The expansion of the American empire westward across the Mississippi River was motivated by greed and supported by God. During the nineteenth century American greed was manifested in an obsession for privately owned land and for gold, silver, and other precious metals. Americans believed that the role of government was to obtain land and mineral rights from the Indian nations that owned them and then give them to entrepreneurs for private exploitation. Many Americans believe that their God has made them a chosen people with dominion over both nature and all pagan nations.
In Part II, I had concluded with the Third Generation's great crisis. The Modoc were destroyed as an independent people, and forced into being part of the Klamath Tribes on Klamath Indian land, to the north, in Oregon. Keintpoos with Cho'ocks and Scarfaced Charley and their families had left the reservation to go back to lost river. The Battle of Lost River, which broke out when the army and a Linkville militia attempted to force the return of the people, and their disarmament, ended with deaths and injuries on both sides. The Modoc all retreated near Tule Lake to Lava Beds. Hooker Jim's band massacred settlers in the area around the lake, right at the heart of the Applegate Trail in Modoc country.
Prior to contact, the Modoc people inhabited an area approximately 5,000 square miles in southern Oregon and the northeastern corner of California, where today Modoc County corresponds somewhat to traditional geography. To the southwest (moowat and Tgalam) Mt. Shasta rises up, covered in shining blue ice. Modoc people would make pilgrimages to the sacred mountain every year, but would not dwell there. Sacred journeys were also made to Medicine Lake: a healing volcanic feature now used as a recreation park. To the east (lobiitdal') lies Goose Lake, and to the north (yaamat) in Klamath land is Mt. Mazama. Today, Mazama is known as Crater Lake.
Thousands of years ago, oral traditional states, the ancestors of the Modoc and the much more numerous Klamath people hid in caves from the catastrophic eruption of Mazama. Beyond the terrifying images of raining ash and fire imaginable, this event affected world climate.
In between these boundaries are Klamath Lake, Tule Lake, Lost, Williamson and Sprague Rivers, hundreds of marshes, many seasonally dry, pine forests, the lush Cascade mountains, high desert, and alkali flats most desolate in appearance. The geography dictated the lifestyle: considered harsh by other Indian peoples, Modocs were nonetheless blessed with the bounty of wocas, a pond-lily seed, during the annual harvest season, salmon and suckerfish, as well as plentiful duck, pelican, goose and other waterfowl, many deer, moose, bear, elk, and delicious berries and roots like camas. Traditionally, they are a weaving and hunting people. Tule reed is the principle fabric source.
This stark land was one of the last places in the 48 where European settlers, desirous for land, timber and gold, would venture. It would become the setting for the most expensive Indian war in US history.
In 1763, the Ottawa leader Pontiac led an alliance of Indian nations in the Ohio Valley in a war of resistance against the British. In defeating this Indian alliance, the British turned to biological warfare in the form of smallpox.
In 1847, the traditional cultural values and practices of American Indians in the Plateau Area of Washington and Oregon collided violently with the cultural imperialism of Protestant missionaries. As a result, both Indian and non-Indian people were executed according to Indian and non-Indian cultural values. This clash of cultures is commonly called the Cayuse Indian War.
It is not uncommon for Indian tribes to be named for the food they consume. One group of Shoshone living in the mountains between Idaho and Montana were called Sheepeaters because mountain sheep were the mainstay of their food supply. In 1879, the deaths of five Chinese miners was attributed to the Sheepeaters, even though the murders appeared to have been committed by a party of Americans disguised as Indians. This marked the beginning of the Sheepeater War.
By the end of the nineteenth century, it was commonly believed by scholars, politicians, and the general public that Indians were destined to disappear. In the twentieth century, many scholars continue to write as those Indians did, in fact, disappear by the twentieth century. Since there weren't supposed to be any Indians in the twentieth century, there weren't supposed to be any Indian wars in the twentieth century. Yet there are many incidents involving military action against Indians as well as the actions of volunteer groups and law enforcement agencies against Indians that can be considered to be Indian "war" similar to those of the nineteenth century.
In honor of my mother, THE FLORA SOMBRERO LIND NAVAJO ENDOWMENT FUND has been set up to accept your donations.
This scholarship endowment has been established at the American Indian College Fund to honor Flora Sombrero Lind, as an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who was born at Inscription House, Arizona of the Many Goats clan circa 1925. This scholarship endowment is funded by Flora's family and friends who want to see Navajo students pursue higher education and carry on their great Navajo heritage.
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Native American Netroots
...a forum for the discussion of political, social and economic issues affecting the indigenous peoples of the United States, including their lack of political representation, economic deprivation, health care issues, and the on-going struggle for preservation of identity and cultural history
The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is a non-profit 501c(3) organization that provides legal representation and technical assistance to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide - a constituency that often lacks access to the justice system. NARF focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations.
Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights News by Brenda Norrell