Some Records of Our Indian Policy

This paper is written in Susan Tyler Gladwin's handwriting.  I presume it was one of her school papers written when she was a Rollins College student before the 1900s.  Susan Enns Stans added the footnotes for clarity.  The paper is interesting as an artifact of attitudes during that time.  Aunt Sue was a founding member
of Cora Stickney Chapter of DAR in Fort Pierce.

            In these lines from Hiawatha[1], we have the prophetic story of the Indians of our country; with the early atmosphere of trust and the dire results of its betrayal.


“Let us welcome then the strangers,

Hail them as our friends and brothers,

And the heart’s right hand of friendship,

Give them when they come to see us.

Gitche Manito[2] the mighty

Said this to me in my vision,

I beheld too, in that vision,

All the secrets of the future

Of the distant days that shall be,

I beheld the westward searches

Of the unknown crowded natives

All the land was full of people,

Restless, struggling, toiling, striving,

Speaking many tongues, yet feeling

But one heartbeat in their bosoms.

In the woodlands rang their axes,

Smoked their towns in all the valleys,

Over all the lakes and rivers

Rushed their great canoes of thunder.

Then a darker drearier vision

Passed before me, vague and cloudlike:

I beheld our nation scattered,

All forgetful of my counsels,

Weakened, warring with each other;

Saw the remnants of our people

Sweeping westward, wild and woeful,

Like the cloud-rack of a tempest,

Like the withered leaves of Autumn.”


The simple hearted native of the islands received the white men as gods from heaven, recognizing them as superior, and bowing before the civilization they represented.


            But with this thought are often found expressions of their native dignity, as in the saying of the southern chief, Half King[3];  “We are a different color from the white people, but the same Great Spirit made all, as we live in one land, let us love one another as one people.”  When Oglethorpe[4] came over with his band of colonists, the Indians brought him a buffalo skin on the inside of which were painted the head and feathers of an eagle, in explanation of this gift, the chief said:  “Here is a little present, the feathers of the eagle are soft and signify love, the buffalo skin is warm and is the emblem of protection.  Therefore love and protect our families.”  The same chief continued, “The Great Spirit who dwells everywhere around and gives breath to all men sends the English to instruct us.”


            The “Welcome” of Samoset[5] addressed to the Plymouth colony and the lifelong friendship of Massacoit[6] for the Puritans have become historic.  Canonicus[7] the great chief of the Narragansetts was at first friendly to the English but “frowned upon them” when they betrayed his nephew and heir (Miantonomah)[8] to Uncas[9] (unclear p.4) to be killed.  It was he who befriended Roger Williams[10], when his own people turned him out into the cold.


            The treatment accorded the Indians by this colony was just and generous.  “Fair dealing on the part of our Puritan ancestors promoted a feeling of friendship and good will among their red allies.  That the dwelt honorably and amicably with these, the treaty of Massasoit[11]; unbroken for fifty years, amply proves.”  England in her charters granted to each colony the right to regulate all intercourse with the tribes in their vicinity, with the single exception of their conversion, and the clause, “To reduce the Savage natives by gentle and just manners, to the Love of Civil Societie and Christian Religion,[12]” was made one of the prominent objects for which these colonial charters were expressly granted.


            Before the revolution except for the individual efforts of the early missionaries, there was little done to civilize the Indian.  Cotton Mather[13] quaintly calls them, “forlorn and wretched heathens whom probably the devil decoyed hither in the hopes that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would never come here to destroy or disturb his absolute expire over them[14].”  But “our Eliot,” he continues, “was on such will terms with the devil as to alarm him by sounding the silver trumpets of heaven in his territories, and by making some noble and jealous attempts towards ousting him of ancient possessions here,” there hi enumerates the twenty seven nations up on that territory which fell under the sway of the three United Colonies.  “And our Eliot was willing to rescue as many unprovoked.  One town of thirty inhabitants was massacred for the murder of an Indian chief in 1632.  In 1643 the struggle continued merging into war.  Quarrels arose between dishonest traders and drunken Indians.  Bounties were laid upon them and they were hunted like animals.  Some of the leaders of the colony urged that friendship would be more advantageous in the end, but the “traders did not learn humanity, nor the savage forget revenge.”  The climax came when for some wrong inflicted; the son of a chief killed a Hollander.  A band of chiefs came to the governor to express their grief and to purchase safety for the murderer.  The leader said:  “You yourselves are the cause of this evil; you ought not craze the young Indians with brandy,  Your own people, when drunk, fight with knives and do foolish things: and you cannot prevent mischief till you cease to sell strong drink to the Indians.” But this did not appease the governor, who desired the murderer.  To aid him in his purpose, a band of Mohawks, enemies of the Algonquin tribes around, came along, and together on a dark winter’s night fell upon the unsuspecting Indian village and murdered all its people.  Immediately every Algonquin Indian knew the Dutch were connected with this massacre, and revenge was planned.  For two years, at all hours of the day and night the villages of New Netherlands were threatened and preyed upon by this tribe.  The inhabitants were murdered or taken into captivity and their dwellings burned.  Finally the Dutch themselves desired to treat for peace.  Envoys were sent to the chiefs on Long Island, but they in their turn were obstinate.  One chief cited complaints, laying down a little stick for each one.  The first was; “When you first came to our shores, you were destitute of food; we gave you our beans and corn; we fed you with oysters and fish, and now for our recompense you murder our people.”  Without the presence of Roger Williams in this convention, the Dutch might not have obtained the peace they sought.  As it was, confidence was never fully restored to the Indians.  The spirit of revenge for the murder of fathers and mothers was too strong, and the New Netherlands were never without fear of attack. 


