District of Despair: Montana Reservation Schools | Alone | Loot | Bansky | Zinke gone

Just half of Wolf Point’s Native students graduate from high school, compared with about three-quarters of their white peers. In June 2017, the Tribal Executive Board of Fort Peck filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights requesting a federal investigation into its contention that the Wolf Point school system discriminates against Native students.

“I think the sensitivity to different cultures, sometimes it ends with Native people,” said Ron Lessard, the acting executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education since 2017.

Source: District of Despair: On a Montana Reservation, Schools… — ProPublica



In her essay “Alone in Company,” Chelsea Bayouth reflects on the role of an artist at the end of 2018:  “For me, it is to fear that every word or image is a window into public, political, and social tumult.  It means you have to be more vulnerable than you or anyone in times previous has ever been…. Social capital is the currency, and if you have none you are poor. ”


Royal statues from the Palaces of Abomey in Benin, displayed at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris; they are among the works slated to be returned to Benin as soon as possible (photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr)









The Ivory Coast is demanding that France return 148 works once looted from the country.  The Ivory Coast’s culture minister, Maurice Bandaman, confirmed that a list of works were sent to France and are set to be returned in 2019.  Bandaman also told Agence-France Presse, “At least 50 museums around the world have Ivorian works, and this does not include private collection,” indicating that France is not the only country with looted works. [Agence France-Presse]

The British Museum’s ‘Looting’ Problem  …headlines across the internet announced that the British Museum was to “return looted antiquities to Iraq.”

Clearly, the United States has an aversion to facing its past and is long overdue for a moment of truth and reconciliation. Read:  The Field Museum’s Native North American Hall starts to ask who it represents | Feature | Chicago Reader

One more: As Belgium Reopens Africa Museum, DR Congo Demands Restitution of Artifacts

(This is a trend I am very glad to see)



A new work by Banksy has appeared at the back of a car garage in Port Talbot, Wales last week. Since then, crowds have gathered at the scene, with local authorities having to manage and organize the groups of people. Banksy claimed responsibility for the work on his website and Instagram. The garage is owned by Ivan Lewis, a local steelworker. “I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Lewis. “My phone is ringing, on my house phone there’s 1,000 messages on it.” [Art Daily]


Shan Goshorn, “a Cherokee artist and activist known for her contemporary approach to traditional basket-weaving,” died of cancer at the age of 61. [Tulsa World]


Under a cloud of scandal… the toxic Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is gone (fired) (top photo)

Can we call it a year now?  2017 and 2018 wore me out.  Cancer didn’t help but I feel woke enough.

02019 – please, do us a favor? Be kind to us. We deserve better!



Identity, Indians and THE MIX

tacosAs Adoptees we need to be flexible, open to the new, to synchronicities, to unlikely possibilities and to seeing the extraordinary opportunities we have, to deal with the losses, the traumas of adoption, to be who we want to be.  Identity, that ‘thing’ we have taken from us in adoption which is replaced by a new identity invented by our adopters, is not a fixed point in our lives. Identity is ours to create, we can be whoever we want to be, no matter who we were told we were. – Von Hughes (on Lost Daughters)


By Lara Trace Hentz

Identity? Oh yeah, baby. It’s so vast, so incredibly vast. In my new book Becoming I list some of my grandmothers (the ones who gave me blood and ancestry) because some are immigrants and some are Indigenous. I have so much interest in them, I can barely contain my emotions of enthusiasm and happiness that I finally know some of their names!

My cousin Cathy was asking me why some of our relatives hid the fact they are Indian. Well the past few posts I have on this blog might be a good indication. Savages? Not able to vote? Own land? Herded to concentration camps/reservations?

Cathy’s grandmother Bessie and my grandmother Lona are sisters – her grandmother claimed their mother (Mary Frances Morris-Harlow) was not Indian. I didn’t meet my grandma Lona. Yet Bessie’s father always said his mother was Indian and told his children and grandchildren.

My own dad told me his grandma Mary Frances was Cherokee. (We also have Shawnee ancestry.)

But how could a Cherokee/Shawnee be in Illinois?

After invasion, when colonies became the United States of America, Native Americans were very aware they were being denied basic civil rights. I know many readers are history teachers or history buffs, so you already know about the Cherokee Trail of Tears, etc.  Some of my ancestors were in Tennessee and Kentucky then were forced on the trail. Some made it as far as Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and stopped. Why? Because if they married white men, or married mixed-blood men who didn’t claim they are Indian, that meant they had a future.  If they had family already in Illinois that could also be their salvation!

