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Indian Rights. By: Jorge N., Jerrica G., Lizbeth M., Loretta B., Virginia R., Kayla K. and Ruadhan W. When Did It Take Place?. 1890, shortly after Christmas, the last massacre took place at Pine Ridge between the US Calvary and the Indian Police

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indian rights

Indian Rights

By: Jorge N., Jerrica G., Lizbeth M., Loretta B., Virginia R., Kayla K. and Ruadhan W.

when did it take place
When Did It Take Place?
  • 1890, shortly after Christmas, the last massacre took place at Pine Ridge between the US Calvary and the Indian Police
  • The leader, Sitting Bull of the Sioux Tribe had been assassinated by Indian Police
  • The Indian Police were paid off by the United States
  • Sitting Bull
    • Born in Grand River, South Dakota in 1831
    • Holy Man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to the US and the Indian Police.
    • The Indian Police attempted to arrest him and prevent Ghost Dance movement.
    • Assassinated by Standing Rock Indian (Reservation)
the war begins
The War Begins
  • 120 men and 230 women and children were surrounded by the US cavalry with two Hotchkiss Guns, capable of hurling shells over two miles, on a rise overlooking the camp.
  • Shortly after, the troops ordered the Indians to turn over their weapons, one of them fired his rifle.
  • Soldiers then let loose with their carbines and big guns on the hills shelling the tepees.
  • Between 200 and 300 out of the original 350 Indians died.
  • Only 25 soldiers died.
the consequences
The Consequences
  • Allotment Act of 1887
    • Tried to break up the reservations into small plots of land owned by individual Indians to turn them into American-type small farmers.
  • John Collier was in charge of the bureau of Indian Affairs.
    • During the New Deal, the Indians had a friend in John Collier
    • There was an attempt to restore tribal life.
  • As the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements developed in the 1960s, Indians were already gathering energy for resistance, thinking about how to best change their situation.
  • They began to approach the US Government about the topic of treaties.
  • It amused the Indians to watch how much Pres. Lyndon Johnson and Pres. Nixon spoke about America’s “Commitments” while they failed to respect treaties.
    • The US Government had signed over 400 treaties with the Indians and violated every single one.
movements cont
Movements Cont.
  • For instance, during George Washington’s administration’s time, a treaty was signed with the Iroquois of New York:
    • “The United States acknowledges all the land within the aforementioned boundaries to be the property of the Seneca Nation…”
    • In the early sixties, under Pres. Kennedy, the United States ignored the treaty and built a dam on this land, flooding most of the Seneca reservation.
  • Resistance took shape in various parts of the country.
  • In Washington, there was an old treaty which took land from Indians but allowed them the right to fish.
    • This didn’t please the white population because they wanted the area for themselves.
    • In 1964, state courts closed river areas to Indian fishermen.
    • Indians had “fish-ins” on Nisqually River, in defiance of the court orders, some went to jail in hopes of making their protest public.
resistance cont
Resistance Cont.
  • Not only did Indians fight with physical resistance, but also with artifacts of white culture; books, words, newspapers, etc.
  • In 1968 members of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, began a remarkable newspaper, Akwesasne Notes, which included new, editorials, and poetry which flamed the spirit of defiance.
puyallup tribe
Puyallup Tribe
  • A local judge stated that the Puyallup Tribe didn’t exist and it’s members couldn’t fish on Puyallup River.
    • Policemen raided Indian fishing groups, destroyed boats, slashed nets, manhandled people, and arrested seven Indians.
  • In 1968 the Supreme Court confirmed the Indians rights under the treaty in which a state could “regulate all fishing” if they didn’t discriminate against Indians.
puyallup tribe cont
Puyallup Tribe Cont.
  • States continued to arrest Indians and were doing with the Supreme Court ruling what whites in South had done with the Fourteenth Amendment for a number of years… ignoring it.
  • Many protests, raids, and arrests continued into the early seventies.
  • Many Indians that were involved in the “fish-ins” were veterans of the Vietnam War.
more events
More Events…
  • On November 9th, 1969 a dramatic event took place.
  • Protests had occurred and it was declared to the whole world that the Indians still lived and would fight for their rights.
  • Before dawn, 78 Indians landed on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and occupied the island.
