approach of the enemy. The fire steel was scarce, we had to use rocks most of the time.The knives we procured from the Hudson Bay Company.When we killed a bufialo bull, we placed him on his knees, then we began to skin him down the back of the neck, down the backbone, splitting it on each side.The cows we laid on their backs, and cut down the middle. We used the buftalo cowhide for bufialo robes; the buffalo bull’s hides were split down the back because from this hide we made war shields, parflesche bags, and saddle blan- kets.The husbands would tell the wives to take care of the heads.The wives took the brains out of the buft’alo skull and mixed them with the largest part of the liver, and after mixing well, used the brains and liver in tanning hides. Then the wife was told to take out the tripe and skin it, for they used the skin as a bucket with which to carry water when they got home. They had strips of rawhide about three feet long and a quarter of an inch wide and tied the meat so that they could carry it home on the horses.They took the backbone after it had been cleaned of the flesh, and tied the meat to that and threw it over the back of the horse so that the load would not hurt the back of the horse.When we got home with the meat we unloaded.The men who had gone without their wives simply got off their horses and went into the tepee. The women rushed out to get the meat. Then the women took the horse with the meat on it to their father-in-law. Then the mother-in-law hurried to get the meal, taking the ribs of the buffblo, setting them up against the fire to roast. After the meal was cooked, it was cut in slices and placed in a wooden bowl, and the mother-in-law took the meat over to the lodge of her son-in-law. That was all we had for our meal. We had no coffee or any- thing else to eat, but we made a good meal from the meat of the buffalo. . . . About that time night came on, and the chie6 sent for Four Bear, and Four Bear would go around and tell the people that the grass in the camp was pretty well taken up. The next morning the women would take their medi- cine pipes and put them on the side, indicating where the next camp was going to be, and thus we went on from camp to camp.


A Century of Dishonor (1881)

In the years following the Civil War, problems with Natiue Ameiuns in the West beume inoeasingly dfficult to resolve.The federal gouernment policy of aeating rcserua- tions by treaty with specifc Indian tibes did not work. President Ulysses S. Grant en- dorsed the “peace policy,” which mlledfor “concentrating” most Plains Indians into fiao large resmtations: one in the IndianTLrtitory (Oklahoma) ant the other in the Dakota Tbnitory. Gouernnent ffianagement of these rcseruations was poot, and Natiue-Amerfuan resentffient inueaseil. Other forces compounileil the situation: New iliscoueries of gold and siluer, westward railroad expansion, the destruction of the bufalo, and white ilemanils for more land only heightened tensions. Strugling against these threats to




their ciuilization, some Native Amerieans resisteil. It a series of Indian wars, the U.S, Army subdued hostile tribes and pushed Natiue Ameicans onto the rcseruations. Alarmed at the plight of the Native American, Massachusetts-born Helen Hunt Jack- son studied the history of Indiat-white relatiors.Jacluon’s boole, A Century of Dis- honor (1881), chronicled the federal gouernment\ mistreatment of Natiue Americans.

Q u e s t i o n s t o C o n s i d e r

1. According to Jackson, what motivated whites to mistreat Native Ameri- cans?

2. What shaped whites’views about the Native Americans?

3. What doesJackson hope to accomplish with her book?

4. How would’WilliamAyer, the author of”A’Western Newspaper Editor- ial on the Custer Massacre” (Document 130), respond to Jackson’s view of Indians? The federal government?

. . . It makes litde difference, however, where one opens the record of the history of the Indians; every page and every year has its dark stain. The story of one tribe is the story of all, varied only by differences of time and place; but neither time nor place makes any difference in the main facts. Colorado is as greedy and unjust in 1880 as was Georgia in 1830, and Ohio in 1.795; and the United States Government breaks promises now as deftly as then, and with an added ingenuity from long practice.

One of its strongest supports in so doing is the wide-spread senriment among the people of dislike to the Indian, of impatience with his presence as a “barrier to civilizarion,” and distrust of it as a possible danger. The old tales of the frontier life, with its horrors of Indian wafare, have gradually, by wvo or three generations’telling, produced in the average mind something like an hereditary instinct of unquestioning and unreasoning aversion which it is alrnost impossible to dislodge or soften.

There are hundreds of pages of unimpeachable testimony on the side of the Indian; but it goes for nothing, is set down as sentimentalism or partisan- ship, tossed aside and forgotten.

President after president has appointed comrnission after commission to inquire into and report upon Indian affairs, and to make suggestions as to the best metho& of managing them. The reports are filled with eloquent state- ments of wrongs done to the Indians, of perfidies on the part of the Govern- ment; they courxel, as earnestJy as words can, a trial of the simple and unper- plexing expedients of telling truth, keeping promises, making fair bargains, dealing jusdy in all ways and all things.These reports are bound up with the Government’s Annual Reports, and that is the end of them. It would probably be no exaggeration to say that not one American citizen out of ten thousand

Helcn Hunt Jackson, A Century o/Dtllotrot (NsYork, 1881), 337-340.




ever sees them or knows that they exist, and yet any one of them, circulated throughout the country read by the right-thinking, right-Geling men and women of this land, would be of itself a “campaign document” that would ini- tiate a revolution which would not subside until the Indians’wrongs were, so far as is now left possible, righted.

