Monday, April 30, 2007

Eskiminzin (1828-1895)

April 28, 1871: Either convinced that Eskiminzin's Apache are responsible for raids near Tucson, or just looking for an excuse to attack the Aravaipas, William Oury sets out with 140 armed whites and Indians for the Apache camp near Camp Grant.

April 30 1871: William Oury, a veteran Indian fighter from Tucson, and 140 men, including 92 Papago Indians, find the unarmed camp of Eskiminzin's Aravaipa Apaches living near Camp Grant. Believing them to be raiders of San Xavier Mission on April 10th, over 50 miles away near Tucson, the group attacks the unsuspecting village. 144 Indians will be killed during the massacre. Twenty-seven children will survive, they will all be sold into slavery in Mexico by the Papagos. Lt. Royal Whitman, of Camp Grant hears of the expedition against the Indians, but his message of warning, will arrive a few hours after the fighting begins. Lt. Whitman, believing the Aravaipas to be innocent, eventually gets the Tucson men brought to trial in Tucson. Many Army members testify that the Aravaipas could not possibly have been involved in the raids, but after the five-day trail, and a deliberation of lest than half an hour, the Tucson men are acquitted.


Arizona's Camp Grant Massacre
by Howard Sheldon

In the pre-dawn hours of April 30, 1871, eight men and 110 women and children were brutally murdered in the brief span of 30 minutes. In addition, 28 Arivaipa Apache papoose were kidnapped from the grisly scene for sale in the child slave trade. The corpses left to rot in the morning sun of Arivaipa Canyon were a macabre sight to Dr. Conant B. Briesly the first white man to chronicle the sight when he arrived at half past seven the same morning. By eight o'clock that morning, the mongrel band responsible for the gruesome massacre was breakfasting and celebrating their victory over an Indian tribe of defenseless, sleeping victims. What prompted 148 Arizonans -- comprised of 6 Anglos, 94 San Xavier Papagos and 48 Mexicans -- to commit such an atrocity?

April 30, 1998, marks the 127th anniversary of this dark page in Arizona's Territorial diary, written in Arivaipa Apache blood. There will be no recognition of this day by the white man. There is no physical marker to locate the site. However, this day has not been forgotten by the relatives of those slain, the Arivaipa Apaches. This attempt at genocide is known as the Camp Grant Massacre.

The events that led up to and culminated in the Camp Grant Massacre were the severe depredations of humans and livestock in the first four months of 1871. Atrocities were committed by both the white man and the native Indians. The immigrants, white-eyed enemies or pindah-lickoyee as the Indians called them, were moving in by the thousands and exhausting the native food and water resources. The Arivaipa Apaches relied on game and native plants -- primarily mescal -- as their primary food sources. With these problems and a host of others, which included new diseases introduced by the white man, it is easier to understand why the native peoples were unwilling to share their home with these new uninvited guests. Much to the chagrin of the settlers, government representatives were unavailable to protect the white citizenry. Unable to see any relief in sight, six white pioneers, a mixed company of San Xavier Papagos and Mexican's, took matters into their own hands, vigilante style.

Introducing The Key Players

William S. Oury, organizer of the raid on Camp Grant's Apache Indians, was a hot-tempered Virginian who fought in the Texas War for independence. He was a soldier in the US/Mexican War and served at the Alamo. Known for his violent temper, he killed two men in separate duels in Tucson.

Eskiminzin was then Chief of the Arivaipa Indians. His name means "Men Stand in Line for Him". In February of 1871, Eskiminzin was tired of the warpath. He sent five old Apache women to inquire at Camp Grant about peace and protection. Lt. Whitman received the women courteously and worked out an appointed time for a peace talk with their leader. On subsequent meetings, it was arranged for the Indians to stay in wickiups east of Camp Grant. In exchange for the protection and food, the Indians were employed in farming, gathering hay and working for nearby ranches. This worked out well for both the Apaches and the U.S. military. Eskiminzin had a reputation that caused much fear among the whites. An account states that about a month after the Camp Grant incident, Eskiminizin wanted to show his fellow Arivaipas that there could be no friendship with the white man. Eskiminzin had a close white friend of many years, a rancher named Charles McKinney. Eskiminzin shared an evening meal with McKinney, and at the conclusion of the meal, the two smoked a cigarette together. Upon finishing, Eskiminzin stood up, pulled a revolver from his pants and shot the man at point-blank range, killing him. When Eskiminzin was later asked about the incident, he was quoted as saying, "Any coward can kill his enemy, but it takes a brave man to kill his friend."