I have many ancestors who lived and died in Pana, and that part of Illinois.  Where Illinois meets Kentucky was another Trail of Tears.  Where southern Illinois meets Missouri is the Trail of Tears State Park.  Illinois, particularly south-central Illinois is filled with street names like Nokomis, Pocahantas, Mowequa, Powhatan, Chillicothe, and many more. I do not believe this is mere coincidence. Many Indians in the East were moving and migrating as more and more colonists were encroaching – and somehow enough (mixed) Indians were in Illinois and enough settled in Illinois, enough to have an influence on place names. (The last time I drove through Illinois, my jaw dropped at all the Indian names!)

  • Illinois is an Algonquin word. Illinois – from the French rendering of an Algonquian (perhaps Miami) word apparently meaning “s/he speaks normally” (c.f. Miami ilenweewa),[13] from Proto-Algonquian *elen-, “ordinary” + -wē, “to speak”,[14][15] referring to the Illiniwek.
  • Chicago – derived from the French rendering of a Miami-Illinois word for a type of wild onion
  • Peoria – named after the Peoria Tribe which previously lived in the area
  • The name “Pana” is derived from the American Indian tribe, the Pawnee. Pawnee became “pani” or “slave” in the French patois or creole that developed in Illinois. This evolved into “Pana”,[3] now pronounced, however, [ˈpejnə].

Though I have not researched this, many mounds are also in this area! Many were plowed down but thankfully some still exist. Cahokia Mounds is located in Collinsville, Illinois off Interstates 55/70 and 255. My Miq’mac friend Alice Azure wrote a book about her visits to these ancient sacred mounds.

Why would Indians settle in Illinois?

Some were already there but during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to control the travel of all Native Americans off the Indian reservations.  Since Native Americans did not obtain U.S. citizenship until 1924, they were considered wards of the state and were denied various basic rights, including the right to travel.[WIKI 30] The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) discouraged off-reservation activities, including the right to hunt, fish, or visit other tribes.  As a result, the BIA instituted a “pass system” designed to control movement of the Indians. This system required Indians living on reservations to obtain a pass from an Indian agent before they could leave the reservation.[WIKI 31]

If I were Indian in the late 1800s, forced to walk hundreds of miles, I’d settle down in Illinois and find a nice man, marry and have my kids. Better than moving to Indian Territory/Oklahoma reservations where you couldn’t leave without permission and a pass.

So I will continue with my family research and try to find more of my grandmother’s stories, if they exist on paper. (I am grateful to have their names!)

I decided to start a brand new e-magazine THE MIX, so more of these vast and varied family stories can be collected and published.

Salish child
A Salish Native American child in 1910
Enlarge this image

Congress Granted Citizenship to All Native Americans Born in the U.S.
June 2, 1924

Native Americans have long struggled to retain their culture. Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States. Many Native Americans had, and still have, separate nations within the U.S. on designated reservation land. But on June 2, 1924, Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. Yet even after the Indian Citizenship Act, some Native Americans weren’t allowed to vote because the right to vote was governed by state law. Until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.


If we weren’t citizens, what were we? …Lara


The original inhabitants of the area that is now Illinois included:

About Our Maps
*The Chickasaw tribe
*The Dakota Sioux tribe
*The Ho-Chunk tribe (Winnebago)
*The Illinois tribe (Illini)
*The Miami tribe
*The Shawnee tribe


Other Indian tribes that migrated into Illinois after Europeans arrived:

*The Delaware tribe
*The Kickapoo tribe
*The Ottawa tribe
*The Potawatomi tribe
*The Sac and Fox tribes
*The Wyandot tribe

There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Illinois today.

The Indian tribes of Illinois are not extinct, but like many other native tribes, they were forced to move to Indian reservations in Oklahoma by the American government. You can find their present-day locations by clicking on the tribal links above.

Who were the Suala Indians?

December 29, 2013

Can you tell me something about the Suala Indians in North Carolina? I saw them on an old map. I looked them up in Wikipedia and it said that they were the same as the Joara Indians and lived near Morganton, North Carolina. However, a few websites said that the village of Suala was just north of Greenville, SC and made no mention of Joara. That location is pretty close to where I live. One internet article on the Joara Indians said that they were Cherokees. Another article said that they were Catawba Indians. I can’t find either Suala or Joara listed now as a tribe. After reading all the articles on the internet, I am totally confused. Where exactly did the Suala live? Who were they really? C. Mundy – Weaverville, NC.

