Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sand Hill Massacre

November 29, 1864: Colorado volunteers under Chivington attack Black Kettle and his Cheyenne and Arapaho followers at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado. This fight will become known as the Sand Creek Massacre and dishonorable episode in the history of the U.S. Army.

( Black Kettle portrait courtesy of Sharper Graphics )

In going over the battle ground the next day, I did not see a body of a man, woman, or child but was scalped; and in many cases their bodies were mutilated in the most horrible manner. I heard one man say that he had cut a woman's private parts out, and had them for exhibition on a stick; I heard another man say that he had cut off the fingers of an Indian to get the rings off the hand.
-- Lt. James Cannon, affidavit of January 16, 1865

...The Sand Creek massacre is one of the few engagements ever formally disavowed by the U.S. military. Ulysses S. Grant himself denounced it as pure murder, while the Army's ranking jurist, Gen. Joseph Holt, termed it "a cowardly and cold-blooded slaughter, sufficient to cover its perpetrators with indelible infamy and the face of every American with shame and indignation."


1864 Colorado militia massacre Cheyenne at Sand Creek

[ following from: http://www.historychannel.com/thisday/ ]

Colonel John Chivington and his Colorado volunteers massacre a peaceful village of Cheyenne camped near Sand Creek in Colorado Territory, setting off a long series of bloody retaliatory attacks by Indians.

Chivington, a former Methodist preacher with ambitions to become a territorial delegate to Congress, saw in the Indian wars an opportunity to gain the esteem he would need to win a government office. Disappointed that the spring of 1864 failed to produce any major battles, Chivington apparently determined to burn villages and kill Cheyenne whenever and wherever he could, making little distinction between peaceful or aggressive bands.

Angered by frequent Indian attacks on settlers and the theft of their horses and cattle, many Colorado settlers supported Chivington's methods, and a number of men volunteered to join his forces on hundred-day enlistments, forming the 3rd Colorado Volunteers.

Fearing that U.S. troops might mistakenly identify his band of peaceful Cheyenne as having participated in the attacks on settlers, Chief Black Kettle traveled to Denver under escort of U.S. Army Major Edward Wynkoop to affirm his non-hostile intentions. Chivington and the territorial governor of Colorado clearly did not want peace, yet they could not openly reject the overtures of Black Kettle.

Believing that he had a promise of safety if he brought his people into Fort Lyon, Black Kettle lead the band of Cheyenne to a spot designated by Major Wynkoop near the fort along a small stream known as Sand Creek. The tribe flew an American flag and a white flag at the camp to indicate their alliance with the U.S. and alert all to their generally peaceful intentions.

Determined to have his glorious battle, Chivington refused to recognize that Black Kettle's settlement was peaceful. At daybreak, Chivington and his 700 volunteers, many of them drunk, attacked the sleeping village at Sand Creek.

Most of the Cheyenne men were away hunting, so the women, children, and elders were largely defenseless. In the frenzied slaughter that followed, Chivington and his men killed more than 100 women and children and 28 men. Black Kettle escaped the attack. The soldiers scalped and mutilated the corpses, hacking off body parts that included male and female genitals, and then returned to Denver where they displayed the scalps to approving crowds during intermission at a downtown theatre.

Because of Chivington's depraved slaughter, the central plains exploded with retaliatory attacks from Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho Indians. Fortunately, not everyone applauded Chivington's behavior--many Americans, particularly in the east, strongly condemned Chivington's attack and the barbaric mutilations. Subsequent congressional and military investigations denounced Chivington, but claimed they could not punish him because he had resigned from the army and was no longer under military jurisdiction. Nonetheless, Chivington spent the rest of his life trying to escape the stigma of his deplorable behavior at Sand Creek.



[ from: http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/chiving.htm ]

The Sand Creek Massacre

On November 29, 1864, Col. John M. Chivington of the Colorado Volunteers, brought his militia to a village of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians. Their leader, Black Kettle, believed himself under the protection of the regular U. S. Army, and his tepee flew an American and white flags. Chivington, wanting a battle before his men's three month enlistments expired, massacred and mutilated over 100 women and children and the few men who remained in the village after the main band had gone on a hunting party. Chivington was never brought to trail, and while many criticized what he had done, many others praised him to the end.

There were Sympathetic accounts of Sand Creek

Other eyewitness accounts referred to the event as the Sand Creek massacre

Those who heard the account of what had happened to the Indian "savages" on November 29, 1864, asked, "Who is the Savage"?

Chivington ordered him men: "kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice."

Black Kettle, Peace Chief escaped being murdered..


Chivington's Background: The "Fighting Parson"

John M. Chivington was born in Ohio and had spent years as a Methodist Minister before beginning his military career.

In 1844 he was ordained a Methodist minister
In 1853 he assisted in Methodist missionary expediation to Wyandot Indians
In 1860, he was made "presiding elder" of Rocky Mountain District


Reaction to Sand Creek; Congressional Investigation

After Sand Creek, Chivington was a hero in Denver until other accounts began to surface:

-- stories of drunken soldiers and mutiliated women surfaced.
-- Chivington arrested 6 of his men, and charged them with cowardice--until it was determined they were 6 who refused to participate in massacre.

Eventually, a trial was held. Col. Chivington's tombstone may still be seen. At his death, the "Fighting Parson" was honored by Coloradans and Methodists alike.

Almost 150 years later, in April 1996, the United Methodist General Conference in Denver passes a "Sand Creek Apology",. Donald J. Mitchell, "Methodists Apologize", Associated Press, 4/27/96.


Impact on Military Doctrine

"Four years after the Civil War, Sherman became commanding general of the Army and incorporated the Indian pacification strategies -- as well as his own tactics -- into U. S. military doctrine. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, who had led Indian wars in the Missouri territory, succeeded Sherman in 1883 and further entrenched those strategies as policy. (See Ward Churchill, "A Little Matter of Genocide" and Peter Dale Scott, "Two Indonesias, Two Americas")


Tuesday, November 22, 2005



Dr. Frank B. Brouillet
Superintendent of Public Instruction
State of Washington

Cheryl Chow
Assistant Superintendent
Division of Instructional Programs and Services

Warren H. Burton
Office for Multicultural and Equity Education

Dr. Willard E. Bill
Supervisor of Indian Education

Originally written and developed by
Cathy Ross, Mary Robertson, Chuck Larsen, and Roger Fernandes
Indian Education, Highline School District

With an introduction by:
Chuck Larsen
Tacoma School District

Printed: September, 1986

Reprinted: May, 1987


This is a particularly difficult introduction to
write. I have been a public schools teacher for twelve
years, and I am also a historian and have written several
books on American and Native American history. I also just
happen to be Quebeque French, Metis, Ojibwa, and Iroquois.
Because my Indian ancestors were on both sides of the
struggle between the Puritans and the New England Indians
and I am well versed in my cultural heritage and history
both as an Anishnabeg (Algokin) and Hodenosione (Iroquois),
it was felt that I could bring a unique insight to the

For an Indian, who is also a school teacher,
Thanksgiving was never an easy holiday for me to deal with
in class. I sometimes have felt like I learned too much
about "the Pilgrims and the Indians." Every year I have
been faced with the professional and moral dilemma of just
how to be honest and informative with my children at
Thanksgiving without passing on historical distortions, and
racial and cultural stereotypes.

The problem is that part of what you and I learned in
our own childhood about the "Pilgrims" and "Squanto" and
the "First Thanksgiving" is a mixture of both history and
myth. But the THEME of Thanksgiving has truth and integrity
far above and beyond what we and our forebearers have made
of it. Thanksgiving is a bigger concept than just the story
of the founding of the Plymouth Plantation.

So what do we teach to our children? We usually pass
on unquestioned what we all received in our own childhood
classrooms. I have come to know both the truths and the
myths about our "First Thanksgiving," and I feel we need to
try to reach beyond the myths to some degree of historic
truth. This text is an attempt to do this.

At this point you are probably asking, "What is the
big deal about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims?" "What does
this guy mean by a mixture of truths and myth?" That is
just what this introduction is all about. I propose that
there may be a good deal that many of us do not know about
our Thanksgiving holiday and also about the "First
Thanksgiving" story. I also propose that what most of us
have learned about the Pilgrims and the Indians who were at
the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation is only part
of the truth. When you build a lesson on only half of the
information, then you are not teaching the whole truth.
That is why I used the word myth. So where do you start to
find out more about the holiday and our modern stories
about how it began?

A good place to start is with a very important book,
"The Invasion of America," by Francis Jennings. It is a
very authoritative text on the settlement of New England
and the evolution of Indian/White relations in the New
England colonies. I also recommend looking up any good text
on British history. Check out the British Civil War of
1621-1642, Oliver Cromwell, and the Puritan uprising of
1653 which ended parliamentary government in England until
1660. The history of the Puritan experience in New England
really should not be separated from the history of the
Puritan experience in England. You should also realize that
the "Pilgrims" were a sub sect, or splinter group, of the
Puritan movement. They came to America to achieve on this
continent what their Puritan bretheran continued to strive
for in England; and when the Puritans were forced from
England, they came to New England and soon absorbed the
original "Pilgrims."

As the editor, I have read all the texts listed in our
bibliography, and many more, in preparing this material for
you. I want you to read some of these books. So let me use
my editorial license to deliberately provoke you a little.
When comparing the events stirred on by the Puritans in
England with accounts of Puritan/Pilgrim activities in New
England in the same era, several provocative things suggest

The Puritans were not just simple religious
conservatives persecuted by the King and the Church of
England for their unorthodox beliefs. They were
political revolutionaries who not only intended to
overthrow the government of England, but who actually
did so in 1649.

