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This Week in Aboriginal History: Spain passes first humanitarian law in 1542

Friday, August 10, 2018

Aug. 3, 1540: Hernando de Soto reaches southern Georgia and finds Indians raising tame turkeys, caged opossums, corn, beans, pumpkins, cucumbers and plums.

Aug. 4, 1813: Five hundred warriors of the White Stick faction of Creeks gather across the river in Alabama from modern Columbus, Ga. They make plans with 200 Cherokees to attack a band of 2,500 Red Stick Creeks who are followers of Tecumseh. The Creek War is often considered part of the War of 1812.

Aug. 5, 1570: A Spanish expedition sailing up Chesapeake Bay in Virginia reaches an area near the Rappahannock River that they dub Axaca. Local Indians force them to abandon further exploration of the area.

Aug. 6, 1858: Navajo Chief Manuelito discovers 60 head of his livestock shot by U.S. soldiers. Outraged, he confronts the commander at Fort Defiance, in present-day Apache County, Ariz., telling him the land belongs to him and his people, not to the soldiers.

Soldiers from the fort, augmented by 160 paid Zuni warriors, torch Manuelito’s fields and village. The chief resolves to drive the soldiers off the land and begins rallying other Navajo leaders for war.

Aug. 7, 1969: President Richard Nixon appoints Louis Bruce, a Mohawk-Lakota, to become the third Indian Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In his long career, Bruce advised presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Gerald Ford. He died in 1989.

Aug. 8, 1699: The Tohome Indians, who live along the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Mississippi, formally establish peaceful relations with the French in Biloxi.

Aug. 9, 1542: Spain, which is attempting to colonize the Americas, passes new laws designed to prevent the enslavement and exploitation of indigenous people.

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