everyday life. In 1843, Maximilian's lithographs were published in Travels in the Interior of America. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

~ Wi-lóoh-tah-eeh-tcháh-ta-máh-nee, Red Thing That Touches in Marching, Daughter of Black Rock by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Wi-lóoh-tah-eeh-tcháh-ta-máh-nee, Red Thing That Touches in Marching, Daughter of Black Rock

In 1818, the artist George Catlin (1796–1872) was practicing law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821, to pursue painting Native Americans, a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." Catlin based his entire body of work—including over 500 paintings done in the 1830s recounting his travels — following the Vanishing (Native) American, "In traversing the immense regions of the Classic West, the mind...gradually rises again into the proud & heroic elegance of savage society, in a state of pure & original nature, beyond the reach of civilized contamination...here, treachery & cruelty, are...restrained & frequently subdued by the noblest traits of honor & magnanimity, by a race of men who live & enjoy life & its luxuries, & practice its virtues, very far beyond the usual estimations of the world...From the first (colonial) settlements of our Atlantic coast to the present day, the...frontier has regularly crowded upon them, from the northern to the southern extremities of our country, &, like the fire in a mountain, which destroys every thing where it passes, it has blasted & sunk them, & all but their names, into oblivion, wherever it has traveled." Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating a visual & narrative record of Native American life. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act began a 12-year campaign to remove the remaining Indians from their ancient homelands east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, many Native Americans would be decimated by starvation & disease; within a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad. Catlin produced 2 major collections of paintings of American Indians & published a series of books chronicling his travels among the native peoples of North, Central, & South America.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Indians in Council by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)


Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) The Indians on Board or in Council in California (c 1872)

Matthew Biagell explains in his book Albert Bierstadt that,"Athough Bierstadt made probing studies of individual Indians during his travels in the West, he usually generalized their appearances & activities in his paintings. He placed them, as he placed European peasants in earlier works, in the middle distance, so that we witness their presence in a landscape setting rather than focus on their movements." Many of his landscapes including Native Americans are the western equivalent of his European generalized landscapes & reveals Bierstadt's consistent attitude toward subject matter regardless of its locale human subjects are engaged in seemingly unrelated activities. His paintings, bathed in a golden glow, often suggest nostalgia for a previous age when Native Americans were thought to have lived harmoniously with nature. Here they are not wily, wicked, or predatory, but are engaged instead in peaceful domestic industry. Works such as this are obviously part of the broad western European tradition of Arcadian scenes, but in its American version the tradition assumes a particular complexity & ambivalence. His painting including Natives often portray the nobility of the Indians before their contact with Europeans & subsequent debasement. Paintings displaying this attitude undoubtedly provided the public with the images it wanted to see, especially during the years Indians were systematically being driven from their lands. Suchromanticized paintings might also be considered retardataire; the Indian, noble or otherwise, no longer engaged many serious 19C writers after the 1850s, & precise anthropological & linguistic analyses of Indian tribes were already being included in the Pacific railroad reports by that time.

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for these lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Thomas Morton, Description of the Indians in New England (1637)

The Maypole at Merry Mount.  Thomas Morton was one of the founders of the settlement at Mount Wollaston (present day Quincy, MA, south of Boston), a renegade group of colonists who became the object of the ire and punishments of the Puritan colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. Morton, a trader and lawyer, emigrated from England to the Plymouth Colony in the company of a Captain Wollaston in 1624. Unable to get along with the Pilgrim authorities, Wollaston, Morton and other settlers established their own small colony of Mount Wollaston.  Then most of that community departed with the captain in 1626, in hopes of finding more hospitable surroundings in Virginia. Morton remained behind and renamed the village Mare Mount (Merry Mount), a clear indication of his priorities.


Of their Houses and Habitations.

The Natives of New England are accustomed to build them houses much like the wild Irish; they gather Poles in the woodes and put the great end of them in the ground, placing them in forme of a circle or circumference, and, bendinge the topps of them in forme of an Arch, they bind them together with the Barke of Walnut trees, which is wondrous tough, so that they make the same round on the Topp for the smoke of their fire to ascend and pass through; . . . The fire is alwayes made in the midst of the house, with winde falls commonly: yet some times they fell a tree that groweth near the house, and, by drawing in the end thereof, maintaine the fire on both sides, burning the tree by Degrees shorter and shorter, untill it be all consumed; for it burneth night and day. Their lodging is made in three places of the house about the fire; they Iie upon plankes, commonly about a foote or 18 inches above the ground, raised upon railes that are borne up upon forks; they lay mats under them, and Coats of Deares skinnes, otters, beavers, Racoons, and of Beares hides, all which they have dressed and converted into good leather, with the haire on, for their coverings: and in this manner they liee as warme as they desire. . . . for they are willing that any shall eat with them. Nay, if any one that shall come into their houses and there fall a sleepe, when they see him disposed to lie downe, they will spread a matt for him of their owne accord, and lay a roll of skinnes for a boulster, and let him lie. If he sleepe untill their meate be dished up, they will set a wooden bowl of meate by him that sleepeth, and wake him saying, Cattup keene Meckin: That is, If you be hungry, there is meat for you, where if you will eat you may. Such is their Humanity.

Likewise, when they are minded to remove, they carry away the mats with them; other materials the place adjoining will yield. They use not to winter and surnmer in one.place, for that would be a reason to make fuel scarce; but, after the manner of the gentry of Civilized natives, remove for their pleasures; some times to their hunting places, where they remaine keeping good hospitality for that season; and sometimes to their fishing places, where they abide for that season likewise; and at the spring, when fish comes in plentifully, they have meetinges from severall places, where they exercise themselves in gaming and playing of jugling trickes and all manner of Revelles, which they are delighted in; [so] that it is admirable to behold what pastime they use of severall kindes; every one striving to surpass each other. After this manner they spend their time. . . .

Of their Reverence, and Respect to Age.

It is a thing to be admired, and indeede made a president, that a Nation yet uncivilized should more respect age than some nations civilized, since there are so many precepts both of divine and humane writers extant to instruct more Civil Nations: in that particular, wherein they excel, the younger are always obedient unto the elder people, and at their commands in every respect without grumbling; in all councels, (as therein they are circumspect to do their actions by advise and councell, and not rashly or inconsiderately) the younger mens opinion shall be heard, but the old mens opinion and councell embraced and followed: besides, as the elder feede and provide for the younger in infancy, doe the younger, after being growne to years of manhood, provide for those that be aged; . . .

The consideration of these things, me thinks, should reduce some of our irregular young people of civilized Nations, when this story shall come to their knowledge, to better manners, and make them ashamed of their former error in this kinde, and to become hereafter more dutyfull; which I, as a friend, (by observation having found,) have herein recorded for that purpose. . . .

Of their Trafficke and Trade One With Another.

Although these people have not the use of navigation, whereby they may trafficke as other nations, that are civilized, use to doe, yet doe they barter for such commodities as they have, and have a kinde of beads instead of money, to buy withall such things as they want, which they call Wampampeak [wampum]: and it is of two sorts, the one is white, the other is of a violet coloure. These are made of the shells of fish. The white with them is as silver with us; the other as our. gould: and for these beads they buy and fell, not only amongst themselves, but even with us.

