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American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971

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American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 is part of ProQuest History Vault’s category of collections on American Politics and Society.
This module consists of a variety of collections from the U.S. National Archives, a series of collections from the Chicago History Museum, as well as selected first-hand accounts on Indian Wars and westward migration.
One of the highlights of this module is the focus on American Indians in the first half of the 20th century, a period that has not been studied in as much detail as the calamitous 19th century.
The two major collections from the 20th Century are the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and records from the Major Council Meetings of American Indian Tribes. In addition, there are a number of excellent collections on American Indians in the 19th century, with a focus on the interaction among white settlers, the U.S. Federal government and Indian tribes, particularly in the aftermath of the American Civil War.
Other records highlight the tensions caused by westward expansion of the post-Civil War years. A series of records on Indian Removal to the West rounds out this collection, consisting of letters and reports by Indian agents, government employees, individual Indians and other citizens about the removal process.

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American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971

  1. 1. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971
  2. 2. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 is part of ProQuest History Vault’s category of collections on American Politics and Society. This module consists of a variety of collections from the U.S. National Archives, a series of collections from the Chicago History Museum, as well as selected first-hand accounts on Indian Wars and westward migration. One of the highlights of this module is the focus on American Indians in the first half of the 20th century, a period that has not been studied in as much detail as the calamitous 19th century. The two major collections from the 20th Century are the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and records from the Major Council Meetings of American Indian Tribes. In addition, there are a number of excellent collections on American Indians in the 19th century, with a focus on the interaction among white settlers, the U.S. Federal government and Indian tribes, particularly in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Other records highlight the tensions caused by westward expansion of the post-Civil War years. A series of records on Indian Removal to the West rounds out this collection, consisting of letters and reports by Indian agents, government employees, individual Indians and other citizens about the removal process. Please see the examples of records from these collections on the following pages.
  3. 3. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 Letter from Captain J. B. Clark informing General George Gibson that he will be ready as soon as he is called to participate in the removal of the Choctaw Indians. This letter is indicative of the collection’s focus on the military and administrative details of Indian removal. This letter is in the collection entitled Indian Removal to the West, 1832-1840: Files of the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.) The Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence oversaw the removal process.
  4. 4. From Indian Removal to the West, 1832- 1840: Files of the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.) Additional information about this letter is on the next page
  5. 5. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 “[The U.S. government is] aware that by your advice the Indians have in many instances withdrawn from their engagements to emigrate the present season—and by this conduct [of resisting removal] are losing the benefit of removing at the period best fitted for such operations. If you value the welfare of your people why shut your eyes to the evils and sufferings such counsel must inevitably entail upon them—upon you rests the responsibility of the consequences dreadful as they may be and when the period arrives for carrying out the provisions of the treaty and the imperative mandate of the law must be executed by the United States, the Cherokees compelled to leave their present homes unprepared, will perceive too late that they have been misled by false hopes and may bitterly repent amid tears and blood having listened to such advice” (101098-015-0473, emphasis added). John Mason Jr., an Indian agent, wrote these words on November 24, 1837, to a Cherokee delegation visiting Washington, D.C., to protest the removal of Cherokee Indians from North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Mason, as a government representative, was trying to convince the delegation to return home and begin encouraging their fellow Cherokee to relocate west of the Mississippi River as soon as possible so as to take advantage of the best travel season. Most Cherokee did not willingly move west, and Mason’s words would prove prophetic as the Cherokee were forcibly removed during 1838–1839 in what became known as “The Trail of Tears.” From Indian Removal to the West, 1832-1840: Files of the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  6. 6. The Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence explained subsistence as “all types of Subsistence for Indians: corn, Beef, Salt, rations etc.,” transportation as “Steam boat hire, Wagon hire, purchases and expenses of Wagons, horses, oxen, boats, purchases of forage for teams and Subsistence for Teamsters; commutation of Transportation; ferriages etc.,” and contingencies as “the pay and Transportation of agents, Clerks, Teamsters, Interpreters and expenses; the cost of Tools and of all other implements; the expense incurred in the opening of roads; hospital expenses etc.” (101098-009-0663) From Indian Removal to the West, 1832-1840: Files of the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  7. 7. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 President Andrew Jackson also wrote to the Indians encouraging them to leave their land for western reservations. Writing to Seminole chiefs, he stated, “If you listen to the voice of friendship & truth you will go quietly & voluntarily. But should you listen to the bad birds that are always flying about you & refuse to remove I have thus directed the Commanding officer to remove you by force” (101098-007-0353). From Indian Removal to the West, 1832-1840: Files of the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.) There is a larger image of this letter on the next page.