            The conduct of the Quakers toward the Indians and Penn’s peaceful policy have been quoted as models, but history reveals that there was a case of necessity on both sides.  The Quaker colony happened to choose its territory near a tribe which had been subjugated by a powerful nation.  Their arms had been taken away and they were called in derision women.  On the other hand the Quakers were peace loving people, and their government changes, and under unscrupulous men, the record of peace was broken. 


            But the novelty to the Indian of seeing white men in their territory, soon wore off.  They found they were not such gods as they at first had supposed.  They fought among themselves, and became intoxicated upon that “fire water” of which the red man began to see the evils.  Then he became shy of the white man and then afraid of him, as he saw his quickly increasing numbers.  Plans were formed to drive this usurping race into the sea, so that their old freedom and peace might come back.  The Indians were hemmed in on the north, and east and south.  A general uprising of Indians was the result.  It began among the tribes of the northwest, gradually spreading even to the southern tribes.  This war was inspired by a prophet, who arose in their midst, proclaiming that the Great Spirit would aid them in driving away the hated white man, who were taking away their land and gradually driving them westward.  From this time until the resolution there was a succession of outbreaks, and no settled policy in regard to the Indians.  After peace was declared, people began to turn their attention to the needs of this race.


            The ninth article of Confederation and Perpetual Union reads, “The United States in Congress assembled shall also have sole and exclusive right and power of regulating trade and managing all affairs with the Indians.”  None but citizens of the United States were allowed to trade and live among them.  The territory they occupied was divided into the Northern and Southern districts and superintendents were appointed with their deputies to see that trade was carried on lawfully.  These superintendents were under the Secretary of War, but there was no jurisdiction over the Indians.  In 1788 the Federal constitution states that, “Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes.”  The year after, commissioners or agents were authorized to manage negotiations or treaties.  These were to treat with the Indians with the end in view of securing cession of lands claimed and occupied by them, and to establish peaceful relations between them and our people.  These first commissioners were called in the early treaties, “ministers plenipotentiary.”  Washington urged that it was of the greatest importance to the nation not only to be at peace with the Indians but to attach them to the interests of the Union.  In 1796, trading houses were established on the frontiers of the Indian country, to carry on a liberal trade, under agents appointed to manage these, under direction of the President, but first authorized by Congress.  This continued until 1822.  In 1802 the government awakes to the fact that the race of red men is diminishing in number, and that their old life must be given up as the white man is encroaching upon his hunting grounds from which he obtains his subsistence.  He must learn the arts of civilization.  So Congress authorizes the President to lay out in plows, hoes and farming utensils the amount of $15000.  In 1806 Superintendents of Indian trade are appointed.  It was not until the year 1824 that the Bureau of Indian Affairs was organized, the duties of which were to have charge of all appropriations, annuities and current expenses, and to receive and examine accounts and reports.  The constitution did not grant Congress power to regulate the conduct of members of tribes, nor to interfere in anyway with their government.  It was solely to regulate trade but to do this mainly for the interests of our citizens and the security of our frontiers.  As population increased, more intimate association of the whites and Indians was inevitable.  It became necessary then in order to prevent the “decline and final extinction” of Indian tribes on our frontiers, and to protect the lives of white settlers for the government to assume a relation to the Indians similar to that of guardian, and this relation became established, and the power of the Indian agents increased until their dependence on the United States was complete.  Their civil liberties were taken from them in 1847 by a clause in the act which declared “that all executory contracts made and entered into by any Indian for payment, for money, or goods shall be deemed null and void and of no binding effect whatever.”  This is the point to which legislation has brought him.  A child within rights except such as his agent allows him.  Gov. also acquired guardianship of their property and friends.  Indian policies and the courts were organized merely as instruments in the hands of the agents for the enforcement of their power, which is now almost absolute.  The Indians are not allowed to leave their reservations without a permit, nor to hunt, nor to cut down trees. 


