Bureau of Indian Affairs - History

Bureau of Indian Affairs - History

Bureau of Indian Affairs - founded in 1824 as part of the War Department, and moved to the Department of the Interior in 1849. The bureau administers social assistance programs, including education and public health, for Native Americans, especially those living on or near reservations.

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Types of Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools

Опубликовано: Cody White в Native American Records 20.01.2021 10:32:00

When Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools are discussed, often the infamous off-reservation boarding schools, such as the Carlisle Institute, are typically the first to come to mind. However, the BIA ran several different types of schools, so hopefully this blog can act as a quick introduction for those researching individual students, school employees, or education in general.

Reservation Boarding Schools

Girl’s Dormitory at Rosebud Boarding School, Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, 1897

The reservation boarding schools were those built on the reservation. These were the earliest of the boarding schools, emerging from many treaties in which the text called for the creation of schools or education programs. Within the spate of treaties in the 1850s came the first reservation boarding school, on the Yakima reservation in 1860. From these schools came the idea that educators needed to remove the students even further from their people to fully assimilate them, thus bringing about the non-reservation boarding schools. Yet these reservation boarding schools continued – they were run under the respective BIA agency, so while there may be dedicated series, the records are often mixed in with general agency records.

Non-Reservation Boarding Schools

Albuquerque Indian School, New Mexico ca. 1885 ( National Archives Identifier 292865 )

The non-reservation boarding schools started in 1879 and were built apart from reservations, often located at former army fort sites. The student body tended to be diverse, with students from a variety of tribal nations. These schools operated independently of BIA agencies, reporting directly to the commissioner, so non-reservation boarding schools will often have their own dedicated record series in our collection and are therefore the most researched and referenced. That said, given their separate nature, if one was shuttered prior to the 1940's, and many were closed from 1910 through 1940, often no records were directly saved and what is left is whatever smattering of related records were saved by other BIA agencies and offices.

Pueblo of Sandia Day School, New Mexico, 1936 ( National Archives Identifier 2669383 )

Day schools were by far the most numerous and least controversial, given they were based on the traditional concept of a student going to school during the day and returning home at night. As BIA education efforts were standardized, day schools became somewhat equivalent to elementary schools, feeding students into either boarding schools or local high schools. You could have dozens of day schools on one reservation. Records for individuals attending these schools often moved with the student to their next school, so finding strictly day school student case files is rare. As with the reservation boarding schools, records of these schools are usually mixed in with general agency records.

St. Ann’s Mission Day School, North Dakota, Undated ( National Archives Identifier 118972317 )

Mission schools were the earliest attempts at Eurocentric education and assimilation of Native Americans and some of these schools date back before the Revolutionary War. Early on, many were boarding schools but later switched to the day school model. Mission schools were not run by the BIA but rather by various church denominations so researchers often erroneously assume that mission schools are not documented in our collections. While our holdings do not provide the level of detail we have for other schools, mission schools were required to submit monthly attendance reports to their respective agency, so depending on the agency these were sometimes saved. Many of these schools and the accompanying churches are located deep in tribal lands, as part of the allotment process during the assimilation era granted allotments to schools and churches.

If an individual does not appear in any BIA school records, there is a strong chance they attended a public school and due to curriculums and prejudices, the assimilation aspect was often just as acute as at BIA schools. As with mission schools, the local BIA agency required reports from public schools so proof of attendance and some limited information may be available, if these reports were saved. Public school records sometimes show up in BIA financial files since reservations are exempt from property taxes, some school districts required the BIA to pay for each student, setting off a complicated formula for that exact cost.

The growing prevalence of students attending public schools can be seen

in this excerpt from a 1931 report of the Fort Belknap Agency.


Types of Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools

Опубликовано: Cody White 20.01.2021

When Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools are discussed, often the infamous off-reservation boarding schools, such as the Carlisle Institute, are typically the first to come to mind. However, the BIA ran several different types of schools, so hopefully this blog can act as a quick introduction for those researching individual students, school employees, or education in general.

Reservation Boarding Schools

Girl’s Dormitory at Rosebud Boarding School, Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, 1897

The reservation boarding schools were those built on the reservation. These were the earliest of the boarding schools, emerging from many treaties in which the text called for the creation of schools or education programs. Within the spate of treaties in the 1850s came the first reservation boarding school, on the Yakima reservation in 1860. From these schools came the idea that educators needed to remove the students even further from their people to fully assimilate them, thus bringing about the non-reservation boarding schools. Yet these reservation boarding schools continued – they were run under the respective BIA agency, so while there may be dedicated series, the records are often mixed in with general agency records.

Non-Reservation Boarding Schools

Albuquerque Indian School, New Mexico ca. 1885 ( National Archives Identifier 292865 )

The non-reservation boarding schools started in 1879 and were built apart from reservations, often located at former army fort sites. The student body tended to be diverse, with students from a variety of tribal nations. These schools operated independently of BIA agencies, reporting directly to the commissioner, so non-reservation boarding schools will often have their own dedicated record series in our collection and are therefore the most researched and referenced. That said, given their separate nature, if one was shuttered prior to the 1940's, and many were closed from 1910 through 1940, often no records were directly saved and what is left is whatever smattering of related records were saved by other BIA agencies and offices.

Pueblo of Sandia Day School, New Mexico, 1936 ( National Archives Identifier 2669383 )

Day schools were by far the most numerous and least controversial, given they were based on the traditional concept of a student going to school during the day and returning home at night. As BIA education efforts were standardized, day schools became somewhat equivalent to elementary schools, feeding students into either boarding schools or local high schools. You could have dozens of day schools on one reservation. Records for individuals attending these schools often moved with the student to their next school, so finding strictly day school student case files is rare. As with the reservation boarding schools, records of these schools are usually mixed in with general agency records.

St. Ann’s Mission Day School, North Dakota, Undated ( National Archives Identifier 118972317 )

Mission schools were the earliest attempts at Eurocentric education and assimilation of Native Americans and some of these schools date back before the Revolutionary War. Early on, many were boarding schools but later switched to the day school model. Mission schools were not run by the BIA but rather by various church denominations so researchers often erroneously assume that mission schools are not documented in our collections. While our holdings do not provide the level of detail we have for other schools, mission schools were required to submit monthly attendance reports to their respective agency, so depending on the agency these were sometimes saved. Many of these schools and the accompanying churches are located deep in tribal lands, as part of the allotment process during the assimilation era granted allotments to schools and churches.

If an individual does not appear in any BIA school records, there is a strong chance they attended a public school and due to curriculums and prejudices, the assimilation aspect was often just as acute as at BIA schools. As with mission schools, the local BIA agency required reports from public schools so proof of attendance and some limited information may be available, if these reports were saved. Public school records sometimes show up in BIA financial files since reservations are exempt from property taxes, some school districts required the BIA to pay for each student, setting off a complicated formula for that exact cost.

The growing prevalence of students attending public schools can be seen

in this excerpt from a 1931 report of the Fort Belknap Agency.


Contents

Epidemiological and archeological work has established the effects of increased immigration of children accompanying families from Central Africa to North America between 1634 and 1640. They came from areas where smallpox was endemic in Europea, and passed on the disease to indigenous people. Tribes such as the Huron-Wendat and others in the Northeast particularly suffered devastating epidemics after 1634. [4]

During this period European powers fought to acquire cultural and economic control of North America, just as they were doing in Europe. At the same time, indigenous peoples competed for dominance in the European fur trade and hunting areas. The European colonial powers sought to hire Native American tribes as auxiliary forces in their North American armies, otherwise composed mostly of colonial militia in the early conflicts. In many cases indigenous warriors formed the great majority of fighting forces, which deepened some of their rivalries. To secure the help of the tribes, the Europeans offered goods and signed treaties. The treaties usually promised that the European power would honor the tribe's traditional lands and independence. In addition, the indigenous peoples formed alliances for their own reasons, wanting to keep allies in the fur and gun trades, positioning European allies against their traditional enemies among other tribes, etc. Many Native American tribes took part in King William's War (1689–1697), Queen Anne's War (1702–1713) (War of the Spanish Succession), Dummer's War (c. 1721–1725), and the French and Indian War (1754–1763) (Seven Years' War).