We have used to sell them any of our commodities for this Wampumpeak, because we know we can have beaver againe of them for it: and these beads are currant [i.e. currency] in all the parts of New England, from one end of the coast to the other. . . .

Of their Admirable Perfection, in the Use of the Senses.

This is a thinge not only observed by me and divers of the Salvages of New England, but, also, by the French men in Nova Francia, and therefore I am the more encouraged to publish in this Treatice my observation of them in the use of theire senses: which is a thinge that I should not easily have been induced to believe, if I myself had not been an eye witnesse of what I shall relate.

I have observed that the Salvages have the sence of seeing so farre beyond any of our Nation, that one would allmost believe they had intelligence of the Devill sometimes, when they have told us of a ship at Sea, which they have seen sooner by one hour, yea, two hours sail, then any English man that stood by of purpose to looke out, their sight is so excellent. . . .

Of Their Petty Conjuring Tricks

If we doe not judge amiss of these Salvages in accounting them witches, yet out of all question we may be bold to conclude them to be but weake witches, such of them as we call by the names of Powahs: some correspondency they have with the Devil out of all doubt, as by some of their actions, in which they glory, is manifested. Papasiquineo, that Sachem or Sagamore, is a Powah of greate estimation amongst all kinde of Salvages there: he is at their Revels (which is the time when a great company of Salvages meete from severall parts of the Country, in amity with their neighbours) hath advanced his honor in his feats or juggling tricks (as I may right term them) to the admiration of the spectators, whom he endevoured to persuade that he would goe under water to the further side of a river, too broad for any man to undertake with a breath, which thing he performed by swimming over, and deluding the company with casting a mist before their eyes that see him enter in and come out, but no part of the way he has been seen: likewise by our English, in the heat of all summer to make Ice appear in a bowl of faire water; first, having the water set before him, he hath begun his incantation according to their usuall custom, and before the same has been ended a thick Cloud has darkened the aire and, on a sudden, a thunder clap hath been heard that has amazed the natives; in an instant he hath showed a firm piece of Ice to float in the midst of the bowl in the presence of the vulgar people, which doubtless was done by the agility of Satan, his consort.

And by meanes of these sleights, and such like trivial things as these, they gaine such estimation amongst the rest of the Salvages that it is thought a very impious matter for any man to derogate from the words of these Powahs. In so much as he that should slight them, is thought to commit a crime no less heinous amongst them as sacrilege is with us, . . .

Of a great mortality that happened amongst the Naitves of New England, near about the time that the English came there to plant.

It fortuned some few years before the English came to inhabit at new Plymouth, in New England, that upon some distast given in the Massachusetts bay by the Frenchmen, then trading there with the Natives for beaver, they set upon the men at such advantage that they killed many of them, burned their ship, then riding at Anchor by an Island there, now called Peddocks. Island, . . . they did keepe them so long as they lived, only to sport themselves at them, and made these five Frenchmen fetch them wood and water, which is the generall worke that they require of a servant. One of these five men, out living the rest, had learned so much of their language as to rebuke them for their bloody deed, saying that God would be angry with them for it, and that he would in his displeasure destroy them; but the Sa - vagcs (it fectues boafling of their ftrength,) replyed and say that they were so many that God Could not kill them.

But contrary wise, in short time after the hand of God fell heavily upon them, with such a mortal stroke that they died on heaps as they lay in their houses; and the living, that were able to shift for themselves, would run away and let them die, and let their carcasses lie above the ground without burial. For in a place where many inhabited, there hath been but one left alive to tell what became of the rest; the living being (as it seems) not able to bury the dead, they were left for Crows, Kites and vermin to pray upon. And the bones and skulls upon the severall places of their habitations made such a spectacle after my coming into those parts, that, as I traveled in that Forrest near the Massachussets, it seemd to me a new found Golgatha.

. . .And this mortality was not ended when the Brownists of new Plymouth were settled at Patuxet in New England: and by all likelihood the sickness that these Indians died of was the Plague, as by conference with them since my arrivall and habitation in those parts, I have learned. And by this means there is as yet but a small number of Salvages in New England, to that which hath been in former time, and the place is made so much the more fit for the English Nation to inhabit in, and erect in it Temples to the glory of God.

Of their Religion.

It has been a common received opinion from Cicero, that there is no people so barbarous but have some worship or other. In this particular, I am not of opinion therein with Tully; and, surely, if he had been amongst those people so longe as I have been, and conversed so much with them touching this matter of Religion, he would have changed his opinion. Neither should we have found this error, amongst the rest, by the helpe of that wooden prospect, [Morton is sardonically referring to an earlier publication: William Wood, New England Prospect (1634), in which Wood claimed that the Indians he encountered worshiped something, but exactly what is too difficult to determine. Morton contests that view in this pamphlet.]

Of their acknowlegement of the Creation, and the immortality of the Soul.

Although these Salvages are found to be without Religion, Law, and King (as Sir William Alexander hath well observed,) yet are they not altogether without the knowledge of God (historically); for they have it amongst them by tradition that God made one man and one woman, and bade them live together and get children, kill deer, beasts, birds, fish and fowle, and what they would at their pleasure; and that their posterity was full of evil, and made God so angry that he let in the Sea upon them, and drowned the greatest part of them, that were naughty men, (the Lord destroyed so;) and they went to Sanaconquam, who feeds upon them (pointing to the Center of the Earth, where they imagine is the habitation of the Devill:) the other, (which were not destroyed,) increased the world, and when they died (because they were good) went to the house of Kytan [the word Morton records for the supreme good Spirit or God], pointing to the setting of the sun; where they eate all manner of dainties, and never take pains (as now) to provide it.

Kytan makes provision (they say) and saves them that labour; and there they shall live with him forever, void of care. And they are persuaded that Kytan is he that makes corne growe, trees growe, and all manner of fruits. . . .

I asked him [an Indian who had lived in Morton's house] who was a good man; his answer was, he that would not Iie, nor steal.

These, with them, are all the capital crimes that can be imagined; all other are nothing in respect of those; and he that is free from these must live with Kytan for ever, in all manner of pleasure. . . .

Of their Custom in burning the Country, and the reason thereof.

The Salvages are accustomed to set fire of the Country in all places where they come, and to burne it twice a year, viz.: at the Spring, and the fall of the leaf. The reason that moves them to doe so, is because it would other wise be so overgrown with underweeds that it would be all a coppice wood, and the people would not be able in any wise to pass through the Country out of a beaten path. . . .

The burning of the grass destroys the underwoods, and so scorcheth the elder trees that it shrinks them, and hinders their growth very much: so that he that will looke to finde large trees and good timbcr, must [look] . . . to finde them on the upland ground. . . .

And least their firing of the Country in this manner should be an occasion of damnifying us, and endangering our habitations, we ourselves have used carefully about the same times to observe the winds, and fire the grounds about our owne habitations; to prevent the Damage that might happen by any neglect thereof, if the fire should come near those houses in our absence.