The Puritan "Pilgrims" who came to New England were not
simply refugees who decided to "put their fate in God's
hands" in the "empty wilderness" of North America, as a
generation of Hollywood movies taught us. In any culture
at any time, settlers on a frontier are most often
outcasts and fugitives who, in some way or other, do not
fit into the mainstream of their society. This is not to
imply that people who settle on frontiers have no
redeeming qualities such as bravery, etc., but that the
images of nobility that we associate with the Puritans
are at least in part the good "P.R." efforts of later
writers who have romanticized them.(1) It is also very
plausible that this unnaturally noble image of the
Puritans is all wrapped up with the mythology of "Noble
Civilization" vs. "Savagery."(2) At any rate, mainstream
Englishmen considered the Pilgrims to be deliberate
religious dropouts who intended to found a new nation
completely independent from non-Puritan England. In 1643
the Puritan/Pilgrims declared themselves an independent
confederacy, one hundred and forty-three years before
the American Revolution. They believed in the imminent
occurrence of Armegeddon in Europe and hoped to
establish here in the new world the "Kingdom of God"
foretold in the book of Revelation. They diverged from
their Puritan brethren who remained in England only in
that they held little real hope of ever being able to
successfully overthrow the King and Parliament and,
thereby, impose their "Rule of Saints" (strict Puritan
orthodoxy) on the rest of the British people. So they
came to America not just in one ship (the Mayflower) but
in a hundred others as well, with every intention of
taking the land away from its native people to build
their prophesied "Holy Kingdom."(3)

The Pilgrims were not just innocent refugees from
religious persecution. They were victims of bigotry in
England, but some of them were themselves religious
bigots by our modern standards. The Puritans and the
Pilgrims saw themselves as the "Chosen Elect" mentioned
in the book of Revelation. They strove to "purify" first
themselves and then everyone else of everything they did
not accept in their own interpretation of scripture.
Later New England Puritans used any means, including
deceptions, treachery, torture, war, and genocide to
achieve that end.(4) They saw themselves as fighting a
holy war against Satan, and everyone who disagreed with
them was the enemy. This rigid fundamentalism was
transmitted to America by the Plymouth colonists, and it
sheds a very different light on the "Pilgrim" image we
have of them. This is best illustrated in the written
text of the Thanksgiving sermon delivered at Plymouth in
1623 by "Mather the Elder." In it, Mather the Elder gave
special thanks to God for the devastating plague of
smallpox which wiped out the majority of the Wampanoag
Indians who had been their benefactors. He praised God
for destroying "chiefly young men and children, the very
seeds of increase, thus clearing the forests to make way
for a better growth", i.e., the Pilgrims.(5) In as much
as these Indians were the Pilgrim's benefactors, and
Squanto, in particular, was the instrument of their
salvation that first year, how are we to interpret this
apparent callousness towards their misfortune?

The Wampanoag Indians were not the "friendly savages"
some of us were told about when we were in the primary
grades. Nor were they invited out of the goodness of the
Pilgrims' hearts to share the fruits of the Pilgrims'
harvest in a demonstration of Christian charity and
interracial brotherhood. The Wampanoag were members of a
widespread confederacy of Algonkian-speaking peoples
known as the League of the Delaware. For six hundred
years they had been defending themselves from my other
ancestors, the Iroquois, and for the last hundred years
they had also had encounters with European fishermen and
explorers but especially with European slavers, who had
been raiding their coastal villages.(6) They knew
something of the power of the white people, and they did
not fully trust them. But their religion taught that
they were to give charity to the helpless and
hospitality to anyone who came to them with empty
hands.(7) Also, Squanto, the Indian hero of the
Thanksgiving story, had a very real love for a British
explorer named John Weymouth, who had become a second
father to him several years before the Pilgrims arrived
at Plymouth. Clearly, Squanto saw these Pilgrims as
Weymouth's people.(8) To the Pilgrims the Indians were
heathens and, therefore, the natural instruments of the
Devil. Squanto, as the only educated and baptized
Christian among the Wampanoag, was seen as merely an
instrument of God, set in the wilderness to provide for
the survival of His chosen people, the Pilgrims. The
Indians were comparatively powerful and, therefore,
dangerous; and they were to be courted until the next
ships arrived with more Pilgrim colonists and the
balance of power shifted. The Wampanoag were actually
invited to that Thanksgiving feast for the purpose of
negotiating a treaty that would secure the lands of the
Plymouth Plantation for the Pilgrims. It should also be
noted that the INDIANS, possibly out of a sense of
charity toward their hosts, ended up bringing the
majority of the food for the feast.(9)

A generation later, after the balance of power had
indeed shifted, the Indian and White children of that
Thanksgiving were striving to kill each other in the
genocidal conflict known as King Philip's War. At the
end of that conflict most of the New England Indians
were either exterminated or refugees among the French in
Canada, or they were sold into slavery in the Carolinas
by the Puritans. So successful was this early trade in
Indian slaves that several Puritan ship owners in Boston
began the practice of raiding the Ivory Coast of Africa
for black slaves to sell to the proprietary colonies of
the South, thus founding the American-based slave

Obviously there is a lot more to the story of
Indian/Puritan relations in New England than in the
thanksgiving stories we heard as children. Our contemporary
mix of myth and history about the "First" Thanksgiving at
Plymouth developed in the 1890s and early 1900s. Our
country was desperately trying to pull together its many
diverse peoples into a common national identity. To many
writers and educators at the end of the last century and
the beginning of this one, this also meant having a common
national history. This was the era of the "melting pot"
theory of social progress, and public education was a major
tool for social unity. It was with this in mind that the
federal government declared the last Thursday in November
as the legal holiday of Thanksgiving in 1898.

In consequence, what started as an inspirational bit
of New England folklore, soon grew into the full-fledged
American Thanksgiving we now know. It emerged complete with
stereotyped Indians and stereotyped Whites, incomplete
history, and a mythical significance as our "First
Thanksgiving." But was it really our FIRST American

Now that I have deliberately provoked you with some
new information and different opinions, please take the
time to read some of the texts in our bibliography. I want
to encourage you to read further and form your own
opinions. There really is a TRUE Thanksgiving story of
Plymouth Plantation. But I strongly suggest that there
always has been a Thanksgiving story of some kind or other
for as long as there have been human beings. There was also
a "First" Thanksgiving in America, but it was celebrated
thirty thousand years ago.(11) At some time during the New
Stone Age (beginning about ten thousand years ago)
Thanksgiving became associated with giving thanks to God
for the harvests of the land. Thanksgiving has always been
a time of people coming together, so thanks has also been
offered for that gift of fellowship between us all. Every
last Thursday in November we now partake in one of the
OLDEST and most UNIVERSAL of human celebrations, and THERE

As for Thanksgiving week at Plymouth Plantation in
1621, the friendship was guarded and not always sincere,
and the peace was very soon abused. But for three days in
New England's history, peace and friendship were there.

So here is a story for your children. It is as kind
and gentle a balance of historic truth and positive
inspiration as its writers and this editor can make it out
to be. I hope it will adequately serve its purpose both for
you and your students, and I also hope this work will
encourage you to look both deeper and farther, for
Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving all around the world.

Chuck Larsen
Tacoma Public Schools
September, 1986

Top of Page


(1) See Berkhofer, Jr., R.F., "The White Man's
Indian," references to Puritans, pp. 27, 80-85, 90, 104, &

(2) See Berkhofer, Jr., R.F., "The White Man's
Indian," references to frontier concepts of savagery in
index. Also see Jennings, Francis, "The Invasion of
America," the myth of savagery, pp. 6-12, 15-16, & 109-110.

(3) See Blitzer, Charles, "Age of Kings," Great Ages
of Man series, references to Puritanism, pp. 141, 144 &
145-46. Also see Jennings, Francis, "The Invasion of
America," references to Puritan human motives, pp. 4-6, 43-
44 and 53.

(4) See "Chronicles of American Indian Protest," pp.
6-10. Also see Armstrong, Virginia I., "I Have Spoken,"
reference to Cannonchet and his village, p. 6. Also see
Jennings, Francis, "The Invasion of America," Chapter 9
"Savage War," Chapter 13 "We must Burn Them," and Chapter
17 "Outrage Bloody and Barbarous."

(5) See "Chronicles of American Indian Protest," pp.
6-9. Also see Berkhofer, Jr., R.F., "The White Man's
Indian," the comments of Cotton Mather, pp. 37 & 82-83.

(6) See Larsen, Charles M., "The Real Thanksgiving,"
pp. 3-4. Also see Graff, Steward and Polly Ann, "Squanto,
Indian Adventurer." Also see "Handbook of North American
Indians," Vol. 15, the reference to Squanto on p. 82.

(7) See Benton-Banai, Edward, "The Mishomis Book," as
a reference on general "Anishinabe" (the Algonkin speaking
peoples) religious beliefs and practices. Also see Larsen,
Charles M., "The Real Thanksgiving," reference to religious
life on p. 1.

(8) See Graff, Stewart and Polly Ann, "Squanto, Indian
Adventurer." Also see Larsen, Charles M., "The Real
Thanksgiving." Also see Bradford, Sir William, "Of Plymouth
Plantation," and "Mourt's Relation."

(9) See Larsen, Charles M., "The Real Thanksgiving,"
the letter of Edward Winslow dated 1622, pp. 5-6.