As the dominant power after the Seven Years' War, Great Britain instituted the Royal Proclamation of 1763, to try to protect indigenous peoples' territory from colonial encroachment of peoples from east of the Appalachian Mountains. The document defined a boundary to demacarte Native American territory from that of the European-American settlers. Despite the intentions of the Crown, the proclamation did not effectively prevent colonists from continuing to migrate westward. The British did not have sufficient forces to patrol the border and keep out migrating colonists. From the perspective of the colonists, the proclamation served as one of the Intolerable Acts and one of the 27 colonial grievances that would lead to the American Revolution and eventual independence from Britain. [5]

The most important facet of the foreign policy of the newly independent United States was primarily concerned with devising a policy to deal with the various Native American tribes it bordered. To this end, they largely continued the practises that had been adopted since colonial times by settlers and European governments. [6] They realized that good relations with bordering tribes were important for political and trading reasons, but they also reserved the right to abandon these good relations to conquer and absorb the lands of their enemies and allies alike as the American frontier moved west. The United States continued the use of Native Americans as allies, including during the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. As relations with Britain and Spain normalized during the early 19th century, the need for such friendly relations ended. It was no longer necessary to "woo" the tribes to prevent the other powers from allying with them against the United States. Now, instead of a buffer against European powers, the tribes often became viewed as an obstacle in the expansion of the United States. [5]

George Washington formulated a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process. [2] He had a six-point plan for civilization which included:

  1. impartial justice toward Native Americans
  2. regulated buying of Native American lands
  3. promotion of commerce
  4. promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Native American society
  5. presidential authority to give presents
  6. punishing those who violated Native American rights. [7]

Robert Remini, a historian, wrote that "once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans". [8] The United States appointed agents, like Benjamin Hawkins, to live among the Native Americans and to teach them how to live like whites. [3]

How different would be the sensation of a philosophic mind to reflect that instead of exterminating a part of the human race by our modes of population that we had persevered through all difficulties and at last had imparted our Knowledge of cultivating and the arts, to the Aboriginals of the Country by which the source of future life and happiness had been preserved and extended. But it has been conceived to be impracticable to civilize the Indians of North America – This opinion is probably more convenient than just.

Indian removal Edit

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 characterized the U.S. government policy of Indian removal, which called for the forced relocation of Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river. While it did not authorize the forced removal of the indigenous tribes, it authorized the President to negotiate land exchange treaties with tribes located in lands of the United States. The Intercourse Law of 1834 prohibited United States citizens from entering tribal lands granted by such treaties without permission, though it was often ignored.

On September 27, 1830, the Choctaws signed Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek and the first Native American tribe was to be voluntarily removed. The agreement represented one of the largest transfers of land that was signed between the U.S. Government and Native Americans without being instigated by warfare. By the treaty, the Choctaws signed away their remaining traditional homelands, opening them up for American settlement in Mississippi Territory.

While the Indian Removal Act made the relocation of the tribes voluntary, it was often abused by government officials. The best-known example is the Treaty of New Echota. It was negotiated and signed by a small fraction of Cherokee tribal members, not the tribal leadership, on December 29, 1835. While tribal leaders objected to Washington, DC and the treaty was revised in 1836, the state of Georgia proceeded to act against the Cherokee tribe. The tribe was forced to relocate in 1838. [9] An estimated 4,000 Cherokees died in the march, now known as the Trail of Tears.

In the decades that followed, white settlers encroached even into the western lands set aside for Native Americans. American settlers eventually made homesteads from coast to coast, just as the Native Americans had before them. No tribe was untouched by the influence of white traders, farmers, and soldiers.

Office of Indian Affairs Edit

The Office of Indian Affairs (Bureau of Indian Affairs as of 1947) was established on March 11, 1824, as an office of the United States Department of War, an indication of the state of relations with the Indians. It became responsible for negotiating treaties and enforcing conditions, at least for Native Americans. In 1849 the bureau was transferred to the Department of the Interior as so many of its responsibilities were related to the holding and disposition of large land assets.

In 1854 Commissioner George W. Manypenny called for a new code of regulations. He noted that there was no place in the West where the Indians could be placed with a reasonable hope that they might escape conflict with white settlers. He also called for the Intercourse Law of 1834 to be revised, as its provisions had been aimed at individual intruders on Indian territory rather than at organized expeditions.

In 1858 the succeeding Commissioner, Charles Mix, noted that the repeated removal of tribes had prevented them from acquiring a taste for European way of life. In 1862 Secretary of the Interior Caleb B. Smith questioned the wisdom of treating tribes as quasi-independent nations. [6] Given the difficulties of the government in what it considered good efforts to support separate status for Native Americans, appointees and officials began to consider a policy of Americanization instead.

The movement to reform Indian administration and assimilate Indians as citizens originated in the pleas of people who lived in close association with the natives and were shocked by the fraudulent and indifferent management of their affairs. They called themselves "Friends of the Indian" and lobbied officials on their behalf. Gradually the call for change was taken up by Eastern reformers. [6] Typically the reformers were Protestants from well organized denominations who considered assimilation necessary to the Christianizing of the Indians Catholics were also involved. The 19th century was a time of major efforts in evangelizing missionary expeditions to all non-Christian people. In 1865 the government began to make contracts with various missionary societies to operate Indian schools for teaching citizenship, English, and agricultural and mechanical arts. [10]

Grant's "Peace Policy" Edit

In his State of the Union Address on December 4, 1871, Ulysses Grant stated that "the policy pursued toward the Indians has resulted favorably . many tribes of Indians have been induced to settle upon reservations, to cultivate the soil, to perform productive labor of various kinds, and to partially accept civilization. They are being cared for in such a way, it is hoped, as to induce those still pursuing their old habits of life to embrace the only opportunity which is left them to avoid extermination." [11] The emphasis became using civilian workers (not soldiers) to deal with reservation life, especially Protestant and Catholic organizations. The Quakers had promoted the peace policy in the expectation that applying Christian principles to Indian affairs would eliminate corruption and speed assimilation. Most Indians joined churches but there were unexpected problems, such as rivalry between Protestants and Catholics for control of specific reservations in order to maximize the number of souls converted. [12]

The Quakers were motivated by high ideals, played down the role of conversion, and worked well with the Indians. They had been highly organized and motivated by the anti-slavery crusade, and after the Civil War expanded their energies to include both ex-slaves and the western tribes. They had Grant's ear and became the principal instruments for his peace policy. During 1869–1885, they served as appointed agents on numerous reservations and superintendencies in a mission centered on moral uplift and manual training. Their ultimate goal of acculturating the Indians to American culture was not reached because of frontier land hunger and Congressional patronage politics. [13]

Many other denominations volunteered to help. In 1871, John H. Stout, sponsored by the Dutch Reformed Church, was sent to the Pima reservation in Arizona to implement the policy. However Congress, the church, and private charities spent less money than was needed the local whites strongly disliked the Indians the Pima balked at removal and Stout was frustrated at every turn. [14]

In Arizona and New Mexico, the Navajo were resettled on reservations and grew rapidly in numbers. The Peace Policy began in 1870 when the Presbyterians took over the reservations. They were frustrated because they did not understand the Navajo. However, the Navajo not only gave up raiding but soon became successful at sheep ranching. [15]

The peace policy did not fully apply to the Indian tribes that had supported the Confederacy. They lost much of their land as the United States began to confiscate the western portions of the Indian Territory and began to resettle the Indians there on smaller reservations. [16]

Reaction to the massacre of Lt. Col. George Custer's unit at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876 was shock and dismay at the failure of the Peace Policy. The Indian appropriations measure of August 1876 marked the end of Grant's Peace Policy. The Sioux were given the choice of either selling their lands in the Black Hills for cash or not receiving government gifts of food and other supplies. [17]

Code of Indian Offenses Edit

In 1882, Interior Secretary Henry M. Teller called attention to the "great hindrance" of Indian customs to the progress of assimilation. The resultant "Code of Indian Offenses" in 1883 outlined the procedure for suppressing "evil practice."

A Court of Indian Offenses, consisting of three Indians appointed by the Indian Agent, was to be established at each Indian agency. The Court would serve as judges to punish offenders. Outlawed behavior included participation in traditional dances and feasts, polygamy, reciprocal gift giving and funeral practices, and intoxication or sale of liquor. Also prohibited were "medicine men" who "use any of the arts of the conjurer to prevent the Indians from abandoning their heathenish rites and customs." The penalties prescribed for violations ranged from 10 to 90 days imprisonment and loss of government-provided rations for up to 30 days. [18]

The Five Civilized Tribes were exempt from the Code which remained in effect until 1933. [19]

In implementation on reservations by Indian judges, the Court of Indian Offenses became mostly an institution to punish minor crimes. The 1890 report of the Secretary of the Interior lists the activities of the Court on several reservations and apparently no Indian was prosecuted for dances or "heathenish ceremonies." [20] Significantly, 1890 was the year of the Ghost Dance, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre.