In the late spring of 1540 the Hernando de Soto Expedition was traveling northwestward in South Carolina in order to reach the large town of Kusa (Coça in Spanish.) According to chroniclers, who wrote about his expedition afterward, the Spaniards stopped at a village named Xuala or Xuale for a couple of days. When the De Soto Chronicles were translated into English the name was changed to Suala, but is actually pronounced like Shū :ä :lë. It means Buzzard in several Southeastern indigenous languages.

De Soto’s chroniclers tell us very little about this village. We know that it was not particularly large or culturally advanced. It was at the foot of some high mountains, probably the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The most likely location of this village was on the Saluda River in South Carolina or at the location of present Saluda, NC. That’s 245 miles southwest of Morganton, NC. The reason is explained below.

The word, Xuala or Xuale, continued to appear on European maps of North America for at least another 150 years, but no other explorer mentioned visiting a village by that name. Captain Juan Pardo explored extensive areas of South Carolina and western North Carolina, but didn’t mention a word similar to Suala. In 1670 explorer Johann Lederer explored the entire length of the Blue Ridge Foothills to the edge of the Jocasee River, but made no mention of Suala. John Lawson explored the Foothills and Blue Ridge Escarpment of South Carolina in 1700 and also made no mention of Suala.

Etymology of Saluda

Saluda is probably the Anglicization of the Itsate Creek word, Suale-te, which means Buzzard People. Itsate was the predominant language spoken in the Piedmont and western Coastal Plain of South Carolina. All of the names of the original “Lower Cherokee towns” in South Carolina are actually Itsate Creek words. Europeans generally wrote a Muskogean “te” sound as a “da.” The Muskogee “t” sound is roughly halfway between an English “t” and “d”. Itsate Creeks had three “t” sounds.

Local histories in the region claim that it Saluda is derived from the Cherokee word for “Place of the green corn,” Tsaludi-yi. The facts are not even close and the location is outside the region where the Cherokees occupied villages. The Cherokee words for green corn – place are “i’-tse-yu’-s-di-yi.

It is quite possible that the Xuale People were descendants of the Hopewell Culture and a division of the Shawnee. The buzzard was considered especially sacred to the participants in the Hopewell Culture. It is believed by some anthropologists that the “Hopewell” fed their deceased love ones to semi-domesticated buzzards. This macabre tradition is still practiced by some Tibetan Buddhists. If true, it certainly would explain why the buzzards return each year to Hinckley, Ohio!

Misinterpreted Native words are a common problem in the Southern Highlands. Even in North Carolina, the vast majority of Native American place names are Creek words, not Cherokee. In the past, local historians or newspaper reporters started with Anglicized words, grossly inaccurate understandings of early Native American history and not a clue how Native American words are pronounced. They then thumbed through inaccurate Cherokee dictionaries to find a word that if pronounced like English was similar to their town name. Once the inaccurate interpretations were printed, the myths became facts. As will be seen below, the problem is even more intractable when college professors create myths.

The Xuala Indians were a West Virginia tribe

There actually was a large, culturally advanced tribe, living along the Kanawha River in northern West Virginia, named variously the Xuale, Xuala or Xualae. Many anthropologists in the Lower Southeast seem to be totally unaware of their existence. They were devastated by an enemy tribe in the late 1600s, at about the same time that the indigenous people of the Shenandoah Valley were exterminated by slave raiders. The two peoples may have been the same or culturally related.

Portions of the Wikipedia article on the Xualae should be ignored. It states that the Cherokees, who (th article says) controlled the southern half of West Virginia, conquered the northern half between 1671 and 1685. European maps did not mention a word similar to Cherokee until 1717. Maps between 1671 and 1685 show several tribes occupying West Virginia, but not the Cherokees. Southwestern Virginia was occupied by the Tamahiti Creeks, the Shawnee and the Rickohockens during that era.

The word, Xuala, disappeared from the maps . . . both in present day South Carolina and West Virginia after 1700 AD, but that does not mean that the ethnic group was completely extinct. Large numbers of Shawnee Indians continued to live in the vicinity of Saluda and Asheville, NC until evicted by the British government in 1764. Those Shawnee could have been descendants of the people met by de Soto.

How Xuala became mixed up with Joara

The “fact” that the small village visited by de Soto named Xuale in 1540 had grown to become the only Native American community labeled a city by Juan Pardo in 1567 has an interesting history. In the mid-1980s, a group of professors from the Universities of North Carolina and Georgia traveled to Asheville, NC to promote their interpretation of the route taken by Hernando de Soto. At an Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast they announced that de Soto had traveled through Asheville and stayed for several days at the principal Cherokee town of Guaxule at the site of a mound on the Biltmore Estate.