In 1869 President Grant appointed a commission of nine men, represent- ing the in{luence and philanthropy of six leading States, to visit the difierent Indian reservations, and to “examine all matters pertaining to Indian affairs.”

In the report of this commission are such paragraphs as the following: “To assert that ‘the Indian will not work’ is as true as it would be to say that the white man will not work.

“‘Why should the Indian be expected to plant corn, fence lands, build houses, or do anything but get food from day to day, when experience has taught him that the product of his labor will be seized by the white man tomorrow? The most industrious white man would become a drone under sim- ilar circumstances. Nevertheless, many of the Indians” (the commissioners might more forcibly have said 130,000 of the Indiaru) “are already at work, and furnish ample refutation of the assertion that

‘the Indian will not work.’ There is no escape from the inexorable logic of facts.

“The history of the Government connections with the Indians is a shameful record of broken treaties and unfirlfilled promises, The history of the border white man’s connection with the Indians is a sickening record of murder, outrage, robbery and wrongs committed by the former, as the rule, and occasional savage outbreaks and unspeakably barbarous deeds of retalia- tion by the latter, as the exception.

“tught by the Government that they had rights entided to respect, when those rights have been assailed by the rapacity of the white man, the arm which should have been raised to protect them has ever been ready to sustain the aggressor.

“The testimony of some of the highest military oficers of the United States is on record to the efFect that, in our Indian wars, almost without exception, the first aggressions have been made by the white man; and the assertion is supported by every civilian of reputation who has studied the subject. In addition to the class of robbers and oudaws who find impunity in their nefarious pursuits on the frontiers, there is a large class of prcfessedly reputable men who use every means in their power to bring orr Indian wars for the sake of the profit to be realized from the presence of troops and the expenditure of Government funds in their midst.They proclaim death to the Indians at all times in words and publicatiors, making no distinction between the innocent and the guilry. They irate the lowest class of men to the perpe- tration of the darkest deeds against their victims, and as judges and jurymen shield them from the justice due to their crimes. Every crime committed by a white man against an Indian is concealed or palliated. Every offence com- mitted by an Indian against a white man is borne on the wings of the post or the telegraph to the remotest corner of the land, clothed with all the horron which the reality or imagination can throw around it. Against such inlluences as these the people of the United States need to be warned.” . . .




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A Western Newspaper Editorial oh the Custer Massacre (1876)

The country was still euphoric ouer the celebration of the Centennial when word of Colonel George A. Custer’s massdqe spread throughout the nation. Custer was part of a military operation to drive portions of the dkgruntled Sioux (I-akota) tribe bacb to their rcseruation, when he ordered an attack on the Natiue-Ameican encalnpffient along the Liule Big Horn Riuer in present-day southeastern Montana. Custzr and 264 of hh men were killed in what became known as “Custer’s I-ast Stand.”William N. Byer, author of the editorial excerpted as follows, was consiilercil a western “pioneer,” hauing traueled and lived thtoughout the West. In 1859, he established tle Rocky Mountain News, the frst newspaper in the Colorado teffitory and he continued to edit and publkh the paperJor more than 19 yearc. In addition to his newspaper, Byer toob an active role in pushing Colorado statehood and was closely identfied with pro- moting the growth and deuelopment of Denuer. His editorial reueals much about west- em attitudes of the time toward Natiye Americans anil easterners.

Q u e s t i o n s t o C o n s i d e r

1. Whom does Byer blame for Custer’s massacre?

2. Why does Byer fear the massacre w.ill harm the “new west”?

3. In what ways does Byer’s editorial reflect westerners’ views about Native Americans and the development of the’West?

4. On what issues would Byer and Helen HuntJackson (“A Century of Dishonor,” Document 129) disagree about the Native Americans?

The wish was father to the thought when yesterday we hazarded the asser- tion that the report of the annihilation of Custer’s command bore the appearance of exaggeration, if not of entire fabrication. The details published in this morning’s dispatches, although many of them emanate from not par- ticularly trustworthy newspaper correspondents, forbid further increduliry and we . . . accept the terrible truth in all its enormiry that some of the bravest ofEcers in the service and a large fraction of one of the finest cavalry regiments, have fallen victim to the picay,rne policy that domineers in all matters appertaining to Indian afairs.The blood must boil in the veins of the most fishlike, at reading the horrible story of the massacre of three hundred United States soldiers at the hands of ten times that number of savages,when it is remembered that all this is the fruit of the do-nothing system of the Indian department. Custer and his men have been murdered, not by Indians,