  8. 8. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971
  9. 9. The Cherokee and Creek removal documents contain many journals and letters that discuss, at length, the actual removals. Here is one example: “We worked hard and suffered much from day Light until sun down to get six and sometimes ten miles, it rained snowed or hailed almost Every day and freezing at the same time. We were compelled to thaw the…blankets before we could roll them up to put them in the wagons in the morning, the Indian children and sick Indians had to go in the waggons [sic] on top of their Baggage and to prevent them from freezing we were compelled to have fires along the road, and take them out and warm them, dry their blankets that were wrapped around them and replace them again in the waggons [sic]. Strict attention had to be paid to this or some must inevitably have perished and there was a continual crying from morning until night with the children” (101098-005-0142, letter from John Page). From Indian Removal to the West, 1832- 1840: Files of the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  10. 10. Another example of the Cherokee and Creek removal documents that discuss the removal process “I laboured early and Late to get them to their New country. I never did witness or experience anything to equal the scenes of the trip in My Life and hope it will never be my Lot to do it again. Many persons pronounced it Murder in the highest degree for me to move Indians or to compell [sic] them to march in such severe weather when they were dying Every day with the influenza, but I am well convinced it was the only thing that kept them alive notwithstanding their Exposure” (101098-005- 0147-0148, letter from John Page). From Indian Removal to the West, 1832- 1840: Files of the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  11. 11. “Apache war over.” With these three words written from Fort Bowie, Arizona, on September 6, 1886, General Nelson A. Miles marked the end of an era. On September 4, 1886, the legendary Apache warrior, Geronimo, and his followers, the “Hostile Apaches” in the words of General Miles, surrendered to the U.S. Army, ending the last organized resistance to the U.S. government by Indians not already confined to a reservation. This letter is found in the collection entitled Apache Campaign of 1886, Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, Department of Arizona (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.) The Apache Campaign of 1886 collection documents in extensive detail the last year of the U.S. Army’s pursuit of Geronimo. While the majority of the correspondence is from 1886, the collection also includes material from 1885 and some scattered correspondence from before 1885.
  12. 12. Geronimo, a Chiricahua Apache, left the San Carlos Indian Agency for the final time on May 17, 1885. He had previously left the reservation numerous times only to be pursued and returned by the U.S. Army. His final excursion was expected, but army units could not reach the reservation in time to stop him and his band from leaving. In a telegram dated May 17, 1885, Captain F. E. Pierce reports that “Geronimo & Mangus contemplate leaving the reservation tonight. They will have probably twenty or twenty five men of whom not more than two thirds are armed. As soon as Gatewood gets some of his scouts together I will start with them & with such of my own that I think I can rely on & will arrest both and such others as may be with them. They will get off before I may reach their camp so Gatewood will follow with some scouts & 2 Co’s of Cavalry from the post under command of Capt. Smith.” This telegram is found in the collection entitled Apache Campaign of 1886, Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, Department of Arizona (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  13. 13. In a telegram dated May 18, 1885, a Lieutenant Walsh confirms that “Geronimo, Mangus, Chihuahua and Natchez with about fifty bucks left at dark last night. Capt. Smith, two troops Cavalry, Gatewood & Lieut. Davis with scouts are on trail.”2 It would take nearly eighteen months, two commanding generals, and numerous casualties before Geronimo’s final excursion would be ended. This telegram is found in the collection entitled Apache Campaign of 1886, Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, Department of Arizona (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  14. 