This next part of Carpenter’s story brings up an important issue. Indenture amounted to legal slavery, but it appears that even some Natives pursued this option over being imprisoned on a reservation. Reservations were notoriously dangerous places, where Natives were dependent on incompetent and downright abusive Indian agents for food, shelter and protection. Ironically, they also became collecting spots for Indian traders. The concentration of Natives on a reservation made it easier for men to gather children and young squaws without the trouble of hunting them down. Natives who attempted to leave the “protection” of the reservation were sometimes shot, even if they were starving and in search of food.
I believe there were quite a few settlers that offered asylum to the Natives through indenture. It was a scary time to be Indian, and for some, falling under white protection, even if as a slave, may have been their only hope.
Continued from 8/31/09 post
… About this time the Department of Indian Affairs ordered all Indians living in their tribal relations to the reservation. Many of them had been there, and not liking the treatment they received, preferred rations of acorns a part of the time and starvation afterwards to going under Uncle Sam’s protection.
An attempt was made to force them to the reservation, but they fled to the hills and did not return until the officers were at a safe distance. The local story runs that then a learned judge of Cal- pella in his blandest tones tried persuasion. ” Now, boys,” he said, addressing them, ” I have been here among you a long time, and you all know I am ami- cus humani generis, or I wouldn’t be talking to you today; and I am thoroughly convinced that it would be to the interest of every one of you to go sine. mom. Of course you would be kept sumptibus publicis, and if everything didn’t go adgustus, it certainly is the great desideratum. We do not intend to force you to go nolens volens, but as I have tried to make you understand, it most assuredly is commune boiium.”
O, why did n’t he say ” nix cum rouse,” and give them a certain time in which to guess the puzzle ! [Lynette’s note… this is completely lost on me… anyone that can explain this is encouraged to try]
Before the second appearance of the officers, determined to enforce the governmental order, many of the Indians took advantage of the State law, and obtained guardians,— whole families being bound to one person. The rest again sought shelter in the mountains. Conspicuous among the latter were Captain John and family.
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