22. Hitchcock vs. Lone Wolf
By the time the 20th century arrived, many Native American people were forcefully removed from their homelands and put on reservations. In 1867 the Medicine Lodge Treaty was created. This appeared to provide tribes some type of say in what occurred regarding the lands that they had been forced to move onto. The treaty stated that in order for reservation land to begin being used for other purposes, a 75 percent majority approval was required by the tribe currently living on the land.
However, in 1900, the government made the decision to parcel the land off that was previously given to the Kiowa-Comanche tribe. The individuals who accepted a certain plot of the land were also given official citizenship. The additional land was also parceled off and sold to anyone who wanted to buy it; however, no approval was sought or given. As a result, leader of the Kiowa tribe, Lone Wolf, filed a lawsuit against the government for the breach of the treaty, but he was unsuccessful.
According to the verdict handed down, Congress had the right to change any prior treaties they needed to because the government retained control over everything that happened on any reservation in the United States. While the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court, the verdict did not falter. As a result, the members of the tribe were then considered “wards of the nation.” Not long after this occurred, more than 50,000 settlers moved into what was considered surplus land on the reservation. The verdict still has not been overturned today and is a valid and active precedent.
11. The Hopi Indians who were Sent to Alcatraz
Alcatraz was originally discovered by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 1540s; however, it had been inhabited for more than 10,000 years. When the Spanish came into the area there were approximately 10,000 people living in the Bay Area. According to the tradition, the island was long used for the same reasons it was down the road – isolating individuals who broke laws.
In 1894, the Hopi were in the midst of a rebellion against the various government regulations that had been placed on them. These stated that they had to send their children away from their homes to attend the government-run schools. In an effort to force the parent’s to send children away, it was suggested that law enforcement and the military members go and arrest anyone who did not send their kids. When snows and other bad weather conditions made that impossible, the government interrupted the supply of food and goods.
However, many Hopi still refused to send their children. As a result, 18 tribal leaders were arrested and had to face a trial. When found guilty (which they all were) they were sent to Alcatraz. Those left behind still didn’t comply and those arrested were released a year later. At this point, they continued their peaceful protests against the educational restrictions.
While the Indians were unsuccessful at stopping the development of these educational institutions, they did bring attention to an issue that had gone on for far too long.
There is no question that the United States government has always had somewhat of an uncomfortable relationship with the individuals who lived on the lands prior to the European settlers. While the relationship has improved over time, there is still quite a long way to go and much to make up for. There is no question that in just the last century, there has been an amazingly large amount of horror experienced by the native tribes in America.
While many people automatically think about the Holocaust when thinking about genocide situations, there was one just as bad that occurred on U.S. soil – the genocide of the Native Americans. While the steps that were taken were not immediate, they affected this population none-the-less. As a result, the number of Native Americans in the U.S. fell significantly, and the losses have still not been made up for. From boarding schools, involuntary sterilization, and mass murder, these people had to live through horrific pasts that no person ever wants to face.
Better understanding what went on can help ensure these types of atrocities don’t occur again in the future. Learning from the past is the best way to move forward with a better and brighter future. While there are still amends to make, there is no question the U.S. government has come a long way in regard to how Native Americans are treated and viewed, which speaks leaps and bounds when you consider how the relationship between these people began.