14. The first page of Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood’s October 15, 1886, announcing the surrender of Geronimo. This report is significant because General Miles downplayed Gatewood’s role in the capture, in favor of Captain H. E. Lawton. This might be partially explained by the fact that Lawton was Gatewood’s superior officer. Recent works by historians have recognized Gatewood’s contribution. This letter is found in the collection entitled Apache Campaign of 1886, Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, Department of Arizona (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  15. 15. Trinidad Bardine was captured by Apache Indians when she was ten years old. On the day she was captured, she witnessed the death of her sister and her sister’s baby. Her brother-in-law was apparently also captured and killed sometime later. Trinidad accompanied her captors on their escapades through U.S. and Mexican territory and witnessed further violence and death. Her story is recounted on 103033- 003-0642. The first page of her story is shown here. Bardine was finally rescued by army personnel. She is mentioned one other time in the collection, in a one-page letter dated July 21, 1886. The letter requests “appropriation on behalf of one Trinidad Bardine, a captive child rescued from Geronimo’s band of Indians.” (103933-008- 0624) From Apache Campaign of 1886, Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, Department of Arizona (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  16. 16. The U.S. Army used many Indian scouts during the Apache Campaign. Here is a list of the scouts submitted by Second Lieutenant Powhatan H. Clarke of the 10th Cavalry. From Apache Campaign of 1886, Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, Department of Arizona (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.)
  17. 17. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 Second Lieutenant G. W. Ruther of the 8th Infantry submitted this scouting report on June 6, 1886 (the first page is shown here). The report covered a scouting trip made by men under his command from May 31 to June 4, 1886. (101098-Reel 5, Frame 0971–0974) This report is found in the collection entitled Apache Campaign of 1886, Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands, Department of Arizona (Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.) The reports from scouting trips are one of the most valuable features of the collection.
  18. 18. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 Minutes of the Navajo Tribal Council, Fort Defiance, Arizona, July 7-8, 1926 As the governing bodies of the Navajo Nation, the tribal councils considered all topics of importance to the members of the tribe, including claims, mineral rights, tribal funds, water supply and irrigation, the role of Indian government, hunting and fishing rights, timber rights, taxes, employment, home building, culture and religion, and health and education. From Major Council Meetings of American Indian Tribes, Part 1, Section 1, 1914-1956: Navajo, Five Civilized Tribes, Ute, Pueblo, Cheyenne, and Arapaho (Source: National Archives, Washington, D.C.)
  19. 19. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 Special Meeting of the Principal Chiefs of the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations; Governor of the Chickasaw Nation; Representatives of the Five Civilized Tribes; and Representatives of the Indian Centennial Board of Directors. Muskogee, Oklahoma. August 4, 1949. From Major Council Meetings of American Indian Tribes, Part 1, Section 1, 1914-1956: Navajo, Five Civilized Tribes, Ute, Pueblo, Cheyenne, and Arapaho (Source: National Archives, Washington, D.C.)
  20. 20. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 From Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Central Classified Files, 1907–1939, Series A: Indian Delegations to Washington, Source: National Archives, College Park, Maryland. The records in this series highlight efforts by Native Americans to express their concerns regarding conditions on reservations and within Indian agencies, and issues such as land allotment and tenancy.
  21. 21. From Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Central Classified Files, 1907–1939, Series B: Indian Customs and Social Relations, Source: National Archives, College Park, Maryland. This collection of Bureau of Indian Affairs records focuses on the federal government’s efforts to “Americanize” Native Americans. This document pertains to Coeur d’Alene dances.