After the breakfast meeting, the good professors were grilled by local and state cultural preservation officials and told that the three feet high mound at the Biltmore Estate was probably a Woodland Period mound, over 1000 years older than de Soto. No 16th century Spanish artifacts have been found in the French Broad River Valley that flows through the Asheville Region. There were no occupied Mississippian Culture towns in the French Broad River Valley during the period when de Soto and Pardo were exploring. A very large Shawnee town stood, where Biltmore Village now was located, until 1763.

Nevertheless, the professors gave a press conference that afternoon and repeated their statements from the breakfast meeting. Soon a historical marker was placed near Biltmore Village that replicated what the professors said: “Asheville was the location of the original capital of the Cherokee Nation.” For the next 15 years the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce launched marketing campaigns that promoted Asheville as “The Ancient Heart of the Cherokee Nation.”

The “Desoto Slept Here” historical marker and tourism marketing campaign were terminated after archaeologists excavated the Biltmore Mound and found it to be the ruins of a round communal building, dating from about 250 AD to 500 AD. Unfortunately, by the time the Biltmore Mound was excavated, several prominent archaeologists in the Southeast had published books that took both the de Soto and Pardo Expeditions through Asheville.

The mythological Asheville route would have added about 400 miles to de Soto’s journey to reach the great town of Kusa that cannot be accounted for in his chronology. Nevertheless, faces and careers had to be saved. The solution was to locate Suala in the North Carolina Piedmont 254 mile northeast of its probable location. In contrast, the real location was on a direct line between Kofitachiki and Kusa. However, the Morganton location gave a reason for de Soto to “change his mind” and then start heading westward back toward northwest Georgia through present day Asheville. Followers of these professors make sure that their myths permeate open access internet references, such as Wikipedia, so that the myths can be replicated across the internet.

English: A map showing the de Soto expedition ...
English: A map showing the de Soto expedition route through the future U.S. states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tenesse, and Alabama. Based on the Charles M. Hudson map of 1997. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To paraphrase Douglas MacArthur’s famous speech to the West Point cadets, “Old anthropological myths don’t die. They just fade away.”

Readers wishing to ask Richard Thornton questions concerning architecture, urban planning or Native American history may contact him at NativeQuestion@aol.com.

The Cherokee Word for Water

The Cherokee Word for Water is a feature length motion picture that tells the story of the work in the Bell Community that lead Wilma Mankiller to become the first modern female Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

This film is dedicated to the memory of Wilma Mankiller, Johnson Soap, the Bell Community and the contributions and potential of Indian people everywhere.

I was blessed to meet Wilma more than once…I am grateful for this woman and her leadership…Trace

Adopters, you do not own us

By Trace A. DeMeyer (reblogging from AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES)

OK, bear with me…
I am thinking:  The Supreme Court ruling has me dumbfounded. I am not a lawyer but the Baby Veronica case is now headed back to the South Carolina courts who already ruled in favor of Dusten Brown, the natural father of baby Veronica. It’s a legal technicality so the case is not over yet Anderson Cooper on CNN had an exclusive with the adoptive parents (on June 25th) who implied they won and can have custody? And Anderson was gushing at their angst and was so sorry they were suffering?
Really? What about the primal pain of abandonment and adoption on Veronica’s emotions and spirit? Has anyone on TV done any research on birth psychology?  It’s not obvious now since Veronica is still too young to show the signs of trauma, abandonment, confusion and reactive attachment disorder but they will come later — because she’s been adopted. (The birthmother did this to Veronica and is not off the hook by a long shot — Veronica will grow up and learn the truth eventually.)
I am thinking: What kind of parent would want to pull a child from her natural father now, after one year? Isn’t this selfish and not in the best interest of Veronica? What kind of trauma and confusion will this upheaval create for Veronica?
I am thinking: The fact that some of the Supreme Court Justices adopted children: THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE AN ADOPTEE. Like many adoptive parents, they prefer to think of every adoptee as grateful and humbled to be adopted. (These Justices should be aware of the effects of adoption, right? If they were adopted and denied their identity, this case might be different.)
I am thinking: Veronica will lose her identity as an American Indian being raised in South Carolina with non-Native parents – which is what the federal Indian Child Welfare Act was intended to stop. Being a Cherokee or a member of any sovereign tribe is a birthright for Veronica.
I am thinking: What do these adoptive parents know about the Cherokee tribe, their culture or traditions or language? If they do win custody, do they plan to offer Dusten and other tribal relatives contact with Veronica?
I am thinking it’s a birthright my adoption ended, with sealed adoption records and Minnesota being a closed records state and my adoptive parents not even aware of my ancestry. (I still do not have a copy of my original birth certificate from Minnesota with my name Laura Jean Thrall-Bland.) (My baby photo below)