            Let us notice the results of this policy among some of the tribes.


            The Cherokee were most closely connected with the growing republic.  There were several reasons for this:  They were a powerful tribe inhabiting one of the most beautiful and fertile tracts of this country.  The mountains of the Blue Ridge and the river valleys opening form them were endeared to these Indians by past associations.  As they were right in the path of oncoming civilization, they necessarily came in closer contact with it.  They were a bright intelligent tribe recognizing the advantages of civilization, and in thirty years from the treaty of 1791, they became a civilized tribe.  These Indians, more than any others, have suffered at the hands of our people.  Their first relations with the United States began in 1785 with the treaty of Hopewell, which was entirely disregarded by the people on the frontiers.  Let us notice the fifth article of this treaty. “If any citizen of the United States or other person not being an Indian shall attempt to settle on any lands westward or southward of the said boundaries which are here by allotted to the Indians for their hunting, or having already settled and will not remove from the same written six months after the ratification of this treaty, such person shall forfeit the protection of the United States, and the Indians may punish him or not as they please.”  The 9th article states that the United States is to have sole right of regulating trade with the Indians and managing their affairs; the 12th that the Cherokee are to have the right to send a deputy of their choice to Congress whenever they see fit;  and 13th that the hatchet is to be forever buried between the United States and the Cherokees.  In spite of the clause, “the Indians may punish him or not as they please,” their lands were intruded upon by the whites and contentions were continually arising between them.  General Know, Secretary of War in 1789 wrote to Pres. Washington, “The disgraceful violation of the treaty of Hopewell with the Cherokees requires the serious consideration of Congress.  If so direct and manifest contempt of the authority of the United States be suffered with impunity, it will be in vain to attempt to extend the arm of the government to the frontiers.  The Indian tribes can have no faith in such imbecile promises, and the lawless whites will ridicule a government which shall, on paper only, make Indian treaties and regulate Indian boundaries.”  The President approved of prompt action against these violations, but Congress failed to meet his wishes then.  Later commissioners were appointed to draw up another treaty, in which the boundaries were to be accurately ascertained and carefully marked.  This was the treaty of 1791 and was entered into on account of the dissatisfaction of the whites over the former treaty, because it did not take more land, and on account of the dissatisfaction of the Indians because of the curtailment of their lands.  The state of North Carolina and Georgia had protested because they thought the general government had interfered with the reserved rights of states. So matters continued.  The time intervening between the treaty in 1795 and the removal of the Indians across the Mississippi in 1838 is filled with no less than twenty seven different treaties between them and the United States.  Each one gave up more land, until finally the Indians positively refused to give up another foot.  As a result of this decision, the states in which they occupied territory, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee became fully determined to get rid of them at any cost.  The idea of transporting them beyond the Mississippi was started in 1803 by President Jefferson and soon after this date some went over and settled upon the Arkansaw and White rivers.  But they were no sooner there than they were molested by the wild western tribes who claimed the territory.  When appealing to the United States for aid they were told that nothing could be done for them until the main band in the States should relinquish a tract of land equal to that upon which they had settled.  This main band of Indians which at the time of their removal in 1838 held small portions of land in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee had learned the arts of civilization to an astonishing degree.  They were farmers and raised on their fertile tracts of land corn, cotton, tobacco, wheat, oats, indigo, and potatoes, besides having herds of cattle, sheep, goats and horses.  Schools were established and all things conducive to a good community were encouraged, and detrimental conditions were frowned upon.  The liquor traffic was restricted as far as possible.  In 1827 they adopted a constitution and laws modeled after our own.  They had advanced so far that in 1828 Mr. Meigs, their agent for twenty years, suggested a change of policy.  Each family should have an allotment of 640 acres, there would be left from this a tract of eight million acres in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, which should be sold for their benefit. They should become subject to the laws and authority of the states within whose borders they resided, in fact become citizens of those states, with all their rights and privileges.  This met the approval of Congress and would have been carried out, so the records say, but for the opposition of the unprogressive element among the Indians and also the opposition of the officials and people of the States most interested, who could not endure the thought of an Indian upon lands within their borders.  In 1802 the United States and Georgia entered into a compact.  The latter ceded to the former a great tract of land south of Tennessee, in payment for which the United States gave $1,250,000 and was to extinguish the Indian title whenever it could be done on peaceable and reasonable terms.  Then because the government did not act immediately, Georgia accused it of bad faith and of violating state rights, by not entirely extinguishing the title to Indian lands.  With the treaty of 1823 there begins a disgraceful chapter of the methods used by government to secure by “voluntary, peaceful, and reasonable means” the territory of the Cherokees, held by them from time immemorial as their own.  But to every inducement set forth by the commissionees and in spite of threats, the Indians answered; “We beg leave to present this communication as a positive and unchangeable refusal to dispose of one foot more of land.”  Nothing came of this treaty.  Can we wonder that the Indians felt uneasiness, and uncertainty! Most piteous appeals were made to the President to intercede with Congress in their behalf, to adjust the difficulties between the government and Georgia by releasing the former from its compact in so far as it concerns the extinguishment of Indian title to land within its borders.  Their only answer was discouraging to say the least, unmindful of all previous contracts between the government and Indians, the compact between the government and Georgia must be strictly adhere to.  Then the benefits and happy results of a removal to lands across the Mississippi were painted in glowing colors.  But the Indians steadily refused to sell more land.  We come now to a peculiar state of affairs, where the government is threatened by a state. But the Indians steadily refused to sell more land.  We come now to a peculiar state of affairs, where the government is threatened by a state.  The import of this threat is that the Indians must to or there will be war, and Georgia’s loyalty to the Union will be “measured by the vigor and alertness” with which the United States goes to work to extinguish this Indian title.  Presidents Monroe’s answer to this paper was a reprimand and statement that the removal of the Indians should be done “peaceably and on reasonable conditions.  Georgia became still more indignant and the Indians were alarmed by the threats thrown out by the state.  The following President, John Quincey Adams upheld the title of the Indians and nothing was accomplished until the administration of Gen Jackson, who held notions entirely different from those of his predecessors concerning Indian rights.  But upon sending an emissary to them, to look into their conditions, and to urge upon them removal, word was brought back that nothing could be done by secret methods, for they were too intelligent and well informed of the news of the day to be long kept in ignorance of “methods and motives” of those who came among them.  Then Georgia made laws no longer recognizing the Cherokee nation, forbidding it to make laws and requiring all whites in that territory to swear allegiance to Georgia.  Under this last two missionaries were indicted and convicted in the Georgia court, but the case was taken to the supreme court, in a writ of error.  The supreme court decided in favor of the Cherokees.  But the Indians, the administration disregarded this decision, and another treaty was entered upon.  This treaty is that of 1835, which decided their removal.  The nation was threatened with destruction from without and was itself divided in two bands, known as the John Ridge party and the John Ross party, from their leaders, who were both educated Cherokees.  The former had lost hope of ever being at peace in the east and was desirous of treating for removal, while the Ross party were opposed to removal.  In the year 1836 the treaty for their removal was passed by the senate with a majority of one.  The injustice of this treaty is shown in the letter from Major Davis, the enrolling agent to the Secretary of War, who said;  “Sir, that paper called a treaty is no treaty at all because not sanctioned by the great body of Cherokees, and made without their participation or assent.”  Henry Clay lamented not only the injustice to the Indians, but the disgrace to the United States.  Many prominent men of the day, chief among whom were Daniel Webster and Edward Everett, denounced the treatment accorded the Cherokees as unjust and cruel, and dishonest.  During the winter of 1838 they left their homes and native valleys, and joined their comrades in the west, who meanwhile had been moved upon lands in the Indian Territory.  There they went to work and built themselves new homes.  Twenty years after at the breaking out of the Civil War they were as prosperous as when they left the east.  The war was another calamity for them.  They were raided first by Union soldiers and then by Confederate, their houses were again made desolate and the old men, women and children who were left at home fled to Kansas, a starving, heart broken band.  But to show their perseverance, after the war they immediately began to repair their homes to plant their crops, and to help themselves to a more prosperous condition.  They are now described as now prosperous than ever.  Surely these people deserved at the hands of our government better treatment than they received. 


