John Wesley Powell, explorer, geologist, and scientist, produced this map while he was the head of the Bureau of American Ethnology, as part of an 1890 Annual Report. According to Powell’s description of the project, the map plotted “linguistic stocks of American Indians,” as they were situated “at the time when the tribes composing them first became known to the European.”
Despite the amount of careful attention paid to Native culture and language, and despite Powell’s own sympathetic view toward Native Americans, “no one viewing the exhibit would be troubled by any challenge to the notion that Indians in their native state were savages,” Worster writes. “For all the complexity of their tongues, the bureau still insisted that the native peoples, before contact with the white man, had lived under hard material conditions and primitive superstitions and needed progress.”
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In the 1860s and 70s, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History. After covering the U.S. Civil War, O’Sullivan joined a number of expeditions organized by the federal government to help document the new frontiers in the American West. The teams were composed of soldiers, scientists, artists, and photographers, and tasked with discovering the best ways to take advantage of the region’s untapped natural resources. O’Sullivan brought an amazing eye and work ethic, composing photographs that evoked the vastness of the West. He also documented the Native American population as well as the pioneers who were already altering the landscape. Above all, O’Sullivan captured — for the first time on film — the natural beauty of the American West in a way that would later influence Ansel Adams and thousands more photographers to come. [34 photos]
The State Department, still with “egg on its face” from its statement that Keystone XL would have little impact on climate change, sunk a little lower today as the most respected elders, and chiefs of 10 sovereign nations turned their backs on State Department representatives and walked out during a meeting. The meeting, which was a failed attempt at a “nation to nation” tribal consultation concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline neglected to address any legitimate concerns being raised by First Nations Leaders (or leading scientific experts for that matter).
Climate Science Watch, The EPA and most people with common sense rebuked the State Department’s initial report and today First Nations sent a very clear message to President Obama and the world concerning the future fate of their land regarding Keystone XL.
Vice president for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation Jim Lyon said of the department’s original analysis that it “fails in its review of climate impacts, threats to endangered wildlife like whooping cranes and woodland caribou, and the concerns of tribal communities.” Today tribal nations added probably the most critical danger of the pipeline which is to the water.
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In 1680 the people known collectively as “Pueblos” rebelled against their Spanish overlords in the American Southwest. Spaniards had dominated them, their lives, their land, and their souls for eight decades. The Spanish had established and maintained their rule with terror, beginning with Juan de Oñate’s invasion in 1598. When the people of Acoma resisted, Oñate ordered that one leg be chopped from every man over fifteen and the rest of the population be enslaved, setting a pattern that lasted four-score years. Now, rising virtually as one, the Pueblos drove out Spanish soldiers and authorities.
No Native people affected the course of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century American history more than the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, of present-day upstate New York. Historians have been attempting to explain how and why ever since, and central to their explanations is the remarkable political and diplomatic structure, the League of the Iroquois. The League has fascinated us for hundreds of years. In the seventeenth century, this Native confederacy united the Five Iroquois Nations—the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas—into something more than an alliance but something less than a single, monolithic polity.