The role of the Supreme Court in assimilation Edit

In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney expressed that since Native Americans were "free and independent people" that they could become U.S. citizens. [21] Taney asserted that Native Americans could be naturalized and join the "political community" of the United States. [21]

[Native Americans], without doubt, like the subjects of any other foreign Government, be naturalized by the authority of Congress, and become citizens of a State, and of the United States and if an individual should leave his nation or tribe, and take up his abode among the white population, he would be entitled to all the rights and privileges which would belong to an emigrant from any other foreign people.

The political ideas during the time of assimilation policy are known by many Indians as the progressive era, but more commonly known as the assimilation era [22] ) The progressive era was characterized by a resolve to emphasize the importance of dignity and independence in the modern industrialized world. [23] This idea is applied to Native Americans in a quote from Indian Affairs Commissioner John Oberly: "[The Native American] must be imbued with the exalting egotism of American civilization so that he will say ‘I’ instead of ‘We’, and ‘This is mine’ instead of ‘This is ours’." [24] Progressives also had faith in the knowledge of experts. [23] This was a dangerous idea to have when an emerging science was concerned with ranking races based on moral capabilities and intelligence. [25] Indeed, the idea of an inferior Indian race made it into the courts. The progressive era thinkers also wanted to look beyond legal definitions of equality to create a realistic concept of fairness. Such a concept was thought to include a reasonable income, decent working conditions, as well as health and leisure for every American. [23] These ideas can be seen in the decisions of the Supreme Court during the assimilation era.

Cases such as Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, Talton v. Mayes, Winters vs. The United States, United States v. Winans, United States v. Nice, and United States v. Sandoval provide excellent examples of the implementation of the paternal view of Native Americans as they refer back to the idea of Indians as "wards of the nation". [26] Some other issues that came into play were the hunting and fishing rights of the natives, especially when land beyond theirs affected their own practices, whether or not Constitutional rights necessarily applied to Indians, and whether tribal governments had the power to establish their own laws. As new legislation tried to force the American Indians into becoming just Americans, the Supreme Court provided these critical decisions. Native American nations were labeled "domestic dependent nations" by Marshall in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, one of the first landmark cases involving Indians. [27] Some decisions focused more on the dependency of the tribes, while others preserved tribal sovereignty, while still others sometimes managed to do both.

United States vs. Kagama Edit

The United States Supreme Court case United States v. Kagama (1886) set the stage for the court to make even more powerful decisions based on plenary power. To summarize congressional plenary power, the court stated:

The power of the general government over these remnants of a race once powerful, now weak and diminished in numbers, is necessary to their protection, as well as to the safety of those among whom they dwell. It must exist in that government, because it never has existed anywhere else because the theater of its exercise is within the geographical limits of the United [118 U.S. 375, 385] States because it has never been denied and because it alone can enforce its laws on all the tribes. [28]

The decision in United States v. Kagama led to the new idea that "protection" of Native Americans could justify intrusion into intratribal affairs. The Supreme Court and Congress were given unlimited authority with which to force assimilation and acculturation of Native Americans into American society. [24]

United States v. Nice Edit

During the years leading up to passage of the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act, United States v. Nice (1916), was a result of the idea of barring American Indians from the sale of liquor. The United States Supreme Court case overruled a decision made eleven years before, Matter of Heff, 197 U.S. 48 (1905), which allowed American Indian U.S. citizens to drink liquor. [29] The quick reversal shows how law concerning American Indians often shifted with the changing governmental and popular views of American Indian tribes. [30] The US Congress continued to prohibit the sale of liquor to American Indians. While many tribal governments had long prohibited the sale of alcohol on their reservations, the ruling implied that American Indian nations could not be entirely independent, and needed a guardian for protection.

United States v. Sandoval Edit

Like United States v. Nice, the United States Supreme Court case of United States v. Sandoval (1913) rose from efforts to bar American Indians from the sale of liquor. As American Indians were granted citizenship, there was an effort to retain the ability to protect them as a group which was distinct from regular citizens. The Sandoval Act reversed the U.S. v. Joseph decision of 1876, which claimed that the Pueblo were not considered federal Indians. The 1913 ruling claimed that the Pueblo were "not beyond the range of congressional power under the Constitution". [31] This case resulted in Congress continuing to prohibit the sale of liquor to American Indians. The ruling continued to suggest that American Indians needed protection.

There were several United States Supreme Court cases during the assimilation era that focused on the sovereignty of American Indian nations. These cases were extremely important in setting precedents for later cases and for legislation dealing with the sovereignty of American Indian nations.

Ex parte Crow Dog (1883) Edit

Ex parte Crow Dog was a US Supreme Court appeal by an Indian who had been found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. The defendant was an American Indian who had been found guilty of the murder of another American Indian. Crow Dog argued that the district court did not have the jurisdiction to try him for a crime committed between two American Indians that happened on an American Indian reservation. The court found that although the reservation was located within the territory covered by the district court's jurisdiction, Rev. Stat. § 2146 precluded the inmate's indictment in the district court. Section 2146 stated that Rev. Stat. § 2145, which made the criminal laws of the United States applicable to Indian country, did not apply to crimes committed by one Indian against another, or to crimes for which an Indian was already punished by the law of his tribe. The Court issued the writs of habeas corpus and certiorari to the Indian. [32]

Talton v. Mayes (1896) Edit

The United States Supreme Court case of Talton v. Mayes was a decision respecting the authority of tribal governments. This case decided that the individual rights protections, specifically the Fifth Amendment, which limit federal, and later, state governments, do not apply to tribal government. It reaffirmed earlier decisions, such as the 1831 Cherokee Nation v. Georgia case, that gave Indian tribes the status of "domestic dependent nations", the sovereignty of which is independent of the federal government. [33] Talton v. Mayes is also a case dealing with Native American dependence, as it deliberated over and upheld the concept of congressional plenary authority. This part of the decision led to some important pieces of legislation concerning Native Americans, the most important of which is the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Good Shot v. United States (1900) Edit

This United States Supreme Court case occurred when an American Indian shot and killed a non-Indian. The question arose of whether or not the United States Supreme Court had jurisdiction over this issue. In an effort to argue against the Supreme Court having jurisdiction over the proceedings, the defendant filed a petition seeking a writ of certiorari. This request for judicial review, upon writ of error, was denied. The court held that a conviction for murder, punishable with death, was no less a conviction for a capital crime by reason even taking into account the fact that the jury qualified the punishment. The American Indian defendant was sentenced to life in prison. [34]

Montoya v. United States (1901) Edit

This United States Supreme court case came about when the surviving partner of the firm of E. Montoya & Sons petitioned against the United States and the Mescalero Apache Indians for the value their livestock which was taken in March 1880. It was believed that the livestock was taken by "Victorio's Band" which was a group of these American Indians. It was argued that the group of American Indians who had taken the livestock were distinct from any other American Indian tribal group, and therefore the Mescalero Apache American Indian tribe should not be held responsible for what had occurred. After the hearing, the Supreme Court held that the judgment made previously in the Court of Claims would not be changed. This is to say that the Mescalero Apache American Indian tribe would not be held accountable for the actions of Victorio's Band. This outcome demonstrates not only the sovereignty of American Indian tribes from the United States, but also their sovereignty from one another. One group of American Indians cannot be held accountable for the actions of another group of American Indians, even though they are all part of the American Indian nation. [35]

US v. Winans (1905) Edit

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Yakama tribe, reaffirming their prerogative to fish and hunt on off-reservation land. Further, the case established two important principles regarding the interpretation of treaties. First, treaties would be interpreted in the way Indians would have understood them and "as justice and reason demand". [36] Second, the Reserved Rights Doctrine was established which states that treaties are not rights granted to the Indians, but rather "a reservation by the Indians of rights already possessed and not granted away by them". [37] These "reserved" rights, meaning never having been transferred to the United States or any other sovereign, include property rights, which include the rights to fish, hunt and gather, and political rights. Political rights reserved to the Indian nations include the power to regulate domestic relations, tax, administer justice, or exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction. [38]

Winters v. United States (1908) Edit

The United States Supreme Court case Winters v. United States was a case primarily dealing with water rights of American Indian reservations. This case clarified what water sources American Indian tribes had "implied" rights to put to use. [39] This case dealt with the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and their right to utilize the water source of the Milk River in Montana. The reservation had been created without clearly stating the explicit water rights that the Fort Belknap American Indian reservation had. This became a problem once non-Indian settlers began moving into the area and using the Milk River as a water source for their settlements. [40] As water sources are extremely sparse and limited in Montana, this argument of who had the legal rights to use the water was presented. After the case was tried, the Supreme Court came to the decision that the Fort Belknap reservation had reserved water rights through the 1888 agreement which had created the American Indian Reservation in the first place. This case was very important in setting a precedent for cases after the assimilation era. It was used as a precedent for the cases Arizona v. California, Tulee v. Washington, Washington v. McCoy, Nevada v. United States, Cappaert v. United States, Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, United States v. New Mexico, and Arizona v. San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona which all focused on the sovereignty of American Indian tribes.