(10) See "Handbook of North American Indians," Vol.
15, pp. 177-78. Also see "Chronicles of American Indian
Protest," p. 9, the reference to the enslavement of King
Philip's family. Also see Larsen, Charles, M., "The Real
Thanksgiving," pp. 8-11, "Destruction of the Massachusetts

(11) Best current estimate of the first entry of
people into the Americas confirmed by archaeological
evidence that is datable.



15675 Ambaum Boulevard S.W. Telephone 206/433-0111
Seattle, Washington 98166

November 13, 1985

Dear Colleague:

As educators, we continually strive to improve the clarity
and accuracy of what is taught about the history of our
country. Too often, we have presented what is considered to
be a traditional mono-cultural perspective of history to
our students. Our celebrations and observances have borne
this out. We are, however, becoming increasingly aware of
the need for greater cultural accuracy in historical
studies. This is consistent with the State Superintendent
of Public Instruction's commitment to multi-cultural
education for all students.

With this in mind, the Highline Indian Education program
designed these instructional materials last year to be used
in teaching about Thanksgiving in grades K-6. The response
to these materials has been very positive and we are happy
to have the opportunity to share them with districts in the
state. We trust that you will find them to be a valuable
addition to your instructional resources.

Dr. Kent Matheson

Dr. Bill McCleary
Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Instruction


The Thanksgiving holiday season is a time when Indian
history and culture are frequently discussed in the
schools. Unfortunately, the information and materials
available to teachers are often incomplete or stereotyped
in their presentation. For example, some commercially-
produced bulletin board posters depict Plains-style Indians
with feather warbonnets, tipis in the background, and
horses tied nearby, sitting down to dinner with the
Pilgrims. While these images are popular, they do not
accurately represent the unique culture of the New England
tribes, whose lifestyle was quite different than that of
the Plains Indian stereotype. In addition, some books make
brief mention of the critical assistance given by the
Indians to the Pilgrims and tend to leave readers with the
mistaken impression that all participants at the
Thanksgiving feast remained friends for many years to come.

This unit provides additional information about the
Indians of the North-east culture area where the first
Thanksgiving took place. It includes art projects and other
activities teachers can use for expanding and enriching
their instruction. It is hoped that these materials will
enable teachers to better portray the events surrounding
the first Thanksgiving.

-- Cathy Ross, Mary Robertson and Roger Fernandes

NA Culture NACulture's note: It is hoped you will also read the foregoing material which contains much important historical information. This was written by a teacher who is also an Indian, for Teachers, with additions by his principal and other teachers. The following is his story for Students, followed by suggestions for enactment and enrichment projects.



When the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1620,
they landed on the rocky shores of a territory that was
inhabited by the Wampanoag (Wam pa NO ag) Indians. The
Wampanoags were part of the Algonkian-speaking peoples, a
large group that was part of the Woodland Culture area.
These Indians lived in villages along the coast of what is
now Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They lived in round-
roofed houses called wigwams. These were made of poles
covered with flat sheets of elm or birch bark. Wigwams
differ in construction from tipis that were used by Indians
of the Great Plains.

The Wampanoags moved several times during each year in
order to get food. In the spring they would fish in the
rivers for salmon and herring. In the planting season they
moved to the forest to hunt deer and other animals. After
the end of the hunting season people moved inland where
there was greater protection from the weather. From
December to April they lived on food that they stored
during the earlier months.

The basic dress for men was the breech clout, a length
of deerskin looped over a belt in back and in front. Women
wore deerskin wrap-around skirts. Deerskin leggings and fur
capes made from deer, beaver, otter, and bear skins gave
protection during the colder seasons, and deerskin
moccasins were worn on the feet. Both men and women usually
braided their hair and a single feather was often worn in
the back of the hair by men. They did not have the large
feathered headdresses worn by people in the Plains Culture

There were two language groups of Indians in New
England at this time. The Iroquois were neighbors to the
Algonkian-speaking people. Leaders of the Algonquin and
Iroquois people were called "sachems" (SAY chems). Each
village had its own sachem and tribal council. Political
power flowed upward from the people. Any individual, man or
woman, could participate, but among the Algonquins more
political power was held by men. Among the Iroquois,
however, women held the deciding vote in the final
selection of who would represent the group. Both men and
women enforced the laws of the village and helped solve
problems. The details of their democratic system were so
impressive that about 150 years later Benjamin Franklin
invited the Iroquois to Albany, New York, to explain their
system to a delegation who then developed the "Albany Plan
of Union." This document later served as a model for the
Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the
United States.

These Indians of the Eastern Woodlands called the
turtle, the deer and the fish their brothers. They
respected the forest and everything in it as equals.
Whenever a hunter made a kill, he was careful to leave
behind some bones or meat as a spiritual offering, to help
other animals survive. Not to do so would be considered
greedy. The Wampanoags also treated each other with
respect. Any visitor to a Wampanoag home was provided with
a share of whatever food the family had, even if the supply
was low. This same courtesy was extended to the Pilgrims
when they met.

We can only guess what the Wampanoags must have
thought when they first saw the strange ships of the
Pilgrims arriving on their shores. But their custom was to
help visitors, and they treated the newcomers with
courtesy. It was mainly because of their kindness that the
Pilgrims survived at all. The wheat the Pilgrims had
brought with them to plant would not grow in the rocky
soil. They needed to learn new ways for a new world, and
the man who came to help them was called "Tisquantum" (Tis
SKWAN tum) or "Squanto" (SKWAN toe).

Squanto was originally from the village of Patuxet (Pa
TUK et) and a member of the Pokanokit Wampanoag nation.
Patuxet once stood on the exact site where the Pilgrims
built Plymouth. In 1605, fifteen years before the Pilgrims
came, Squanto went to England with a friendly English
explorer named John Weymouth. He had many adventures and
learned to speak English. Squanto came back to New England
with Captain Weymouth. Later Squanto was captured by a
British slaver who raided the village and sold Squanto to
the Spanish in the Caribbean Islands. A Spanish Franciscan
priest befriended Squanto and helped him to get to Spain
and later on a ship to England. Squanto then found Captain
Weymouth, who paid his way back to his homeland. In England
Squanto met Samoset of the Wabanake (Wab NAH key) Tribe,
who had also left his native home with an English explorer.
They both returned together to Patuxet in 1620. When they
arrived, the village was deserted and there were skeletons
everywhere. Everyone in the village had died from an
illness the English slavers had left behind. Squanto and
Samoset went to stay with a neighboring village of

One year later, in the spring, Squanto and Samoset
were hunting along the beach near Patuxet. They were
startled to see people from England in their deserted
village. For several days, they stayed nearby observing the
newcomers. Finally they decided to approach them. Samoset
walked into the village and said "welcome," Squanto soon
joined him. The Pilgrims were very surprised to meet two
Indians who spoke English.

The Pilgrims were not in good condition. They were
living in dirt-covered shelters, there was a shortage of
food, and nearly half of them had died during the winter.
They obviously needed help and the two men were a welcome
sight. Squanto, who probably knew more English than any
other Indian in North America at that time, decided to stay
with the Pilgrims for the next few months and teach them
how to survive in this new place. He brought them deer meat
and beaver skins. He taught them how to cultivate corn and
other new vegetables and how to build Indian-style houses.
He pointed out poisonous plants and showed how other plants
could be used as medicine. He explained how to dig and cook
clams, how to get sap from the maple trees, use fish for
fertilizer, and dozens of other skills needed for their

By the time fall arrived things were going much better
for the Pilgrims, thanks to the help they had received. The
corn they planted had grown well. There was enough food to
last the winter. They were living comfortably in their
Indian-style wigwams and had also managed to build one
European-style building out of squared logs. This was their
church. They were now in better health, and they knew more
about surviving in this new land. The Pilgrims decided to
have a thanksgiving feast to celebrate their good fortune.
They had observed thanksgiving feasts in November as
religious obligations in England for many years before
coming to the New World.

The Algonkian tribes held six thanksgiving festivals
during the year. The beginning of the Algonkian year was
marked by the Maple Dance which gave thanks to the Creator
for the maple tree and its syrup. This ceremony occurred
when the weather was warm enough for the sap to run in the
maple trees, sometimes as early as February. Second was the
planting feast, where the seeds were blessed. The
strawberry festival was next, celebrating the first fruits
of the season. Summer brought the green corn festival to
give thanks for the ripening corn. In late fall, the
harvest festival gave thanks for the food they had grown.
Mid-winter was the last ceremony of the old year. When the
Indians sat down to the "first Thanksgiving" with the
Pilgrims, it was really the fifth thanksgiving of the year
for them!

Captain Miles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims,
invited Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit (the leader of the
Wampanoags), and their immediate families to join them for
a celebration, but they had no idea how big Indian families
could be. As the Thanksgiving feast began, the Pilgrims
were overwhelmed at the large turnout of ninety relatives
that Squanto and Samoset brought with them. The Pilgrims
were not prepared to feed a gathering of people that large
for three days. Seeing this, Massasoit gave orders to his
men within the first hour of his arrival to go home and get
more food. Thus it happened that the Indians supplied the
majority of the food: Five deer, many wild turkeys, fish,
beans, squash, corn soup, corn bread, and berries. Captain
Standish sat at one end of a long table and the Clan Chief
Massasoit sat at the other end. For the first time the
Wampanoag people were sitting at a table to eat instead of
on mats or furs spread on the ground. The Indian women sat
together with the Indian men to eat. The Pilgrim women,
however, stood quietly behind the table and waited until
after their men had eaten, since that was their custom.