For, when the fire is once kindled, it dilates and spreads itself as well against, as with the wind; burning continually night and day, untill a shower of rain falls to quench it.

And this custom of firing the Country is the meanes to make it passable; and by that meanes the trees growe here and there as in our parks: and makes the Country very beautifull and commodious.

Of their inclination to Drunkenness.

Although Drunkenness be justly termed a vice which the Salvages are ignorant of, yet the benefit is very great that comes to the planters by the sale of strong liquor to the Salvages, who are much taken with the delight of it; for they will pawn their wits, to purchase the acquaintance of it. Yet in all the commerce that I had with them, I never proffered them any such thing; nay, I would hardly let any of them have a dram, unless he were a Sachem, or a Winnaytue, that is a rich man, . . . . But they say if I come to the Northern parts of the Country I shall have no trade, if I will not supply them with lusty liquors: it is the life of the trade in all those parts: for it so happened that thus a Salvage desperately killed himself; when he was drunk, a gun being charged and the cock up, he sets the mouth to his breast, and, putting back the trigger with his foote, shot himself dead.

That the Salvages live a contended life.

A Gentleman and a traveller, that had been in the parts of New England for a time, when he returned againe, in his discourse of the Country, wondered, (as he said,) that the natives of the land lived so poorly in so rich a Country, like to our Beggars in England. Surely that Gentleman had not time or leisure while he was there truly to informe himself of the state of that Country, and the happy life the Salvages would leade were they once brought to Christianity.

I must confess they want the use and benefit of Navigation, (which is the very sinews of a flourishing Commonwealth,) yet are they supplied with all manner of needefull things for the maintenance of life and lifelyhood. Food and rayment are the cheife of all that we make true use of; and of these they finde no want, but have, and may have, them in a most plentifull manner.

If our beggars of England should, with so much ease as they, furnish themselves with food at all seasons, there would not be so many starved in the streets, neither would so many gaoles [jails] be stuffed, or gallouses furnished with poore wretches, as I have seen them.

But they of this sort of our owne nation, that are fit to go to this Canaan, are not able to transport themselves; and most of them unwilling to go from the good ale tap, which is the very loadstone of the lande by which our English beggars steer their Course; it is the Northpole to which the flowre-de-luce of their compass points. The more is the pity that the Commonalty of our Land are of such leaden capacities as to neglect so brave a Country, that doth so plentifully feed many lusty and a brave, able men, women and children, that have not the meanes that a Civilized Nation hath to purchase food and rayment; which that Country with a little industry will yield a man in a very comfortable measure, without overmuch carking.

I cannot deny but a civilized Nation hath the preeminence of an uncivilized, by meanes of those instruments that are found to be common amongst civil people, and the uncivil want the use of, to make themselves masters of those ornaments that make such a glorious show, . . .

Now since it is but food and rayment that men that live needeth, (though not all alike,) why should not the Natives of New England be said to live richly, having no want of either? Cloaths are the badge of sin; and the more variety of fashions is but the greater abuse of the Creature: the beasts of the forrest there doe serve to furnish them at any time when they please: fish and flesh they have in greate abundance, which they both roast and boil. . . .

I must needs commend them in this particular, that, though they buy many commodities of our Nation, yet they keepe but few, and those of speciall use.

They love not to be cumbered with many utensils, and although every proprietor knowes his owne, yet all things, (so long as they will last), are used in common amongst them: A bisket cake given to one, that one breakes it equally into so many parts as there be persons in his company, and distributes it. Plato's Commonwealth is so much practised by these people.

According to humane reason, guided only by the light of nature, these people leades the more happy and freer life, being void of care, which torments the mindes of so many Christians: They are not delighted in baubles, but in usefull things. . . .

I have observed that they will not be troubled with superfluous commodities. Such things as they finde they are taught by necessity to make use of, they will make choice of, and seeke to purchase with industry. So that, in respect that their life is so void of care, and they are so loving also that they make use of those things they enjoy, (the wife only excepted,) as common goods, and are therein so compassionate that, rather than one should starve through want, they would starve all. Thus doe they pass away the time merrily, not regarding our pomp, (which they see dayly before their faces,) but are better content with their owne, which some men esteem so meanely of.

Source: Thomas Morton, New English Canaan . . . (1637)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Native American Tribes - Souix

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872)  Sioux Black Rock with his Family

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.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Christopher Columbus, Journal (1492) - A record of one of the 1st contacts between indigenous & colonizing cultures.

A look at the North American Atlantic World before colonization, a bit of social, cultural, & political influences from the first contact between indigenous & colonizing cultures.

... This present year of 1492, after Your Highnesses had brought to an end the war with the Moors who ruled in Europe and had concluded the war in the very great city of Granada, where this present year on the second day of the month of January I saw the Royal Standards of Your Highnesses placed by force of arms on the towers of the Alhambra, which is the fortress of the said city; and I saw the Moorish King come out to the gates of the city and kiss the Royal Hands of Your Highnesses and of the Prince my Lord; and later in that same month, because of the report that I had given to Your Highnesses about the lands of India and about a prince who is called "Grand Khan," which means in our Spanish language "King of Kings"; how, many times, he and his predecessors had sent to Rome to ask for men learned in our Holy Faith in order that they might instruct him in it and how the Holy Father had never provided them; and thus so many peoples were lost, falling into idolatry and accepting false and harmful religions; and Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians and Princes, lovers and promoters of the Holy Christian Faith, and enemies of the false doctrine of Mahomet and of all idolatries and heresies, you thought of sending me, Christobal Colon, to the said regions of India to see the said princes and the peoples and the lands, and the characteristics of the lands and of everything and to see how their conversion to our Holy Faith might be undertaken. And you commanded that I should not go to the East by land, by which way it is customary to go, but by the route to the West, by which route we do not know for certain that anyone previously has passed. So, after having expelled all the Jews from all of your Kingdoms and Dominions, in the same month of January Your Highnesses commanded me to go, with a suitable fleet, to the said regions of India. And for that you granted me great favors and ennobled me so that from then on I might call myself "Don" and would be Grand Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy and perpetual Governor of all the islands and lands that I might discover and gain and [that] from now on might be discovered and gained in the Ocean Sea; and likewise my eldest son would succeed me and his son him, from generation to generation forever. And I left the city of Granada on the twelfth day of May in the same year of 1492 on Saturday, and I came to the town of Palos, which is a seaport, where I fitted out three vessels very well suited for such exploits; and I left the said port, very well provided with supplies and with many seamen, on the third day of August of the said year, on a Friday, half an hour before sunrise; and I took the route to Your Highnesses' Canary Islands, which are in the said Ocean Sea, in order from there to take my course and sail so far that I would reach the Indies and give Your Highnesses' message to those princes and thus carry out that which you had commanded me to do. And for this purpose I thought of writing on this whole voyage, very diligently, all that I would do and see and experience, as will be seen further along....