Choate v. Trapp (1912) Edit

As more Native Americans received allotments through the Dawes Act, there was a great deal of public and state pressure to tax allottees. However, in the United States Supreme court case Choate v. Trapp, 224 U.S. 665 (1912), the court ruled for Indian allottees to be exempt from state taxation. [29]

Clairmont v. United States (1912) Edit

This United States Supreme Court case resulted when a defendant appealed the decision on his case. The defendant filed a writ of error to obtain review of his conviction after being convicted of unlawfully introducing intoxicating liquor into an American Indian reservation. This act was found a violation of the Act of Congress of January 30, 1897, ch. 109, 29 Stat. 506. The defendant's appeal stated that the district court lacked jurisdiction because the offense for which he was convicted did not occur in American Indian country. The defendant had been arrested while traveling on a train that had just crossed over from American Indian country. The defendant's argument held and the Supreme Court reversed the defendant's conviction remanding the cause to the district court with directions to quash the indictment and discharge the defendant. [41]

United States v. Quiver (1916) Edit

This case was sent to the United States Supreme Court after first appearing in a district court in South Dakota. The case dealt with adultery committed on a Sioux Indian reservation. The district court had held that adultery committed by an Indian with another Indian on an Indian reservation was not punishable under the act of March 3, 1887, c. 397, 24 Stat. 635, now § 316 of the Penal Code. This decision was made because the offense occurred on a Sioux Indian reservation which is not said to be under jurisdiction of the district court. The United States Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court saying that the adultery was not punishable as it had occurred between two American Indians on an American Indian reservation. [42]

Non-reservation boarding schools Edit

In 1634, Fr. Andrew White of the Jesuits established a mission in what is now the state of Maryland, and the purpose of the mission, stated through an interpreter to the chief of an Indian tribe there, was "to extend civilization and instruction to his ignorant race, and show them the way to heaven". [43] The mission's annual records report that by 1640, a community had been founded which they named St. Mary's, and the Indians were sending their children there to be educated. [44] This included the daughter of the Pascatoe Indian chief Tayac, which suggests not only a school for Indians, but either a school for girls, or an early co-ed school. The same records report that in 1677, "a school for humanities was opened by our Society in the centre of [Maryland], directed by two of the Fathers and the native youth, applying themselves assiduously to study, made good progress. Maryland and the recently established school sent two boys to St. Omer who yielded in abilities to few Europeans, when competing for the honour of being first in their class. So that not gold, nor silver, nor the other products of the earth alone, but men also are gathered from thence to bring those regions, which foreigners have unjustly called ferocious, to a higher state of virtue and cultivation." [45]

In 1727, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Ursula founded Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, which is currently the oldest, continuously-operating school for girls and the oldest Catholic school in the United States. From the time of its foundation it offered the first classes for Native American girls, and would later offer classes for female African-American slaves and free women of color.

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School founded by Richard Henry Pratt in 1879 was the first Indian boarding school established. Pratt was encouraged by the progress of Native Americans whom he had supervised as prisoners in Florida, where they had received basic education. When released, several were sponsored by American church groups to attend institutions such as Hampton Institute. He believed education was the means to bring American Indians into society.

Pratt professed "assimilation through total immersion". Because he had seen men educated at schools like Hampton Institute become educated and assimilated, he believed the principles could be extended to Indian children. Immersing them in the larger culture would help them adapt. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, the Carlisle curriculum was modeled on the many industrial schools: it constituted vocational training for boys and domestic science for girls, in expectation of their opportunities on the reservations, including chores around the school and producing goods for market. In the summer, students were assigned to local farms and townspeople for boarding and to continue their immersion. They also provided labor at low cost, at a time when many children earned pay for their families.

Carlisle and its curriculum became the model for schools sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. By 1902 there were twenty-five federally funded non-reservation schools across fifteen states and territories with a total enrollment of over 6,000. Although federal legislation made education compulsory for Native Americans, removing students from reservations required parental authorization. Officials coerced parents into releasing a quota of students from any given reservation.

Once the new students arrived at the boarding schools, their lives altered drastically. They were usually given new haircuts, uniforms of European-American style clothes, and even new English names, sometimes based on their own, other times assigned at random. They could no longer speak their own languages, even with each other. They were expected to attend Christian churches. Their lives were run by the strict orders of their teachers, and it often included grueling chores and stiff punishments.

Additionally, infectious disease was widespread in society, and often swept through the schools. This was due to lack of information about causes and prevention, inadequate sanitation, insufficient funding for meals, overcrowded conditions, and students whose resistance was low.

An Indian boarding school was one of many schools that were established in the United States during the late 19th century to educate Native American youths according to American standards. In some areas, these schools were primarily run by missionaries. Especially given the young age of some of the children sent to the schools, they have been documented as traumatic experiences for many of the children who attended them. They were generally forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity instead of their native religions, and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Indian identity and adopt American culture. Many cases of mental and sexual abuse have been documented, as in North Dakota. [ citation needed ]

Little recognition to the drastic change in life of the younger children was evident in the forced federal rulings for compulsory schooling and sometimes harsh interpretation in methods of gathering, even to intruding in the Indian homes. This proved extremely stressful to those who lived in the remote desert of Arizona on the Hopi Mesas well isolated from the American culture. Separation and boarding school living would last several years.

It remains today, a topic in traditional Hopi Indian recitations of their history—the traumatic situation and resistance to government edicts for forced schooling. Conservatives in the village of Oraibi opposed sending their young children to the Government school located in Keams Canyon. It was far enough away to require full time boarding for at least each school year. At the closing of the nineteenth century, the Hopi were for the most part a walking society. Unfortunately, visits between family and the schooled children were impossible. As a result, children were hidden to prevent forced collection by the U.S. military. Wisely, the Indian Agent, Leo Crane [46] requested the military troop to remain in the background while he and his helpers searched and gathered the youngsters for their multi-day travel by military wagon and year-long separation from their family. [47]

By 1923 in the Northwest, most Indian schools had closed and Indian students were attending public schools. States took on increasing responsibility for their education. [48] Other studies suggest attendance in some Indian boarding schools grew in areas of the United States throughout the first half of the 20th century, doubling from 1900 to the 1960s. [49] Enrollment reached its highest point in the 1970s. In 1973, 60,000 American Indian children were estimated to have been enrolled in an Indian boarding school. [50] [51] In 1976, the Tobeluk vs Lund case was brought by teenage Native Alaskan plaintiffs against the State of Alaska alleging that the public school situation was still an unequal one.

The Meriam Report of 1928 Edit

The Meriam Report, [52] officially titled "The Problem of Indian Administration", was prepared for the Department of Interior. Assessments found the schools to be underfunded and understaffed, too heavily institutionalized, and run too rigidly. What had started as an idealistic program about education had gotten subverted.

  • abolishing the "Uniform Course of Study", which taught only majority American cultural values
  • having younger children attend community schools near home, though older children should be able to attend non-reservation schools and
  • ensuring that the Indian Service provided Native Americans with the skills and education to adapt both in their own traditional communities (which tended to be more rural) and the larger American society.

Indian New Deal Edit

John Collier, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1933–1945, set the priorities of the New Deal policies toward Native Americans, with an emphasis on reversing as much of the assimilationist policy as he could. Collier was instrumental in ending the loss of reservations lands held by Indians, and in enabling many tribal nations to re-institute self-government and preserve their traditional culture. Some Indian tribes rejected the unwarranted outside interference with their own political systems the new approach had brought them.

Collier's 1920– 1922 visit to Taos Pueblo had a lasting impression on Collier. He now saw the Indian world as morally superior to American society, which he considered to be "physically, religiously, socially, and aesthetically shattered, dismembered, directionless". [53] Collier came under attack for his romantic views about the moral superiority of traditional society as opposed to modernity. [54] Philp says after his experience at the Taos Pueblo, Collier "made a lifelong commitment to preserve tribal community life because it offered a cultural alternative to modernity. . His romantic stereotyping of Indians often did not fit the reality of contemporary tribal life." [55]

Collier carried through the Indian New Deal with Congress' passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. It was one of the most influential and lasting pieces of legislation relating to federal Indian policy. Also known as the Wheeler–Howard Act, this legislation reversed fifty years of assimilation policies by emphasizing Indian self-determination and a return of communal Indian land, which was in direct contrast with the objectives of the Indian General Allotment Act of 1887.

