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Columbia Press


This Week in Aboriginal History: Soldiers kill Indian settlers who are Christian converts

By Carl A. Ellis, Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 1, 1851: Federal commissioners attempting to halt the brutal treatment of Indians in California negotiate 18 treaties with various tribes and village groups, promising them 8.5 million acres of reservation lands. California politicians had the treaties secretly rejected by Congress in 1852, leaving native people in the state homeless within a hostile non-native society.

March 2, 1992: President George H.W. Bush proclaims 1992 the “Year of the American Indian,” leading activists, educators and others to re-evaluate the consequences of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in 1492.

March 4, 1973: The Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council passes a resolution terminating all existing coal permits and leases with corporations that are strip-mining 60 percent of the tribe’s reservation in Montana.

March 5, 1831: The Supreme Court decides in the case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia that the Cherokees are not a “foreign state and therefore the court has no jurisdiction in the dispute.” The court does decide that the Cherokees are a distinct political society capable of governing itself and managing its own affairs.

March 6, 1777: Seventy Shawnee warriors led by Chief Blackfish attack settlers near Harrodsburg, Ky. One white man managed to escape capture and warn the settlement.

March 7, 1782: Problems boil over between soldiers and Indians from the Delaware, Mahican and Munsee tribes who had converted to Christianity in Pennsylvania’s Moravian movement. Many had moved to the Muskingum River in Ohio after their old villages were attacked by other tribes. At the outbreak of the American Revolutionary war, the “Moravian Indians” found themselves in limbo between American and British forces and their allies. Both sides believed the “Moravians” were helping the others. On this date, Col. David Williamson and American soldiers from Pennsylvania surround the peaceful village of Gnadenhutten. While some of the militia refuse to participate, the majority decide to kill the Moravian Indians. Soldiers kill 96 Indian men, women, and children in cold blood after allowing them a final prayer.

March 8, 1876: President Grant issues an executive order restoring to the public domain a tract of country that had been set apart for the Crow Indians on the Crow reservation in Montana Territory.

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