            But the Cherokee is not the only tribe, that has been treated so shamefully.  In the far northwest, Oregon and Idaho are other tribes that have suffered at the hands of our government.  Prominent among these are the Nez Perce’s Indians.  These are described by the early adventurers and travelers as industrious, and ready and eager to learn the ways of civilization, and to know of the God of the white men.  At an early date missionaries were sent to them, whom they received gladly.  They are a handsome race who prides themselves that they received the white men with the hand of friendship, that they have kept their promises, and that their people have never shed a white man’s blood.  In 1843 the first agent was sent to investigate their condition, and to express to them the good will of the government.  This agent aided them in drawing up a simple code of laws in which the whipping post had quite a prominent place.  The government entered into no relations with them until 1801, when a superintendent and three agents were sent out to Oregon.  Treaties were then entered into, but were never ratified by Congress.  This caused great dissatisfaction and bitter feeling among the Indians, for they felt that the white men unjust in settling upon lands which they believed were secured to them by treaty.  In 1855 there was a general outbreak of Oregon Indians, with the exception of the Nez Perce’s who in spite of the injustice they had suffered, and the threats of the hostiles, remained friendly to the whites.  There was finally a cessation of hostilities; but their wrongs were not righted, their treaties still remained ungratified, and settlers still came in without offering any compensation for the curtailment of their hunting grounds, which here to fore had furnished them a bountiful food supply.  It is not much wonder that they committed depredations upon them.  The war broke out again in 1858, and this time the Nez Perce’s were fighting on the side of the United States against their own people. This tribe when asked what they desired most, answered, “Peace, plows, and schools.”  They had been raising wheat, corn, and vegetables with the rude means at their command, and still kept the faith and practices brought to them by the first missionaries.  In 1859 peace was established and the treaties of 1855 were ratified.  The territory, which was secured to the Nez Perce’s was a beautiful tract, lying within the territory of Idaho, with an abundant water supply and a fair amount of timber.  They immediately devoted themselves to the improvement of this; but peace for them was not long, for, unfortunately, in two years gold was discovered with their limits, and in 1861 upon this tract one hundred miles long and sixty miles wide, not less than ten thousand miners were prospecting for it.  Towns were established in opposition to every treaty stipulation, and by every means possible toe greedy prospectors tried to shake the Indians’ faith in the government.  But the chiefs remained firm in their belief in its faithfulness although at that time, there was due the head chief the sum of $625, and for six months he had been suffering for the necessaries of life.