Collier was also responsible for getting the Johnson–O'Malley Act passed in 1934, which allowed the Secretary of the Interior to sign contracts with state governments to subsidize public schooling, medical care, and other services for Indians who did not live on reservations. The act was effective only in Minnesota. [56]

Collier's support of the Navajo Livestock Reduction program resulted in Navajo opposition to the Indian New Deal. [57] [58] The Indian Rights Association denounced Collier as a "dictator" and accused him of a "near reign of terror" on the Navajo reservation. [59] According to historian Brian Dippie, "(Collier) became an object of 'burning hatred' among the very people whose problems so preoccupied him." [59]

Change to community schools Edit

Several events in the late 1960s and mid-1970s (Kennedy Report, National Study of American Indian Education, Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975) led to renewed emphasis on community schools. Many large Indian boarding schools closed in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 2007, 9,500 American Indian children lived in an Indian boarding school dormitory. [ citation needed ] From 1879 when the Carlisle Indian School was founded to the present day, more than 100,000 American Indians are estimated to have attended an Indian boarding school.

A similar system in Canada was known as the Canadian residential school system. [60]

While the concerted effort to assimilate Native Americans into American culture was abandoned officially, integration of Native American tribes and individuals continues to the present day. Often Native Americans are perceived as having been assimilated. However, some Native Americans feel a particular sense of being from another society or do not belong in a primarily "white" European majority society, despite efforts to socially integrate them. [ citation needed ]

In the mid-20th century, as efforts were still under way for assimilation, some studies treated American Indians simply as another ethnic minority, rather than citizens of semi-sovereign entities which they are entitled to by treaty. The following quote from the May 1957 issue of Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, shows this:

The place of Indians in American society may be seen as one aspect of the question of the integration of minority groups into the social system. [61]

Since the 1960s, however, there have been major changes in society. Included is a broader appreciation for the pluralistic nature of United States society and its many ethnic groups, as well as for the special status of Native American nations. More recent legislation to protect Native American religious practices, for instance, points to major changes in government policy. Similarly the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 was another recognition of the special nature of Native American culture and federal responsibility to protect it.

As of 2013, "Montana is the only state in the U.S. with a constitutional mandate to teach American Indian history, culture, and heritage to preschool through higher education students via the Indian Education for All Act." [62] The "Indian Education for All" curriculum, created by the Montana Office of Public Instruction, is distributed online for primary and secondary schools. [63]

To evade a shift to English, some Native American tribes have initiated language immersion schools for children, where a native Indian language is the medium of instruction. For example, the Cherokee Nation instigated a 10-year language preservation plan that involved growing new fluent speakers of the Cherokee language from childhood on up through school immersion programs as well as a collaborative community effort to continue to use the language at home. [64] This plan was part of an ambitious goal that in 50 years, 80% or more of the Cherokee people will be fluent in the language. [65] The Cherokee Preservation Foundation has invested $3 million into opening schools, training teachers, and developing curricula for language education, as well as initiating community gatherings where the language can be actively used. [65] Formed in 2006, the Kituwah Preservation & Education Program (KPEP) on the Qualla Boundary focuses on language immersion programs for children from birth to fifth grade, developing cultural resources for the general public and community language programs to foster the Cherokee language among adults. [66]

There is also a Cherokee language immersion school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma that educates students from pre-school through eighth grade. [67] Because Oklahoma's official language is English, Cherokee immersion students are hindered when taking state-mandated tests because they have little competence in English. [68] The Department of Education of Oklahoma said that in 2012 state tests: 11% of the school's sixth-graders showed proficiency in math, and 25% showed proficiency in reading 31% of the seventh-graders showed proficiency in math, and 87% showed proficiency in reading 50% of the eighth-graders showed proficiency in math, and 78% showed proficiency in reading. [68] The Oklahoma Department of Education listed the charter school as a Targeted Intervention school, meaning the school was identified as a low-performing school but has not so that it was a Priority School. [68] Ultimately, the school made a C, or a 2.33 grade point average on the state's A–F report card system. [68] The report card shows the school getting an F in mathematics achievement and mathematics growth, a C in social studies achievement, a D in reading achievement, and an A in reading growth and student attendance. [68] "The C we made is tremendous," said school principal Holly Davis, "[t]here is no English instruction in our school's younger grades, and we gave them this test in English." [68] She said she had anticipated the low grade because it was the school's first year as a state-funded charter school, and many students had difficulty with English. [68] Eighth graders who graduate from the Tahlequah immersion school are fluent speakers of the language, and they usually go on to attend Sequoyah High School where classes are taught in both English and Cherokee.


Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008)

Cherokee teacher, mathematician, aerospace engineer. A direct descendent of Cherokee Chief John Ross and one of America’s first female American Indian engineers, she worked on developing launch and orbiting requirements for NASA’s Agena spacecraft used in its Gemini and Apollo programs of the 1960s. Prior to that time, with a degree in mathematics from Oklahoma’s Northeastern State Teacher’s College, she taught in state schools, later working for the BIA as a statistician and the Institute of American Indian Arts as a student advisor. In retirement, she encouraged young people, especially American Indians, to work in technology. In 2019, the U.S. Mint issued a $1 coin and $1 Series 2017 bank note to recognize and honor her.


Contents

The Carlisle Indian School and the Hampton Institute, off-reservation Eastern boarding schools, were well-springs of Pan-Indian leadership. [4] The most significant legacy of the Carlisle Indian School may have been the connections established by the students. Lifelong friendships were formed, and more importantly, ties between disparate Indian nations were forged. Launched in the hopes of Americanizing the students, the mixing of 85 Indian nations from all parts of the country also had instead the effect of "nationalizing the Indian." [5] Dr. Carlos Montezuma described Carlisle "as a Gibraltor, a place to think, observe and decide." [6] American Indian students from Alaska to Florida represented a rich diversity of tribes and traditions. While students learned Euro-American customs, they also learned about other tribes and religions and how each tribe was subject to irrational and casual dealings by government. [7] Carlisle alumni across the nation maintained a Pan-Indian espirit de corps and they visited and communicated frequently. [8]

In the early 1900s, three prominent American Indians, Dr. Charles Eastman, his brother Reverend John Eastman and Rev. Sherman Coolidge first discussed organizing a Pan-Indian or intertribal Indian rights organization. However, they concluded the time was not yet right to broadly advance the idea, believing such a movement "would not be understood either by our own people or the American people in general," present a "grave danger of arousing the antagonism of the Bureau," and compromise the many progressively-oriented Indians affiliated with Government service and programs. In 1903, Coolidge and sociologist Fayette Avery McKenzie met at the Wind River Reservation Boarding School, and they shared their ideas about forming national association run by Indians for Indians. In 1905, McKenzie joined the faculty of the Ohio State University, and in 1908 invited Charles Eastman, Dr. Carlos Montezuma and Coolidge to the Ohio State campus to deliver a series of lectures on "several phases of the Indian problem in a course which he was offering on "The Indian". [9] The university lectures were well received, and they were covered by the local press, who helped turn Columbus's discovery of "new" Indians into news by printing striking photos of Coolidge and Montezuma on their front pages. The three well-known intellectuals scheduled a full week of speaking engagements with local civic organizations and churches, drawing further attention when they traveled about the city as a threesome to attend each other's events.