Thursday I I October
He [sometimes Columbus refers to himself in the third person] steered west-southwest. They took much water aboard, more than they had taken in the whole voyage. They saw petrels and a green bulrush near the ship. The men of the caravel Pinta saw a cane and a stick, and took on board another small stick that appeared to have been worked with iron, and a piece of cane, and other vegetation originating on land, and a small plank. The men of the caravel Nina also saw other signs of land and a small stick loaded with barnacles. With these signs everyone breathed more easily and cheered up. On this day, up to sunset, they made 27 leagues.

After sunset he steered on his former course to the west. They made about 12 miles each hour and, until two hours after midnight, made about 90 miles, which is twenty-two leagues and a half. And because the caravel Pinta was a better sailor and went ahead of the Admiral it found land and made the signals that the Admiral had ordered. A sailor named Rodrigo de Triana saw this land first, although the Admiral, at the tenth hour of the night, while he was on the sterncastle saw a light, although it was something so faint that he did not wish to affirm that it was land. But he called Pero Gutierrez, the steward of the king's dais, and told him that there seemed to be a light, and for him to look: and thus he did and saw it. He also told Rodrigo Sanchez de Segovia, whom the king and queen were sending as veedor of the fleet, who saw nothing because he was not in a place where he could see it. After the Admiral said it, it was seen once or twice; and it was like a small wax candle that rose and lifted up, which to few seemed to be an indication of land. But the Admiral was certain that they were near land, because of which when they recited the salve, which sailors in their own way are accustomed to recite and sing, all being present, the Admiral entreated and admonished them to keep a good lookout on the forecastle and to watch carefully for land; and that to the man who first told him that he saw land he would later give a silk jacket in addition to the other rewards that the sovereigns had promised, which were ten thousand maravedis as an annuity to whoever should see it first. At two hours after midnight the land appeared, from which they were about two leagues distant. They hauled down all the sails and kept only the treo, which is the mainsail without bonnets, and jogged on and off, passing time until daylight Friday, when they reached an islet of the Lucayas, which was called Guanaham in the language of the Indians. Soon they saw naked people; and the Admiral went ashore in the armed launch, and Martin Alonso Pinzon and his brother Vicente Anes, who was captain of the Nina The Admiral brought out the royal banner and the captains two flags with the green cross, which the Admiral carried on all the ships as a standard, with an F and a Y, and over each letter a crown, one on one side and the other on the other. Thus put ashore they saw very green trees and many ponds and fruits of various kinds. The Admiral called to the two captains and to the others who had jumped ashore and to Rodrigo Descobedo, the escrivano of the whole fleet, and to Rodrigo Sanchez de Segovia; and he said that they should be witnesses that, in the presence of all, he would take, as in fact he did take, possession of the said island for the king and for the queen his lords, making the declarations that were required, and which at more length are contained in the testimonials made there in writing. Soon many people of the island gathered there.

What follows are the very words of the Admiral in his book about his first voyage to, and discovery of, these Indies. 1, he says, in order that they would be friendly to us -- because I recognized that they were people who would be better freed and converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force -- to some of them I gave red caps, and glass beads which they put on their chests, and many other things of small value, in which they took so much pleasure and became so much our friends that it was a marvel. Later they came swimming to the ships' launches where we were and brought us parrots and cotton thread in balls and javelins and many other things, and they traded them to us for other things which we gave them, such as small glass beads and bells. In sum, they took everything and gave of what they had very willingly. But it seemed to me that they were a people very poor in everything. All of them go around as naked as their mothers bore them; and the women also, although I did not see more than one quite young girl. And all those that I saw were young people, for none did I see of more than 30 years of age. They are very well formed, with handsome bodies and good faces. Their hair coarse -- almost like the tail of a horse-and short. They wear their hair down over their eyebrows except for a little in the back which they wear long and never cut. Some of them paint themselves with black, and they are of the color of the Canarians, neither black nor white; and some of them paint themselves with white, and some of them with red, and some of them with whatever they find. And some of them paint their faces, and some of them the whole body, and some of them only the eyes, and some of them only the nose. They do not carry arms nor are they acquainted with them, because I showed them swords and they took them by the edge and through ignorance cut themselves. They have no iron.

Their javelins are shafts without iron and some of them have at the end a fish tooth.... All of them alike are of good-sized stature and carry themselves well. I saw some who had marks of wounds on their bodies and I made signs to them asking what they were; and they showed me how people from other islands nearby came there and tried to take them, and how they defended themselves; and I believed and believe that -- they come here from tierrafirme to take them captive. They should be good and intelligent servants, for I see that they say very quickly everything that is said to them; and I believe that they would become Christians very easily, for it seemed to me that they had no religion. Our Lord pleasing, at the time of my departure I will take six of them from here to Your Highnesses in order that they may learn to speak...

. . . They came to the ship with dugouts that are made from the trunk of one tree, like a long boat, and all of one piece, and worked marvelously in the fashion of the land, and so big that in some of them 40 and 45 men came. And others smaller, down to some in which came one man alone. They row with a paddle like that of a baker and go marvelously. And if it capsizes on them they then throw themselves in the water, and they right and empty it with calabashes that they carry. They brought balls of spun cotton and parrots and javelins and other little things that it would be tiresome to write down, and they gave everything for anything that was given to them. I was attentive and labored to find out if there was any gold; and I saw that some of them wore a little piece hung in a hole that they have in their noses. And by signs I was able to understand that, going to the south or rounding the island to the south, there was there a king who had large vessels of it and had very much gold.... This island is quite big and very flat and with very green trees a I and much water and a very large lake in the middle and without any mountains; and all of it so green that it is a pleasure to look at it. And these people are very gentle, and because of their desire to have some of our things and believing that nothing will be given to them without their giving something, and not having anything, they take what they can and then throw themselves into the water to swim....

Sunday 14 October
As soon as it dawned I ordered the ship's boat and the launches of the caravels made ready and went north-northeast along the island in order to see what there was in the other part, which was the eastern part. And also to see the villages, and I soon saw two or three, as well as people, who all came to the beach calling to us and giving thanks to God. Some of them brought us water; others, other things to eat; others, when they saw that I did not care to go ashore, threw themselves into the sea swimming and came to us, and we understood that they were asking us if we had come from the heavens. And one old man got into the ship's boat, and others in loud voices called to all the men and women: Come see the men who came from the heavens. Bring them something to eat and drink. Many men came, and many women, each one with something, giving thanks to God, throwing themselves on the ground; and they raised their hands to heaven, and afterward they called to us in loud voices to come ashore. ... And I saw a piece of land formed like an island, although it was not one, on which there were six houses. This piece of land might in two days be cut off to make an island, although I do not see this to be necessary since these people are very naive about weapons, as Your Highnesses will see from seven that I caused to be taken in order to carry them away to you and to learn our language and to return them. Except that, whenever Your Highnesses may command, all of them can be taken to Castile or held captive in this same island; because with 50 men all of them could be held in subjection and can be made to do whatever one might wish. And later [I noticed], near the said islet, groves of trees, the most beautiful that I saw and with their leaves as green as those of Castile in the months of April and May, and lots of water. I looked over the whole of that harbor and afterward returned to the ship and set sail, and I saw so many islands that I did not know how to decide which one I would go to first. And those men whom I had taken told me by signs that they were so very many that they were numberless. And they named by their names more than a hundred. Finally I looked for the largest and to that one I decided to go and so I am doing. It is about five leagues distant from this island of San Salvador, and tile others of them some more, some less. All are very flat without mountains and very fertile and all populated and they make war on one another, even though these men are very simple and very handsome in body...