 There was also a sum of $4665 due to the warriors who fought in the war of 1858, nearly ten years before.  In 1863 a supplementary treaty was made which was to take away from the tribe the Wallowa and Imnaha valleys in Washington and Oregon, their especial district by a former treaty.  The chief, Old Joseph, would have nothing to do with this treaty, and he and his band became known as the non-treaty Indians.  He said, “I have kept my faith let the whites keep theirs.”   Majority of the other chiefs in Idaho however, agreed to the new allotment, as it did not injure them so greatly.  But Old Joseph remained firm in his purpose and dying was buried in his valley and his son, Young Joseph took his place.  He also was opposed to removal, and believed as his father in the same principle that the essential in a contract, the “agreement of minds,” was wanting in the last treaty.  He thus forcibly describes it.  “A man comes to me and says ‘Joseph I like your horses and I want to buy them.’  I say I do not want to sell them.  Then he goes to my neighbor and says, ‘Joseph has some good horses but he will not sell them,,’ and my neighbor says, ‘Pay me and you may have them’ and the man does so, and then comes to me and says, ‘Joseph I have bought your horses.’  The Indians of this band were so defiant and opposed to moving that, by an executive order in 1973, the Wallowa valley was set aside for their use; but this valley was so beautiful and well watered, that the whites were with difficulty kept from driving them off by force.  Two years later the order was revoked and here are some of the reasons of the commissioners for this act.  “Owing to the coldness of the climate it is not a suitable location for an Indian reservation.”  Since the had lived upon it from time immemorial and were described as a strong, and handsome race, why was it not suitable for them.  “It is now in part settled by white squatters for grazing purposes.”  “The state of Oregon could not probably be induced to cede the jurisdiction of the valley to the United States for and Indian reservation.”  “If by some arrangement, the white settlers in the valley could be induced to leave it, others would come.”


To all this Joseph’s reply, was that they wanted “peace and a home.”  As Joseph had watched the action of the government toward the treaty, Indians on the Lapwai reservation and had seen that their condition was even more uncertain that that of his own people, the commission felt bound to call the attention of the government to its unfulfilled obligation.  The Indians upon this reservation were uneasy not knowing when they might be deprived of their houses.  Finally Young Joseph and his band consented to go upon Lapwai reservation.  At the last council when this consent was given an old priest rose and said to the interpreter, “For the sake of the children and the children’s children of both whites and Indians tell the truth.”  Joseph himself was opposed to fighting, “Rather than have war, I would give up any country, and my father’s grave.  I would give up everything rather than have the blood of the white men upon the hands of my people.”  The young men wished to fight, but Joseph, by the power of his will, restrained them.  They gathered their cattle, pulled up their dwellings and started.  A sudden storm raised the river and the cattle were left behind with Indian guards.  Now begins the story of the struggle of two months.  White men attacked the guards and took the cattle.  After this there was no restraining the Indians, and Joseph gathering the women and children, started on the long, tedious march for Canada.  After many battles and much loss on both sides, they were finally surrounded in the Bearpaw Mountains in Montana, but a short distance from the Canadian line.  Here Joseph, heartsick at seeing so many of his people killed and even more troubled at seeing the women and children suffering, surrendered to General Miles, vowing as he did so that, “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”  By the terms of surrender, his band were to be returned to Idaho, but this promise was not kept.  They were carried to Fort Leavenworth and placed in the river bottom, with nothing but the river water to drink. Of the 410, one quarter sickened and died.  As Joseph said, “The Great Spirit Chief who rules above seemed to be looking some other way and did not see what was being done to my people.”  From this valley they were moved to the Indian Territory where they dragged out a listless existence.  “Love of the old home and the desire to leave this debilitating climate, for the more healthful and invigorating climate of Idaho, was never quieted.”  This the record reads, and then “in 1885, the 118 left, of the original band were sent back after an absence of eight years.  But they are much broken in spirit and the lesson is a good one.”  Report also says those upon the Lapwai reservation have been “strict observers” of government treaties, which is more than can be said of the government.


