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This Week in Aboriginal History: Indian Affairs makes a formal apology to Indians

By Carl A. Ellis, Friday, September 14, 2018

Sept. 7, 1972: The commissioner of Indian Affairs extends federal recognition to the Chippewa Tribe of Sault Ste. Marie in Northern Michigan. The federal government placed land in trust for the tribe to become its official reservation.

Sept. 8, 2000: The Bureau of Indian Affairs marks its 175th birthday and Kevin Grover, head of the bureau, offers a formal apology to American Indians for the previous misdeeds of the agency.

Sept. 9, 1836: Alexander Le Grand, a frontier surveyor/trader, is appointed Indian commissioner and put in charge of negotiating a peace treaty with the Comanche and Kiowa Indian tribes.

Sept. 10,1874: Capt. Wyllys Lyman and 60 men from the 5th Infantry are attacked by Indians at the Washita River in Oklahoma while escorting a supply wagon train. The soldiers remain barricaded for several days until relief arrives from Camp Supply, an Army post set up in Indian territory to protect the Southern Plains.

Sept. 11, 1965: The Kinzua Dam opens on the Allegheny River in western New York. Its construction had forced the departure of Pennsylvania’s last Indian tribe, the Senecas, who now live near Salamanca, N.Y., on the northern shores of land flooded by the dam.

Sept. 12, 1874: Maj. William Price and three troops from the 6th Cavalry battle with Indians between Sweetwater Creek and the Dry Fork of the Washita River in Texas. Two Indians are killed and six wounded. Fourteen of the cavalry’s horses are killed or wounded and troops seize 20 Indian horses.

Sept. 13, 2011: A federal order requires the Cherokee Nation, one of the nation’s largest tribes, to restore voting rights and benefits to 2,800 descendants of the tribe’s former slaves. The tribe’s plans to hold a special election for a new chief are thrown into turmoil. The tribe says it won’t allow the U.S. government to dictate whether it removes African Americans from its citizenship rolls.


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