  22. 22. The 1930s marked a period of transition for Indian schools. Many boarding schools were closing down. Some were converting into day schools while others were transferring students to existing Indian day and public schools. The changes did not always run smoothly. Proposals to integrate Indian students into public schools were accepted more readily in the 1930s than in previous decades, but some communities still put up a formidable resistance. In 1933 employees of the Sante Fe Railroad near the Colorado River agency signed a petition to keep Indian children out of white schools. John Collier responded to the action diplomatically but firmly in the letter on the left. From Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Central Classified Files, 1907- 1939, Series D: Education, Part 1: General Organization, Regulations, and Types of Schools Source: National Archives, College Park, Maryland
  23. 23. Letter from Keva Morgan, a resident on the Pine Ridge Reservation to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, regarding conditions at Pine Ridge. This letter is just one example of letters from American Indians themselves in this collection. The collection includes letters from Indian teachers and from parents advocating on behalf of their children. From Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Central Classified Files, 1907-1939, Series D: Education, Part 2: Correspondence and Reports on Reservation Day and Boarding Schools Section B: Pine Ridge through Zuni Source: National Archives, College Park, Maryland
  24. 24. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 Invoice of merchandise for the trade of the Lower Mississippi and its dependencies delivered in charge of Russell Farnham for joint account of him and American Fur Company per agreement. Source: Chicago History Museum Collections on Native Americans and the American West – American Fur Company Records
  25. 25. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 Source: Chicago History Museum Collections on Native Americans and the American West – Story of the Winnebagoes The Story of the Winnebagoes consists of Norton William Jipson’s apparently unpublished manuscript history of the Winnebago Indians. In the preface to the work, Jipson wrote that his goal was to “write an authentic history of the Winnebago Indians.”
  26. 26. In addition to the manuscript and archival sources in American Indians and the American West, this module always contains selected official histories, army reports, and personal reminiscences regarding interactions between whites and American Indians and military life on the western frontier. The document shown at right is one example of these documents. This is a page from a report by Captain John G. Bourke entitled, “Mackenzie’s Last Fight with the Cheyennes: A Winter Campaign in Wyoming and Montana.”
  27. 27. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 contains a number of collections that were never sold in microfilm format. These collections are: • The U.S. Army in the Era of Indian Removal, Case Files of Military Courts and Commissions • The U.S. Army in the Era of Indian Removal, Papers of Quartermaster General Thomas S. Jesup, 1818-1852 • American Indians and the U.S. Army: Department of Columbia, 1876-April 1878 • American Indians and the U.S. Army: Department of the Northwest, 1862-1865 • Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands: Department of the West, 1853-1861 • Records of the U.S. Army Continental Commands: Division of West Mississippi, 1864-1865 • American Indians and the U.S. Army: Records of the Yellowstone Expedition, and U.S. Army District of Yellowstone and Yellowstone Command, 1872-1881 • American Indians and the U.S. Army: Department of New Mexico, 1853-1866 • American Indians and the U.S. Army: Department of Oregon, 1858-1860 • Chicago History Museum Collections on Native Americans and the American West The document on the left is American Indians and the U.S. Army: Records of the Yellowstone Expedition, and U.S. Army District of Yellowstone and Yellowstone Command, 1872-1881 Source: National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
  28. 28. American Politics and Society from Kennedy to Watergate • Complementary content to the American Indians and the American West module in History Vault can be found in American Politics and Society from Kennedy to Watergate. This module contains two interesting collections on American Indians in the 1960s and 1970s. • These collections are: Records of the National Council on Indian Opportunity and FBI Files on the American Indian Movement. • A blog post on this content is available here: http://www.proquest.com/blog/2014/Th e-Civil-Rights-Movement-and-the- Plight-of-the-American-Indian.html
  29. 29. American Indians and the American West, 1809-1971 For more information on this module, see the brochure on the modules in the History Vault category of American Politics and Society: http://media2.proquest.com/documents/HistoryVaultAmericanPoliticsSociety.pdf In addition, the collection title list for History Vault, including the titles in American Indians and the American West, 1809-1871 is available at this link: http://media2.proquest.com/documents/HistoryVaultTitleList2015.pdf Like ProQuest on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/proquest Follow ProQuest on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ProQuest

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