Native American Relations

This is a comparative timeline about the differences in Native American relations in the West and the Great Lakes area. I wanted to show how the different opinions in the different parts of the country affected how tribes were treated in those areas. I expected to find that the West was a more violent area because of the number of tribes in the west than in the Great Lakes. Similarly I expected to find that because there were fewer Great Lakes tribes, they tended to be more peaceful and were able to be accepted. Because there were many tribes that existed in both the West and the Great Lakes, I concluded that the number of tribes was not a factor in contributing to violence. Stronger evidence supports that public opinion had more to do with regional tribal policy than preexisting tribal conditions.

Beauchamp, W. M. "INDIAN NATIONS OF THE GREAT LAKES." The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal (1880-1914) 17.6 (1895): 321. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.;xNLx;;xNLx;[Big Foot's camp three weeks after the Wounded Knee Massacre Dec. 29, 1890, with bodies of several Lakota Sioux people wrapped in blankets in the foreground and U.S. soldiers in the background]. Jan. 17. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .;xNLx;;xNLx;Cummings, Sally A. Correspondence, Field Notes, and the Census Roll of All Members or Descendants of Members Who Were on the Roll of the Ottawa and the Chippewa Tribes of Michigan in 1870, and Living on March 4, 1907 (durant Roll). Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1996. Print.;xNLx;;xNLx;"Dawes Act." American Eras: Primary Sources, edited by Rebecca Parks, vol. 1: Development of the Industrial United States, 1878-1899, Gale, 2013, pp. 302-307. Gale Virtual Reference Library, 20. March. 2017);xNLx;;xNLx;Deshields, James T. "INDIAN WARS IN TEXAS." United Service; a Quarterly Review of Military and Naval Affairs (1879-1905) 04 1886: 383. ProQuest. Web. 30 Jan. 2017 .;xNLx;;xNLx;"EDUCATION FOR THE INDIAN." New York Times (1857-1922): 5. Oct 10 1898.;xNLx;;xNLx;Hartsuff, Arthur (fl. 1870-1893). Arthur Hartstuff to Alice Hartstuff and his daughter Mabel describing the Pine River Agency. [Correspondence]. At: Place: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. [[GLC05201.010]]. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American History, 1493-1945. [Accessed April 18, 2017].;xNLx;;xNLx;Hartsuff, Arthur (fl. 1870-1893). Arthur Hartstuff to Alice and Mable Hartstuff reporting that the war commenced without warning. [Correspondence]. At: Place: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. GLC05201.020. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American History, 1493-1945. [Accessed April 19, 2017].;xNLx;;xNLx;Kelley, William Fitch, 1864-1916. Pine Ridge, 1890; an eye witness account of the events surrounding the fighting at Wounded Knee. Edited and compiled by Alexander Kelley & Pierre Bovis. San Francisco, Calif., P. Bovis [1971];xNLx;;xNLx;Kyle, James H. “How Shall the Indians Be Educated?” The North American Review, vol. 159, no. 455, 1894, pp. 434–447., ;xNLx;;xNLx;"THE INDIAN POLICY." Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1922): 4. Oct 27 1879. ProQuest. Web. 20 Mar. 2017 . ;xNLx;;xNLx;"THE POTTAWATOMIE INDIANS." Detroit Free Press (1858-1922): 1. Jan 26 1902.;xNLx;;xNLx;"OUR INDIAN POLICY." Michigan Farmer (1843-1908) Oct 29 1898: 326. ProQuest. Web. 20 Mar. 2017 .;xNLx;;xNLx;Perdue, Theda and Michael D. Green. The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Southeast. Columbia University Press, 2001. Columbia Guides to American Indian History and Culture. EBSCOhost, ;xNLx;;xNLx;Schurz, Carl (1829-1906). Carl Schurz to A. C. Barstow regarding the Meeker Massacre. [Correspondence]. At: Place: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. GLC06009. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American History, 1493-1945. [Accessed April 18, 2017].

1879-10-27 02:53:51

Chicago Tribune- The Indian Policy

The author of this particular article calls for the removal of Western Indians occupying "the best grazing lands" and mining territory. The author refers to Indians as savages and that the federal government should only give individual Indians allotments of 180 acres and the rest should be given to white men. This is the largest city in the Mid-west at this point and so offers insight to how many Americans who lived on the frontier felt about Indian policy. Westward expansion was one of the driving forces for indian policy and many felt that the federal government should be relocating instead of protecting native lands.

1879-11-01 02:53:51

Compulsory Schools

Native American schooling for children had been common before this date, however the largest boarding school opened on this day in Carlisle, PA. In subsequent years attendance grew mandatory as Congress allowed the Bureau of Indian Affairs to withhold government aid from parents who refused. This was crucial in federal policy because it created structure for and legitimized the removal of native children. This was also most effective at diminishing cultural practices. Native languages and practices were prohibited while english and vocational training were required.

1879-11-03 02:53:51

Meeker Massacre

The Meeker Massacre was the killing of a recently appointed Indian agent and his men. The Ute tribe in Colorado was relatively peaceful towards the US however a few hostiles did not agree and held captive women and children to bargain their escape. This is important to show how in the West native relations were mainly dealt with military and fewer civilians than in the Great Lakes.

1886-04-01 02:53:51

Indian Wars in Texas

This is a report from an Indian Agent in Texas. He gives an estimate of population size from each tribe in Texas, reporting almost 30,000 natives. The language of the report gives the sentiment of the regions towards Indian policy, "But the "prairie" tribes could not long refrain their murderous and thieving propensities..." This is evidence for the mixture of tribes that had been pushed into the West from the Southeast from settlement. This is also indicative of the attitudes towards natives in the West and how officials sought to control them.