In 1909, after the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, McKenzie sensed the time was ripe for a national organization of "educated and progressive Indians" and corresponded with Coolidge and Eastman calling for an Indian-led national conference on Indian affairs. [10] McKenzie asserted that "the time has come when a 'Mohonk by Indians' can do even more for the country than a 'Mohonk for Indians.'" [11] In a letter to inviting participants to a proposed 1909 Indian conference, McKenzie envisioned a new dawn at Columbus, writing, "even as the navigator Columbus discovered the old Indian in 1492, may we not hope that the city of Columbus shall discover the "new Indian." McKenzie called upon American Indians to form the first national pan-tribal organization run by and for Indians, and not a "friends of Indians" organization such as the progressive Indian Rights Association. However, McKenzie's first efforts to organize an Indian conference in 1909 failed. [12]

On April 3–4, 1911, at the invitation of McKenzie, six American Indian intellectuals attended a planning meeting at Ohio State State University. The attendees were Dr. Charles Eastman, (Santee Dakota), physician Dr. Carlos Montezuma, (Yavapai-Apache), physician Thomas L. Sloan, (Omaha), attorney Charles Edwin Dagenett, (Peoria), Bureau of Indian Affairs supervisor Laura Cornelius Kellogg, (Oneida), educator and Henry Standing Bear, (Oglala Lakota), educator. Arthur C. Parker, (Seneca), an anthropologist, was also invited to the meeting, but a fire at the New York State Capitol, which housed the New York State Museum, where he served as an archeologist, precluded his attendance. [13]

After the meeting, the committee issued a public announcement of the formation of the American Indian Association, plans for an inaugural National Indian Conference to be held that fall at Ohio State University and reasons for the conference: "One. The highest ethical forces of America have been endeavoring on a large scale and in a systematic way to bring the Native Americans into modern life. It is well to see whether these efforts have brought results. Two. The time is come when the Indian should be encouraged to develop self-help. This can be achieved only with the attainment of a race consciousness and a race leadership. We cannot predict the race leader, the gathering of the educated, aggressive members of all the tribes is a prerequisite to discuss discovery. Three. The Indian has certain contributions of value to offer to our government and our people. These contributions will be made more efficiently if made in authorizing collectively. They will, at least they may, save us immense losses from mistaken policies which we will might otherwise follow. Four. The white man is somewhat uncomfortable under a conviction that a century of dishonor quote has not been redeemed. If it any degree can convince himself and his red brother that he is willing to do what he can for the race whose lands has he has [sic] occupied, a new step toward social justice will have been taken. " [14]

On April 5, 1911, the press reported the meetings as "without precedent in the history of the country, only paralleled in significance by those held immediately after the close of the Civil War for the purpose of organizing intelligent work among the freed men." It was further reported that the new national organization was being established for the purpose of "bettering of conditions for the Indians and the upbuilding a race consciousness", and that in October an official invitation will be extended by the Ohio Columbus Centennial Commission to have the second annual meeting at this body held in conjunction with the centennial celebration. [15]

Shortly after the April meeting, a Temporary Executive Committee was formed, consisting of 18 prominent Indians: Charles E. Dagenett (Peoria), Chairman Laura Cornelius Kellogg (Oneida), Secretary and Rosa La Flesche (Chippewa), Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer. Members of the Committee included William Hazlett (Blackfoot), Harry Kohpay (Osage), Charles D. Carter (Chickasaw and Cherokee), Emma Johnson (Pottawatomie), Howard E. Gansworth (Tuscarora), Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago), Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, (Chippewa), Robert De Poe (Klamath), Charles Doxon (Onondaga) and Benjamin Caswell (Chippewa). Professor McKenzie was appointed "Local Representative, Columbus, Ohio." [13]

Committee members were Indian progressives, many of whom were educated in white institutions, lived and worked primarily in white society. Most believed Indian advancement required education, hard work, and aligning Indian attitudes, values, and lifestyle to white culture.

The committee adopted a Statement of Purpose composed of six principles that addressed concepts of equal rights, good citizenship, and race betterment, and asserted that in all Association activities, "the honor of the race and the good of the country will always be paramount." The preamble declares that the time has come when the American Indian race should contribute, in a more united way, its influence and exertion with the rest of the citizens of the United States in all lines of progress and reform, for the welfare of the Indian race in particular, and humanity in general." [13]

"First. To promote and cooperate with all efforts looking to the advancement of the Indian in enlightenment which leave him free as a man to develop according to the natural laws of social evolution. Second. To provide, through our open conference, the means for a free discussion on all subjects bearing on the welfare of the race. Third. To present in a just light a true history of the race, to preserve its records, and to emulate it's distinguishing virtues. Fourth. To promote citizenship among Indians and to obtain the rights thereof. Fifth. To establish a legal department to investigate Indian problems, and to suggest and to obtain remedies. Sixth. To exercise the right to oppose any movement which may be detrimental to the race. Seventh. To direct its energies exclusively to general principles and universal interest, and not allow itself to be used for any personal or private interest. The honor of the race and the good of the country will always be paramount." [16]

On June 21 and 22, 1911, the Temporary Executive Committee met at the home of Laura Cornelius Kellogg in Seymour, Wisconsin, attended by prominent Oneida attorneys Chester Poe Cornelius and Dennison Wheelock. [17] Charles E. Dagenett had the chair, with Emma Johnson, Rosa LaFlesche and Fayette McKenzie in attendance. [18]

On June 25, 1911, the committee sent out a statement of intent to approximately four thousand Indians throughout the nation pointing out the vital necessity for an "organization that shall voice the best judgment of the Indian people, and that shall command the attention of the United States." [19]

From his faculty position at Ohio State, and given the official title of "Local Representative", McKenzie organized much of the formal and informal proceedings of the event, from logistics to program development. On July 29, 1911, The Washington Post reported that all Indians living in United States had been invited to attend a conference in Columbus Ohio, October 12 to 15, to map out a concerted plan for the uplift and betterment of the race. One of the main purposes of the meeting is to demonstrate to the American people that the Indian is no longer a savage, and that the last twenty years have shown a wonderful development of intellect and character among the Indian tribes. It was further reported that Senators Robert L. Owen of Oklahoma, Charles Curtis of Kansas and Representative Charles D. Carter of Oklahoma, all of Indian parentage, joined in the call for the meeting. [20]

McKenzie planned a symbolic event with national press coverage and worked with Arthur C. Parker to recruit speakers, design the conference program and secure endorsements from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, City of Columbus, Ohio State University and several local civic and religious organizations. [21] The response was positive. Impressed with the historical significance of the April meeting, Ohio State President William Oxley Thompson, Columbus Mayor George Sidney Marshall, as well as by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the President of the Ministerial Association, the Secretary of the YMCA, the Secretary of the State Historical and Archaeological Society, and the President of the Columbus Federation of Labor invited the new American Indian Association to hold their first national conference in Columbus, on Columbus Day, October, 1911. [22] "Word has come to our ears that you are planning to meet in national assembly for the first time in history to discuss the problems which devolve upon the Indian race, and we, therefore, hasten to invite you to light the camp-fire first in the city named for the first white man who visited these shores. Let us, if we may, forget any animosities of the past, and jointly work for those conditions and those policies which in the future will justify peace because based upon the principles of equity, intelligence and progress. The high position which your leaders are reaching make us eager to welcome the representatives of all the tribes in the name of Ohio State University, the City of Columbus, and the civic and religious bodies of our city." [22] The invitation was accepted and a call issued for a national conference. [23]

On October 12, 1911, the Society's inaugural conference was convened on the campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, symbolically held on Columbus Day as a fresh beginning for American Indians. [24] From October 12–17, 1911, approximately 50 prominent American Indian scholars, clergy, writers, artists, teachers and physicians attended the historic event, and was reported widely by national news media. [25] The Society was formally welcomed by university and city officials, and a personal address by the U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Robert G. Valentine. [26] Evening entertainment was provided by several of the Indian participants and by a quartette sent from the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. [27] Group sessions were held issues affecting American Indians including issues of citizenship, higher education, Indians in the professions, Indian laws and the future of reservations. On Sunday, participants were delegated to appear at various churches in Columbus. Participants organized themselves under the temporary name of the American Indian Association, elected officers, and adopted a constitution and by-laws.

