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The Loss of Turtle Island

An interactive exercise on the history of colonization in the United States

Karin Kaufman Wall

on 1 November 2017

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Transcript of The Loss of Turtle Island

Papal Bull Dum Diversas
The Doctrine of Discovery 1452
“…invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all

Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit”
- Pope Nicholas V
Treaty of 1778
ARTICLE 1. That all offenses or acts of hostilities by one, or either of the contracting parties against the other, be mutually forgiven, and buried in the depth of oblivion, never more to be had in remembrance.
Treaty of 1778
ARTICLE 2. That a perpetual peace and friendship shall from henceforth take place, and subsist between the contracting parties aforesaid, through all succeeding generations: and if either of the parties are engaged in a just and necessary war with any other nation or nations, that then each shall assist the other in due proportion to their abilities, till their enemies are brought to reasonable terms of accommodation…
Northwest Ordinance Act 1787
The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and in their property, rights, and liberty they never shall be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws …shall be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.
1790 - 1834 Trade and Intercourse Act
...no person shall be permitted to carry on any trade or intercourse with the Indian tribes, without a license...no sale of lands made by Indians...shall be valid to any persons...or to any state...unless executed at some public treaty, held under the authority of the United States.
...And...if any citizen shall go into any...territory belonging to any nation or tribe of Indians, and shall there commit any crime upon...any peaceable and friendly Indian or Indians...such offender or offenders shall be subject to the same punishment..as if the offense had been committed within the jurisdiction of the state or district to which he or they may belong, against a citizen or white inhabitant thereof.
Indian Removal Act 1830
"It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages."
- President Andrew Jackson
Standing Bear Declared a Man 1879
"...an Indian is a PERSON within the meaning of the laws of the United States, and has therefore the right to sue out a writ of habeas corpus in a federal court."
- Judge Elmer Dundee
"We may teach the Indian child all the arts of our civilized life, keeping him away from the influence of his ignorant, superstitious, and idolatrous tribe for many years, but without a living Christ in the heart, such a child, returning as a young man to his people, will soon fall into the old superstitious customs and habits of his race. The Indians are a religious people; religion penetrates their daily life; almost every act that they do is connected with some religious meaning, scrupulously inculcated into the child from its infancy; and they will be civilized only by giving them a higher, the only true religion, that of Christ."
- Samuel S. Haury,
Missionary for Mennonite General Conference in his 1883 report to John D. Miles, Indian Agent, Darlington, Indian Territory
The Dawes or Allotment Act 1887
"...put [the Indian] on his own land, furnish him with a little habitation, with a plow, and a rake, and show him how to go to work to use them... The only way [to civilize the Indian] is to lead him out into the sunshine, and tell him what the sunshine is for, and what the rain comes for, and when to put his seed in the ground."
- Senator Henry Dawes, Massachusetts
Indian Reorganization
or Howard-Wheeler Act 1934
"The program of self-support and of business and civic experience in the management of their own affairs, combined with the program of education, will permit increasing numbers of Indians to enter the white world on a footing of equal competition."
- Representative Howard
"Whereas it is the policy of Congress, as rapidly as possible, to make the Indians within the territorial limits of the United States subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges and responsibilities as are applicable to other citizens of the United States, to end their status as wards of the United States, and to grant them all of the rights and prerogatives pertaining to American citizenship."
- from the formal statement by
the United States Congress announcing
the official federal policy of termination in 1953
Indian Self-Determination
Education Assistance Act 1975
The congress hereby recognizes the obligation of the United States to respond to the strong expression of the Indian people for self-determination by assuring maximum Indian participation in the direction of educational as well as other Federal services to Indian communities so as to render such services more responsive to the needs and desires of those communities.
American Indian Religious Freedom Act, 1978
"...henceforth it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions...including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.
Native American Graves Protection
and Repatriation Act 1990
If…the cultural affiliation of Native American human remains and associated funerary objects with a particular Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization is established, then the Federal agency or museum, upon the request of a known lineal descendant of the Native American or of the tribe or organization…, shall expeditiously return such remains and associated funerary objects.
Talking Circle Guidelines
Weigh our words before speaking

Listen to each other attentively and respectfully

Speak from the heart

Focus on the topic/question at hand

Respect one another's time and space

Remember our ancestors, future relatives and those unable to be with us

Reflect on your experience with this exercise.
What are you thinking and feeling?

How do you see yourself connected to the events and experiences in this exercise?

In a letter to Colonel Henry Bouquet on June 29, 1763 concerning the situation in western Pennsylvania, General Amherst proposed:

"Could it not be contrived to Send the Small Pox among those Disaffected Tribes of Indians? We must, on this occasion, Use Every Stratagem in our power to Reduce them."

Colonel Bouquet replied a month later:

"I will try to inocculate the Indians by means of Blankets that may fall in their hands, taking care however not to get the disease myself."

