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  On-line since 2011 - Updated August 18, 2013
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August 2013

History: Protestant missionaries come to Idaho - While the white man was racing into Idaho and surrounding territories 200 years ago in search of land, gold and wealth, missionaries were right on their heels to bring Christian salvation to animist Native Americans. Around 1800, the only inhabitants of Idaho were seven Indian tribes.

March 2013

History: On the warpath in Tukwila - Tukwila's Story - There has been much written about the early settlers of the Oregon Territory. Many of us go about our daily lives without a thought to events which occurred over a century and a half ago. The area between present-day Seattle and Tacoma was originally scouted in the mid 1840s.

November 2012

History: Idaho ignores Civil War, fights the Indians - Federal army troops posted in Idaho between 1861 and 1865 could have sat out the Civil War raging elsewhere in the nation. But they didn't. President Lincoln pulled them out of the Northwest and sent them to fight the Confederacy. Volunteer militia from California and Oregon were called in to take their place.

October 2012

History: “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher : The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis” by Timothy Egan - Sometime in early 1896, a young Seattle photographer named Edward Sherriff Curtis, already well known for his polished studio portraits of local civic leaders and business tycoons, decided to challenge himself and photograph a very different kind of subject. He chose “Princess Angeline,” aka Kick-is-om-lo, the sole surviving child of the great Duwamish-Suquamish chief for whom the city of Seattle was named. The resulting portraits went on to inspire one of the most ambitious and comprehensive documentary projects in the history of American photography.

History: The Battle of Hungry Hill no longer hidden by time. SOU team finds the site of the largest clash in the Rogue River Indian Wars of 1855-56 - The location of the Battle of Hungry Hill, the largest clash in the Rogue River Indian Wars of 1855-56, has been discovered after being lost in the dust of time for more than a century.

September 2012

History: The day they killed the horses - In walking distance from the Idaho-Washington state line, just north of I-90, stands a lonely granite monument in an open field. It is a sad memorial to man's inhumanity. A bad thing happened there 158 years ago this month. It happened under the command of U.S. Army Col. George Wright (1803-1865) who ordered 700 soldiers to punish the Yakima, Spokane, Palouse, and Coeur d'Alene Indian tribes. On Sept. 9, 1858, Col. Wright ordered his troops to slaughter 800 horses of the Palouse Tribe in northeast Washington. He knew that horses were the wealth and source of military power for the tribes.

History: Fort Nisqually: DuPont marks trading company’s significance in South Sound - Those who visited a 20-acre site off Center Drive on Sunday in DuPont took a trip back in time – a time when that site was home to Fort Nisqually and the Hudson’s Bay Company, which did business at the fort from 1843 to 1870. The event, Hudson Bay Day at Fort Nisqually, was organized by the DuPont Historical Society and the Archaeological Conservancy, which opens the site once a year to the public, historical society President Lee McDonald said.

June 2012

History: What To Remember on Memorial Day - When U.S. troops butchered Indian women and children, the event was called a "battle"; when they were killed by Indians defending their own territory, the incident was described as a "massacre." "They were not subjects of fascism who clubbed to death infants in the arms of Indian mothers," writes historian John Upton Terrell in his study Land Grab. "They were not Nazis who shot running Indian children to demonstrate their prowess as marksmen. The bugle calls of American history proclaim not only noble victories and morally justified accomplishments. They proclaim, as well, base deeds and infamous triumphs." This year, Memorial Day – during which Americans are barraged with admonitions that we sing hymns of chastened gratitude to the memory of those who killed and died on behalf of the State that rules us – coincided with the 182nd anniversary of Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act. Only by remembering the latter can we put the former in proper perspective.

May 2012

History: 'Best place on earth' is built on the foundation of a smallpox epidemic that decimated B.C.'s population in 1862 - Over the 18 months that began in April of 1862, at least half and perhaps well over half of all the people living in B.C. - most of them first nations - perished in a single event that killed people so fast and in such numbers that it might have emerged from the pages of an apocalyptic science fiction novel by Stephen King. The mortality rate for the 1862 smallpox epidemic in B.C. was greater than 60 per cent. In some places, as many as 90 in 100 may have died.