For three days the Wampanoags feasted with the
Pilgrims. It was a special time of friendship between two
very different groups of people. A peace and friendship
agreement was made between Massasoit and Miles Standish
giving the Pilgrims the clearing in the forest where the
old Patuxet village once stood to build their new town of

It would be very good to say that this friendship
lasted a long time; but, unfortunately, that was not to be.
More English people came to America, and they were not in
need of help from the Indians as were the original
Pilgrims. Many of the newcomers forgot the help the Indians
had given them. Mistrust started to grow and the friendship
weakened. The Pilgrims started telling their Indian
neighbors that their Indian religion and Indian customs
were wrong. The Pilgrims displayed an intolerance toward
the Indian religion similar to the intolerance displayed
toward the less popular religions in Europe. The
relationship deteriorated and within a few years the
children of the people who ate together at the first
Thanksgiving were killing one another in what came to be
called King Phillip's War.

It is sad to think that this happened, but it is
important to understand all of the story and not just the
happy part. Today the town of Plymouth Rock has a
Thanksgiving ceremony each year in remembrance of the first
Thanksgiving. There are still Wampanoag people living in
Massachusetts. In 1970, they asked one of them to speak at
the ceremony to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim's
arrival. Here is part of what was said:

"Today is a time of celebrating for you -- a time of
looking back to the first days of white people in America.
But it is not a time of celebrating for me. It is with a
heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my
People. When the Pilgrims arrived, we, the Wampanoags,
welcomed them with open arms, little knowing that it was
the beginning of the end. That before 50 years were to
pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a tribe. That we and
other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by
their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them.
Let us always remember, the Indian is and was just as human
as the white people.

Although our way of life is almost gone, we, the
Wampanoags, still walk the lands of Massachusetts. What has
happened cannot be changed. But today we work toward a
better America, a more Indian America where people and
nature once again are important."


1. Who lived on the rocky shores where the Pilgrims

2. The Wampanoags were part of what culture area?

3. In what type of homes did the Wampanoags live?

4. Explain what the Wampanoags did to obtain food during
the different seasons of the year?

5. What was the basic dress for the Wampanoag people?

6. Describe the Iroquois system of government.

7. Who later used this system of government as a model?

8. What courtesies did the Wampanoag people extend toward
all visitors?

9. Who was "Tisquantum" and what village was he from?

10. Explain how Squanto learned to speak English.

11. Why did Squanto and Samoset go to live with another
Wampanoag village?

12. Tell four ways in which Squanto helped the Pilgrims.

13. Describe the "First Thanksgiving" in your own words.

14. Why was this really the fifth thanksgiving feast for
the Indians that year?

15. What do you think would have happened to the Pilgrims
if they had not been helped by the Indians?

16. After studying about the culture of the Wampanoags,
how would you react to a thanksgiving picture showing
tipis and Indians wearing feathered headdresses?

17. Quickly re-read the lesson and as you read, make a
list of vocabulary words that are new to you and write
a definition for each one.


* Study harvest celebrations in other cultures: Asia (New
Year), Northwest Coast Indians (salmon feast), and Europe
(Oktoberfest). For further information, contact the Ethnic
Heritage Council of the Pacific Northwest, 1107 NE 45th,
Suite 315A, Seattle, Washington, 98105, 206/633-3239.

* Imagine for a moment that people from different cultures
have come to your neighborhood. How will you make them feel
welcome? How might you share your possessions with them?
What kinds of things could you do to build feelings of
friendship and harmony with them?

* Investigate agriculture in your local community. What
crops are grown? What time of year are they harvested? What
harvest fairs are celebrated in your area?

* Discuss religious and cultural intolerance as evidenced
by the problems that developed between the Indians and the
Pilgrims in the years following the first thanksgiving at
Plymouth. How do the United States Constitution and Bill of
Rights safeguard the freedom of religion and the rights of
all citizens in America today?


If you enact the story of the first thanksgiving as a
pageant or drama in your classroom, here are some things to

* Indians should wear appropriate clothing (see dolls on
pages 31 and 35). NO WARBONNETS! A blanket draped over one
shoulder is accurate for a simple outfit.

* Squanto and Samoset spoke excellent English. Other
Indians would have said things in the Algonkian language.
These people were noted for their formal speaking style. A
good example of their oratory would be the prayers on page
23. Someone could read this as part of the drama.

* Indians in the Woodlands area did not have tipis or
horses, so these should not be part of any scenery or

* Any food served should be authentic. The following would
be appropriate:

-- corn soup (see recipe on page 28)
-- succotash (see recipe on page 28)
-- white fish
-- red meat
-- various fowl (turkey, partridge, duck)
-- berries (including whole cranberries)
-- maple sugar candies
-- corn starch candy (believe it or not, candy corn is
almost authentic except for the colored dyes)
-- watercress
-- any kind of bean (red, black, green, pinto)
-- squash
-- corn
-- sweet potato
-- pumpkin



"An Educational Coloring Book of Northeast Indians,"
Spizzirri Publishing Company, Illinois, 1982.

Arber, Edward, "Plymouth Colony Records," Boston,
Massachusetts, 1897.

Armstrong, Virginia Irving, "I Have Spoken," Pocket Books,
New York, 1972.

Benton-Banai, Edward, "The Mishomis Book," Indian Country
Press, Inc., Saint Paul, Minn., 1979.

Berkhofer, Jr., Robert F, "The White Man's Indian," Vintage
Books, Random House, New York, 1978.

Blitzer, Charles, "Age of Kings," Great Ages of Man Series,
Time-Life Books, Time, Inc., New York, 1967.

Bradford, Sir William, and Winslow, Edward, "Of Plymouth
Plantation" and Mourt's Relation," Massachusetts Historical
Society Collections, Tri-centennial Edition, 1922.

"Chronicles of American Indian Protest," The Council on
Interracial Books for Children, Fawcett Pub. Inc.,
Greenwich, Conn., 1971.

Epstein, Sam and Beryl, "European Folk Festivals," Garrand
Publishing Company, Champagne, Illinois, 1968.

Dalgliesh, Alice, "The Thanksgiving Story," Charles
Scribner's Sons, New York, 1954.

Forbes, Jack D., "The Indian in America's Past," Prentice
Hall, Inc., 1964.

Graff, Stewart and Polly Ann, "Squanto, Indian Adventurer,"
Garrard Publishing Company, Illinois, 1965.

"Handbook of North American Indian series, Volume 15,
"History of the Indians of the Northeast," Smithsonian
Institute, Washington, D.C., 1978.

"Harpers' Popular Cyclopaedia of United States History,"
Vol. 1 & 2, Harper and Brothers, Pub., Franklin Square, New
York, 1892.

Jennings, Francis, "The Invasion of America," W.W. Norton
and Company, Inc., New York, 1976.

Larsen, Charles M., "The Real Thanksgiving," Tacoma Public
Schools, Tacoma, Washington, 1981.

Leiser, Julia, "Famous American Indians and Tribes," Youth
Publications, Saturday Evening Post Company, 1977.

Ross, Cathy and Fernandes, Roger, "Woodland Culture Area,"
Curriculum Associates, Seattle, Washington, 1979.

Russell, Howard S., "Indians in New England Before the
Mayflower," University Press of New England, Hanover, New
Hampshire, 1986.

Simmons, William S., "Spirit of the New England Tribes,
Indian History and Folklore 1620-1984," University Press of
New England, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1985.



Gwa! Gwa! Gwa!
Now the time has come!
Hear us, Lord of the Sky!
We are here to speak the truth,
for you do not hear lies,
We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

Now begins the Gayant' gogwus
This sacred fire and sacred tobacco
And through this smoke
We offer our prayers
We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

Now in the beginning of all things
You provided that we inherit your creation
You said: I shall make the earth
on which people shall live
And they shall look to the earth as their mother
And they shall say, "It is she who supports us."
You said that we should always be thankful
For our earth and for each other
So it is that we are gathered here
We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

Now again the smoke rises
And again we offer prayers
You said that food should be placed beside us
And it should be ours in exchange for our labor.
You thought that ours should be a world
where green grass of many kinds should grow
You said that some should be medicines
And that one should be Ona'o
the sacred food, our sister corn
You gave to her two clinging sisters
beautiful Oa'geta, our sister beans
and bountiful Nyo'sowane, our sister squash
The three sacred sisters; they who sustain us.

This is what you thought, Lord of the Sky.
Thus did you think to provide for us
And you ordered that when the warm season comes,
That we should see the return of life
And remember you, and be thankful,
and gather here by the sacred fire.
So now again the smoke arises
We the people offer our prayers
We speak to you through the rising smoke
We are thankful, Lord of the Sky.

(Liberally translated)
Chuck Larsen, Seneca



Corn was a very important crop for the people of the
northeast woodlands. It was the main food and was eaten at
every meal. There were many varieties of corn -- white,
blue, yellow and red.

Some of the corn was dried to preserve and keep it for food
throughout the winter months. Dried corn could be made into
a food called hominy. To make hominy, the dried corn was
soaked in a mixture of water and ashed for two days. When
the kernels had puffed up and split open, they were drained
and rinsed in cold water. Then the hominy was stir-fried
over a fire. You can buy canned hominy in most grocery
stores. Perhaps someone in your class would like to bring
some for everyone to sample.

Corn was often ground into corn meal, using wooden mortars
and pestles. The mortars were made of short logs which were
turned upright and hollowed out on the top end. The corn
was put in the hollow part and ground by pounding up and
down with a long piece of wood which was rounded on both
ends. This was called a pestle.