I am thinking: How does adoption serve this child VERONICA when her own father wants to be her parent? Is it because the adoptive parents paid their money and had custody of Veronica since she was born – even when this child had federal protections as a member of a tribal nation?
I am thinking: Children are only children a short time. Veronica is reported to be strong-willed, even as a little girl. What will she have to say about this in a few years? Will her adoptive parents expect her to be grateful and accept and understand how they chose her — yet they took her away from a father who wanted her (even though it was very messy with her natural mother abandoning her in the beginning of her life?)
I am thinking: After watching Anderson Cooper interview Veronica’s adoptive parents, they still do not get it: you do not OWN us.  All that matters is the well-being of the child.  What does Veronica need to grow up to be a healthy and happy adult and a member of the sovereign Cherokee Nation?
I am thinking: This lawsuit is going to hurt everyone.

as i learn history: i question everything

Will the real Appalachian history please stand up


John Mitchell's famous 1755 map tells the truth about the most catastrophic and humiliating defeat that the Cherokee Nation ever experienced.  At that time, South Carolina claimed northern Georgia and a section of western North Carolina.
John Mitchell’s famous 1755 map tells the truth about the most catastrophic and humiliating defeat that the Cherokee Nation ever experienced.  At that time, South Carolina claimed northern Georgia and a section of western North Carolina.
      Credits: John Mitchell – 1755 – Map of North America
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Part One

Native American history of the Southern Appalachians

Approximately 90% or more of the letters to this column are from readers with Native American ancestry in the Appalachian region, from Ohio and Pennsylvanian southward.  Virtually all have the same dilemma.  Their family’s heritage or their tribe’s history do not jive with the “official” Native American histories and maps adopted by the United States Department of the Interior.  It is obvious that there is more confusion about the Native American history of the Southern Appalachians than any other part of North America.

Most common are the complaints of Shawnee, Chickasaw and Yuchi Indians.  Branches of the Shawnee were once spread across the region from Ohio to Florida. There are Shawnee geographical place names in all the states there and between.  The Chickasaws know that their territory once stretched from the Mississippi River to the Smokies, and also included towns in Georgia.  The Yuchi’s were once scattered over most of the Southeastern United States.  According to the official maps of the U.S. Department of Interior, however, the Shawnees, Chickasaws and Yuchi were never there and their homelands were always Cherokee.

For the next two months, this column will focus on the Native American history of the Southern Appalachians, from Pennsylvania to Alabama. We will be looking at all the known tribes of the region. Not just those that are today federally recognized. The series will generally be presented in a chronological order so that it can be saved for educational purposes. However, the first and second articles of the series will explain events in the 1700s and early 1800s that caused the region’s history to be so thoroughly distorted in our era.

A secret history

The Trail of Tears put many Southeastern Native Americans in a fog of cultural amnesia, but Cherokee society had been devastated long before then. There was a “Golden Period” in the 1720s, when the Cherokees were heroes in the eyes of South Carolina colonists for their role in saving the colony during the Yamasee War (1715-1717.)  In that decade Cherokee territory and population expanded dramatically.  However, during the period between 1734 and 1793, the Cherokee people probably lost at least ¾ of their population to plagues and wars.  Things got worse as the 18th century progressed.

European maps in the late 1600s and early 1700s showed the Southern Highlands being occupied by several branches of the Creek Indians, the Shawnee, the Chickasaw, the Yuchi and the Apalachee. The words, Charaqui or Charakee, first appeared on European maps in 1717.  They were placed on the territory formerly labeled “Rickohocken Indians” in Virginia and the northeastern tip of Tennessee, plus over the extreme northwestern tip of South Carolina.  By 1732 a tribe labeled, the Cherokees, was shown occupying a 50-75 mile wide corridor, stretching from northeastern Tennessee to the northeastern tip of South Carolina.

In early 1754, the British Crown “gave” the Cherokees an enormous territory in eastern Tennessee that was occupied by the Chickasaws, Shawnees and Yuchi, who were allies of the French.  This was done as payment for the Cherokees’ agreement to send 200 warriors to fight the Indian allies of the French in upstate New York.  In fact, Cherokee villages never occupied any of this new territory until after the American Revolution, and then, only a small portion of it.  That imaginary territory became the basis of all official Department of Interior maps that show the “traditional territory of the Cherokee Indians.”

