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Unformatted text preview: Native Americans and the West in the Gilded Age Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Comes to Town, 1902 Native Americans as "the Other" What is "the Other"? Note how all of these stereotypes still linger in our cultural heritage Changing Views of NA in America "The Noble Savage" "The Assimilated American" Sauk warrior Whirling Thunder and his father, Black Hawk, painted by John Wesley Jarvis, 1833 "The Blood-Thirsty Savage" As with most racially constructed stereotypes, strong sexual imagery gives power to bigotry Murder of Jane McRae by John Vanderlyn Osage Scalp Dance by John Mix Stanley "Last of their race" Last of Their Race by John Mix Stanley (1857) Last of Their Race by Thomkins Harrison Matteson (1847) Big Questions for HIST 1302 How did U.S. white majority "see" the West at this time? How did they "see" Native Americans? Was this genocide or "just" an inability to control white settlement? What efforts at reform were tried? Are these similar or different from those of Reconstruction? How did Anglos see the West: (1) as their "Manifest Destiny"
Albert Beirstadt, Emigrants Crossing the Plains (1867) (2) As the key to the political "Frontier" Frederick Jackson Turner "The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explains American development." a.k.a. the "Frontier Thesis" (3) As an example of America's social independence; the "Wild Wild West" - male freedom -no middle-class rules of behavior Mostly West of the Mississippi River 360,000-500,000 "Indians" Around 1850 Regionally distinct Northwest: Chinook, Nez Perce Southwest: Comanche, Apaches, Hopi, Navajo Great Plains: Dakota/Nakota/Lakota Sioux Comanche Navajo Lakota Sioux Dakota Sioux Nez Perce Lakota ("The People") Nation forms c.1750s with acquisition of horses; Lakota become solely dependent on bison Moved to Plains, source of greatest herds, c.1800 ("Sioux" name given by Indians) Lakota become chief obstacle to white (wasicun) settlement; removed or eliminated 1850-1890 "Sioux" formed from seven tribes: Lakota, Yankton, Sisseton, etc. "Lakota" formed from several bands: Hunkpapa, Ogalala (Crazy Horse), Two Kettles, Sans Arc, Blackfoot Common language (Lakota) shared by Nakotas in east and Dakotas in north Tiospaye a collection of families (~200-500 people) Wicotipi closest relations (~100 people) One powerful family leads wicotipi via hereditary lines (like aristocracy); traveled together over winter Hierarchical society: Kinship through male lines Lakota Society and Wasicun Expansion Historian Gary C. Anderson: the "Paradox of Lakota Nationhood" We remember leaders, like Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse, but they came to power AS A RESULT of white expansion! Strongest images of Plains Indians formed by conflict: Sand Creek, Little Big Horn, Wounded Knee Red Cloud Wearing "Hair-Coat" War Chiefs (blotaunkas; wear bonnets with two horns) gain standing over Hereditary Chiefs ("hair-coat wearers" and their chosen successors) Leaders influenced by cross-band male societies Fox Society (strongest families) The Strong Hearts (warriors) The Silent Eaters (relations with other nations) Sitting Bull Wearing horned War Bonnet Conflict with whites centralized power, disrupted Indian societies Not well-suited for unified action Male/Hunting Society Male lines critical Leadership Fathers and Uncles (Ates) Brothers and Cousins (tahansi and sicesi, who were male relations from female lineage) 6 YO: tend horses 10 YO: ride bare-back at full gallop 14 YO: hunt = manhood Important families "Lucky" and generous hunters Mystics Had visions Paid Medicine men to interpret visions Visions came to reality Maturity Militarism Raids to reinforce hunting territories Knocking opponent out of battle (dead or alive) counted as "first coup" If not dead, second or third coups left to younger boys Excelled at all three areas Sitting Bull From an influential wicotipi (hereditary chiefs) An excellent and generous hunter A decorated warrior (war chief) A noted mystic (wicasa wakan): As child, his name was "Slow One." At six years old, he encountered a bull buffalo. Elders watch as bull sat down rather than charge and