Sunday 4 November
... The Admiral showed cinnamon and pepper to a few of the Indians of that place (it seems from the samples that he was bringing from Castile) and he says that they recognized it; and they said by signs that nearby to the southeast there was a lot of it. He showed them gold and pearls, and certain old men answered that in a place that they called Bohio there was a vast amount and that they wore it on neck and in ears and on arms and legs; and also pearls. Moreover, he understood that they said that there were big ships and much trade and that all of this was to the southeast. He understood also that, far from there, there were one-eyed men, and others, with snouts of dogs, who ate men, and that as soon as one was taken they cut his throat and drank his blood and cut off his genitals. The Admiral decided to return to the ship to wait for the two men whom he had sent and to decide whether to leave and seek those lands, unless the two men brought good news of that which they desired....

Tuesday 6 November
... They saw many kinds of trees and plants and fragrant flowers; they saw birds of many kinds, different from those of Spain, except partridges and nightingales, which sang, and geese, for of these there are a great many there. Four-footed beasts they did not see, except dogs that did not bark. The earth was very fertile and planted with those manes and bean varieties very different from ours, and with that same millet. And they saw a large quantity of cotton collected and spun and worked; and in a single house they had seen more than five hundred arrobas; and that one might get there each year four thousand quintales . The Admiral says that it seemed to him that they did not sow it and that it produces fruit [i.e., cotton] all year. It is very fine and has a large boll. Everything that those people have, he says, they would give for a very paltry price, and that they would give a large basket of cotton for the tip of a lacing or anything else given to them. They are people, says the Admiral, quite lacking in evil and not warlike; all of them, men and women naked as their mothers bore them. It is true that the women wear a thing of cotton only so big as to cover their genitals and no more. And they are very respectful and not very black, less so than Canarians. I truly believe, most Serene Princes (the Admiral says here), that, given devout religious persons knowing thoroughly the language that they use, soon all of them would become Christian. And so I hope in Our Lord that Your Highnesses, with much diligence, will decide to send such persons in order to bring to the Church such great nations and to convert them, just as you have destroyed those that (lid not want to confess the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that after your days (for all of us are mortal) you will leave your kingdoms in a tranquil state, free of heresy and evil, and will be well received before the Eternal Creator, may it please Whom to give you long life and great increase of your kingdoms and dominions and the will and disposition to increase the Holy Christian Religion, as up to now you have done, amen. Today I pulled the ship off the beach and made ready to leave on Thursday, in the name of God, and to go to the southeast to seek gold and spices and to explore land. All these are the Admiral's words. He intended to leave on Thursday, but because a contrary wind came up he could not leave until the twelfth of November...

Source: E. G. Bourne, ed., The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot (New York, 1906).

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Bartoleme de Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies. (1542) - Spanish Christians Slaughter & Enslave Natives in the West Indies

Bartolomé de Las Casas, (c 1474-1566), early Spanish historian & Dominican missionary, was the first to expose the oppression of indigenous peoples by Europeans in the Americas & to call for the abolition of slavery

The Indies were discovered in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. In the following year a great many Spaniards went there with the intention of settling the land. Thus, forty-nine years have passed since the first settlers penetrated the land, the first so claimed being the large and most happy isle called Hispaniola, which is six hundred leagues in circumference. Around it in all directions are many other islands, some very big, others very small, and all of them were, as we saw with our own eyes, densely populated with native peoples called Indians. This large island was perhaps the most densely populated place in the world. There must be close to two hundred leagues of land on this island, and the seacoast has been explored for more than ten thousand leagues, and each day more of it is being explored. And all the land so far discovered is a beehive of people; it is as though God had crowded into these lands the great majority of mankind.

And of all the infinite universe of humanity, these people are the most guileless, the most devoid of wickedness and duplicity, the most obedient and faithful to their native masters and to the Spanish Christians whom they serve. They are by nature the most humble, patient, and peaceable, holding no grudges, free from embroilments, neither excitable nor quarrelsome. These people are the most devoid of rancors, hatreds, or desire for vengeance of any people in the world. And because they are so weak and complaisant, they are less able to endure heavy labor and soon die of no matter what malady. The sons of nobles among us, brought up in the enjoyments of life's refinements, are no more delicate than are these Indians, even those among them who are of the lowest rank of laborers. They are also poor people, for they not only possess little but have no desire to possess worldly goods. For this reason they are not arrogant, embittered, or greedy. Their repasts are such that the food of the holy fathers in the desert can scarcely be more parsimonious, scanty, and poor. As to their dress, they are generally naked, with only their pudenda covered somewhat. And when they cover their shoulders it is with a square cloth no more than two varas in size. They have no beds, but sleep on a kind of matting or else in a kind of suspended net called bamacas. They are very clean in their persons, with alert, intelligent minds, docile and open to doctrine, very apt to receive our holy Catholic faith, to be endowed with virtuous customs, and to behave in a godly fashion. And once they begin to hear the tidings of the Faith, they are so insistent on knowing more and on taking the sacraments of the Church and on observing the divine cult that, truly, the missionaries who are here need to be endowed by God with great patience in order to cope with such eagerness. Some of the secular Spaniards who have been here for many years say that the goodness of the Indians is undeniable and that if this gifted people could be brought to know the one true God they would be the most fortunate people in the world.

Yet into this sheepfold, into this land of meek outcasts there came some Spaniards who immediately behaved like ravening wild beasts, wolves, tigers, or lions that had been starved for many days. And Spaniards have behaved in no other way during tla! past forty years, down to the present time, for they are still acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples, doing all this with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty, never seen or heard of before, and to such a degree that this Island of Hispaniola once so populous (having a population that I estimated to be more than three million), has now a population of barely two hundred persons.

The island of Cuba is nearly as long as the distance between Valladolid and Rome; it is now almost completely depopulated. San Juan [Puerto Rico] and Jamaica are two of the largest, most productive and attractive islands; both are now deserted and devastated. On the northern side of Cuba and Hispaniola he the neighboring Lucayos comprising more than sixty islands including those called Gigantes, beside numerous other islands, some small some large. The least felicitous of them were more fertile and beautiful than the gardens of the King of Seville. They have the healthiest lands in the world, where lived more than five hundred thousand souls; they are now deserted, inhabited by not a single living creature. All the people were slain or died after being taken into captivity and brought to the Island of Hispaniola to be sold as slaves. When the Spaniards saw that some of these had escaped, they sent a ship to find them, and it voyaged for three years among the islands searching for those who had escaped being slaughtered , for a good Christian had helped them escape, taking pity on them and had won them over to Christ; of these there were eleven persons and these I saw.