The 1754 grant did not include any land in the present state of Georgia.  The Creeks continued to occupy all lands west of Brasstown Bald Mountain and south of the Nacoochee Valley until 1785.  A 1780 British Army map showed three small Cherokee hamlets in the northeastern tip of the province, containing an estimated 25 men of military age.   During the French & Indian War Period, the area actually occupied by Cherokee villages shrank by over a third after the Koweta and Upper Creeks took back lands lost in the 1720s when the Cherokees were at the height of their military power.

The 40 year Creek-Cherokee War ended catastrophically for the Cherokees later in 1754. An army from a single Creek town, named Koweta (west-central Georgia) destroyed all Cherokee villages in the portions of North Carolina and northeast Georgia occupied by the Creeks prior to 1717.  At least 32 Cherokee chiefs were summarily executed.  A group of teenage girls from Koweta, who were following their boyfriends around North Carolina, as a lark, pretended to be a Koweta army about to attack the principal Cherokee town of Quanasee.  The Cherokee garrison fled in terror without putting up a fight.  The girls then occupied and burned Quanasee.

The Valley and Lower Cherokees were essentially exterminated by Koweta’s blitzkrieg-like military campaign.  For years afterward, visitors to the Creek town of Koweta, near present day Carrollton, GA,  were shown the place on the Chattahoochee River where the captured Cherokee chiefs were burned at the stake.

The humiliation caused by the army of the town of Koweta defeating the entire Cherokee Nation has left a psychological scar far deeper than outsiders can imagine. This catastrophe is left out of Cherokee history courses on the reservation, while an invasion by British Colonial forces four years later is lamented.  Cherokee students are not told that the Coweta Creeks (Mountain Lion People) originated in the North Carolina Mountains.  The Coweeta, Cowee and Nikasee Mounds are labeled by North Carolina archaeologists as being built and occupied by Cherokees.

As will be explained in Part Two, Cherokee leaders originally told their own people that they arrived in the Southern Highlands at about the same time that the British began colonizing South Carolina.  This story changed when the primary legal grounds for the State of Georgia wanting them “evicted” was that the Cherokees were squatters, who were not indigenous to the Southeast.

A historical irony comes from the early 1830s, when Cherokees and white settlers were briefly in direct contact in northern Georgia.  Cherokees fighting deportation from their new home in northwest Georgia told stories to white frontiersmen of great victories in 1754 in which the Cherokees conquered all of northern Georgia . . . of the Cherokees living for hundreds of years at locations such as Track Rock Gap and Etowah Mounds that they only tenuously occupied for a generation, if at all.

Georgia militiamen dutifully wrote down the yarns as they stole the Cherokee’s farms at bayonet point. These “tall stories” became official history that is now stated as fact on a dozen state historical markers around Georgia’s mountains and virtually all state history books. The truth of horrific events in 1754 can be seen on the famous 1755 map created by North Carolina cartographer, John Mitchell.  The words, DESERTED CHERAKEE SETTLEMENTS, were boldly written across a broad swath of the Southern Highlands.

In Part Two of this series, the amazing achievements of a group of early 19th century Cherokee leaders will be discussed.  The multiple tragedies of the Trail of Tears Period partially explain the distorted history of the Southern Appalachians today.  Go to: http://www.examiner.com/native-american-history-in-national/richard-thornton for his columns


Part Two: http://www.examiner.com/article/their-world-was-turned-asunder

tiny horrors

Tiny Handcuffs. Photo by Mary Annette Pember

A Chilling Reminder of How Cruel Assimilation Was—And Is

Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country Today, January 01, 2013

For such small objects, the child’s handcuffs are surprisingly heavy when cradled in the palms of one’s hand. Although now rusted from years of disuse, they still convey the horror of their brutal purpose, which was to restrain Native children who were being brought to boarding schools. “I felt the weight of their metal on my heart,” said Jessica Lackey of the Cherokee tribe as she described holding the handcuffs for the first time.

Lackey, an alumnus of Haskell Indian Nations University, was working at the school’s Cultural Center & Museum when the handcuffs were unwrapped last spring after being kept in storage for several years. I had heard rumors about the existence of the handcuffs during visits to Haskell over the years and had made numerous inquiries to school authorities about them, but people seemed very reluctant to discuss this touchy artifact. This past summer, however, Haskell agreed to allow a public viewing of the handcuffs. Andy Girty, one of the elders who first blessed the handcuffs when they were given to Haskell in 1989, helped unwrap them for me.