Corn meal could be used to make cornbread, corn pudding,
corn syrup, or could be mixed with beans to make succotash.
A special dessert was made by boiling corn meal and maple

All parts of the corn plant were used. Nothing was thrown
away. The husks were braided and woven to make masks,
moccasins, sleeping mats, baskets, and cornhusk dolls.
Corncobs were used for fuel, to make darts for a game, and
were tied onto a stick to make a rattle for ceremonies.

Corn was unknown to the Europeans before they met the
Indians. Indians gave them the seeds and taught them how to
grow it. Today in the U.S.A., more farm land is used to
grow corn (60 million acres) than any other grain.

From: _Woodland Culture Area_, Ross/Fernandes, 1979



('o' nanh-dah) by Miriam Lee


12 ears white corn in milky stage
1 # salt pork (lean and fat)
1 # pinto or kidney beans

Using low heat, take corn and roast on top of range (using
griddle if your stove is equipped with one) and keep
rotating corn until ears are a golden brown. After the corn
is roasted, take ears and put on foil covered cookie sheet
until cool enough to handle. Scrape each ear once or twice
With a sharp knife. Corn is ready for making soup. While
corn is being roasted, fill kettle (5 qt. capacity)
approximately 3/4 full with hot water and put on to boil
along with salt pork which has been diced in small pieces
for more thorough cooking. Beans should be sorted for
culls, washed twice and parboiled for approximately 35-45
minutes. After parboiling beans, rinse well in tepid water
2 or 3 times. Corn and beans should then be put in kettle
with pork and cooked for about 1 hour. (Note: Beans can
also be soaked overnight to cut cooking time when preparing


green corn with kernels removed
fresh shelled beans
enough water to cover
salt and pepper to taste
cubed salt pork

Mix the corn and beans and cover with water. Cook the
mixture over medium heat for about a half hour. (Be sure to
stir the mixture to avoid scorching.) Add pepper and salt
and salt pork if desired.

FROM: _Our Mother Corn_



This legend is told by Mrs. Snow,
a talented Seneca craftswoman.

Many, many years ago, the corn, one of the Three Sisters,
wanted to make something different. She made the moccasin
and the salt boxes, the mats, and the face. She wanted to
do something different so the Great Spirit gave her
permission. So she made the little people out of corn husk
and they were to roam the earth so that they would bring
brotherhood and contentment to the Iroquois tribe. But she
made one that was very, very beautiful. This beautiful corn
person, you might call her, went into the woods and saw
herself in a pool. She saw how beautiful she was and she
became very vain and naughty. That began to make the people
very unhappy and so the Great Spirit decided that wasn't
what she was to do. She didn't pay attention to his
warning, so the last time the messenger came and told her
that she was going to have her punishment. Her punishment
would be that she'd have no face, she would not converse
with the Senecas or the birds or the animals. She'd roam
the earth forever, looking for something to do to gain her
face back again. So that's why we don't put any faces on
the husk dolls.

From: _Our Mother Corn_


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Monday, November 21, 2005

David Moniac

November 21, 1836: Battle of Wahoo Swamp:

On this day a battle is fought on the Withlacoochee river in the Wahoo Swamp. American forces, with Indian allies, are led by General Richard Call. The Seminoles are led by Chiefs Osuchee and Yaholooche. After chasing the Seminoles across the river, the American forces call an end to their advance when they believe the river is too deep to cross in force. Creek indian, David Moniac, is killed in the battle of Wahoo Swamp, in central Florida, by Seminoles...


From: http://dhr.dos.state.fl.us/bhp/markers/markers.cfm?ID=sumter


Location:West of Bushnell on S.R. 48, vicinity of Wahoo. County: Sumter City: Bushnell

Description: The Battle of Wahoo Swamp occurred near here on November 21, 1836. The 2nd Seminole War, a seven-year struggle resulting from competition between Seminole Indians and white settlers over central Florida lands, had begun almost a year earlier. By November, 1836, Indian forces had concentrated in Wahoo Swamp to oppose General (and Territorial Governor) R.K. Call's pursuing army. The attack of November 21 began with the advance of a mil-long line of about 2500 men including Tennessee Volunteers, regular army artillery and officers, Florida militiamen, and several hundred Creek Indians. In the fierce engagement fought from tree to tree in mud and water, American troops pushed the Seminoles across the slough south of this marker. The Indians' return fire resulted in the death of Major David Moniac, a Creek regular army officer who led a bold attack across the swamp. Near nightfall, army commanders decided not to pursue the Indians further due to the seemingly impassable terrain and to the lack of supplies. Army casualties were low; the number of Indian losses remains unknown. The Seminoles withdrew southward, but the 2nd Seminole War continued until 1842.


From: http://www.west-point.org/family/ai-grads/THE%20FIRST%20DIVISION.html

"Warrior From West Point" written by Captain Kenneth L. Benton

[This article was originally published in the February 1974 edition of Soldiers Magazine. It is reprinted (on the website) with their kind permission.]

All forward movement of the attacking force had stopped. In the complete stillness the Major crouched and looked across the obstacle that had halted the advance. The swampy stream was not very wide but he had no way of knowing how deep it was. What he was certain of was that the Seminole warriors they had been pursuing were waiting and watching on the other side of the stream, but no sign betrayed their presence.

He had to get the attack moving again. There was only one way to do it-with a yell the Major leaped to his feet and charged into the stream, his troops following close behind. War whoops and a ragged volley of shots greeted the assault and the Major's body slipped beneath the murky waters. A well-placed Seminole musket ball had stopped the attack and ended the story of the first Indian graduate of West Point.

Major David Moniac was a Creek Indian. His grandfather was a Dutchman who had married a Creek woman. His father, Sam Manac, was raised as an Indian and as a young brave was one of the group of warriors who accompanied the great Creek chief Alexander McGillivray to New York in 1790 to meet with George Washington. The resulting peace treaty of 1791 between the Creek Nation and the United States would have a personal impact on Sam Manac some 25 years later.


About 1800 Sam Manac married a Creek girl and established a tavern south of present-day Montgomery, Ala., where he served both red and white and where his son David was born in 1802. In 1816 young David was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. under a provision of a 17901 treaty which called for the education of a limited number of Creek children at government expense. The appointment had two immediate effects upon David's life. The first was that the government appointment named him as David Moniac, the name he would bear for the rest of his life. The second was a trip to Washington to learn to read and write. The training he received at the hands of an Irish tutor must have been adequate for David entered West Point on September 18, 1817 at the age of 15.

Little is known of Moniac during his stay at West Point or how he adjusted to its harsh, Spartan discipline. He did receive several minor demerits; visiting or being absent during study hours accounted for more than half of his delinquencies during his 5 years. We do know he was somewhat bashful and that as an Indian, he did achieve some degree of notoriety. When the cadets marched to Boston to parade before President John Quincy Adams, people along the roadside pointed him out, saying "Look there! There's the Indian!"

At the end of his first year he stood 19th in his class of 29 but at his own request was put back one year. In the next year he was in the upper half of his class but then for the next 3 years he fell steadily in class standing, graduating 39th in a class of 40 on July 1, 1822.

At graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 6th Infantry Regiment and he left on leave. Six months later he resigned his commission, having never served as an officer in the Army.

Perhaps one of the reasons for his resignation was a letter of April 2d from his uncle David Tate. The letter advised Moniac "to get home as quick as you can conveniently do it, as our presence is much wanted here." Tate said Moniac's father had lost almost all his property and had been forced to move on to the Creek reservation. "I took it upon myself, " wrote Tate, "to advise your father not to waist (sic) his property but it had no effect-he kept continually drunk, and made bad trades and every advantage was taken." Tate wanted Moniac back to secure some of his mothers's property and ended by saying that only "hard times" were to be found.

We will never know if the hard times and danger of losing his property were the only reasons for Moniac's resigning his commission. But he did remain in Alabama, acquiring property in the rough, inhospitable hills of southern Alabama's Baldwin County. In this undesirable area he became a "country gentleman." he built a home and attempted to farm while also indulging in his passion for breeding thoroughbred race horses. Sometime after graduation Moniac married Mary Powell, a cousin of Osceola, the leader of the Florida Seminoles. Several years later it was in a battle against these same Seminoles that Moniac lost his life.

Again, little is known about Moniac during the 14-year period from his resignation until he reentered the service in 1836. We only know he married, fathered a son and daughter and tried making a success of cotton planting. As one individual said, "He was a high-toned chivalric gentleman and cordially esteemed by all who knew him."


The Creeks in general had been gradually changing from a warlike tribe into one trying to earn a living from the land. Now that they were tied to the land they were beset by speculators seeking their land to sell to white settlers moving into Alabama. The settlers wanted the Creeks out of Alabama and arrangements were made for transporting them to new homes in Arkansas. In March 1832 the Creeks signed the Removal Treaty in which they gave up title to all land in Alabama and agreed to emigrate. But the treaty did not compel and Creek to move. They could stay if they so desired. The Indians were given time by the treaty to choose land in the new territory, and they were also to receive a sum of money each year for 15 years. Before the Creeks had a chance to choose new land the white land speculators moved in and dispossessed them. This uprooting probably did not affect Moniac as much as it did many of his fellow creeks as the land he lived on was uninviting. With so much good land all around, the land agents and settlers had no inclination to seek his.

Unfortunately this wasn't the case with some Creeks and in 1836 about one-fifth of the Creek nation revolted against the land frauds being perpetuated against them. Chief Opothleyahola, a friendly Creek leader, raised a force of 1,800 braves and did most of the fighting for the Federal Commander, General Jessup. Moniac served as a guide for Jessup's forces in eastern Alabama. The uprising was short-lived but new challenges arose for the Creek nation and David Moniac.