More than thirty other islands in the vicinity of San Juan are for the most part and for the same reason depopulated, and the land laid waste. On these islands I estimate there are 2,100 leagues of land that have been ruined and depopulated, empty of people.

As for the vast mainland, which is ten times larger than all Spain, even including Aragon and Portugal, containing more land than the distance between Seville and Jerusalem, or more than two thousand leagues, we are sure that our Spaniards, with their cruel and abominable acts, have devastated the land and exterminated the rational people who fully inhabited it. We can estimate very surely and truthfully that in the forty years that have passed, with the infernal actions of the Christians, there have been unjustly slain more than twelve million men, women, and children. In truth, I believe without trying to deceive myself that the number of the slain is more like fifteen million.

The common ways mainly employed by the Spaniards who call themselves Christian and who have gone there to extirpate those pitiful nations and wipe them off the earth is by unjustly waging cruel and bloody wars. Then, when they have slain all those who fought for their lives or to escape the tortures they would have to endure, that is to say, when they have slain all the native rulers and young men (since the Spaniards usually spare only the women and children, who are subjected to the hardest and bitterest servitude ever suffered by man or beast), they enslave any survivors. With these infernal methods of tyranny they debase and weaken countless numbers of those pitiful Indian nations.

Their reason for killing and destroying such an infinite number of souls is that the Christians have an ultimate aim, which is to acquire gold, and to swell themselves with riches in a very brief time and thus rise to a high estate disproportionate to their merits. It should be kept in mind that their insatiable greed and ambition, the greatest ever seen in the world, is the cause of their villainies. And also, those lands are so rich and felicitous, the native peoples so meek and patient, so easy to subject, that our Spaniards have no more consideration for them than beasts. And I say this from my own knowledge of the acts I witnessed. But I should not say "than beasts" for, thanks be to God, they have treated beasts with some respect; I should say instead like excrement on the public squares. And thus they have deprived the Indians of their lives and souls, for the millions I mentioned have died without the Faith and without the benefit of the sacraments. This is a wellknown and proven fact which even the tyrant Governors, themselves killers, know and admit. And never have the Indians in all the Indies committed any act against the Spanish Christians, until those Christians have first and many times committed countless cruel aggressions against them or against neighboring nations. For in the beginning the Indians regarded the Spaniards as angels from Heaven. Only after the Spaniards had used violence against them, killing, robbing, torturing, did the Indians ever rise up against them....

On the Island Hispaniola was where the Spaniards first landed, as I have said. Here those Christians perpetrated their first ravages and oppressions against the native peoples. This was the first land in the New World to be destroyed and depopulated by the Christians, and here they began their subjection of the women and children, taking them away from the Indians to use them and ill use them, eating the food they provided with their sweat and toil. The Spaniards did not content themselves with what the Indians gave them of their own free will, according to their ability, which was always too little to satisfy enormous appetites, for a Christian eats and consumes in one day an amount of food that would suffice to feed three houses inhabited by ten Indians for one month. And they committed other acts of force and violence and oppression which made the Indians realize that these men had not come from Heaven. And some of the Indians concealed their foods while others concealed their wives and children and still others fled to the mountains to avoid the terrible transactions of the Christians.

And the Christians attacked them with buffets and beatings, until finally they laid hands on the nobles of the villages. Then they behaved with such temerity and shamelessness that the most powerful ruler of the islands had to see his own wife raped by a Christian officer.

From that time onward the Indians began to seek ways to throw the Christians out of their lands. They took up arms, but their weapons were very weak and of little service in offense and still less in defense. (Because of this, the wars of the Indians against each other are little more than games played by children.) And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers' breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them headfirst against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, "Boil there, you offspring of the devil!" Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim's feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim's neck, saying, "Go now, carry the message," meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains. They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them....

After the wars and the killings had ended, when usually there survived only some boys, some women, and children, these survivors were distributed among the Christians to be slaves. The repartimiento or distribution was made according to the rank and importance of the Christian to whom the Indians were allocated, one of them being given thirty, another forty, still another, one or two hundred, and besides the rank of the Christian there was also to be considered in what favor he stood with the tyrant they called Governor. The pretext was that these allocated Indians were to be instructed in the articles of the Christian Faith. As if those Christians who were as a rule foolish and cruel and greedy and vicious could be caretakers of souls! And the care they took was to send the men to the mines to dig for gold, which is intolerable labor, and to send the women into the fields of the big ranches to hoe and till the land, work suitable for strong men. Nor to either the men or the women did they give any food except herbs and legumes, things of little substance. The milk in the breasts of the women with infants dried up and thus in a short while the infants perished. And since men and women were separated, there could be no marital relations. And the men died in the mines and the women died on the ranches from the same causes, exhaustion and hunger. And thus was depopulated that island which had been densely populated.

Source: Bartoleme de Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies. (1542)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Woman & Child, Showing How the Heads of Children are Flattened by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Woman and Child, Showing How the Heads of Children are Flattened

In 1818, the artist George Catlin (1796–1872) was practicing law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821, to pursue painting Native Americans, a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." Catlin based his entire body of work—including over 500 paintings done in the 1830s recounting his travels — following the Vanishing (Native) American, "In traversing the immense regions of the Classic West, the mind...gradually rises again into the proud & heroic elegance of savage society, in a state of pure & original nature, beyond the reach of civilized contamination...here, treachery & cruelty, are...restrained & frequently subdued by the noblest traits of honor & magnanimity, by a race of men who live & enjoy life & its luxuries, & practice its virtues, very far beyond the usual estimations of the world...From the first (colonial) settlements of our Atlantic coast to the present day, the...frontier has regularly crowded upon them, from the northern to the southern extremities of our country, &, like the fire in a mountain, which destroys every thing where it passes, it has blasted & sunk them, & all but their names, into oblivion, wherever it has traveled." Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating a visual & narrative record of Native American life. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act began a 12-year campaign to remove the remaining Indians from their ancient homelands east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, many Native Americans would be decimated by starvation & disease; within a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad. Catlin produced 2 major collections of paintings of American Indians & published a series of books chronicling his travels among the native peoples of North, Central, & South America.

Monday, August 19, 2019

New York Dutch Minister Describes the Iroquois (1644)

The Rev. John Megapolensis (1603-1670) was a minister at the Dutch church in Rensselaerwyck in New Netherlands, and he was a missionary to the Indians.

When 39-year-old John and his family arrived in New Amsterdam (it is now called New York) on this day, August 4, 1642, they saw a primitive settlement--a far cry from today's New York. As thinly settled as New Amsterdam was, the family immediately ventured into the wilds where there were even fewer homes and people. John was to become the 1st pastor of a new town at Fort Orange (near Albany). About a 100 people lived at this new settlement in 25 or 30 houses. Not even all of these families were Dutch: Scandinavians, English and Germans had settled the region, too, not to mention African slaves and local Indians.

