1803 President Jefferson commissioned Corps of Discovery
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1803 President Jefferson commissioned Corps of Discovery scientific expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.

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1803 President Jefferson commissioned Corps of Discovery

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  • 1803 President Jefferson commissioned Corps of Discovery

    • scientific expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.

  • "to explore the Missouri River and such principal stream of it as by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado or any other river that may offer the most direct and practicable water communication across this continent for the purpose of commerce".

    • Lewis and Clark were not the first explorers to travel west

    • Did not find waterway across North America

    • Significant in other areas

  • Geography and mapping

  • Natural resources

  • Native American relations

Native Americans and Westward Expansion

Lewis and Clark and Native Americans

"Left Pittsburgh this day at 11 o'clock with a party of 11 hands 7 of which are soldiers, a pilot and three young men on trial they having proposed to go with me throughout the voyage."

August 31, 1803, Meriwether Lewis

Video Time

The Southern West


  • Spain brought Missions to the Southwest

  • Mexicans secularized the missions

  • Both attempted to civilize the local native population

  • Led to loss of life through disease, overwork, and murder

1848 US invades CaliforniaPart of Mexican American WarFebruary 2nd 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ratified by US Senate

  • US occupation a period of tremendous destruction for Native Americans

  • A situation exacerbated by events in Northern California in 1848

  • 1847 John Sutter decided to erect a saw mill

  • Sutter put James Marshall in charge of construction

  • 1847 an Indian guide led Marshall to a Maidu village, Coloma, in a heavily wooded

  • Marshall constructed the mill with the aid of Maidu

  • During construction an unknown Maidu Indian came across a gold nugget

  • The rest is history…..

  • Initially local Californios brought their Indian workers to pan for gold

  • E.g. Charles M. Weber

  • Took 1000 Indians to work at Dry Diggings

  • Placerville

  • Within a couple of months Weber and William Daylor had earned approx $50,000 of the backs of their labor force

  • Independent white miners began to move in resentment grew

    • Californios have an unfair advantage

  • Weber Creek March 1849

  • Group of Oregonians attacked a Maidu village of workers

    • Killed many, raped women and took several captives

  • Returned captives to Coloma

  • Told them to join their friends

  • As the walked off they shot them all in the back

  • Not the first attack but a notorious event in the decimation of Californian Indians

  • White from Oregon generally “hunt [Indians] as they would wild beasts”

    • William McCollum

  • Not only murder but also kidnapping became a major industry

  • 1861 Superintendant George M. Hansen

  • Found 3 men kidnapping Indian Children

  • Asked one why

  • Taking them “as an act of charity . . . [to] provide homes for them, because their parents had been killed, and the children would have perished”

  • How did he know this

  • “killed some of them myself”

  • 1850 An Act for the Government and Protection of Indians

  • April 22, 1850

  • Series of 20 laws, similar to the black codes for African Americans in the south

Discussion Week two

Navajo’s and the Long Walk

Sitting Bull

Indian Wars

Crazy Horse

Native Woman in Seattle 1911

  • 1. In what way did the Navajo Indians resist reservation life and in what ways did the assimilate to the changes that were forced upon them? How big of a role did religion play in resistance and assimilation?

  • 2. At the end of the essay, Osburn states that the Navajo were active members in the failure and success of the reservation. Do you agree with this statement? Were they more active in the failing or the success of the reservation?

  • 1. What were the main reasons and/or events that led to the Sioux War of 1876-77?

  • 2. What were the goals of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse?

  • 3. Why did Crazy Horse lose his followers?

  • 1.What do you think would have been more difficult for Crazy Horse to handle, the large amount of lodges that surrendered when he was still fighting, or members of some tribes (like the Cheyenne) that said upon surrender because of their grievances with him would volunteer as army scouts for a campaign against him?  

  • 2.    Do you think Crazy Horses’ “change of heart” came from genuine belief that a new reservation would be established for northern Indians in their hunting grounds, or because his failed vision quests gave him no guidance to continue fighting?

  • 1.  What were some of the reasons that it was so common at that time for white men to take Native American wives?  What were some of the reasons for the interdependence between the Native American tribes and the immigrants?2.  Why wasn't Xwelas hung for the murder of George Philips, a white man?  It was an unheard of outcome at that time.

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