Events leading up to the massacre

March 10, 1871. A baggage train was attacked by Indians. Two men were brutally murdered and 16 mules were stolen.

March 20, 1871. Tubac rancher L.B. Wooster was attacked and killed. A Mexican woman was kidnapped from a town south of Tucson.

March 22, 1871. A meeting of angry Tucson residents assembled and a Committee on Public Safety was formed. One item on the agenda was to send a delegation to General Stoneman to request military protection. General Stoneman reiterated the government's policy on pacification and objected to the request, calling it criticism. Oury then concluded that the residents were on their own. Lt. Royal Whitman assured Tucson's residents that the Apaches under his control never left the Camp Grant compound.

March 25, 1871. An editorial in Tucson's Arizona Citizen fanned the flames of Indian hatred by asking, "Will the Department Commander any longer permit the murderers to be fed by the supplies purchased with the people's money?" April 10, 1871. Indians plundered a farm and carried off 19 head of cattle. News of this reached Tucson via the Papagos, and a posse was dispatched which gave chase for 50 miles. It caught up with a straggling Indian, killed him and identified him as an Arivaipa Apache from Camp Grant. During the chase, three more white settlers were killed. The incident was reported in Arizona Citizen. Three days later, in a community 30 miles from Camp Grant, a farmer was murdered.

Arizona Citizen Editor John Wasson had obtained General Stoneman's 1870 annual report. The report recommended that seven of 15 military posts be closed. The report also bragged about Stoneman's "much to be praised" new roads and construction projects.

April 28, 1871. Anglos and Mexicans left Tucson a few at a time -- to avoid suspicion -- and headed towards Camp Grant, where they were positive the problem existed.

April 30, 1871. After two days of traveling only at night, the vigilantes arrived at Camp Grant under the cover of darkness while the Arivaipa Indians slept. The mongrel band of Papagos, with clubs and lances in hand, and Mexicans and Anglos armed to the teeth with rifles and six-shooters, stealthily approached the sleeping, defenseless people. In a brief 30 minutes they laid to waste every man, woman and child. Upon leaving, they took 28 children as captives.

April 30, 1871, 7:30 a.m. That morning, a harried messenger arrived at Camp Grant from Fort Lowell interrupting Lt. Whitman's breakfast with an urgent message. It stated that armed citizenry from Tucson were planning a massacre of the Lieutenant's prisoners of war, the Apaches. The Lieutenant immediately dispatched two interpreters to warn the Indians and have them come to the post directly for protection.

But by the time the interpreters arrived, the camp was completely decimated. Post surgeon, Conant B. Briesly, along with 12 men, were immediately dispatched to render aid to the injured. However, the massacre was so thorough, only one woman survived. She was so emotionally paralyzed that she would not come back to the post.




.... one of the most misunderstood and maligned (Apache leaders) was the great leader of the Aravaipa Apaches, Eskiminzin.

Eskiminzin was born about 1828, probably near the Pinal Mountains. He was actually a Pinal Apache, but married into the Aravaipas (south of the Pinals). His father-in-law was Santos, chief of the Aravaipas. Eskiminzin was nearly always in very difficult positions trying to save his people. When he felt they had to fight to survive, he was unafraid to do so. When it was better for his people to accept peace terms, he did so. He always had the welfare of his people in mind. It was Eskiminzin who finally negotiated the terms by which the great San Carlos Apache Reservation was established. (See my page on the Apache Wars). However, after the reservation was established he experienced real tragedy.

In the summer of 1873 conditions on the reservation reached crisis proportions. Eskiminzin felt it was best that he should flee. Consequently, he was later captured and put in chains. When John Clum arrived, he ordered him released, because Clum felt he had been treated shamefully. Eskiminzin even visited Washington, D.C., with Clum in 1876. Slowly, Eskiminzin began to feel that peace was beginning to pay off.

However, in 1887 his son-in-law, the Apache Kid, was arrested for the murder of a rival on the San Carlos Reservation. When the Kid finally escaped, it was believed that Eskiminzin would aid him from time to time. Therefore, Eskiminzin was arrested in April or May 1891 and sent to Ft. Wingate, New Mexico, with 40 other supposed sympathizers with the Kid. They were forced to join the Chiricahuas who were then at Mt. Vernon, Alabama (before their removal to Oklahoma). Eskiminzin and his San Carlos braves were not exactly on friendly terms with the Chiricahuas, and they found their situation to be very difficult.

Finally, a white friend, Hugh Lennox Scott, convinced authorities that Eskiminzin should be released. He arrived back in San Carlos on 23 November 1894. A year later Eskiminzin died. His life had been truly tragic in the extreme.