Known as the Haskell Institute in its early years, the school opened its doors in 1884. It was originally founded as an instrument of the final solution to this country’s “Indian problem”; Haskell Institute’s mission then was embodied in the now infamous motto of Captain Richard H. Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School: “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” This mind-set led to decades of forced acculturation through brutal military-style incarceration cloaked as education in U.S. Indian boarding schools.

Although begun as a model for assimilation, native students have, over the years, transformed Haskell into a model for self-determination. The school’s early curriculum featured training in domestic and farming skills but has since evolved into four-year university.

Haskell’s Cultural Center & Museum, located on campus, tells the full—and often cruel—story of Haskell’s painful past as well as providing a venue to showcase Native art, culture from the past and present. Opened in 2002, the center features the permanent exhibit Honoring Our Children Through Seasons of Sacrifice, Survival, Change and Celebration, featuring artifacts, photos and letters from the school’s early days.

Read the rest here: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/tiny-horrors-chilling-reminder-how-cruel-assimilation-was%E2%80%94and-146664?fb_action_ids=10151260247109550&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&amp

WARRIORS: Navy Admiral Joseph James Clark (Cherokee)

Native Americans who served in the Military (Native American history) (next three posts)

Admiral Joseph James Clark, US Navy
1893 – 1971
Admiral Joseph James ClarkCherokee Indian


 biography: Admiral Joseph James Clark, US Navy 1893 – 1971

  • Admiral Clark was born in Pryor, Oklahoma, on 12 November 1893, son of Cherokee Indian William A. Clark and Lillie Berry Clark. He  attended Willie Halsell College, Vinita, Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, at  Stillwater; and graduated from the US Naval Academywith the class of 1918 in June 1917. He was the first Native  American graduate of the naval Academy.During World War I he served in the cruiser North Carolina, engaged in convoying troops across the Atlantic. Following the war, he remained at sea, serving  in the destroyers Aaron Ward, Aulick, and Brooks in the Near East, later commanding the Brooks upon return to the United States, and as  Executive Officer of the Bulmer, employed by the American Relief Administration and the Near East Relief. Upon  his return to the United States he became an instructor at the US Naval Academy, 1923-24.Designated Naval Aviator on 6 March 1925, he served with Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, successfully as Flight Officer  of Utility Squadron ONE, Aviation Officer of the battleship Mississippi, and Aviation Technical Advisor to Commander Battleship Division THREE. He commanded Fighting  Squadron 2-B of the Lexingtonin 1931-32,  and was Air Officer of that carrier in 1936-37.

    Shore duty on regular rotation during the period between wars included tours as Executive Officer of the Naval Air  Station, Anacostia, DC; as Aeronautical Member of the Board of Inspection and Survey, Navy Department; as Executive  Officer of the Fleet Air Base, Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, T.H., with additional duty in command of Patrol  Wing TWO, 1938-39; as Inspector of Naval Aircraft, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Buffalo, New York, 1940; and as Executive  Officer of the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, 1940-41.

    He was aboard the carrier Yorktown when  the United States entered World War II, and subsequently participated in the raid on the Marcus and Gilbert Islands. He  commissioned the USS Suwanee, and commanded that  carrier escort during the assault and occupation of French Morocco in November 1942, and for outstanding service  received a Letter of Commendation with Ribbon.

    He commanded the carrier Yorktown(fourth  vessel of that name) from her commissioning, 4 April 1943 to February 1944, in operations against Marcus, Wake, Mille,  Jaluit, Makin, Kwajalein and Wotje, and for conspicuous gallantry was awarded the Silver Star Medal. In the rank of  Rear Admiral, he was a Task Group Commander of carriers and screening vessels operating alternately with the FIRST  and SECOND Carrier Task Groups of the Pacific Fleet, and for distinguished service (including Okinawa, Ryukyus and the  Tokyo area), was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), the Navy Cross, and Legion of Merit with Combat “V”.

    Upon his return to the United States in June 1945, he was appointed Chief, Naval Air Intermediate Training Command,  Corpus Christi, Texas. In September 1946 he became Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Air, and from November  1948 had duty afloat in command of Carrier Division FOUR and Carrier Division THREE, with a tour in the interim,  August 1950 – October 1951, as Commander Naval Air Bases, Eleventh and Twelfth Naval Districts. On 24 March 1952, he was  designated Commander FIRST Fleet, in the rank of Vice Admiral, and on 20 May 1952 transferred to command of the  SEVENTH Fleet. He was transferred on 1 December 1953, to the Retired List of the US Navy, and was advanced to the rank of  Admiral on the basis of combat citations.