To repeat the story of one is to repeat the story of all. That of the Sioux is still another of unfulfilled treaties, whiled the makers of these treaties obtained from them millions of acres of the finest wheat lands, because they were “absolutely necessary” to the white settlers and “comparatively worthless” to the red men who were but beginning to see that upon the cultivation of the soil would depend their subsistence.  By these treaties they were moved to poorer lands, both as to soil and timber.  They went to work and raised what crop they could with their scanty means.  Although these failed several years on account of droughts and grasshoppers, still their annuities were not forthcoming and their condition before the massacre of 1862 was desperate.  Some of the tribes were digging up roots for food and it is reported that like hungry animals they ate uncooked, the corn given them.  One of these starving bands which had waited about the government post two months for promised money, in desperation broke open a government warehouse and took some of the provisions, and this was the beginning of the outbreak.  So here in Minnesota as a direct result of the dishonesty of our great government, 1000 people were slain, millions of dollars worth of property destroyed, and about $40,000,000 more were used in quelling this outbreak. 


Disregarding the question of right, is not this an illustration of “penny wise and pound foolish.”  There soon were more removals; the different bands not inclined to work for themselves, wandered from place to place.  Two of these bands, the Ogallalla and Bruele Sioux, between the years 1963 and 1880 moved no less than eight times.  In the last named year, they were described as having seven hundred log houses, two thousand two hundred acres under cultivation, and they owned three hundred mules and five thousand six hundred head of cattle, in addition to many thousand horses. 


One can imagine what they might do and become if time and opportunity were given.  These tribes with one or two exceptions are spoken of as behaving in an exemplary way.  In 1890 their reservation in South Dakota was unlocked and again the Indians saw their homes taken from them, while all attempts at justice and revenge only added to the misery.  The winter of that year saw them again on the verge of starvation, on account of the government’s failure to provide food.  In South Dakota 1200 were in this condition and it is significant that in this state they gave themselves over to the Messiah craze.  They believed that the Great Spirit or his representative would come and with a high hand and outstretched arm deliver the red men from their oppressors.  ‘Twas during this time that the chief, Sitting Bull, and some of his followers were killed for encouraging this belief among the Indians.  It was not confined to these Indians alone, it spread even to the Aztecs in Mexico.


Down within what are called the Everglades of this state is the remnant of a peop0le who a little more than a half a century ago walked upon the shores of these fair lakes and claimed the land as their own.  In 1821, the year in which Florida passed into the hands of the United States, the number of the Seminoles was of the Seminoles was estimated at about 5000, and they inhabited thirty seven towns in the eastern and western parts of the state.  The only records left us of such towns are the names, as Ocala, Micanopy, and Tallahassee.  From the beginning of our relations with them, the idea on the part of the white people has been that of removal by fair means or foul, or extermination.  Long before this date, they were harassed by the border settlers, and even armed expeditions from Georgia had been sent to punish them for alleged depredations, when they were only defending their own. After the exchange of flags, the people wholly ignored the rights of the Indians, and declared their retreats were a harbor for runaway slaves.  So the question of removing them to the west was an early one, and the question how to do it, came next.    An official report declares:  “The only course, therefore, which remains for us to rid ourselves of them, is to adopt such a mode of treatment toward them, as will induce them to acts that will justify their expulsions by force.”