  • In 1964, young Indians had occupied the island to establish an Indian University but they were driven off, there was no media coverage of this event.
  • Video:
richard oaks
Richard Oaks
  • Their group was now led by Richard Oaks, who was known as a Mohawk, who directed Indian Studies at California State University – San Francisco and other locations.
  • Population with Indians increased as more and more landed on the island. By the end of November nearly 600 Indians, representing over 50 tribes, were living on the island.
  • People living on Alcatraz called themselves “Indians of All Tribes” and issued a proclamation, “We Hold the Rock.”
  • With this they offered to buy Alcatraz with glass beads and red cloth, the price they were paid for Manhattan Island over 300 years earlier.
alcatraz island
Alcatraz Island
  • In the months that followed, electricity, water and phones were cut off due to making the island for Native American studies for Ecology.
  • Many Indians had to leave but others insisted on staying.
  • After a year on Alcatraz they still stood holding hands on the island in the true names of Freedom, Justice and Equality.
  • They learned that violence breeds only more violence and they had carried themselves in a peaceful manner, hoping that the government of the U.S. will act accordingly as well.
the longest walk
The Longest Walk
  • February 11th, 1978, Native Americans from tribes all over the US gathered on Alcatraz Island.
  • The purpose of The Longest Walk was to inform people about 11 pieces of anti-Indian Legislation.
  • The walk ended in Washington D.C. close to the Washington Monument, the people who had participated had walked about 3,200 miles.
  • Non-Indian supporters included Muhammad Ali, US Senator Ted Kennedy and Marlon Brando (The Godfather).
the longest walk cont
The Longest Walk Cont.
  • A week after they had arrived in Washington, Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act which was enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious right and cultural practices of American Indians.
  • President Jimmy Carter refused to meet with the representatives from the walk.
navajo indians
Navajo Indians
  • In the mid-1800s, United States troops were ordered by Kit Carson to burn Navajo Villages.
  • They burned villages down to the ground, destroyed their crops and orchards, and forced them off their property.
  • In late 1960s, Peabody Coal Company started mining on the Navajo’s land.
  • The Company pointed to a “contract” signed with the Navajos. It was a reminder of “treaties” signed by them which took away all Indian land.
navajo indians cont
Navajo Indians Cont.
  • Spring of 1969 one hundred and fifty Navajos declared that the stripping of the land would pollute the air and water, destroy grazing land for livestock, and waste their scarce water resources.
  • One elderly Navajo woman stated,
    • “Peabody’s monsters are digging up the heart of our Mother Earth, our sacred mountains, and we also feel the pains.. I have lived here for years and I’m not about to move.”
  • The Navajo were not the only tribe affected by Peabody Coal Company, the Hopi were also affected.
la raza
La Raza
  • La Raza was a magazine which supplied information, ignored by the media, which told about the Pit River Indians of northern California.
  • Sixty Pit Indians occupied land which they said belonged to them and resisted when Forest Services ordered them to leave.
  • Forest Services then burned the landscape because the Pit River Indians had built a Quonset Hut which was apparently ugly.
  • As the landscape burnt down Indians and government discussed the situation in which it was revealed that no treaty existed which claimed the land.
  • A federal statute was cited that the land dispute between the Indians and whites,
    • “the burden of proof falls on the white man.”
  • American Indians have been resisting the US Government for centuries.
  • They have dealt with treaty after treaty being broken, when they have been promised otherwise.
  • They began to resist in whatever way they could, whether it was “fish-ins” or such events as The Longest Walk.
  • Another thing the American Indians began to do was publish magazines and newspapers such as, Akwesasne Notes, which gave information not provided in media coverage.
  • Alcatraz Island seemed to be the home for defiance of the US Government, many different movements and events took place on or originated on the island.
  • All tribes were affected by the lack of rights, and therefore they all became involved in the fight for their rights.
  • Josephy, Alvin M. Jr., Nagel, Jonae, & Johnson, Troy. (1999) Red Power: The American Indians’ Fight for Freedom University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, USA