kill the boy. Renamed "Sitting Bull." SB prayed daily, active participant in grueling Sun Dances (which demonstrated religious passion) Fasting, staring at the sun Scourging by breast piercing, cutting pieces of flesh (up to 30-40 per ceremony) from one's body Trance-inducing dancing (like ravers today!) Iconography Lone eagle feather worn daily to signify valor Red-tipped head-dress signified number of "first coups" (SB had over 30) Pipe signified religious standing (not "medicine man" but one who regularly communicated with God through prayer and acts) White (Wasicun) Expansion Louisiana Purchase (1803) "Great American Desert" Mexican-American War (1846-48) Mormon Migration (1847) Gold Rush (1849) Oregon Land Rush (1849-50) A Clash of Values Whites (Wasicuns) Personal property, personal law (no public honor) "Exploit" (use) nature, no sense of conservation Sitting Bull: "We yield to our [Indian] neighbors, even the animals themselves, the same rights as ourselves to inhabit this land. Yet, hear me, my people. We now have to deal with another ... [where] possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not.... [Their] nation is like a spring freshlet that overturns its banks and destroys all who are in its path. We cannot dwell side by side." Both Indians and whites believed they were chosen by God to occupy these lands Both had little respect for the culture of the other Sitting Bull never attacked wasicuns, but completely refused all notions of Indian assimilation (disliked those Indians who did) Taking the ways of the wasicuns meant the end of the Lakota Indians: Bitter Irony: Ft. Laramie Treaty, 1851 Treaty Making 10,000+ Native Americans attend! Agree to "concentrate" tribes (and to control their younger warriors) Allow Wasicun to build roads and cross lands for $50,000/year for 50 years (Congress simply stops paying after three years) U.S. unable to "concentrate" its own citizenry Treaty broken by Washington, D.C. "Sioux Wars" "Sioux Wars" Worsen Armed Conflict Favored Native Americans Captain W. J. Fetterman boasts that he can clear the Bozeman Trail of Ogalala Sioux He and all 81 of his men are killed Sand Creek Massacre (Colorado) Col. John Chivington attacks Cheyenne village 70-80 civilians killed 2nd Ft. Laramie Treaty and Medicine Creek Lodge Treaty of 1868 U.S. again affirms rights of N.A. nations But U.S. changes as a result of Civil War - West "opened" to RR, Homesteaders, Mining, Ranching Failure of 2nd Ft. Laramie Treaty Genocide? Slaughter of women, children, and elderly supports this view: Col. William Harney kills 100+ Lakota in 1855 Gen. John Pope sentences 303 Minnesota Dakotas to death; hangs 38 on December 26, 1862 (largest single execution in US history) 1864 Sand Creek Massacre General Phil Sheridan: "I want you to go ahead, kill and punish the hostiles.... The more we kill this year, the less we would have to kill next year." Single most important image in the minds of many Plains Indians was the willingness of the U.S. to sanction the killing of non-combatants (undermines any sense of respect; the basis of trust)(Seems obvious to us today) But whites don't "see" Indians as people; they DO see land, railroad routes to the Pacific, and mineral deposits To get these things, the U.S. willing to completely ignore the right of Indians to their land Greatest change was the removal of vast buffalo (bison) herds in the Great Plains Extinction of "Buffalo Culture" "Buffalo Culture" Buffalo Extinction Little Big Horn (1876) George Armstrong Custer 7th Cavalry Sitting Bull Crazy Horse Two Moon Hump Ogalala and Lakota Sioux Little Big Horn (aka "Greasy Grass" by Sioux for rich feeding grounds)(1876) Massive Sioux encampment 4,000 total 1,000 young men Camp so large that many did not know that two battles were fought Army tracking non-reservation nations like Lakota and Ogalala; January 1876 they are declared "hostile" But fort Indians driven from eastern region, they join Sitting Bull because of his reputation as a provider, mystic, and warrior (SB now 50 years old, he did not participate in fighting) Attack camps, usually at dawn so men forced to defend women and children Drove his troops hard; they had traveled through the night before engaging Sioux Why so large? Custer's tactics Pyrrhic Victory Americans shocked by defeat Industrial giant, European sophistication Defeated by enemy most thought no longer existed Must be annihilated Estimated by Gen. Phil Sheridan at over 40,000! Sitting Bull driven from Black Hills Nez Perce (Chief Joseph) defeated 1877, driven from Northwest Apache (Geronimo) defeated 1886, driven from Southwest Sioux "Army" Non-assimilated Indians must be destroyed President Ulysses S. Grant But Many Whites Start to See the Injustice of the Situation
