so now I’ll continue the thread on the reservations.
I used to wonder if I had a right to tell these stories. I’m about as pale as you get and don’t have a single Cherokee Princess anywhere on the family tree. How, I wondered, could I relate?
Then I realized that these aren’t “Native American” stories. These are stories about PEOPLE, who happened to be indigenous to this area. And stories about people, we can all relate to. I don’t know how many people have been evicted from there homes, but even those likely had more than half a day’s notice. The survivors of the Indian Island Massacre were told to be packed by sundown and could only take with them what they could carry. They were then forced to walk to the Klamath Reservation, over sixty miles away.
Look at your spouse, your children. Could they walk to Garberville (if you live in NorHum), Eureka (if you live in SoHum), or any other sixty miles carrying everything they could ever need? (Yeah, that’s what I thought when I looked at my kids).
Expulsions happened even earlier, multiple times, once California had reservations that could take the natives. The Klamath Reservation, once established, quickly became a convenient dumping ground.
Forcing people from their homes was wrong, and there were at least a few that recognized the injustice of what was happening. They voiced their concerns, even if they felt the only safe way to do so was anonymously.
Humboldt Times, May 3, 1856 –Condemning removal—Letter from Aparvan (dated April 18, 1856)–Editor Times—Indians your paper .. I saw an… editorial on the reservation and other Indian matters. As I must take a few exceptions to your position on the Indian question, I trust you will insert the following remarks… The principal point upon which peace or war depends in the removal of the Indians. I firmly believe that allowing the Indians to remain in status quo, is the only guarantee against a warfare which will have the effect of putting a stop to all mining operations on the Klamath. In every Rancheria there are old Indians, influential men, possessed of property and as much attached to their homes as it is possible for a white man to be. When any trivial depredation is committed by the few Indians at present in the mountains, these old men evince every disposition to compromise matters and to live at peace with them while neighbors. These Indians say that in the event of an attempt to remove them by force.. (unknown words, but probably a threat) ; but as long as they remain unmolested, there is no fear. A war of extermination may be resolved upon by the whites—but it is easier talked about than carried into effect. Burn the ranches and destroy property the military authorities may, and instead of a dozen hostiles we have hundreds. Every person who knows how successful the whites were last year, can easily guess the results of a conflict with ten times the number of Indians , rendered desperate. In this rugged country, regulars would be next to useless, and how could volunteers act when their mere subsistence is a matter of caprice with the powers that be. Also the traders. Nine out of ten, if they told the truth, would acknowledge that another war would be ruinous. Few of the miners are more than making a living , whatever your Orleans and Salmon correspondents may say to the contrary. How are they to carry on a war? I say, as far as the Indians here, let them along. Conditions can be made with them that will effectually prevent the so called hostiles from committing any further outrages. Any flagrant act of cruelty by a white man punish in a far spirit of justice. Remember the Indians are human beings, if savages—and rest assured you will have little trouble with them.
– It would perhaps be advisable to station troops at this and other points but not solely to intimidate the Indian. Let their officers have an eye to White Man—let them prevent, if possible, all traffic in arms and ammunition and prevent the law on that subject from being the dead letter it is at the Forks of Salmon and other places in that neighborhood. Let them look out, as far as my lie in the line of their duty, for the welfare of both white man and Indian.
The disturbances here last year originated in brutal outrages committed on the persons of Indian women by white men. That was the original cause of the trouble, whatever may have been the immediate one. Let such things be looked into, and such cases as a white man’s killing a harmless squaw, through mere wantonness, be properly punished—then the principal causes of war will be removed.
As far as regards the distribution of arms among the miners, that is highly desirable—let the arms, if obtained, be placed in responsible hands at convenient points for distribution when necessary. There is no danger of an outbreak here at present, as the fishing season is about commencing. As far as I can judge, the trifling robberies committed by the hostiles are to induce the whites to suffer them to return to their homes, for permission to do which they have made several ineffectual applications.