The first treaty was that of Camp Moultrie, situated four miles south of St. Augustine.  This limited the Indians to the southern part of the state, yet it was faithfully observed by them.  The second was that of Payne’s Landing on the Ocklawaha.  It is at the signing of this treaty and in the events to which it leads that Osceola, The Rising Sun, figured conspicuously.  He was most strenuously opposed to the emigration proposed in the treaty, for he doubted the government that had already proved faithless to them.  But the treaty was signed by the leaders of the tribe, under the proviso, that a delegation of their chiefs might go west and investigate the condition of the land and surroundings, and that the tribe might act upon this report.  While these chiefs were in the western land, they were induced by United States commissioners to sign an additional treaty, by which they bound the removal of the whole tribe.  This was done, of course without the consent of the Indians at home, and upon their return, this agreement was not at all recognized by the tribe as a treaty.  The report which they brought back was that the lands were good, but the Indians were in a deplorable condition, and the government desired to place them in the territory of the Creeks, their old enemies.  Osceola, for boldly resisting all persuasions and threats, was twice placed in irons, and the disgrace of this only made his desire for revenge more keen.  He was the leading spirit in the Seminole war which began in 1835 and lasted eight years.  It was the pathetic struggle of a people fighting for what was most dear to them—their country.  And “patriotism” is considered one of the noblest qualities in the “land of the brave and home of the free.”


This war also cost the United States about $40,000,000 and no end of disgrace.  The war began with the Dade Massacre; of the 112 men composing the command, but one escaped.  Two years after the hostilities began Osceola was seized as he came under a flag of truce to treat for peace.  He was imprisoned in Fort Marion, and later taken to Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, where he died, broken hearted.  The Indians captured during the war were sent to the west and placed with the Creeks, subject to their laws.  A band under the chief, Wild Cat, gave themselves up to be sent with their comrades.  These Indians in the west, suffered with the other tribes during the Civil War.  But since this they have made wonderful strides toward civilization, and were the first of the five tribes to accept the plan of citizenship as expressed by the Dawes Bill.  The last emigration from the Everglades to the west was in 1858.  The remnant concealed themselves in the swamps and glades of South Florida.  Their number has increased from about 115 to 500 or 700.  There is no school among them, they hate the government and are shy of all who come among them.  Whiskey, the baneful forerunner of civilization is already in their midst, carried there by the traders who also prejudice them against the government, knowing that it is to their own advantage to do so.  They are not supported at all by the government, but raise their gardens and have chickens and pigs.  They also gain a precarious livelihood by selling alligator skins, but this animal is fast disappearing.  These Indians when their lands have been taken from them by greedy settlers have quietly moved on. 


            From all over our land this same cry of injustice goes up.  Mrs. Jackson has voiced that of the California Indians in her Ramona [?].


            About three hundred years, we have lived in this country of the Indian; for more than one hundred years they have been directly under our government. As a weaker nation they have been compelled to be under its control, and in the first articles of the constitution the right of seeking aid from any other nation was forbidden, as the “United States has the sole and exclusive right to regulate their affairs.”  The policy of the government as it has been carried out, has resulted in disgrace for our nation, and it seems, in almost irreparable wrong for the Indian.  We see him first recognized as a nation and treated with as a nation, by our government, then these treaties were unfulfilled, and every advantage taken in the way of gain by the white people.  Their lands upon which they had lived so long, and every step of which was endeared to them by past associations, for the Indian lives in his past, were taken away from him, more often unjustly and without any compensation, and sometimes whey were driven off like animals.  Such treatment has created within him a distrust of the government and hatred toward all law, for law has brought no protection to him.   


            He is without law, except the idea of his won revenge.  The removals from place to place and the homeless condition of the people encourage laziness among them, and make them willing to take the support which government gives in the way of food and money.  They are reduced to a deplorable state of degradation and pauperism.  They have never been brought into contact with true civilization, they have been pushed out to make room for it, but they have no part in it.  The men sent out to be over them are, more often, men for the money rather than men for the place, poor examples of the civilization they ought to represent, and the Indian forms his opinion of it by the capacity and character of these agents, who are, too often, appointed by political influence and are changed with the change of party, so that there is a new inexperienced man every few years. 


            In this our service differs from that of Canada.  Theirs is a trained body of men, who remain in the service through life and who become known and trusted of their charges.  The advantages of this system can be plainly seen.  This is one reason why Canada has never had trouble with her Indian subjects.  She has also kept strictly to her treaties and obliged the Indians to do the same.  It is said that England takes her laws with her.  The trading system has allowed whiskey, always and everywhere the great destroyer of mankind, to be brought into the reservation.  Massacres and out breaks have also resulted from this system.  To within the past twelve or fifteen years, their case has seemed hopeless, but now the “public mind” is becoming acquainted with the real facts of the case and slow progress is being made toward an improvement in their conditions.  That injustice still rules, may be seen by the outbreak among the Pillager Indians of Minnesota, with the past year.  Until then this band had never fought the white man, but was rendered desperate by seeing their timber lands openly destroyed, while the government was squandering its own time, and the money of the Indians in appraisements.  Truly, it is all a sad record, but let us hope that this is a record of what has been, and not of what shall continue to be. 