One result of the revolt was that now all Creeks were to be removed from Alabama to new homes in the West. The Creeks-to cover the cost of moving to their new homes-insisted upon an advancement of the Federal annuity which was due them the following year.

The Federal Government, now involved in fighting the Seminoles in Florida with no great success, agreed to the advance provided the Creeks would furnish a regiment of volunteers to fight the Seminoles. As a further inducement, the Creek soldiers were "to receive the pay and emoluments and equipment of soldiers in the Army of the U.S and such plunder as they may take from the Seminoles."


More than 700 Creeks volunteered to serve in the regiment, among them David Moniac. Moniac was commissioned a Captain in the Creek Regiment of Volunteers on August 17, 1836. he was the only Indian to be commissioned, all the other officers being junior officers from the regular Army or Navy. The Indian leaders were Jim Boy and Paddy Carr but the command of the regiment was given to Colonel John Lane, a hard-driving, confident young man who had already attracted President Andrew Jackson's attention. Lane led the regiment to Florida and into action. The first battle took place on September 30 a few miles from Tampa where they charged across a river and routed more than 200 Seminole warriors. The next encounter took place 15 days later and again the Creeks were successful in driving the Seminoles away and capturing 400 head of cattle.

Though the Creeks were successful in their first two actions they quickly found how difficult it was to engage the enemy decisively. The Seminoles continually took refuge in the most inaccessible terrain amid twisted and gnarled trees and high grass and surrounded by swamps and rivers. They normally hid on the far side of a stream and waited for the soldiers to cross. While the soldiers were crossing, the Seminoles would disperse into small groups and fade into the swamp.

The Creek regiment finally joined the main Army of Governor Keith Call on October 19th. The march and battles must have been extremely hard on Colonel Lane for a few hours after joining Call he committed suicide by driving his sabre through his right eye. This cast a deep gloom over the regiment but Lieutenant Colonel Harvey Brown took command and led the regiment for the rest of the campaign.

The Seminoles looked upon the arrival of their old enemies the Creeks with "renewed hatred, and lost no opportunity to give vent to their malignity." The Creeks, to distinguish themselves from the Seminoles, wore white turbans.

Keith Call, governor of Florida and commander of the force, welcomed the Creeks for they comprised almost one-third of the force with which he hoped to end the Seminole war. On the 17th Call's Tennessee troops made contact with the Seminoles in a forbidding place called Wahoo Swamp but darkness ended the engagement. The next day saw another assault with basically the same results-the Tennesseans pursued the Indians through waist-deep mud until the day ended. They then withdrew to await the arrival of the rest of Call's forces so a combined attack could be made on the Wahoo Swamp.


On November 21 all Call's forces were joined together, including the Creek Indians and their newly promoted Major, 34-year-old David Moniac. Call split his force into three elements, the Creek volunteers on the left, the Florida volunteers and regulars in the center and the Tennessee Volunteers on the right. "We marched through the open field," recalled Jo Guild of the Tennessee Volunteers. "The hostile Indians were seen coming out of the edge of a large hammock, half naked, jumping and turning about, accompanied with yelling and the war-whoop."

The Creeks struck the enemy flank and penetrated it while the rest of Call's force charged the Seminole lines. The Seminoles "fell back a few yards, then rallied and poured a heavy fire into our ranks. It was with the greatest difficulty," wrote Guild, "that we could get through the undergrowth, vines, and grass that cut like a knife." The Seminoles kept up the battle, retreating from one position to another in the cypress swamp. The Seminoles "made their final stand behind a neck of water connecting two lakes, where...the friendly Indians, under Moniac, attacked them."

The steam or neck of water held up the advance, the troops considering it "a deep and difficult morass," the depth of which non one knew. Here Moniac showed his qualities of leadership. To keep the advance moving he charged into the stream with his Indians following. The Seminoles opened fire. governor Call wrote that " A severe conflict ensued and while the brave Major Moniac, one of the Chiefs of the Creek Regiment, was advancing to lead the charge across the stream he was shot down and sank immediately in the stream..." Another witness recalled: "Major Moniac, an educated Creek warrior, in attempting to force the creek, fell dead and the Seminoles were elated."

Not only had the Seminoles killed a leader of the hated Creeks but Moniac's death had effectively put an end to the battle. None of the troops seemed inclined to try the unknown stream as Moniac had so the Seminoles held their ground. The Army eventually retreating, taking along Moniac's body. The loss of Moniac was deeply felt; Guild recalled that Moniac was "a man of great courage."

They buried him not far from the battlefield but no memorial to him was ever raised. He died as he lived, in two worlds: as a Major in the service of the United States Army-and as an Indian warrior in the service of his people.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Chichen Itza

November 18, 864: The Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza is dedicated by the Maya.

Travel - Chichen Itz� Yucat�n, M�xico

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More on Pontiac

November 17, 1764: Pontiac's army surrenders at the Muskingham River.


Excerpt from "In the Country of the Walking Dead" by Walter O'Meara, published by Award Books. pp.18-19:

In King Phillip's War and the Seven Years' War the Indians were for the first time sucked into the white man's quarrels in a big way - with, as usual, disastrous consequences.

King Philip's War ended with Philip's head on a pole in Plymouth and the power of his people finished forever. The Seven Years' War brought defeat to the French and the loss of their vast domain east of the Mississippi. This was a staggering blow to the Indians, most of whom had fought on the losing side. Who was there now to block the steady push of the settlers into their hunting grounds? Who was to save them from the insatiable land hunger of the English? Bitter, defeated, resentful, they knew in their hearts what the answer was: it was nobody.

There was one Indian, however, who was willing to try. He was Pontiac, a war chief of the Ottawa. Pontiac, to be sure, did not know that the struggle between the French and the British was already over. And when he began to organize the tribes in the Ohio country for an attack on the British forts in that area, the French did not bother to tell him the war was already lost.

Pontiac's uprising was at first successful. A whole string of wilderness forts fell to his warriors, but at Detroit the great chief was thwarted by the Indian mistress of an officer who, turning informer, warned the British of the impending attack. Six months later Pontiac was still pinned down before the fort, while at Fort Pitt a small but stubborn force defied the Delaware, Mingo and Shawnee.

It was now that the Indians first came into solid contact with a new breed of foe - the Scotch-Irish frontiersman. While the British troops and Pontiac's forces were waging more or less organized warfare in the Great Lakes region, it was the riflemen of the backwoods who dealt with the border raiders.

These Ulster Presbyterians, of whom about 40,000 had settled on the frontier, played rough ... Hungry for land, they were perfectly willing to annihilate the Indians in order to get it. As a beginning, they shot and hatcheted all the peaceful Indians they could find in the neighborhood - women and children, as well as men. Then they marched a thousand strong on Philadelphia, with the idea of massacring a band of Christian Delaware. But the Quakers spirited away the Indians and bought off the backwoodsmen with a promise of scalp bounties.

Pontiac's War ended in defeat and disillusionment for the great chief and his warriors. All its blood-letting and suffering had proved nothing but man's shocking capacity for cruelty. It had served only t intensify the frontier's deadly hatreds - and to push the Indians still deeper into their dark swamp of desperation and despair.


From: Lee Sultzman's detailed history at http://www.dickshovel.com/ill.html :

A drought in the summer of 1762 brought famine that winter and increased discontent. At the same time a new religious movement of Neolin took hold among the Delaware and spread to the other tribes. Preaching a rejection of trade goods and a return to traditional native values, its most important convert was Pontiac, the Ottawa chief at Detroit. The leader of one of the most important tribes of the French alliance, Pontiac's mother was an Ojibwe, and he was also an important member of the Metai (Grand Medicine Society), a secret religious society in most of the Great Lakes tribes. Turning Neolin's religion into a call for revolt against the British, Pontiac sent messengers to the tribes assuring them of French support and received pledges from most, including the Illini. The British heard rumors but ignored them. When it hit in May, 1763, the Pontiac Rebellion captured nine of the twelve British forts west of the Appalachians. Three forts held, and as the British recovered from the initial shock, they brought troops back from the West Indies, and the uprising began to collapse. Especially critical was Pontiac's failure to capture the British post at Detroit. After a six-month siege, Pontiac learned of the peace between Britain and France. After agreeing to a truce, he withdrew to northern Indiana. That winter he made plans to salvage the situation, but as British troops advanced west the following summer, his allies deserted him and make their own peace. Pontiac, however, still had a considerable following in the west. Hoping to organize another rebellion in the west, he dispatched war belts to French allies on the lower Mississippi asking them to prevent the British from coming up the Mississippi to take the Illinois country. The Choctaw and Tunica responded, and the British had to fight their way past Baton Rouge, but, with this resistance, they went little farther.

The Illini had a desperate stake in French control of the Illinois country and had supported the rebellion, but it was with words rather than warriors. With French authority virtually nil, the Sauk had been pressing the Illini, and there had nearly been war between them during 1761. This was particularly frustrating for Pontiac, since the Illini were reluctant to commit warriors to his fight which were needed to defend themselves from neighboring tribes. He was finally won their promise of support only after threatening to attack them himself if they refused. With this very reluctant alliance, Pontiac then proceeded to Fort de Chartres with 400 warriors to to ask the French for supplies and gunpowder, but there was none. Captain Louis St. Ange de Bellerieve was an officer with a fort, and little else. His troops had been evacuated to New Orleans in July taking their powder they had with them. St. Ange was waiting patiently for the British to arrive and advised Pontiac to make peace.