"Wars of extermination are demoralizing and wicked. Our superiority should make us lenient toward the Indian.... A system which looks to the extinction of a race is too horrible for a nation to adopt without entailing upon itself the wrath of all Christendom." Helen Hunt Jackson -- A Century of Dishonor (1881) Reform Sen. James R. Doolittle (WI) -- Chair of Sen. Committee on Indian Affairs Argues for cultural assimilation Dawes Severalty Act, 1887 Commissioner of Indian Affairs: "tribal relations should be broken up, socialism destroyed and the family and autonomy of the individual substituted. The allotment of land in severalty, the establishment of local courts and police, the development of a personal sense of independence and the universal adoption of the English language are means to this end." Sen. Henry L. Dawes (MA) Intended Effects of Dawes Cultural Isolation Indian culture seen as "primitive" Religion, economics, and political structure ridiculed "Assimilation" NOT "Melting Pot" "Concentration" Loss of Tribal Control Land allotted to "households" 160 acre parcels Buffalo Culture? Held for 25 years 1889 = 138m acres 1900 = 78m acres 1934 = 52m acres Loss of Land Wounded Knee (SD, 1890)
Wovoka (Jack Wilson) Northern Paiute "Ghost Dances" Pine Ridge Reservation, 1890 U.S. 7th Cav.! Conclusions for Native Americans and the West
1. Genocide or "Ethnic cleansing"? Black Elk: "something died there in the bloody mud and was buried in the blizzard [at Wounded Knee]. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream... [but] there is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead." Ultimately, what he is referring to is culture; Native-American Dream Sadly, it was typical of white Nativist culture of 19th Century Chinese African-Americans Ethnic Immigrants 2. Treatment of Native Americans begins to suggest change in American domestic policies While they were culturally biased and wrong, reformers intended to help Native Americans to better "fit in" to America Early Progressivism Conclusions for Native Americans (cont)
3. Bitter Irony of the period Blacks want their own land and get white culture Indians want their own culture and get white land (property rights) Reflects limit of vision and biases of white reform Greatest irony: Little Big Horn today a national monument. Charter reads that it is, "set aside and prevented by law from development ...including no mining, no hunting, not timber companies, or no real estate development" 4. Do we still see "the Other" in Native American culture today? The other "West" Powerful Imagery Western Farming - Farms tend to be very large (7000+ acres) - Farms capital intensive (RR, N. banks, N. credit) - Favorable conditions (1880s) Western Ranching
- Cattle simply replace buffalo (bison) - Require access to water, food, and transit to markets - Interests run counter to farmers ("Barbed Wire Wars") Texas Greatly Affected by the Growth of the Cattle Industry Western Mining - Capital and labor intensive; closely connected to Industrialization - Highly urbanized - Reliant upon immigrant labor Conclusions
1. The "Frontier" is where we place it. For Turner, etc., it was when whites took ownership of the land Clearly, this is not a reasonable measurement of the West Does the "frontier" open up as West de-populates? It doesn't begin in 1865 It doesn't end in 1893 Most urbanized region in U.S. Highly dependent on Federal money Highly affected by Modernization (capitalism, transportation) Although, strong emotional links to Western independence 2. The West as a continuous history 3. The West is closely connected to the rest of the U.S. ...
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- Spring '08