John's contract promised him a home, 1,000 guilders a year, and 30 schepels of wheat (about 23 bushels) and 2 firkins of butter (about half a bushel). He was forbidden to engage in farming or in trade, but was required instead to spend his time in "the diligent performance of his duties," which included teaching the Indians about Christ. This was a real hardship, because his salary wasn't always paid. Under his contract, he was obliged to stay 3 years and the landowner had the option to renew that for a further 3 years if he chose. No church had been built before John and his family arrived. For almost 5years, he had to hold most services in his own home.  In 1647, his congregation remodeled a storehouse to serve as a church. Since John was a faithful, hardworking pastor, the landowner kept him the full 6 years. By then, John was happily contemplating a return to his homeland in Europe. He sent his wife and children on ahead of him.

When John reached New Amsterdam, the colonial officers, led by Governor Peter Stuyvesant, pleaded with him to stay. All of the work he had done would go to ruin, they said. There was no one else to take it over. Worse yet, Reverend Backerus had just returned to Holland, leaving no Reformed Church Pastor in the whole colony. Who would baptize the children? John wrestled with his conscience. In the end, Stuyvesant was able to gratefully report to Holland that John agreed to stay in New Amsterdam. He had "set the honor of God, the service of the church, and the saving of human souls, above his own very important business..."  He had a small library of his own and tutored his own son in Latin. John wrote a study of the Mohawk Indians which was published in Holland.  He died in New Amsterdam in 1670.

Of the Native Americans John wrote:

The principal Nation of all the Savages and Indians hereabouts with which we are connected, are the Mahakuaas [Mohawks], who have laid all the other Indians near us under Contribution. This Nation has a very heavy Language, and I find great difficulty in learning it so as to speak and preach to them fluently: there are no Christians who understand the Language thoroughly; those who have lived here long can hold a kind of Conversation, just sufficient to carry on Trade, but they do not understand the Idiom of the Language. I am making a Vocabulary of the Mahakuaa Language, and when I am among them I ask them how Things are called - then, as they are very dumb, I cannot sometimes get an Explanation of what I want. . . .

The Indians in this Country are of much the same Stature with us Dutchmen; some of them have very good Features, and their Bodies and Limbs are well proportioned; they all have black Eyes, but their Skin is tawney: . . . In Winter they hang loosely about them a Deer's, or Bear's, or Panther's Skin, or they take some Beaver and Otter Skins, or Wild-Cat's, Raccoons, Martin's, Otters, Mink's, Squirrel or several Kinds of Skins, which are Plenty in this Country, and sew some of them upon others, until it is a square Piece, and that is then a Garment for them, or they buy of us Dutchmen two and an half Ells of Duffils, and that they hang loosely on them, just as it was torn off, without any sewing, and as they go away they look very much at themselves, and think they are very fine. They make themselves Stockings and Shoes of Deer Skin, or they take the Leaves of their Corn, and plat them together and use them for Shoes. . . . the Wornen let their Hair grow very long, and tie it, and let it hang down their Backs: some of the Men wear their Hair on one Side of the Head, and some on both Sides, and a long Lock of Hair Hanging down: on the top of their Heads they have a Streak of Hair from the Forehead to the Neck, about the Breadth of three Fingers, and this they shorten till it is about two or three Fingers long, and it stands right on End like Hogs Bristles; on both Sides of this Streak they cut the Hair short off, except the aforesaid Locks, and they also leave on the bare Places here and there small Locks, such as are in Sweeping-Brushes, and they are very fine. They likewise paint their Faces, red, blue, &c. and then they look like the Devil himself. . . .

. . . The Women are obliged to prepare the Land, to mow, to plant, and do every Thing; the Men do nothing except hunting, fishing, and going to War against their Enemies: they treat their Enemies with great Cruelty in Time of War, for they first bite off the Nails of the Fingers of their Captives, and cut off some joints, and sometimes the whole of the Fingers; after that the Captives are obliged to sing and dance before them . . ., and finally they roast them before a slow Fire for some Days, and eat them: . . . Though they are very cruel to their Enemies, they are very friendly to us: we are under no Apprehensions from them; we go with them into the Woods; we meet with one another sometimes one or two miles from any Houses, and are no more uneasy about it than if we met with Christians: they sleep by us too in our Chambers; I have had eight at once, who laid and slept upon the Floor near my Bed, for it is their custom to sleep only on the bare Ground, and to have only a Stone or a Bit of Wood under their Heads, they go to Bed very soon after they have supped, but rise early in the Morning; they get up before Day Break. They are very slovenly and dirty; they neither wash their Face nor Hands, but let all the Dirt remain upon their tawney Skin, and look as dirty as Hogs. Their bread is Indian Corn beaten to Pieces between two Stones, of which they make a Cake and bake it in the Ashes; they eat with it Venison, Turkies, Hares, Bears, Wild Cats, their own Dogs, &c. . . . They make their Houses of the Bark of Trees, very close and warm, and place their Fire in the middle of them: they also make of the Peeling and Bark of Trees Canoes, or small Boats, which will carry four, five and six Persons: in like manner they hollow out Trees, and use them for Boats; some of them are very large. I have sometimes sailed with ten, twelve and fourteen Persons in one of these hollowed Trees; . . . The Arms used by the Indians in War were formerly a Bow and Arrow with a Stone Axe and Mallet, but now they get from our People Guns, Swords, Iron Axes and Mallets. Their Money consists of certain little Bones, made of the Shells of Cockles which are found on the Beach; a Hole is made through the middle of the little Bones; and they are strung upon Thread, or they make of them Belts as broad as a Hand or broader, which they hang on their Necks and on their Bodies; they have also several Holes in their Ears. and there they hang some; and they value these little Bones as highly as many Christians do Gold, Silver and Pearls, but they have no Value for our Money, and esteem it no better than Iron. I once shewed one of their Chiefs a Rixdollar, he asked how much it was worth among the Christians, and when I told him he laughed exceedingly at us, saying we were Fools to value a Piece of Iron so highly, and if he had such Money he would throw it into the River. . . .

They are entire Strangers to all Religion, but they have a Tharonhijouaagon, (which others also call Athzoockkuatoriaho) i.e. a Genius which they put in the Place of God, but they do not worship or present Offerings to him: they worship and present Offerings to the Devil whom they call Otskon or Airekuoni. . . . they have otherwise no Religion: when we pray they laugh at us; some of them despise it entirely, and some when we tell them what we do when we pray, stand astonished. When we have a Sermon, sometimes ten or twelve of them, more or less, will attend, each having a long Tobacco Pipe, made by himself, in his Month, and will stand a while and look, and afterwards ask me what I was doing and what I wanted, that I stood there alone and made so many Words, and none of the rest might speak? I tell them I admonished the Christians, that they must not steal, . . . get drunk, or commit Murder, and that they too ought not to do these Things, and that I intend after a while to preach to them, . . . They say I do well in teaching the Christians, but immediately add Diatennon jawij Assyreoni hagiouisk, that is, why do so many Christians do these Things. They call us Assyreoni, that is, Cloth-Makers, or Charistooni, that is, Iron-Workers, because our People first brought Cloth and Iron among them. . . .