Pontiac had some success in 1764 when the Kickapoo forced a British force sent to take the surrender of Fort de Chartres to turn back. The following May, a second expedition commanded by George Croghan was attacked by Mascouten and Kickapoo warriors near the Wabash. Groghan was captured, but three Shawnee chiefs in his escort were killed. Rather than risk war with the Shawnee, the Kickapoo turned Croghan over to Miami and asked them to ask the British to "cover the dead" with the Shawnee. While he was with them, the Miami arranged a meeting with Pontiac at Fort Ouiatenon., and heeding St. Ange's advice, Pontiac agreed to "bury the hatchet" and accompanied Croghan to Detroit in October to sign a peace. With Pontiac's surrender and the Kickapoo suddenly beholden to the British, the way was open to the Illinois country. That same month, St. Ange surrendered Fort de Chartres to Captain Thomas Stirling. The takeover happened so fast the Illini were caught by surprise and had no time to organize a defense. The Illini never lost their dislike of the British and harassed the garrison at Fort de Chartres (and later Fort Gage) for the next ten years.

This did not endear them to the British, but the Illini reserved a special hated for Pontiac, not only for the threats he had made, but for what they regarded as a betrayal which had allowed the British to take control of the Illinois country. At meeting with William Johnson in New York in 1766, Pontiac confirmed his earlier agreement at Detroit and promised never again to fight the British, but his reputation had suffered. At a meeting in Ontario that year, Ottawa warriors defied him, but far worse was the violent argument he got into during which he stabbed the Peoria chief Matachinga (Black Dog). The wound was not fatal, but the incident fueled the already considerable anger of the Illini. Despite this, Pontiac still enjoyed a large following in the west and left Detroit in 1767 for the Kankakee River in northern Illinois. After the Iroquois ceded the Ohio Valley at Fort Stanwix in 1768, there were rumors he was organizing a second rebellion.

The Illini may have been unprepared for the British takeover, but the French were not. A secret last-minute agreement before signing the treaty with Great Britain in 1763 had passed the ownership of Louisiana to Spain and denied it to the British. The Spanish were a little overwhelmed by this sudden bequest, and Don Antonio de Ulloa did not arrive in New Orleans to take formal possession of Louisiana until March of 1766. Even then, most of the administration and trade of Louisiana continued under the same French officials as before. There had also been a general exodus of the French population from the Illinois country across the Mississippi to the new town of St. Louis. Although they had lost their Jesuit missionaries when the order was disbanded in France in 1764, the Illini still had the large number of French who remained at Kaskaskia. Pontiac's differences with the Illini only worsened after his move to northern Illinois, and there were more bitter arguments with them at councils held during 1768.

In April, 1769 Pontiac went to St. Louis to visit his old friend St. Ange who was now working for the Spanish. To mark the occasion, he wore the French officer uniform given him by Montcalm in 1757. After a few days, Pontiac declared his intention to visit Cahokia, the mixed French-Illini village across the river. He was warned this might be dangerous, but accompanied by his bodyguards, he went anyway. After considerable drinking, his party ended up in the establishment of a British trader named Williamson where Pontiac got into an argument with a young Peoria warrior named Pina, who, as it would turn out, was a nephew of Matachinga the Peoria chief Pontiac had stabbed. Pontiac left and walked outside, but Pina followed and tomahawked him from behind. Pontiac's bodyguards started tearing the place apart looking for the killer, but the Illini drove them from the town.

Most historians agree that Pontiac was buried somewhere along the banks of the Mississippi, but local legend holds that an Indian burial mound on Apple Island in Oakland County's Orchard Lake holds Pontiac's remains.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Vine Deloria, Jr.

Revered Native American scholar Vine Deloria Jr. passed on, on 11/10/2005. As a writer, he was tremendously influential:

Rocky Mountain News, 11/14/2005

Yahoo News, 11/14/2005

NPR Audio, 11/15/2005

Arizona Daily Star, 11/15/2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bear Tooth

November 9, 1867: The peace commissioners who met on September 19, 1867 at Platte City, Nebraska, arrived at Fort Laramie in southeastern Wyoming on this day. Commissioners Sherman, Taylor, Harney, Sanborn, Henderson, Tappan and Terry sought Red Cloud, but he had said he would not come to the fort until all of the soldiers had left the Powder River area. The Commissioners were given a lecture by Crow Indian, Bear Tooth, on the ecological disaster they were spreading across Indian Lands. Making no headway, the Commissioners eventually left without an agreement or substantial negotiations.

From "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown, Section "Red Cloud's War", p.144. Random House (Publishers), ISBN No 0 09 952640 9 :

On November 9, when the commissioners arrived at Fort Laramie, they found only a few Crow chiefs waiting to meet with them. The Crows
were friendly, but one of them - Bear Tooth - made a surprising
speech in which he condemned all white men for their reckless
destruction of wildlife and the natural environment: "Fathers,
fathers, fathers, hear me well. Call back your young men from the
mountains of the bighorn sheep. They have run over our country;
they have destroyed the growing wood and the green grass;
they have set
fire to our lands. Fathers, your young men have devastated the
country and killed my animals, the elk, the deer, the antelope, my
buffalo. They do not kill them to eat them; they leave them to rot
where they fall. Fathers, if I went into your country to kill your
animals, what would you say? Should I not be wrong, and would you
not make war on me?"


Monday, November 07, 2005


November 7, 1811: On this date the Battle of Tippecanoe was fought at the juncture of the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers.

From http://members.tripod.com/Brian_Blodgett/Tecumthe.html#Tippecanoe:

Many Americans who dreamt of westward expansionism were able to argue convincingly that the British were supplying the Indians. The mere fact that the Indians were using British-made weapons was proof enough for many. Reports in various newspapers in Kentucky and Ohio reported that the British were arming the Indians and preparing them to attack the Americans at a moments notice. A copy of a letter published in the local newspapers advertised that the Indians were actually collecting American scalps and selling them in England. Included in this letter was a section on the special way that the backs of the scalps were marked to show the circumstances in which they died.

William Henry Harrison, governor of Indiana Territory, was afraid of the confederation. Harrison himself was a believer in the concept of 'manifest destiny' and did not believe that uncivilized Indians should stand in the way of the Americans. He was also afraid of Tecumthe, who he viewed as one of the greatest leaders in North America. Furthermore, Harrison did not believe in the powers of the Prophet and challenged the Prophet to make the sun stand still and the moon to alter its course. Harrison hoped that if he could discredit the Prophet, then the threat of the confederation would somewhat be diminished. Harrison told the Prophet that if could do this, then he was obviously sent from God. Unfortunately for Harrison, an event that was known by the Americans in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana was soon to occur, an eclipse of the sun. Hundreds of scientists had been moving westward for the past several weeks setting up observation posts amongst the Indians, so it is highly likely that Tecumseh also heard about the eclipse. Tecumseh wisely told his brother to predict that a great event would occur and to gather the Indians to his town on 16 June 1806. When the Indians gathered, the Prophet, at the appointed time, appeared and raised his hands skyward and as if by command, the eclipse occurred. Harrison asked for the impossible and Tecumseh and his brother gave it to him.

Harrison had met Tecumseh several times in the years preceding 1812 and had been both impressed and intimidated by the Indian. Harrison, in his goal to increase the size of the United States through the purchase of Indian lands had recently completed the Treaty of Fort Wayne. This treaty crossed Tecumseh on the one point that he believed the strongest in, that no one tribe could sell the land that the Indians lived on. After Harrison had completed the Treaty of Fort Wayne, Tecumseh was extremely upset and said that the treaty was worthless because the tribes that signed the treaty did not own the land, but had sold it just to get money and supplies from the Americans. After a hostile meeting between Tecumseh and Harrison, the governor was extremely worried about Tecumthe's confederation. At the end of the meeting, Tecumseh mentioned that he was about to start a journey south to visit the Indians along the Gulf Coast and that when he returned, he would again visit with Harrison. Tecumseh also stated that he viewed the treaty as non-binding and that he would ensure that those responsible for signing the treaty would be held responsible for their actions.

Because of Tecumthe's influence as he traveled amongst the various tribes, and the spreading of the Prophet's visions, more and more Indians were turning to the brothers for guidance. These Indians were often the younger braves of a village along with their families. The older Indians were not so easily swayed by Tecumthe's oratory skills and often remained in their own villages, unwilling to commit themselves to Tecumthe's confederation. While Tecumseh was travelling the countryside, Harrison began preparations to break up Prophet's Town. He quickly recruited over 900 men and marched them northward. At this time, President Madison, well aware of the frontier problems, had no desire to launch America into an Indian war. However, he had given Harrison some latitude by allowing him to take any defensive measures required to keep peace in the area.

When Harrison moved his forces towards Prophet's Town, one of his pickets was fired upon. This gave Harrison what he needed, an excuse to attack the town. He moved his forces to within several hundred yards of Prophet's Town and representatives of the village came out to meet him. These representatives asked for a council to be held the next morning in order to avoid bloodshed. Harrison agreed to the suggestion and for some unknown reason, he asked the Indians where he should bivouac his troops. Even stranger was that the Indians suggested what turned out to be a very defensible position.

That evening, the Indians debated over what to do about the American force. Tecumthe, before leaving on his travels, told his brother not to fight the Americans. Tecumseh did not want to start a war with the Americans since he was still trying to peacefully unite the Indians into a confederation that the Americans would be forced to deal with peacefully. However, with Tecumseh gone, the more aggressive Winnebagoes who wanted to attack the Americans, prevailed. The Prophet had no choice but to agree with the numerous Indians who wanted to fight since he was afraid that if he backed down, many of the Indians would leave the confederation on their own. The Prophet even went so far as to make bold predictions that the Indians would be victorious and that bullets would bounce off their skin. The next morning, 7 November 1811, the Indians launched an attack on Harrison's army. While the losses in the Battle of Tippecanoe were few, the Prophet's prediction of victory did not come true. Many of the Indians lost faith in him and withdrew from the area. Harrison moved his forces into the town and destroyed it. The defeat was the beginning of the end of the confederation.