[1]The Song of Hiawatha  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  (

[2] Gitche Manitou (Gitchi Manitou, Gitche Manito, etc., from the Anishinaabe language: gichi-manidoo) in more recent Anishinaabe culture means Great Spirit, God, the Creator of all things and the Giver of Life, and sometimes translated as the "Great Mystery." "Manitou" is an Anishinaabe word for spirit, spiritual, mystery, mysterious or deity. Historically, Anishinaabe people believed in a variety of spirits, whose images were placed near doorways for protection. With the coming of Christian missionaries and their need to translate the idea of monotheism, "Gitche Manitou" meaning "Great Spirit" was coined.  (


[3] The eighteenth-century Seneca chief known as "The Half King" is a figure so obscure that no one knows his real name - it was most likely Tanaghrisson, or something close to it.  Tanaghrisson stepped into American history in 1748, when the Iroquois League designated him leader of the Senecas and Delawares who had migrated to the upper Ohio valley. Ordinarily an Iroquois headman who acted as an official spokesman for the League was called a "King", but because the Ohio Indians were hunters and warriors without permanent council fire, Tanaghrisson enjoyed only an abridged authority; hence his title, "Half King." (

[4] James Oglethorpe (December 22, 1696 – June 30, 1785) was a British general, a philanthropist, and was the founder of the colony of Georgia. He was born in London, the son of Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe (1650-1702) of Westbrook Place, Godalming in the county of Surrey. As social reformer in England, he hoped to resettle England's poor, especially those in debtor's prison, in the New World. . . . He negotiated with the Creek tribe for land and established a series of defensive forts, most notably Fort Frederica, of which substantial remains can still be visited. ( 
[5] Samoset (ca. 1590 – 1653) was the first Native American to make contact with the Pilgrims. On March 16, 1621, the settlers were more than surprised when Samoset strolled straight through the middle of the encampment at Plymouth Colony and greeted them in English.[1] He was a member of an Abenaki tribe that resided at that time in Maine. He was a sagamore (subordinate chief) of his tribe and was visiting Chief Massasoit. He had learned his broken English from the English fishermen that came to fish off Monhegan Island. After spending the night with the Pilgrims, he came back two days later with Squanto, who spoke English much better than Samoset.  (

[6] Massasoit Sachem or Ousamequin (c.1581-1661), [1] was the sachem, or leader, of the Pokanoket, and "Massasoit" of the Wampanoag Confederacy. The term Massasoit actually means Great Sachem.

[7] Canonicus (c. 1565 – 4 June 1647) was a Native American chief of the Narragansett. He was a firm friend of English settlers.  Canonicus was born around 1565. In 1648 he gifted Roger Williams a large tract of land, which became the first land in the Rhode Island colony. In 1637 Canonicus was largely responsible for the Narragansetts' decision to side with the English during the Pequot War.  Canonicus was succeeded by his nephew Miantonomoh. Canonicus returned to power after his nephew was killed in 1643. Canonicus died in 1647  (
[8] Miantonomoh (1565? - August 1643), also spelled Miantonomo or Miantonomah, was a chief of the Narraganset tribe of New England Indians, nephew of their grand sachem, Canonicus (died 1647). He seems to have been friendly to the English colonists of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, though he was accused of being treacherous (
[9] Uncas (c. 1588 - c. 1683) was a sachem of the Mohegan who through his alliance with the English colonists against other Indian tribes made the Mohegans the leading regional Indian tribe  (
[10] Roger Williams (December 21, 1603April 1, 1683) was an English theologian, a notable proponent of religious toleration and the separation of church and state and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. In 1644, he received a charter creating the colony of Rhode Island, named for the principal island in Narragansett Bay. He is credited for originating either the first or second Baptist church established in America, which he is known to have left soon afterwards, exclaiming, "God is too large to be housed under one roof"  (


[11] In March 1621 Massasoit visited Plymouth, accompanied by Squanto. He signed an alliance which gave the English permission to take about 12,000 acres (49 km˛) of land for Plymouth Plantation. However, it is very doubtful that Massasoit understood the differences between land ownership in the European sense, compared with the native people's manner of using the land.[citation needed] At the moment, this was not particularly significant, because so many of Massasoit's people had died that their traditional lands were significantly depopulated. Furthermore, it was impossible for the Wampanoag to suspect that the few English, who had barely lived through the winter, could ever be a danger to them [citation needed]   (



[13] Cotton Mather (February 12, 1663 – February 13, 1728). A.B. 1678 (Harvard College), A.M. 1681; honorary doctorate 1710 (University of Glasgow), was a socially and politically influential New England Puritan minister, prolific author, and pamphleteer. Cotton Mather was the son of influential minister Increase Mather. He is often remembered for his connection to the Salem witch trials. . . (

[14] North American Review, Vol. XLIV.  1837.  Boston: Otis, Broader, and Co. P.304.  (,M1)