The business session was attended by Indian delegates only. Thomas L. Sloan, Rev. Sherman Coolidge and Dr. Charles Eastman were nominated for Chairman of the Executive Committee, and Sloan won. Charles E. Dagenett, who had declined to continue as Executive Committee Chairman, was elected secretary-treasurer. Other Executive Committee members elected were Hiram Chase, Arthur C. Parker, Laura Cornelius Kellogg and Henry Standing Bear. The committee was directed to "provide a provisional constitution for a representative convention of all the Indians in the country," recommending that each tribe send at least two representatives. Washington was selected as the headquarters and the Executive Committee was to watch legislation affecting Indian Affairs and to cooperate with the Indian Office "for the welfare of the Indians to the best of their ability." [28] The Constitution divided membership into classes including active, Indian associate and associate. Only Indians could vote and hold office. Associate members were persons of non-Indian blood interested in Indian welfare. [29] The Society letterhead made clear the status of Indians and non-Indians, "Memberships: active and associate: persons of Indian blood only." [30] John Milton Oskison (Cherokee), an editor of Collier's magazine, and Angel De Cora (Winnebago), art educator at the Carlisle Indian School were commissioned to create the Society emblem. [31] [32] The committee also changed the name from the "American Indian Association" to the "Society of American Indians" "in order to remove it from the category of white–run "Indian associations" such as the Indian Rights Association and unmistakably as an Indian movement. Washington, D.C. was selected as the headquarters, the executive committee was directed to watch legislation affecting Indian affairs and for the welfare of Indians to the best of their ability. This was to be an association run by Indians. [33]

The early leaders of the Society were known as the "Red Progressives". [22] Progressive American Indians referred to themselves as such because they shared the enthusiasm and faith of the white reformers in the inevitability of progress, and belief in social improvement through education and governmental action. [34] All them fought hard and for what they had won and expected that gains could not be made without pains. They had a good deal of the psychology of the self-made man and very little of the psychology of the passive victim of circumstance. The Society was born of hope, rather than despair. Not the last stand of and embattled people, but a new force in American life. [35] The choice of Columbus Day for the opening of the founding conference of the Indian reformers, October 12, 1911, was to be a new beginning for American Indians. [36]

Society members were educated professionals from the fields of medicine, nursing, law, government, education, anthropology, ethnology and clergy. There were no chiefs or tribal leaders amongst them. The most important single influence at the conference was that of eastern Indian boarding schools, especially Carlisle. The bond among Carlisle alumni was so strong that it provided the major source of Pan-Indian leadership. [37] [38] Red Progressives remained in close touch with tribal life and used both Indian and American names. Many were the sons and daughters of influential tribal leaders from New York, the Great Lakes, Oklahoma and the Great Plains. Of the expanded committee, six were born or had lived in Oklahoma, and almost all were from Eastern, Prairie or Plains Tribes: four from tribes of the Six Nations Confederacy, two from the Lakota, two from the Five Civilized Tribes, three from the Chippewa, one each from the Blackfoot, Pottawattamie, Winnebago, Omaha, Osage, Apache and Klamath, and born into progressive families and tribes with social and marital connections to non-Indians. Also many were previously or currently employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Their perspective was unique, and they used their education to champion American Indian rights. [39]

In April 1912, when the proceedings of the Columbus conference were published, Society membership had increased to 101 actives, about one-third of whom were women, and approximately the same number of non-native associates. [34] By 1913, active members grew to the high point of nearly 230 individuals representing almost 30 tribes. [40] Membership included Arthur Bonnicastle, (Osage), community leader Gertrude Bonnin, (Yankton Dakota), educator and author Rev. Benjamin Brave, (Oglala Lakota), minister Estaiene M. DePeltquestangue, (Kickapoo) nurse William A. Durant, (Choctaw), lawyer Rev. Philip Joseph Deloria, (Onondaga), priest Rev. John Eastman, (Santee Dakota), minister Father Philip B. Gordon, (Chippewa), priest Albert Hensley, (Winnebago) missionary John Napoleon Brinton Hewitt, (Tuscarora), linguist and ethnographer William J. Kershaw, (Menominee), attorney Susan LaFlesche, (Omaha), physician Francis LaFlesche, (Omaha), anthropologist Rev. Delos Lone Wolf (Kiowa), minister Louis McDonald, (Ponca) businessman Luther Standing Bear, (Oglala Lakota), educator Dennison Wheelock, (Oneida), musician, composer, lawyer and Chauncey Yellow Robe, (Sicangu Lakota), educator.

The official photograph of the Inaugural Society Conference in Columbus, Ohio, shows members attired in the fashion of the day, the Indian clergyman among them wearing clerical collars. There's no hint "of Indianness" in their costume with the exception of Nora McFarland from Carlisle who, wearing an Indian dress, was seated at the center of the group. [41] The Society joined with reformist progressives in opposition to Wild West shows, theatrical troupes, circuses and most motion picture firms. The Society believed that theatrical shows were demoralizing and degrading to Indians, and discouraged Indians from Wild Westing. [42] Chauncey Yellow Robe wrote that "Indians should be protected from the curse of the Wild West show schemes, wherein the Indians have been led to the white man's poison cup and have become drunkards." [43] Red Progressives believed Wild West shows exploited Native Americans and vigorously opposed theatrical portrayals of Native Americans as savages and vulgar stereotypes. [44] From 1886 to the onset of World War I, reformist progressives fought a war of images with Wild West shows before public exhibitions at world fairs, expositions and parades portraying the model Carlisle Indian Industrial School as a new generation of Native Americans embracing civilization, education and industry. [45]

The early course of the Society was influenced by many factors. Pan-Indianism developed during the period when modern social science came of age, and sociologists and anthropologists helped define the common ground of "race". [46] Reformers of the bully Progressive era were inveterate founders of organizations, translating ideas into organizations and organizations into action. Problems existed to be solved, and the democratic promise existed to be fulfilled. [47] Arthur C. Parker, an anthropologist, visioned the "Old Council Fire" composed of American Indian men and women from all tribes of United States. He believed that the Society should adopt an organizational format like that of "friends of Indians" organizations, meet at academic institutions rather than on reservations, maintain a Washington headquarters, publish a quarterly journal, conduct annual conferences and be a vehicle for the expression of a pan-Indian identity. [48]

Christianity and Freemasonry played crucial roles in the Society. Christian ideas of human brotherhood and the equality of all men before God complemented anthropological ideas of inherent racial equality. Most of the Red Progressives were Christians, Protestant and Catholic, and some were ordained ministers and priests. Others were religious peyotists from more Christianized tribes. Freemasonry exercised an important influence on the development of Pan-Indianism in the 1920s. Almost every male Indian involved in the Society was an active Freemason. Arthur C. Parker, who used both his "American" and his Seneca name "Ga-wa-so-wa-neh", wrote a pamphlet on American Indian Masonry, published in 1919 by the Buffalo Consistory. [49] Parker wrote of Masonry's implicit link with American Indians, and noted that the Iroquois, especially the Senecas, were "inherent" Freemasons. He shared the view of his great-uncle Ely S. Parker, the first American Indian Commissioner of Indian Affairs, that Masonry offered upward mobility in the white world, and would preserve the memory of the Indian, "If my race shall disappear from this continent." [50]


Bureau of Indian Affairs - History

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Timeline - The 1820s

The Missouri Compromise and the Monroe Doctrine stand firm as the backbone, for better or worse, of U.S. policy in the decade of the 1820's as America continues to grow.

More 1800s

Image above: President James Monroe. Image right: Triumph, depicting eventual victory of Union, with reference to the Missouri Compromise. Created by Morris H. Traubel, 1861. Images courtesy Library of Congress.

U.S. Timeline - The 1820s

A Decade of Compromise and Doctrine

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1824 Detail

March 11, 1824 - The Bureau of Indian Affairs is established by the United States War Department. This department is meant to regulate trade with Indian tribes.

It had been a long time coming, but would not, in many ways, solve the basic problem or problems between Indian affairs and the way the government of the United States, or the states themselves, treated the Indian tribe populations through agreed treaties or harsh settlements. There had been agencies to deal with Indian issues since the Second Continental Congress in 1775, however, these, too, had proved ineffective. The Office of Indian Trade was established in 1806, inside the War Department, to control and regulate the fur trade through the factory system and licensing. It lasted until 1822.

But now, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun thought there needed to be a comprehensive agency to deal with all topics, so he established it as a division of his department, without Congressional approval, naming Thomas L. McKenney, former head of the Office of Indian Trade, as its first director. He would remain in this new post for six years.

The decades upcoming would be disruptive to the rights of Native Americans, leading to the removal of native tribes from the southeast of the United States to lands in the midwest. This policy, through the Indian Removal Act of 1830, under the Presidency of Andrew Jackson, allowed for treaties to be negotiated that would agree to white settlement on native territory in the states of the south in exchange for territory west of the Mississippi River. This policy, leading to the Trail of Tears of sixty thousand Native Americans, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee nation, the last forced removal in 1838, was assuaged in political terms by the thought that because the removal was paid for, and in many ways approved by treaty, and in other ways their life paid for years upon their arrival in new western lands, that it was just. It was not.

It would take until 1869 before the first Native American, Ely Samuel Parker, a Seneca tribe member, would be appointed its commissioner.

Eli Parker

Eli Samuel Parker was a Civil War veteran, born in 1828 to the Seneca tribe in Indian Falls, New York, then part of the part of the Tonawanda Reservation. Tonawanda had been set aside in the Big Tree Treaty of 1797, covering seventy-one square miles. He was well educated in a missionary school and college and became an attorney in name. Parker was not allowed to take the bar examination because American Indians were not considered citizens of the United States until 1924. After studying law, he studied engineering and became a civil engineer.

