18 March 2005

Our Esteemed Presidents...

Four of these people are carved in stone, defiling one of our Sacred Places...


Thomas Jefferson's promises to Iroquois Confederacy

Thomas Jefferson to Handsome Lake, Iroquois Chief
November 3, 1802:

"We, indeed, are always ready to buy land; but we will never ask but
when you wish to sell; and our laws, in order to protect you against
imposition, have forbidden individuals to purchase lands from you;
and have rendered it necessary, when you desire to sell, even to a
State, that an agent from the United States should attend the sale,
see that your consent is freely given, a satisfactory price paid, and
report to us what has been done, for our approbation. This was done
in the late case of which you complain. The deputies of your nation
came forward, in all the forms which we have been used to consider as
evidence of the will of your nation. They proposed to sell to the
State of New York certain parcels of
land, of small extent, and detached from the body of your other
lands; the State of New York was desirous to buy. I sent an agent, in
whom we could trust, to see that your consent was free, and the sale
fair. All was reported to be free and fair. The lands were
your property. The right to sell is one of the rights of property. To
forbid you the exercise of that right would be a wrong to your
Nor do I think, brother, that the sale of lands is, under all
circumstances, injurious to your people. While they depended on
hunting, the more extensive the forest around them, the more game
they would yield. But going into a state of agriculture, it may be as
advantageous to a society, as it is to an individual, who has more
land than he can improve, to sell a part, and lay out the money in
stocks and implements of agriculture, for the better improvement of
the residue. A little land well stocked and improved, will yield more
than a great deal without stock or

I hope, therefore, that on further reflection, you will see this
transaction in a more favorable light, both as it concerns the
interest of your nation, and the exercise of that superintending care
which I am sincerely anxious to employ for their subsistence and
happiness. Go on then, brother, in the great reformation you have
undertaken. Persuade our red brethren then to be sober, and to
cultivate their lands; and their women to spin and weave for their
families. You will soon see your women and children well fed and
clothed, your men living happily in peace and plenty, and your
numbers increasing from year to year..."


Thomas Jefferson's promises to Choctaw

Thomas Jefferson to the Brothers of the Choctaw Nation
December 17, 1803:

"Our seventeen States compose a great and growing nation. Their
children are as the leaves of the trees, which the winds are
spreading over the forest. But we are just also. We take from no
nation what belongs to it. Our growing numbers make us always willing
to buy lands from our red brethren, when they are willing to sell.
But be assured we never mean to disturb them in their possessions. On the contrary, the lines established between us by mutual consent,
shall be sacredly preserved, and will protect your lands from all
encroachments by our own people or any others.

I rejoice, brothers, to hear you propose to become cultivators of the
earth for the maintenance of your families. Be assured you will
support them better and with less labor, by raising stock and bread,
and by spinning and weaving clothes, than by hunting. A little land
cultivated, and a little labor, will procure more provisions than the
most successful hunt; and a woman will clothe more by spinning and
weaving, than a man by hunting.

Compared with you, we are but as of yesterday in this land. Yet see
how much more we have multiplied by industry, and the exercise of
that reason which you possess in common
with us. Follow then our example, brethren, and we will aid you with
great pleasure..."


Thomas Jefferson's promises to Mandan

Thomas Jefferson to the Wolf and People of the Mandan Nation
December 30, 1806:

"My friends and children, we are descended from the old nations which
live beyond the great water, but we and our forefathers have been so
long here that we seem like you to have grown out of this land. We
consider ourselves no longer of the old nations beyond the great
water, but as united in one family with our red brethren here. The
French, the English, the Spaniards, have now agreed with us to retire
from all the country which you and we hold between Canada and Mexico, and never more to return to it. And remember the words I now speak to you, my children, they are never to return again. We are now your fathers; and you shall not lose by the change. As soon as Spain had agreed to withdraw from all the waters of the Missouri and
Mississippi, I felt the desire of becoming acquainted with all my red
children beyond the Mississippi, and of uniting them
with us as we have those on this side of that river, in the bonds of
peace and friendship. I wished to learn what we could do to benefit
them by furnishing them the necessaries they want in exchange for
their furs and peltries..."


1807-Thomas Jefferson's threat against Natives

While president, Jefferson successfully acquired the Louisiana
Territory from France in 1803 and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition
(1803–1806) on a mapping and scientific exploration up the Missouri
River to the Pacific. He also sent other expeditions to find the
headwaters of the Red, Arkansas, and Mississippi rivers and to gather
scientific data and information on Native Americans.
Thomas Jefferson warned John Adams in this letter that despite the
progress of some Indian Nations, such as the Cherokee, to adopt
representative government, many Native Americans "will relapse into
barbarism & misery, lose numbers by war and want, and we shall be
obliged to drive them, with the beasts of the forest into the Stony

In a previous August 28, 1807 letter to his Secretary of
War Henry Dearborn, Jefferson stated "if ever we are constrained to
lift the hatchet against any tribe, we will never lay it down till
that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi..."