Cantonment Mennonite Mission boarding school, Oklahoma
“[W]e can begin by trying to see the historical process through Indian eyes. We can acknowledge the wrong that was done. And at least we can be careful not to see in the pioneering of our forefathers only the heroic deeds, the wresting forth of new churches and new communities in the quest for religious freedom. We can try to see the other side: our forefathers' failure to see that they were benefiting fairly directly from the destruction of other people's lives and communities--as we are still benefiting.”

- Paul Erb, Mennonite educator and editor
Johnson v. M'Intosh

"On the discovery of this immense continent, the great nations of Europe were eager to appropriate to themselves so much of it as they could respectively acquire. But, as they were all in pursuit of nearly the same object, it was necessary, in order to avoid conflicting settlements, and consequent war with each other, to establish a principle. This principle...gave to the nation making the discovery the sole right of acquiring the soil from the natives, and establishing settlements upon it."
- Chief Justice John Marshall

Johnson v. M'Intosh

“While the different nations of Europe respected the right of the natives, as occupants, they asserted the ultimate dominion to be in themselves; and claimed and exercised, as a consequence of this ultimate dominion, a power to grant the soil, while yet in possession of the natives. These grants have been understood by all to convey a title to the grantees, subject only to the Indian right of occupancy.”
- Chief Justice John Marshall
"Even though you and I are in different boats, you in your boat and we in our canoe, we share the same River of Life. What befalls me, befalls you. And downstream, downstream in this River of Life, our children will pay for our selfishness, for our greed, and for our lack of vision. 500 years ago, you came to our pristine lands of great forests, rolling plains, crystal clear lakes and streams and rivers. And we have suffered in your quest for God, for Glory, for Gold. But, we have survived. We can still alter our course. It is NOT too late. We still have options. We need the courage to change our values to the regeneration of our families and the life that surrounds us.”
-Oren Lyons, Seneca Faithkeeper,
from his 1992 address to the United Nations

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one: they promised to take our land and they took it. …Treaties that have been made are vain attempts to save a little of the fatherland, treaties holy to us by the smoke of the pipe – but nothing is holy to the white man. Little by little, with greed and cruelty unsurpassed by the animal, he has taken all. The loaf is gone and now the white man wants the crumbs.”

- Ota Kte – Luther Standing Bear, Lakota (1868 – 1939)

Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey told the Senate, debating removal:

“We have crowded the tribes upon a few miserable acres on our southern frontier; it is all that is left to them of their once boundless forest; and still, like the horse-leech, our insatiated cupidity cries, give! Give!
… Sir … Do the obligations of justice change with the color of the skin?”

“That hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be of the same color as yours. I am a man. The same God made us both.”
- Standing Bear, Ponca

“What is it like for a child of any race to be taken away from his parents and relatives at an age when he needs their love and care the most? What thoughts must go through a child's mind- the fears, anxieties, the loneliness, above all. What are these boarding schools like? What are their policies?”
- Leroy B. Salem, Yakima

“The Indian may now become a free man; free from the thralldom of the tribe; freed from the domination of the reservation system; free to enter into the body of our citizens. [The Allotment Act] may therefore be considered as the Magna Carta of the Indians of our country.”

- Alice Fletcher, one of the architects of the Allotment Act, and leader of a group called “Friends of the Indians”

“There is nowhere in the Mennonite records any hint that Mennonite settlers… had any feeling that they were doing wrong in acquiring deeds of ownership for land. 'Manifest Destiny,'…became a slogan to assert that God had designed a unique geographical arena for the American experiment. The American urge to expansion had something of a religious fervor. Colonization was considered a divine mission. This is seen in the zeal of the pioneering Mennonites in starting Sunday schools, building churches, and scattering evangelists over the frontier...”

- Paul Erb, Mennonite educator and editor
"…only repeal of the termination act, return of the land to its trust status, and full recognition of the tribe and its sovereign authority could right the wrongs against their people and their land."

– Ada Deer, Menominee
“It is really ideal that our ancestors have federal protection. We don’t want them dug up again… . [They are] not out of sight, out of mind.”

- Lawrence Hart, Cheyenne Peace Chief and Mennonite pastor
“Let the people go home. That’s what NAGPRA is all about - giving place to those who have no place to go…The law calls them ‘culturally unidentifiable’, but the ancestors know who they are.”

-Sherry Hutt, U.S. Department of the Interior
Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement of Ottawa
Yerena, Ernesto. Graphic Art
Peters, Terry R. 2001. Illustration
Chappel, Alonzo.
Landing Of Roger Williams.
1636. Oil Painting Reproduction
Rubens, Peter Paul.
Paus Nicolas V.
1612 - 1616. Oil on panel
Lindneux, Robert.
The Trail of Tears.
1942. Oil painting. The Granger Collection, New York
Guthrie, John.
Shadow Of The Owl.
2015. Mixed Media - Watercolor
Full transcript