There are still many descendants of Eskiminzin on the San Carlos Reservation. His legacy is revered, but the hurt of what happened to this man is still deeply felt.


For more information on Eskiminzin, read: Browning, Sinclair. Enju. Introduction by Morris K. Udall. Flagstaff: Northland Press, 1982. Schellie, Don. Vast Domain of Blood. Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1968. An important article is: Marion, Jeannie. "As Long as the Stone Lasts: General O. O. Howard's 1872 Conference." Journal of Arizona History 35 (Summer 1994): 109-140. (Marion is supposed to have a book forthcoming on Eskiminzin.)

See also NAW posting for Eskiminzin at:
NAW: Eskiminzin

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ottawa Chief Pontiac (1720-1769)

April 27, 1763: Today, Pontiac will hold a council with a large group of Ottawa, Wyandot and Potawotami indians. He will tell them of his plans to attack Fort Detroit. He will extol the virtues of returning to the old Indian ways, before the coming of the Europeans.

( Image courtesy of )

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Ottawa Chief Pontiac (1720 - 1769)

PONTIAC, chief of the Ottawas, born on Ottawa river about 1720; died in Cahokia, Ill., in 1769. He was the son of an Ojibway woman, and, as the Ottawas were in alliance with the Ojibways and Potawotamies, he became the principal chief of the three tribes.

In 1746, with his warriors, he defended the French at Detroit against an attack by some of the northern tribes, and in 1755 he is believed to have led the Ottawas at Braddock's defeat. After the surrender of Quebec, Major Robert Rogers, of New Hampshire, was sent to take possession of the western forts, under the treaty of Paris, but in November, 1760, while encamped at the place where the city of Cleveland now stands, he was visited by Pontiac, who objected to his further invasion of the territory. Finding, however, that the French had been driven from Canada, he acquiesced in the surrender of Detroit, and persuaded 400 Detroit Indians, who were lying in ambush, to relinquish their design of cutting off the English. While this action was doubtless in good faith, still he hated the English and soon began to plan their extermination.

In 1762 he sent messengers with a red stained tomahawk and a wampum war belt, who visited every tribe between the Ottawa and the lower Mississippi, all of whom joined in the conspiracy The end of May was determined upon as the time when each tribe was to dispose of the garrison of the nearest fort, and then all were to attack the settlements. A great council was held near Detroit on 27 April, 1763, when Pontiac delivered an oration, in which the wrongs and indignities that the Indians had suffered at the hands of the English were recounted, and their own extermination was prophesied. He also told them of a tradition, which he could hardly have invented, that a Delaware Indian had been admitted into the presence of the Great Spirit, who told him his race must return to the customs and weapons of their ancestors, throw away the implements they had acquired from the white man, abstain from whiskey, and take up the hatchet against the English, "these dogs dressed in red, who have come to rob you of your hunting grounds and drive away the game."

The taking of Detroit was to be his special task, and the 7th of May was appointed for the attack ; but the plot was disclosed to the commander of the post by an Indian girl, and in consequence Pontiac found the garrison prepared. Foiled in his original intention, on 12 May he surrounded Detroit with his Indians; but he was unable to keep a close siege, and the garrison received food from the Canadian settlers. The latter likewise supplied the Indians, in return for which they received promissory notes drawn on birch bark and signed with the figure of an otter, all of which it is said were subsequently redeemed. Supplies and reinforcements were sent to Detroit by way of Lake Erie, in schooners ; but these were captured by the Indians, who compelled the prisoners to row them to Detroit in hope of taking the garrison by stratagem, but the Indians, concealed in the bottom of the boat, were discovered before a landing could be effected. Subsequently another schooner, filled with supplies and ammunition, succeeded in reaching the fort, and this vessel the Indians repeatedly tried to destroy by means of fire rafts.

The English now believed themselves sufficiently strong to make an attack upon the Indian camp, and 250 men, on the night of 31 July, set out for that purpose; but Pontiac had been advised of this intention by the Canadians, and, waiting until the English had advanced sufficiently, opened fire on them from all sides. In this fight, which is known as that of Bloody Bridge, 59 of the English were killed or wounded. A desultory warfare continued until 12 Oct., when the siege was raised and Pontiac retired into the country that borders Maumee river, where he vainly endeavored to organize another movement. Although Pontiac failed in the most important action of the conspiracy, still Fort Sandusky, Fort St. Joseph, Fort Miami, Fort Ouatanon, Mackinaw, Presque Isle, Fort Le Bceuf, and Fort Venango were taken and their garrisons were massacred, while unsuccessful attacks were made elsewhere. The English soon sent troops against the Indians, and succeeded in pacifying most of the tribes, so that, during the summer of 1766, a meeting of Indian chiefs, including Pontiac, was held in Oswego, where a treaty was concluded with Sir William Johnson. Although Pontiac's conspiracy failed in its grand object, still it had resulted in the capture and destruction of eight out of the twelve fortified posts that were attacked, generally by the massacre of their garrisons, it had destroyed several costly English expeditions, and had carried terror and desolation into some of the most fertile valleys on the frontiers of civilization. In 1769 a Kaskaskia Indian, being bribed with a barrel of liquor and promise of additional reward, followed Pontiac into the forest and there murdered him.