April 2012

History: New book details ‘The Indian Way’ - Seventeen years ago, Neil Van Sickle delved into research about the North American fur trade with the idea of writing a number of vignettes on the topic. What he ended up with was a 500-page book. Van Sickle, 96, of Kalispell, and co-author Evelyn Rodewald of Whitefish have published The Indian Way: Indians and the North American Fur Trade, an exhaustive effort that explains how the fur trade "literally rested in a cradle of Indian culture."

February 2012

History: The 1887 Dawes Act: The U.S. Theft of 90 Million Acres of Indian Land - In his Executive Order declaring November 2011 “Native American Heritage Month,” U.S. President Barack Obama said that his administration “recognizes the painful chapters in our shared history.” As a key part of that history, today marks the 125th year since the U.S. Congress passed the Dawes General Allotment Act in 1887. Under that allotment legislation, for which there was no legitimate constitutional basis, Indian land holdings dropped from 138 million acres down to 48 million acres, for a loss to Indian nations of some 90 million acres of land.

History: The Dawes Act Started the U.S. Land-Grab of Native Territory - Part 1 - February 8, marks the 125th anniversary of the passage of the General Allotment Act—commonly known then and now as the Dawes Act. The Dawes Act was one of the most effective implementations of the colonial and imperialist strategy against Indigenous Peoples of divide-and-conquer—a strategy that combines political, military and economic tactics to gain power over another power by breaking it up into individual units that are powerless to resist domination.

History: The Dawes Act Started the U.S. Land-Grab of Indian Territory - Part 2 - The Dawes Act provoked a campaign of resistance known as the Snake Rebellion, which was led by Chitto Harjo, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The Snake Rebellion ultimately failed to stop the dispossession of Indian lands, but it forged a “spirit of collective political activism” that still inspires Indigenous Peoples today.

The Dawes Act Started the U.S. Land-Grab of Indian Territory - Part 3 - The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA), which authorized the Secretary of the Interior to restore and acquire lands for Indian nations, was a shot at redemption by descendants of the white European settler colonists who had arrived more than 300 years earlier and stole land in what became the United States of America. The IRA was signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 18, 1934, and was considered the Indian New Deal. The act was initiated by John Collier, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’s (BIA) reformist commissioner from 1933 to 1945, who proposed sweeping reforms to the federal Indian policies.

History: Popular Native American Archive Also Holds School History - The most-used archive in the Washington State University Libraries is a collection of books, manuscripts, photos and artifacts from Nez Perce, Yakama and other Columbia Plateau Indian tribes. It was collected in the first half of the 20th century by Yakima rancher Lucullus V. McWhorter.

January 2012

History: A Fort Vancouver historian and descendants of the 'Buffalo Soldiers' bring their stories back to life - Dee Franklin Craig-Arnold was dumbfounded when a historian from Vancouver called her at home a couple of years ago. The historian, Chief Ranger Greg Shine of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, was tracing the lives of the African American "Buffalo Soldiers." One hundred four of the men were garrisoned at Fort Vancouver for 13 months in 1899 and 1900.

December 2011

History: Enjoy festive history at Fort Clatsop holiday open house - On Sunday, December 18th, Fort Clatsop will come alive with the sights and smells of the holidays. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

History: Book revisits the history of West Coast First Nations - The Whaling People of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery includes 20 narratives collected from elders of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Ditidaht, Pacheedaht and Makah, among others.

History: A glimpse into Coeur d'Alene's pioneer past

October 2011

Klickitat: Small Town Big on Spirits: A Haunting in Yacolt?

Acknowledge day honoring native people

Steven Newcomb: The Indian Model of Liberty

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbu: In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Pre-Columbian Indians lived in huge numbers of Indians and actively molded and influenced the land around them. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created: From Charles C. Mann, the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs. The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. This underlies much of subsequent human history. Mann shows how this fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City the center of the world.
The Columbian Exchange: Thirty years ago, Alfred Crosby published a small work that illuminated a simple point, that the most important changes brought on by the voyages of Columbus were not social or political, but biological in nature. The book told the story of how 1492 sparked the movement of organisms, both large and small, in both directions across the Atlantic. This changed the history of our planet drastically and forever.

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Copyright © 2011 Rod Van Mechelen; all rights reserved.

Rod Van Mechelen, Publisher & Editor, Cowlitz Country News

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