    After retirement, Admiral Clark was a business executive in New York. His last position was Chairman of the Board  of Hegeman Harris, Inc., a New York investment firm. Clark was an honorary chief by both the Sioux and Cherokee nations.  He died 13 July 1971 at the Naval Hospital, St. Albans, New York, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Decorations included: Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), Army Distinguished Service Medal  for service in Korea, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with Comabt “V”, Commendation Ribbon with Combat “V,” Army  Commendation Ribbon, and Ribbon with stars for the Presidential Unit Citations to the USS Suwanee, USS Yorktown, and USS Hornet. Victory Medals for World  War I and II; American Defense Service Medal; European-African-Middle   Eastern (one star), and Asiatic-Pacific(twelve engagements) Campaign Medals; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon (one  star). Also, Navy Occupation Service Medal, Korean Service Medal (one star), United Nations Service Medal; and the  National Defense Service Medal.

    Source: Adapted from ‘Brief Biographical Information on Admiral Joseph James Clark, U.S. Navy,’ produced by the Navy Office of Information,  dated 19 August 1974, Clark, Joseph James file, Biographies, 20th Century, Navy Department Library.


The Lost #NDN History of the Cherokee Freedmen Controversy

Posted by on 5 October 2011 [http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/]

 I’d like to share a link to a blog by a UNC Press author, Celia Naylor. She wrote African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens, and over at the First Peoples blog, she writes about the history and current events surrounding the Cherokee freedmen controversy. In particular, she draws our attention to the historical import of the Dawes Commission, especially as regards sovereignty, race, and citizenship.

First, I’d like to give you a bit of background. And at bottom you’ll find some links from varied viewpoints. Here’s a summary, in the very broadest of strokes:

Throughout much of the last 150 years, the Cherokee Nation has recognized the citizenship descendents of slaves once held by their members. In the early 80s, however, descendants of the Cherokee freedmen saw their citizenship rights challenged because they were not “Cherokee by blood.” That is, they did not have ancestors whose names appeared on the Dawes roll. There has been much debate and action on this issue – here, I’ll direct you to the links below – and in August 2011, the Cherokee Supreme Court ruled that some 2800 freedmen were not to be considered Cherokee citizens. In response, this September the US Department of Housing and Urban Development stepped in and froze $33 million dollars in funding to the Cherokee Nation. Then in a surprising reversal, descendants were allowed to vote in tribal elections for principal chief (extended through this week), and in another, on Friday a federal judge dismissed one of the two cases over citizenship of descendants. The outcome of all these actions has yet to be determined.

 Without further ado, here’s Celia Naylor’s post—

The two most recent elections in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in 2007 and 2011 have intensified the debate about the “place” of descendants of Cherokee freedmen in the Cherokee polity, especially their position as part of the Cherokee citizenry. The ongoing justification(s) for the disenfranchisement of some descendants of Cherokee freedmen reflects at its very core an entirely ahistorical and almost fictitious representation of slavery and enslaved people in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Cherokee Nation. Though a small percentage of Cherokees enslaved people of African descent (some of whom were also of Cherokee descent), chattel slavery became incorporated within the socioeconomic and political landscape of the Cherokee Nation in the decades before forced relocation in the 1830s to Indian Territory (current-day northeastern Oklahoma). Moreover, after removal, the Cherokee Nation reestablished its investment in enslaved labor and the institution of slavery itself as crucial to its rebuilding process in Indian Territory. Both slaveowning and non-slaveowning Cherokees benefited from the unpaid labor and services of enslaved people. [click to continue reading.]

Links for understanding the issue:

U.N. official, tribal leaders meet on U.S. Indian policy

Read here: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20120504_11_A13_CUTLIN187212

“Known in U.N. lingo as a “special rapporteur,” James Anaya ended a two-week official tour of the United States with a stop at the University of Tulsa. Speaking one after the other for four hours and sometimes speaking in native languages, more than 30 tribal leaders offered testimony on the history and current living conditions of various Indian groups….  Anaya, after visiting Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota and now Oklahoma, will compile a report on how U.S. policies stack up against the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, choked up while describing the alarming rates of violence against Indian women, who are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than other American women. One in three Indian women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetimes and three out of five will face domestic abuse, Baker said, citing various studies.  [very sad indeed…Lara]