See Francis Parkman's "History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac and the War of the North American Tribes against the English Colonies after the Conquest of Canada" (Boston, 1851), also Franklin B. Hough's "Diary of the Siege of Detroit in the War with Pontiac" (Albany, 1860). -- Edited Appleton's Cyclopedia American Biography


( The following is From )

"You Must Lift the Hatchet Against Them"

A Delaware Indian conceived an eager desire to learn wisdom from the Master of Life; but, being ignorant where to find him, he had recourse to fasting, dreaming, and magical incantations. By these means, it was revealed to him, that, by moving forward in a straight, undeviating course, he would reach the abode of the Great Spirit. He told his purpose to no one, and having provided the equipment's of a bunter-gun, powder horn, ammunition, and a kettle for preparing his food-he set out on his errand. For some time, he journeyed on in high hope and confidence. On the evening of the eighth day, he stopped by the side of a brook at the edge of a meadow, where he began to make ready his evening meal, when, looking up, he saw three large openings in the woods before him, and three well-beaten paths which entered them. He was much surprised; but his wonder increased, when, after it had grown dark, the three paths were more clearly visible than ever. Remembering the important object of his journey, he could neither rest nor sleep; and, leaving his fire, he crossed the meadow, and entered the largest of the three openings. He had advanced but a short distance into the forest, when a bright flame sprang out of the ground before him, and arrested his steps. In great amazement, he turned back, and entered the second path, where the same wonderful phenomenon again encountered him; and now, in terror and bewilderment, yet still resolved to persevere, he took the last of the three paths. On this he journeyed a whole day without interruption, when at length, emerging from the forest, he saw before him a vast mountain, of dazzling whiteness. So precipitous was the ascent that the Indian thought it hopeless to go farther, and looked around him in despair; at that moment, he saw, seated at some distance above, the figure of a beautiful woman arrayed in white, who arose as he looked upon her, and thus accosted him:

"How can you hope, encumbered as you are, to succeed in your design? Go down to the foot of the mountain, throw away your gun, your ammunition, your provisions, and your clothing; wash yourself in the stream which flows there, and you will then be prepared to stand before the Master of Life."

The Indian obeyed, and again began to ascend among the rocks, while the woman, seeing him still discouraged, laughed at his faintness of heart, and told him that, if he wished for success, he must climb by the aid of one hand and one foot only. After great toil and suffering, he at length found himself at the summit. The woman had disappeared, and he was left alone. A rich and beautiful plain lay before him, and at a little distance, he saw three great villages, far superior to the squalid wigwams of the Delaware's. As he approached the largest, and stood hesitating whether he should enter, a man gorgeously attired stepped forth, and, taking him by the hand, welcomed him to the celestial abode. He then conducted him into the presence of the Great Spirit, where the Indian stood confounded at the unspeakable splendor which surrounded him. The Great Spirit bade him be seated, and thus addressed him:

"I am the Maker of heaven and earth, the trees, lakes, rivers, and all things else. I am the Maker of mankind; and because I love you, you must do my will. The land on which you live I have made for you, and not for others. Why do you suffer the white men to dwell among you? My children, you have forgotten the customs and traditions of your forefathers. Why do you not clothe yourselves in skins, as they did, and use the bows and arrows, and the stone-pointed lances, which they used? You have bought guns, knives, kettles, and blankets, from the white men, until you can no longer do without them; and, what is worse, you have drunk the poison firewater, which turns you into fools. Fling all these things away; live as your wise forefathers lived before you. And as for these English-these dogs dressed in red, who have come to rob you of your hunting grounds, and drive away the game-you must lift the hatchet against them. Wipe them from the face of the earth, and then you will win my favor back again, and once more be happy and prosperous. The children of your great father, the King of France, are not like the English. Never forget that they are your brethren. They are very dear to me, for they love the red men, and understand the true mode of worshipping me."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pipestone National Monument

April 19, 1858: The Yankton Sioux sign a treaty today. Article 8 provides for the Indians to retain access and use of the red pipestone quarry in southwestern Minnesota.

