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This Week in Aboriginal History: Colonies pay tribes to fight, but no one shows up

By Carl A. Ellis, Friday, June 1, 2018

May 25, 1776: The Continental Congress declares it “highly expedient to engage Indians in service of the United Colonies” and authorizes recruiting 2,000 paid troop auxiliaries. The program is a dismal failure, as virtually every tribe refuses to fight for the colonists.

May 26, 1540: “Lady of Cofitachequi,” who was kidnapped by the de Soto expedition, escapes with a large quantity of pearls de Soto’s men took from her village.

May 27, 1607: Virginia has its first significant battle between Indians and European settlers.

May 28, 1851: One in a series of treaties is signed with California Indians at Dent and Valentine’s Crossing on the Stanislaus River. The treaty’s aim is to reserve lands for the Indians and protect them from Europeans.

May 29, 1990: Indian tribes don’t have jurisdiction over Indians who aren’t tribal members when crimes are committed on their land, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in “Duro v. Reina.” The decision is not well received by the tribes, who contend it deprives them of the power to enforce their own laws.

May 30, 1650: An ordinance is passed against making counterfeit wampum by directors of the Council of New Netherland, near present-day New York. The council was part of the Dutch West India Company, formed to capitalize on the North American fur trade. European manufacturers had been producing the fake wampum and using it to pay Indians.

May 31, 1876: Disputes with the Campo Indians over land escalate. “One Indian took refuge in the rocks … and continued firing. They soon discovered his whereabouts and silenced him, shooting him through the head, killing him instantly,” according to an account in the San Diego Union newspaper.


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