When Tecumseh returned from his travels in the spring of 1812, he was devastated at what had occurred while he was gone. The majority of his followers were gone and the confederation's growth was stunted. Tecumthe, however, did not declare war on the Americans. Instead, he attempted to visit President Madison in order to explain his plan for a confederation to him. He wanted to explain how he did not want to go to war against the United States, but simply wanted recognition of the various Indian tribes as a single entity. Tecumseh knew that the British and Americans were very close to formal war and he even stated that he would support the Americans if they agreed to recognize the unity of the Indian tribes. Tecumseh was not allowed to make his trip. No one heard Tecumthe's peaceful overtures, just the rhetoric of westerners that claimed that Tecumseh would soon sweep down on the various settlements and kill the unsuspecting civilians.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Little Turtle

November 4, 1791: Miami Chief Little Turtle, and 1500 Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi and Shawnee warriors had been stalking American General Arthur St Clair and his force of 2500 men. 300 of the men were militia and they had camped across a stream from the rest of the force near the site of present-day Fort Recovery, Ohio. In a pre-dawn move on this date Little Turtle's forces would attack the militia which would be routed, and their retreat would hamper the efforts of the rest of the force. After three hours of slaughter, St Clair managed to effect an escape, however 900 of his men died in what has been called the worst defeat in the history of the American army.

Following is from: EarlyAmerica.com, courtesy of the News-Sentinel:

Early America's Bloodiest Battle By Richard Battin Managing Editor, The News-Sentinel Fort Wayne, Indiana (copyright 1994, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne Indiana)

On September 17, 1791 Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair headed north from what is now Cincinnati, Ohio to establish a fort at the head of the Maumee River. Had he been successful, folks in Fort Wayne, Indiana would have celebrated their bicentennial three years earlier and presumably it would have been in Fort St. Clair, not Fort Wayne.

Instead, St. Clair was soundly defeated by the Indians in what has been called the bloodiest battle of pioneer American history. The battle site, which became Fort Recovery, Ohio, was about 50 miles southeast of the Indians' Kekionga village, where Fort Wayne was built.

Nearly 700 of St. Clair's people were killed, compared with approximately 40 Indians who lost their lives. Of St. Clair's dead, more than 600 were soldiers, and at least 56 were women - wives who had accompanied their husbands on the trip. Dozens of other women and children were taken prisoner.

It was more than three times the number the Sioux would kill 85 years later at Custer's last stand at Little Big Horn - and, by far, the worst defeat of an American force by Indians in the nation's history.

In relative terms, some historians have called it the country's worst military defeat ever because it left the United States with a total army of about 300.

Three years would pass before Gen. Anthony Wayne and his better-trained army would defeat the Indians at Fallen Timbers - near present-day Toledo, Ohio - and then move southwest to the confluence of the St. Marys and St. Joseph rivers to build a fort.

In mid-March 1791, Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, was summoned to the Philadelphia office of President George Washington. St. Clair was selected, Washington explained, because the president had "full confidence" in his military abilities based on St. Clair's Revolutionary War experience.

His mission, set forth in a 4,500-word document from Secretary of War Henry Knox, was to "establish a strong and permanent military post" at the Miami village of Kekionga, something General Josiah Harmar had failed to do the previous October when his troops were defeated around the area that would eventually become Fort Wayne.

That debacle at the hands of the Miami Chief Little Turtle - who would also lead his well-trained men against St. Clair - became known as "Harmar's Defeat." Arthur St. Clair was a Scottish-American who served as a British army officer in America during the French and Indian War. When the Revolutionary War began, he joined the colonial army and organized the New Jersey troops.

He fought at Trenton and Princeton, and became a major general. He commanded Fort Ticonderoga, but did not try to defend it, abandoning the New York fort to the British in 1777. St. Clair was criticized for failing to defend the fort and was recalled from service.

His checkered military career, however, did not prevent him from winning a seat in the Congress of the Confederation after the Revolutionary War as a representative of Pennsylvania. In 1787, he became president of the congress and that same year he was named governor of the Northwest Territory. At the time Washington picked him to lead an army to Kekionga, Arthur St. Clair was 55 and afflicted with a very bad case of gout. He was, for the times, a tired old man.

Still, President Washington had confidence in the Revolutionary War veteran. But, speaking as an "old soldier," Washington offered St. Clair some advice: "Beware of surprise," he warned. "Trust not the Indian; leave not your arms for the moment; and when you halt for the night be sure to fortify your camp. Again and again, General: Beware of surprise!"

It was advice St. Clair failed to take seriously enough, although, given the cards stacked against him - primarily his ragtag army of amateur, ill- prepared and poorly equipped soldiers - it probably would have done little to change the situation.

Plans were to raise 3,000 soldiers for the taking of Kekionga. The War Department estimated the opposition at about 1,000 Indians along the Wabash River, and maybe 1,000 "more distant Indians." Knox decreed a 3,000-man army would be "superior to all oppositions." St. Clair talked openly of the Indians' pending "utter destruction," telling anyone who would listen that "ruin will surely overtake them." But St. Clair's army came to be made up largely of "levies," or short- term soldiers recruited for six-month terms. They were not professional fighters, they had no commitment to victory beyond staying alive, and they were unfamiliar with the area.

The Indians, however, were fighting for their homeland. They were experienced warriors led by the brilliant Little Turtle of the Miamis and Blue Jacket of the Shawnees.

The Indians were encouraged and supplied by the British, who hoped to regain the Northwest Territory they had lost to the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Henry Hamilton, British lieutenant governor at Detroit, earned the nickname "Hair Buyer" among the Indians because he had bought so many American scalps. Delays kept the Americans at Fort Washington (now Cincinnati) until September. Expecting a summer departure, the troops were equipped with lightweight tents. The weather already was turning cold. Secretary of War Knox appointed his friend William Duer, an unscrupulous New York financier, to supply the troops, but the two of them were instead spending government money on land speculation.

The army was supposed to cut its way through the Ohio wilderness, building forts along the way, but it was equipped with only 15 hatchets, 18 axes, 12 hammers and 24 handsaws.

Duer sent reprocessed and damaged gunpowder to the troops. One soldier noted that his musket balls bounced off Indians during the battle.

There was a serious deficiency of horses. The army had a horsemaster who one soldier observed, "had never been in the woods in his life." More than 600 pack horses were injured fighting for food that was improperly scattered on the ground rather than put in troughs. Calvary horses were turned loose in the woods at night without bells or hobbles, and dozens wandered away or were stolen by Indians.

St. Clair headed north from Fort Washington on Sept. 17, 1791, with a little more than 2,000 men. Desertions were common among officers as well as the regular soldiers. Discipline was inconsistent. St. Clair and his second- in command, Brig. Gen. Richard Butler, were barely speaking to each other. They had no information on what the Indians were doing or where they were.

St. Clair assumed the Indians would abandon their villages and beg for peace as he approached. Occasional sightings of warriors by sentries were discounted as chance encounters with roaming Indian hunters. The Indians, meanwhile, led by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket, were receiving a constant stream of information from deserters, prisoners and warrior scouts sent to spy.

Their forces totaled a little more than 1,000 men. On Oct. 28, they left Kekionga, advancing on the Americans to the south.

Six days later, St. Clair's troops reached a tributary of the Wabash River. This spot, elevated from its surroundings, was chosen as an ideal place to camp for the night.

St. Clair's army now numbered 1,400 regulars and militia, and 86 officers. The weather was bitterly cold.

B.J. Griswold writes in his "Pictorial History of Fort Wayne": "The sun had not yet risen when the army was thrown into a state of consternation by the yells of savages who advanced from all sides and at once commenced their fierce attack upon the startled encampment." And from the journal of Maj. Ebenezer Denny: "The savages seemed not to fear anything we could do. They could skip out of reach of bayonet and return, as they pleased. The ground was literally covered with the dead. . . . It appeared as if the officers had been singled out, as a very great proportion fell. The men being thus left with few officers, became fearful, despaired of success, gave up the fight."

The rout lasted three hours before the survivors - among them St. Clair himself - fled south to Fort Jefferson, one of two forts they had erected since Fort Washington. The spoils of the camp kept the Indians from serious pursuit.

Washington Irving describes the president's reaction to the news in his "Life of Washington": "It's all over!" Washington exclaimed. "St. Clair defeated! - routed! The officers nearly all killed, the men by wholesale; the rout complete; too shocking to think of, and a surprise into the bargain. . .To suffer that army to be cut to pieces, hacked, butchered, tomahawked, by a surprise - the very thing I guarded him against - O, God! O God!. . . . He's worse than a murderer! How can he answer to his country!" St. Clair did manage some kind of answer. He lost his commission, but Washington allowed him to continue as governor of the Northwest Territory. While it was a major victory for the Indians, they failed to take advantage of it. By mid-November of 1791, much of the Indian force had scattered. It had been a bad crop year, and most of the food supply had been exhausted. Before dispersing, the Indian tribes met on the banks of the Ottawa River near what is now Lima, Ohio. They decided nothing except to meet in the spring and talk some more. Only the Miami Indians took action, moving from Kekionga to near what is now Toledo to be closer to the British fort. 22, 1794, fifteen cannon rounds and three cheers signaled the official opening of Fort Wayne. ...