Lincoln and the pardons in 1862 Santee/Sioux

The Native disappointment in presidential pardons started with
Lincoln. After being driven off of their land, and months of
fraudulent dealings on the part of agents of the government, four
Minnesota Santee Sioux killed five white settlers in August 1862. War
broke out between the Sioux and whites in Minnesota and Lincoln
appointed General John Pope to head the military forces in the area.
The war had come to an end in early October and over 1,000 Indians
were held as prisoners. General Henry Sibley, a former Minnesota
governor who had been involved in highly questionable trade and
claims deals with the Indians, subjected the Sioux to hasty military
trials and, one month later, Lincoln was notified by General Pope
that death sentences were to be carried out on 303 of the convicted
Santees. Pope expressed his view that Lincoln was certain to approve
the convictions and thus permit the executions: "The Sioux prisoners
will be executed unless the President forbids it, which I am sure he
will not do." Lincoln, however, telegraphed Pope requesting him to
mail "the full and complete record of these convictions" in order to
be evaluated before the executions were to take place.

In his Dec.1st message to Congress, Lincoln noted the "extreme
ferocities" of the Sioux uprising. Also on December 1, Lincoln wrote
Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt seeking Holt's opinion on what
should be done with the condemned Sioux, asking "whether if I should
conclude to execute only a part of them, I must myself designate
which, or could I leave the designation to some officer on the
ground". Holt's answer was that Lincoln would have to decide the
matter on his own, but that " In view of the large amount of human
life involved," perhaps the Attorney General should investigate "for
the purpose of more satisfactorily determining the question of their
[the convictions'] regularity..."

Finally, on December 6, Lincoln wrote Sibley ordering that 39 of the
303 condemned Santees be executed. One of the remaining 39 was
pardoned, and on December 26, 1862, 38 Sioux Indians were hung. At
least one Sioux who had not been approved for execution by Lincoln
was nevertheless hung, apparently being included by mistake. Nichols
notes that the hanging of the Sioux was "the largest official mass
execution in American history in which guilt of the executed cannot
be positively determined..."

Lincoln's decision was still yet another clemency act for which he
was roundly criticized. A number of Minnesota residents and political
figures, including Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey and Senator
Morton Wilkinson, expressed outrage with the pardons after having
pressured Lincoln to approve the execution of all the convicted
Indians. Responding to a resolution from the U.S. Senate inquiring
into his actions in regard to "the late Indian barbarities," Lincoln
stated that his primary concern was ensuring that those guilty of
rape were to be executed, followed by those who "have participated in
massacres, as distinguished from participation in battles". After the
1864 election, Governor Ramsey opinioned that while the President had carried the State, had Lincoln not pardoned the Sioux, he would have received more votes than he did, to which Lincoln replied, "I could
not afford to hang men for votes..."


A past quote from Chivington;

"Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! I have come to kill
Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under
God's heaven to kill Indians!" -The Reverand John J. Chivington


Past order from a President U.S. Grant:

Violating the separation of church and state he issued an
executive order in 1870, that gave franchise to various religious
denominations on the reservations. It was the intent to destroy
Native spiritual belief and further increase the process of "whipping
the Indian out of the man." Some denominations went so far in making
church services mandatory, that rations were denied those that did
not attend services, or withheld from those that continued to
practice their traditional beliefs. In some cases, when denial of
rations to a reluctant "convert" did not work, rations were also
denied to the relations, and family of the reluctant "convert" in an
effort to prod the person along the path of Christanity. It was this;
convert or starve.

Order to General Phillip Sheridan.


Passages from the 1763 smallpox letter

It is also during the eighteenth century that we find written reports
of American Indians being intentionally exposed to smallpox by
Europeans. In 1763 in Pennsylvania, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander of
the British forces....wrote in the postscript of a letter to Bouquet
the suggestion that smallpox be sent among the disaffected tribes.
Bouquet replied, also in a postscript, "I will try to innoculate the[m]...with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not get the disease myself..."

....To Bouquet's postscript, Amherst replied, "You will do well as to try to innoculate the Indians by means of blankets as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this exorable race..."

On June 24, Captain Ecuyer, of the Royal Americans, noted in his

"Out of our regard for them (i.e. two Indian chiefs) we gave them two
blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. I hope it
will have the desired effect..."

It is also reported that smallpox spread to the tribes along the Ohio
River, 1763 to 1783.


Post a Comment

<< Home