Blog Posts - Indian Tribes



Many Thanks

Though the majority of the U.S. population celebrates an official day of gratitude called Thanksgiving, Native Americans have always had a deep tradition of routinely giving thanks. They have particularly given attention and gratitude to the animals...

A Remarkable Woman

Susan La Flesche Picotte was born in 1865 to the last recognized chief of the Omaha Indian tribe, Chief Joseph La Flesche (Iron Eye). She went to the Elizabeth Institute for Young Ladies in New Jersey and then returned to her reservation to teach at...

Reasons and Rationalizing

When the U.S. government first dealt with native peoples, its position for the most part was that they were sovereign nations with whom the U.S. needed to negotiate treaties. Once some time had passed and more Europeans crowded into the new land, tha...

How About Asking?

Native peoples and European immigrants have had varied relationships. At one time, native tribes were treated as independent nations and trading partners, then later as enemies who needed to be destroyed, and even later, as childish wards who needed...

Fourth of July

The Indian Bureau was never culturally sensitive, especially when it came to Native American celebrations. It actively discouraged or forbade ceremonial dances, feasts, and other gatherings, fearing that they might unite tribes or keep them from assi...

Natural Medicine

Before modern pharmaceuticals, people looked to nature for their cures. The Chippewa, for instance, used numerous plants to treat ailments, often in conjunction with special songs and music. Red baneberry treated the “diseases of women,”...

The Hope of Spring

Cultures throughout the ages have celebrated the return of spring after a long, harsh winter by eating the first new greens they can find. Native Americans took advantage of fresh, wild plants to supplement their winter diets of dried foods; foraging...

Winter Food

Throughout the ages, people have had to energetically search for food to stay nourished; that task has always been much more difficult in winter. Like most other peoples, Native Americans worked hard to find and preserve enough food for their winter...

Fry Bread

Fry bread (or frybread) is associated with Native American cuisine, but it is not a traditional food for native peoples. The food originated during hard times, and is a symbol of both pride and pain. In 1863 Gen. James Henry Carleton, commander of Ne...

Eating to Live

Autumn and harvest-time go hand in hand, and many people today are paying far more attention to their food than they have in the past. We are beginning to recognize that our food has changed dramatically over the years in terms of nutrition and safet...

Other Ills at the Asylum

Though there is no mention of any smallpox epidemics at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, the threat of this terrible disease was very real. Smallpox had devastated Native American communities once Europeans arrived, since native peoples had no i...

A Full Time Job

Indian inspectors had their hands full trying to ensure that laws and policies were properly carried out within all the reservations (see last post). But, it was the Indian agent who actually made things tick at the local level. Almost all reservatio...

Too Much to Inspect

The federal government has long provided for inspection in most areas over which it has control, and Indian reservations were no exception. In 1904, the legislature published Laws and Treaties, Vol. I, which outlined laws, policies, and procedures pe...

New Reasons for Insanity

Many (white) observers over the years believed that insanity was rare among Native Americans. Their conclusion was born out during the Indian Bureau survey that tried to assess the need for a special asylum for insane Indians; among the thousands ...

Another Sad Twist

The argument can certainly be made that very few patients at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians were what might be called “classically insane,” with complete disassociation from reality, a complete change in personality, or a complete i...

Food Scarcity

Winter had always been a time of scarcity for both agricultural and nomadic peoples. Even when crops were good and supplies safe, winter generally meant fewer food choices and dwindling stores of edibles that could not be replenished until spring ...

Winter As a Time of Reflection

In most earlier cultures, life slowed during the winter months; people could not plant seed in frozen ground, days were short and dark, and most agricultural tasks were complete. As in today’s practice of contemplation at the New Year, native &...

Gratitude and Thanksgiving

Though the majority of the U.S. population celebrates an official day of gratitude called Thanksgiving, many cultures have had the same practice of taking time out to express gratitude for the good things in their lives. Native Americans have a deep...

Searching for Canton Asylum Patients

This is an out-of-schedule post to ask for information about Canton Asylum patients transferred to St. Elizabeths in 1933, for a projected memorial. If you have any information about them, particularly about their lives before they were in Canton Asy...

Searching

This is an out-of-schedule post to ask for information about Canton Asylum patients transferred to St. Elizabeths in 1933, for a projected memorial. If you have any information about them, particularly about their lives before they were in Canton Asy...


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