The Government among them consists of the oldest, the most sensible, the best-speaking and most warlike Men; these commonly resolve, and the young and war-like Men carry into Execution; but if the common People do not approve of the Resolution, it is left entirely to the judgment of the Mob. The Chiefs are generally the poorest among them, for instead of their receiving from the common People as among Christians, they are obliged to give to them; especially when any one is killed in War, they give great Presents to the next of Kin to the deceased, and if they take any Prisoners they present them to that Family whereof one has been killed, and the Prisoner is adopted by the Family into the Place of the Person who was killed. There is no Punishment here for Murder and other Villainies, but every one is his own Avenger: The Friends of the deceased revenge themselves upon the Murderer until Peace is made by Presents to the next of Kin. But although they are so cruel, and have no Laws or Punishments, yet there are not half so many Villainies or Murders committed amongst them as amongst Christians, so that I sometimes think with astonishment upon the Murders committed in the Netherlands, notwithstanding their severe Laws and heavy Penalties. These Indians, though they live without Laws, or Fear of Punishment, do not kill People, unless they are in a great Passion or fighting wherefore we go along with them, or meet them in the Woods, without Fear.

Source: Ebenezer Hazard, Historical Collections (Philadelphia, 1792), 1, 520-526, reprinted in Albert Bushnell Hart, ed., American History Told by Contemporaries (New York, 1898), volume 1, 525-28.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Native American Tribes - Osage

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Osage Tal-lee, Black Dog, Big Crow

The Osage Nation (People of the Middle Waters) is a Midwestern Native American tribe of the Great Plains who historically dominated much of present-day Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, & Oklahoma. The tribe developed in the Ohio & Mississippi river valleys around 700 BC along with other groups of its language family. The Osage held high rank among the old hunting tribes of the Great Plains. From their traditional homes in the woodlands of present-day Missouri & Arkansas, the Osage would make semi-annual buffalo hunting forays into the Great Plains to the west. They also hunted deer, rabbit, & other wild game in the central & eastern parts of their domain. The women cultivated varieties of corn, squash, & other vegetables near their villages, which they processed for food. They also harvested & processed nuts & wild berries. In their years of transition, the Osage had cultural practices that had elements of the cultures of both Woodland Native Americans & the Great Plains peoples.They migrated west of the Mississippi after the 17C due to wars with Iroquois invading the Ohio Valley from New York & Pennsylvania in a search for new hunting grounds. The nations separated at that time, & the Osage settled near the confluence of the Missouri & the Mississippi rivers. Artist George Catlin (1796-1872) described the Osage as "the tallest race of men in North America, either red or white skins; there being...many of them 6 1/2 & others 7 feet." The missionary Isaac McCoy (1784-1846) described the Osage as an "uncommonly fierce, courageous, warlike nation" & said they were the "finest looking Indians I have ever seen in the West"

In 1818, the artist George Catlin (1796–1872) was practicing law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821, to pursue painting Native Americans, a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." Catlin based his entire body of work—including over 500 paintings done in the 1830s recounting his travels — following the Vanishing (Native) American, "In traversing the immense regions of the Classic West, the mind...gradually rises again into the proud & heroic elegance of savage society, in a state of pure & original nature, beyond the reach of civilized contamination...here, treachery & cruelty, are...restrained & frequently subdued by the noblest traits of honor & magnanimity, by a race of men who live & enjoy life & its luxuries, & practice its virtues, very far beyond the usual estimations of the world...From the first (colonial) settlements of our Atlantic coast to the present day, the...frontier has regularly crowded upon them, from the northern to the southern extremities of our country, &, like the fire in a mountain, which destroys every thing where it passes, it has blasted & sunk them, & all but their names, into oblivion, wherever it has traveled." Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating a visual & narrative record of Native American life. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act began a 12-year campaign to remove the remaining Indians from their ancient homelands east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, many Native Americans would be decimated by starvation & disease; within a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad. Catlin produced 2 major collections of paintings of American Indians & published a series of books chronicling his travels among the native peoples of North, Central, & South America.

Friday, August 16, 2019

1861 Chief Billy Bowlegs by Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862)

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862 a painter of the American West was also known as Charles Wimar & Carl Wimar) Chief Billy Bowlegs

Chief Billy Bowlegs or Billy Bolek (Holata Micco, Halpatter-Micco, Halbutta Micco, and Halpuda Mikko in Seminole, meaning "Alligator Chief") (ca. 1810–1859) was a leader of the Seminoles in Florida during the Second and Third Seminole Wars against the United States. One of the last Seminole leaders to resist, he eventually moved to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

Bowlegs was born into a family of hereditary chiefs descended from Cowkeeper of the Oconee tribe of the Seminole in the village of Cuscowilla on the Alachua savannah (present-day Micanopy, Florida). His father's name was Secoffee, while it is thought that the chief Micanopy was his uncle. The surname "Bowlegs" may be an alternate spelling of Bolek, a preceding Seminole chief. A story that he had bowlegs from riding horses is unsubstantiated.

Although Bowlegs signed the Treaty of Payne's Landing of 1832, he refused to leave Florida. He was not well-noted at the beginning of the Second Seminole War (roughly, 1835 to 1842). After the capture (under a flag of truce offered by Gen. Thomas Jesup) and subsequent death of Osceola and the death of Micanopy, amidst the loss of other prominent Seminole chiefs, Bowlegs and his band of 200 warriors became some of the most prominent fighters surviving at the time hostilities ended on 14 August 1842. 

To impress and awe the Seminole chiefs, the US government brought Bowlegs to Washington, D.C. to underline the power of the United States. Bowlegs and his band lived in relative peace until 1855. A group of army engineers and surveyors invaded his territory in southwestern Florida, where they cut down banana trees and destroyed other property in the course of building forts. Some historians have viewed these actions as intentional provocation to make Bowlegs react, so the settlers would have a reason to force the Seminole out. Bowlegs led his warriors in sporadic attacks against settlers for the next few years, in what is known as the Third Seminole War. The Army was unable to subdue his guerrilla warfare.

In early 1858, Chief Wild Cat of the Western Seminole was brought back from Indian Territory to convince Bowlegs to relocate voluntarily. The US government offered Bowlegs $10,000 and each of his chiefs $1000 if they did so. Warriors and non-warriors were offered less. They initially refused but later that year, the band of 123 agreed to relocation. Billy's Creek in downtown Fort Myers, Florida is named after Bowlegs, as this was the spot where he was forced to surrender in 1858.

In May, Bowlegs and his followers arrived in New Orleans, en route to Arkansas and their new home in the Indian Territory. A journalist described the chief as having "two wives, one son, five daughters, fifty slaves, and a hundred thousand dollars in hard cash. After reaching Indian Territory, Bowlegs became a leading chief there. He and his daughters became prominent land holders and slaveowners. His slaveholding put him in the category of major Southern planters, those with more than 20 slaves .