(Catlin image courtesy of NPS)

An account of the origin of the pipestone, as recorded by George Catlin, 1836:

At an ancient time the Great Spirit, in the form of a large bird, stood upon the wall of rock and called all the tribes around him, and breaking out a piece of the red stone formed it into a pipe and smoked it, the smoke rolling over the whole multitude. He then told his red children that this red stone was their flesh, that they were made from it, that they must all smoke to him through it, that they must use it for nothing but pipes: and as it belonged alike to all tribes, the ground was sacred, and no weapons must be used or brought upon it.

(Image courtesy of

(The following is from

According to geologists, pipestone was formed when a stream system deposited layer upon layer of sand and other sediment. The sand was eventually compressed into sandstone, and the red clay under it into clay stone. Some sediment was removed by one of the four glaciers which traveled through the area and scraped the land down to the sandstone. Under the weight of the glaciers and with extremely high temperatures, the sandstone became quartzite and the red clay sediment turned into pipestone.

The vein of pipestone is sandwiched between two layers of hard quartzite, four to twelve feet below the earth's surface.

Outcroppings of pipestone are also found in Montana, Arizona, Kansas, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Pieces of pipestone from Minnesota's quarry have been found in burial mounds in many different sections of North America, leading historians to believe that various tribes journeyed thousands of miles to quarry here. During the summer, tribal bands would divide into groups, each with its own task to complete. While some parties hunted buffalo, others would travel to the quarry to get pipestone.

.... Philander Prescott, who worked for the North American Fur Company, was probably the first white man to see the quarry and document his visit. In 1831 he wrote, "Indians have labored here very hard with hoes and axes, the only tools except large stones...we found a six pound cannon ball that the Indians have brought there from the Missouri to break the rock."

Joseph Nicollet, a French scientist on a U.S. government-sponsored exhibition to map the upper Mississippi area, explored the quarry in 1838. Nicollet and his party left their initials on the northern end of the quartzite ledge, where they are still visible today.

... In an effort to gain control of more territory, the U.S. government, through the general Indian Appropriations bill of 1851, negotiated a treaty for the title to all of their Minnesota lands, which was most of southern Minnesota. The Sisseton and Wahpeton bands ceded their lands, including the pipestone quarry, in a treaty signed at Traverse des Sioux in 1851. However, the Yankton tribe was not part of the treaty and objected to losing the quarry. They tried to gain compensation by demanding a part of the revenue given to the Sisseton and Wahpetons, but were unsuccessful.

Seven years later, the Yanktons ceded eleven million acres of their land and were guaranteed "free and unrestricted use of the red pipestone visit and procure stone for pipes so long as they shall desire." A 650-acre reservation was created around the quarry.

This by no means settled the conflict between the Native Americans and white people. With the coming of settlers Pipestone City was planned, and by 1881 a large quartzite building-stone quarry was opened by a white settler. Two years later white pioneers including the mayor, C.C. Goodnow, settled on the reservation, filed claims and began to build homes. They refused to leave until four years later when a corps of ten enlisted men sent from South Dakota ordered the settlers to move.

An act of Congress provided for the establishment of Indian Industrial Training Schools in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. The government took possession of the Pipestone reservation when the school was established there in1892. Some tribal members wanted compensation for land, others wanted to retain the quarry altogether. A vote was taken of the male tribal members and by a narrow majority title to the reservation was ceded for $100,000; the government agreed to preserve the quarry as a national park. But this bill was never ratified by Congress.

Over the next few decades, the Yanktons fought to retrieve the money for their land through the U.S. Court system. Finally the Supreme Court ruled that the government was liable to compensate the Yanktons when it took possession of the entire reservation for the training school.

A total of $328,558 in principle plus interest was awarded in 1929. With the payment of this judgement title to the land passed to the United States, and all treaty rights of the Yanktons were at an end. Pipestone National Monument was signed into legislation in 1937.

Today, only Native Americans are allowed to quarry pipestone. It may take up to three to six weeks to complete the quarrying process, which usually occurs from late may to late October. Only hand tools, such as sledge hammers, chisels, wedges and shovels can be used.

The quarrier sets a wedge into visible cracks in the quartzite and drives it in with a sledge hammer. Large chunks of quartzite loosened and pried away from the quartzite wall until the pipestone layer is exposed. Although the layer of pipestone may be fourteen to eighteen inches thick, only two inches of it are suitable for carving pipes.

(Map courtesy of