“Extcrmimtion thc Oniy Remedy,” @cnrer) Ruky Mourtair Nrur, July 8,7876,p-2.




who were only the instruments of their death, but by the sleek, smooth talk- ing, Quaker advocates of the peace policy, who have always insisted that the Indian was a man and a brother, and an elder brother, at that, with all the rights of primogeniture. Had the Indian problem been treated properly, long years since it would have been solved, and Custer would not now be a man- gled corpse, from there being either no Indians alive to kill him, or the rem- nants of the race so restrained within bounds that it would not be possible for them to perpetrate the deed that they have. The Indian bureau has all along realized Dicken’s [sic] conception of the Circumlocution Office.*

How not to do it has ever been its aim. and the success with which it has carried out its design is a blot on the entire fabric of government. What a spectacle, indeed, is it for foreign nations to sneer at, when the great republic of the west, for all its population of forty-four millions of people, allows its soldiers to be overcome by odds of ten to one, although its antagonist num- bers but a few paltry thousand of savages-The entire system pursued towards the Indians, crowned as it is with this terrible disaster, is unworthy of the government and a disgrace to the country.

While the entire nation has come to mourn the blot on its escutcheon caused by the catastrophe to Custer, we of the new west have a right to feel outraged, not for the sake of the honor that Falstaff dubbed but a word, but for the wrong that is done as is preventing the increase of our population and capital, by permitting the impression to gain ground abroad that our set- dements are liable to hostile inroads. The states people have vague ideas of distance, and the [ocation] in which Custer and those with him met their death is liable to be located anywhere between Long and Pike’s Peaks, while very likely in the extreme east, the Platte is supposed to be the river from which Gen. Reno at last got water, after suffering from a thirty-six hours’ thirst. The prosperity of the entire country from the Missouri river to the Rocky Mountains is injured for years to come, more than it will easily be believed, by the destruction of the Seventh cavalry. The shot that killed Custer was heard around the world and everywhere’ that it aroused the echoes, it frightened possible population and certain capital from the new west. The injury done this entire region, indeed, will be almost irreparable, unless the Sioux are at once exterminated. This is the only alternate. Do what we will, it will be impossible to make it known in the states that Den- ver is as secure from Indian attack as New York, and that Custer fell half a thousand miles form the northern boundary of Colorado. Distance leads exaggeration to danger. No coward so great as capital, and even the con- sumptive, flying from the deadly east winds of the coast will think tw’ice before he exposes himself to what he believes to be the scalping knives of the Sioux.

In the name, then, of the people of the new *est, we demand that instant measures to taken to, at once and forever, prevent the possibfity of the recent

‘This is an allusion to Charles Dickcro’ Bleak House



1 3 1 C U L T U R A T E X C H A N G E O N T H E A R I Z O N A F R O N T I E R ( 1 8 7 4 )

defeat of the troops being repeated. Let the story of custer’s death be lost in the terrible vengeance taken for it. Let real war be in order for once. custer would never have met with his disaster had he been properly supported. In place of a few scattered companies of cavalry, at least three thousand fron- tiersmen, together with half that number of regular soldiers should scour the enemy’s country, and no quarter should be given, as it certainly has not been taken. The extermination of the Sioux and the destruction of all that is theirs, is necessary for the future prosperity of the entire new west. For years rve have had population and capital frightened away from us by fears of the Indians, and we call upon the government for redress at the eleventh hour. And by redress we mean the extermination of the hostile tribes.

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Cultural Exchange on the Arizona Frontier (1974)

As Americans migrated to the west, they did not enter a vacant land, particularly in the Southwest, where various Natiue-American tribes had lived for several centuries. The spankh explored the region as early as the 1540s and established trading posts and missions (santa Fe was maile the capital in 1619).As afar-Jlung northem prouinee of Mexico, a distinet spanish-Natiue-Ameriean eulture euolued. Anglos (white traders and settlers) came to Arizona before the Ciuil War, but they remained a minority until the early 20th century. The inJlux of whites brought conJlict with the Natiue Ameri- cans, anil as outrages on both sides escalated, the u.S. Army was sent to maintain ordu. In 1874, CaptainJacle summerhayes’unit was dispathed to Arizona.Aaompany- ing summerhayes was his rccent briile, Martha, a well-educated New England laoman who kept a/, account of life in frontier Aizona, which she later published. The sum- methayeses spent four years on various outltosts in Arizona, but one of their initial stops was Ehrenberg, a colorado River toutn. In the selation that follows, Martha summer- hayes observes local (Mexican) eustoffis.

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Q u e s t i o n s t o C o n s i d e r

why was Summerhayes fascinated with Mexican custo’ls, especiaily the activities of the women?

For what reasons does Summerhayes regret the American way of life in Arizona? ‘What

does this document reveal aboutAnglo relations with local inhab- itants in Arizona?

What does Summerhayes hope to accomplish with this account?

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