Once the Civil War began, Parker wanted to join the service, at first in the ranks with a regiment of Iroquois volunteers. He was turned down. Then he wished to join in the Union engineering service. Turned down again. However, he had earlier befriended Ulysses S. Grant while living in Illinois, and called in a favor. Grant needed engineers as he attempted to take Vicksburg. He appointed Ely Parker chief engineer of his 7th Division. He rose to the rank of adjutant to Grant during the Chattanooga campaign, then military secretary to General Grant with the rank of lieutenant colonel after Petersburg. Parker wrote much of Grant's correspondence, and even penned the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox Court House that were complied with by General Robert E. Lee after the signing of the surrender terms at the McLean House. He would eventually become a brigadier general.

After the Civil War, Parker continued to serve Ulysses S. Grant, then became part of the renegotiation of treaties with Southern tribes. He resigned from the Army on April 26, 1869, and was appointed the first Native American to be Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

What was Parker's impact on that agency? His policy contained two principle ideas. One, that the Indian became a productive member of society, financially independent, and a contributor to the total of human welfare. Second, Parker wanted to convince all agencies of the United States government to treat the Indian population fairly, cleanly, and assist in raising the tribes, rescuing them from the current unhappy state of affairs and lifting them up into civilization and Christianity.

He created a Board of Indian Commissioners that would halt the government excess and sometimes theft of Indian property and supplies, and he also instituted the "Peace Policy." All Indian Wars ceased under his three year administration. Parker resigned his commission in August 1871.

Image above: Mural of Indian and Teacher, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1939, Maynard Dixon. Courtesy Library of Congress, Carol M. Highsmith Collection 2011. Image below: Ely S. Parker, Matthew Brady. Courtesy National Archives via Wikipedia Commons. Source Info: The Life and Times of Eli S. Parker, 1919, Arthur C. Parker, Buffalo Historical Society Wikipedia Commons.


Bureau of Indian Affairs - History

For Immediate Release

Manu Tupper or Mike Inacay (Schatz) at [email protected]

SENATE PASSES LARGEST INVESTMENT IN NATIVE PROGRAMS IN HISTORY, MORE THAN $31 BILLION HEADING TO NATIVE COMMUNITIES

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai ‘ i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, helped secure more than $31.2 billion in dedicated funding for Tribal governments and Native communities, comprising the largest investment in history for Native programs. The new funding will deliver immediate relief for hard-hit Native American families and support Tribal Nations as they build a bridge toward economic recovery.

“Native communities need relief. We listened and we took action. With more than $31 billion for Tribal governments and Native programs, the American Rescue Plan delivers the largest one-time investment to Native communities in history,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This historic funding is a down payment on the federal government’s trust responsibility to Native communities and will empower American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians to tackle COVID-19’s impacts on their communities.”

The $31.2 billion investment in Native communities includes:

$20 billion for Tribal governments to combat COVID-19 and stabilize Tribal community safety-net programs through Treasury’s State/Local “Coronavirus Relief Fund”

$6+ billion for Native health systems

  • Indian Health Service
    • $2.340 billion for COVID-19 vaccines, testing, tracing, mitigation, and workforce expenses
    • $2 billion for lost third-party medical billing reimbursements
    • $600 million for health facilities construction and sanitation programs
    • $500 million for clinical health services and Purchased/Referred Care
    • $420 million for mental and behavioral health
    • $140 million for improving health IT and telehealth access
    • $84 million for Urban Indian health programs
    • $10 million for potable water delivery
    • $20 million set-aside for Papa Ola Lōkahi and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems within the Community Health Centers funding at the Health Resources and Services Administration

    $1.248 billion for HUD Tribal & Native Hawaiian housing programs

    • $498 million Tribal set-aside within Treasury’s Homeowners Assistance Program for Tribes and Native housing programs
    • $450 million for the Indian Housing Block Grant
    • $280 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant
    • $15 million for technical assistance, administrative costs, and oversight
    • $5 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant

    $1.1+ billion for Native education programs, including Bureau of Indian Education schools, Tribal education agencies, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Native Hawaiian education programs, and Alaska Native education programs

    • $850 million for Bureau of Indian (BIE) education programs, BIE K-12 schools & dormitories, and Tribal Colleges and Universities
    • $190 million for Department of Education grants to Tribal Education Agencies, Native Hawaiian education organizations, and Alaska Native education organizations
    • $142+ million for Tribal Colleges and Universities through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
    • $89+ million for Native-serving institutions of higher education, including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian serving institutions, through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

    $1+ billion for Native families

    • $1+ billion for Tribal child care programs and supports
    • $75 million for Tribal TANF grantees to provide assistance to families in need through the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund

    $900 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs

    • $772.5 million for Tribal government services (i.e., general welfare assistance, assistance to Tribal governments, public safety, child welfare)
    • $100 million for the Housing Improvement Program
    • $20 million for potable water delivery
    • $7.5 million for administrative costs and oversight

    $600 million for Native communities’ critical economic and infrastructure investments

    • $500 million for Tribal governments to support capital investments in Native businesses within Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative
    • $100 million for critical infrastructure projects in Native communities

    $20 million to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Native languages

    • $20 million for a new emergency Native language preservation & maintenance grant program through the Administration for Native Americans to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 on Native language communities

    $19 million for Native communities’ efforts to combat domestic violence

    • $18 million for Tribal awardees through the Family Violence Prevention & Services Act
    • $1 million for “Stronghearts” Native Domestic Violence Hotline

    The American Rescue Plan Act was passed by the Senate today. The House is expected to consider the Senate bill this coming week.


    Bureau of Indian Affairs - History

    Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1878

    United States. Office of Indian Affairs
    Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1878
    Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., [1878]
    v. : fold. maps 23 cm.

    Contents

    As a work of the United States government, this material is in the public domain.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright

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    AIM occupation of Wounded Knee begins

    On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, some 200 Sioux Native Americans, led by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), occupy Wounded Knee, the site of the infamous 1890 massacre of 300 Sioux by the U.S. Seventh Cavalry. The AIM members, some of them armed, took 11 residents of the historic Oglala Sioux settlement hostage as local authorities and federal agents descended on the reservation.

    AIM was founded in 1968 by Russell Means, Dennis Banks, and other Native leaders as a militant political and civil rights organization. From November 1969 to June 1971, AIM members occupied Alcatraz Island off San Francisco, saying they had the right to it under a treaty provision granting them unused federal land. In November 1972, AIM members briefly occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., to protest programs controlling reservation development. Then, in early 1973, AIM prepared for its dramatic occupation of Wounded Knee. In addition to its historical significance, Wounded Knee was one of the poorest communities in the United States and shared with the other Pine Ridge settlements some of the country’s lowest rates of life expectancy.

    The day after the Wounded Knee occupation began, AIM members traded gunfire with the federal marshals surrounding the settlement and fired on automobiles and low-flying planes that dared come within rifle range. Russell Means began negotiations for the release of the hostages, demanding that the U.S. Senate launch an investigation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and all Sioux reservations in South Dakota, and that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold hearings on the scores of Indian treaties broken by the U.S. government.

    The Wounded Knee occupation lasted for a total of 71 days, during which time two Sioux men were shot to death by federal agents and several more were wounded. On May 8, the AIM leaders and their supporters surrendered after officials promised to investigate their complaints. Russell Means and Dennis Banks were arrested, but on September 16, 1973, the charges against them were dismissed by a federal judge because of the U.S. government’s unlawful handling of witnesses and evidence.

    Violence continued on the Pine Ridge Reservation throughout the rest of the 1970s, with several more AIM members and supporters losing their lives in confrontations with the U.S. government. In 1975, two FBI agents and a Native man were killed in a shoot-out between federal agents and AIM members and local residents. In the trial that followed, AIM member Leonard Peltier was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. With many of its leaders in prison, AIM disbanded in 1978. Local AIM groups continued to function, however, and in 1981 one group occupied part of the Black Hills in South Dakota. 

    Congress took no steps to honor broken Indian treaties, but in the courts some tribes won major settlements from federal and state governments in cases involving tribal land claims. Russell Means continued to advocate for Native rights at Pine Ridge and elsewhere and in 1988 was a presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. In 2001, Means attempted to run for the governorship of New Mexico, but his candidacy was disallowed because procedure had not been followed. Beginning in 1992, Means appeared in several films, including Last of the Mohicans. He also had a guest spot on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. His autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread, was published in 1997. Means died on October 12, 2012, at age 72.