1887-02-08 00:00:00

Dawes Act 1887

"An Act to provide for the allotment of lands in severalty to Indians on the various reservations, and to extend the protection of the laws of the United States and the Territories over the Indians, and for other purposes." This federal congressional act made it legal practice to portion of a majority of native land. By taking away tribal land ownership, this further decreased their ability to negotiate their rights. While individual ownership of land was not a common notion in native culture, tribes often lost their association when they lost their lands. Even more importantly these lands carried cultural significance and were sacred for many. However westward expansion pressed on and as settlers discovered the abundant natural resources hidden in the hills, requests for government removal of Indians were intensified.

1887-10-29 02:53:51

Michigan Farmer

This article was written in response to the violence often heard about in the West. The author calls for the advocation and fair treatment of Native Americans across the US. This is important to understand that Michigan residences have continued to support and promote at least a tolerant view of the indigenous people. For this smaller publication to have such outspoken and progressive views is suggestive about the position that many in the region held. Particularly this author is referring to the violence in Minnesota and the land removal policies created to disenfranchise many tribes. He speaks to the many injustices committed against the native people of Minnesota and extends this to the rest of the nation. He implores the national government and religious leaders to do better in protecting the Indians from the white men.

1890-11-25 02:53:51

Correspondence from Pine Ridge Reservation

Before the Wounded Knee Massacre, Arthur Hartsuff is writes from the Pine Ridge Reservation. He writes that he surprised at the number of school houses and good farms and ranches. He notes that there a great number of children and they are "cheerful and happy". This gives the narrative that these reservations were at times peaceful. This is not a military agent and so this correspondence gives us the perspective of a civilian reflecting on another culture. This is also important to note that the condition for natives in the west is not typically violent amongst themselves.

1890-12-29 00:00:00

Wounded Knee Massacre

On December 15, 1890, Sioux chief Sitting Bull was murdered at the Standing Rock reservation. In the following days, migration of people from all Sioux tribes were traveling to the Pine Ridge Reservation. As federal troops rode up to the camp, women and children gathered around to watch the procession. Troops had come on orders to seize firearms from the natives. During the seizure, a unidentified firearm was discharged resulting in full open fire from US troops into the crowd. Among the casualties was mainly women and children. This is one of the most significant and most remembered of native incidence during this time because the causalities were heavily unarmed women and children. The Sioux being one of the largest tribes in the US also has one of the most violent histories with the federal government.

1890-12-31 02:53:51

Hundreds Wounded

Arthur Hartstuff writes after the Wounded Knee Massacre about the hundreds of women and children who are wounded or dying in his hospital. This is important to see from a doctor who was working for the military but for the benefit of the indigenous peoples.

1895-11-01 00:00:00

Indian Nations of the Great Lakes

This is compilation of tribes that occupied the Great Lakes area in the 17th century. Here the focus is much more academic and natives are the subject of study. The vastness of populations of these people are accounted as well as the relationships that each tribe had with each other. The recording of these tribes, their languages, land, and relationships to other tribes, is extremely important to understanding the conditions that existed for settlers and native relations to form.

1898-06-28 02:53:51

Curtis Act

Passed as an addition to the Dawes Act to include the Five Civilized Tribes in the Oklahoma area. This piece of legislation ultimately ended the effects of tribal governments.This is important for the western tribes and for the creation of the state of Oklahoma. By ending tribal governments, this effectively ended any claims to legitimization or the constitutional ruling that tribes should be treated as sovereign nations. Maybe the most interesting part of this federal legislation is the fact that Charlie Curtis himself was a tribal member of the Kaw nation located in the Oklahoma region.

1898-10-10 02:53:51

Education for the Indian

This article in the New York Times is referring to the annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In this article the author notes that "education is the only factor is solving the Indian status". Through this article we can see that the report has recorded 147 boarding schools "which can in a generation develop from savages 76% of good average men and women". The language within this national publication shows that the attitude towards indian policy was education and assimilation was most effective for dealing with the native population.

1902-01-26 02:53:51

The Pottawatomie Indians

Here another story from Michigan from the Detroit Free Press is titled The Pottawatomie Indians: Who Live Peaceable Upon Their Michigan Reservation ARE GOOD INDIANS. This title is demonstrative of how well native relations were coming along in the Great Lake state. Accompanying the title is a legend from the Pottawatomie tribe about two lovers one white and one native who died in a challenge to be together. The legend itself has white settlers and native people peacefully coexisting. The inclusion of this Indian legend in a major publication shows the well regard for tribal customs and the cordialness for its people.

1907-03-04 00:00:00

Durant Rolls

Horace B. Durant recorded the populations of the Northern Michigan tribes along with other field notes. This was first used as a supplement to the US census because the native populations were not typically counted the same as other populations. This is important because it starts the process of naming individuals and families within native tribes. Many present day Michigan natives can trace their lineage to the Durant rolls and many Michigan tribes require individuals to prove ancestry using the Durant rolls for tribal enrollment.

1911-01-01 00:00:00

Society of American Indians

First national organization which promoted cooperation and unity among all tribal members. This is the first organization at the national level which supported native individual regardless of tribal affiliation.

1920-01-01 00:00:00


Based on several local newspaper articles in the Great Lakes versus the military reports from the West, I concluded that the white population had a more direct affect on native relations. Because mostly farmers and families lived in the Great Lakes, interactions with natives tended to be more peaceful and often exchanging goods and agricultural practices. In the West, while settlers were making their way, natives first encountered military agents and single men. Because military agents were there to control the native population they were met with much resistance. I believe that this is a crucial difference in how native relations differed in the two regions. The populations that existed exhibited different opinions on how to interact with Indians and so produced different policies in the areas.

Native American Relations

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