Historical Reference

hunting camp

A semi-permanent location that a nomadic hunting group might return to over and over during annual journeys that involved following game animals during seasonal migrations. Rather than permanent dwellings, structures erected at these camps would function more as temporary shelters constructed from local organic, and therefore biodegradable, materials, or materials that were easily carried and transported from site to site. Most evidence of prehistoric, as well as historic, hunting camps derives from garbage piles, broken tools and utensils, and the remnants of fire rings.

ground sloth

Sloths are two- or three-toed mammals related to anteaters. Sloths today tend to be arboreal, living in trees above the forest floor, and are very slow moving.

Ground sloths are the extinct predecessors of today's sloths. However, ground sloths tended to be very large in size, often as large as elephants; they were formibidable animals to hunt because of their size and their large digging claws, and they were not as slow-moving as today's smaller, arboreal versions. Populous throughout the Americas, ground sloths disappeared from the continental mainland about 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene era. This die-off is associated with climate change and human activity, specifically hunting, as ground sloth populations disappeared about 4,000 years ago on islands in the Caribbean, about the time when humans reached these areas in significant numbers. The last living ground sloths in North America are theorized to have lived in the region that is now New Mexico.

long-horn bison

Also spelled longhorn, the long-horn bison was a large mammal that went extinct toward the end of the Pleistocene epoch, either because of climate change, human interference in the form of hunting, or a combination of both. Longhorned bison, or giant Ice Age bison, had a horn span of up to six feet and a body mass up to fifty-percent greater than that of today's bison.

sabertooth cat

A large, bear-sized mammal that lived through the end of the Pleistocene epoch, meaning that it went extinct about ten thousand years ago. Although they resemble cats, especially modern tigers because of their size and appearance, not all sabertooth cats were early members of the feline family, as some sabertooth cats were actually marsupials. They are most notorious for their long, specialized canine teeth, which extended from their mouths even when their mouths were closed. An effective predator, the saber-tooth cats hunted other large mammals, such as mastodons, mammoths, and ground sloths.

Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Now a National Historic Landmark, Fort Sill is a US Army post located in Lawton, OK. Established in 1869, it is the only active fort that remains from the era of the Indian Wars. Originally created as a post to stop tribes from raiding settlements, the fort played an active role during the Red River War (where the Companches, Kiowa, and southern Cheyenne went to war againts the government), during President Grant's Peace Policy, and a sa place of relocation ofr Apaches in 1894. This is also where Geronimo is buried.

Buffalo Society

The Buffalo Society is a fictional militant group created by Tony Hillerman for his 1978 novel Listening Woman. In the novel, the group is described as breaking away from the American Indian Movement (AIM) in order to engage in more violent activities than those condoned by AIM.

American Indian Movement

The American Indian Movement (AIM) was the Native American response to racism and white hegemony. The first chapter was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1968 by Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt, Eddie Benton-Bonai, and George Mitchell (all Ojibwe). Throughout the 1970s, members successfully raised awareness about Native American rights and pushed Native communities across the US to reembrace their sacred cultural traditions.

The movement appeared alongside the African American civil rights movement and anti Vietnam war protests, and very quickly calls for "Red Power" could be found alongside those for "black power." Some of their largest protests were the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972 and the Wounded Knee occupation.

While the movement no longer remains as high-profile as it was in the 1970s, Native American activists continue to raise awareness of contemporary racism and abuses of power against tribes throughout the Unites States.

Acoma Massacre

Acoma Pueblo is a community built on top of a mesa in the Rio Grande Valley. At the end of the 16th century it was an area of tension between the Pueblo people and the conquering Spanish. Spanish settlers hoped to claim the lands for the Spanish crown, but were unsuccessful in penetrating the natural stronghold that was Acoma. Then, in 1595, the Acoma people decided to give Juan de Oñate, soon to be the first governor of Nuevo Mexico, food and provisions for his group of explorers and settlers. Later, the nephew of Oñate, Juan de Zaldívar, returned and attempted to take provisions, and women, by force. Zaldívar fell to his death during the struggle, and in retaliation, in January 1599, Oñate took the pueblo by siege. This battle led to the massacre of 800 - 1,000 Acoma people, and the survivors were either mutilated, by having a foot cut off, or sold into slavery for a period to extend beyond 20 years. A later trial found Oñate's behavior to be cruel and severe beyond the parameters of his duty as a representative of the King of Spain, and he returned to Spain after being stripped of the land, title, and wealth he had attempted to accrue at the northern edge of the New Spanish Empire.

SEE ALSO: Acoma (pueblo)

Wounded Knee (occupation)

On February 28, 1973, Native American activists occupied the small village of Wounded Knee within the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota as a part of the American Indian Movement, after the 19 month occupation of Alcatraz. Wounded Knee was also the site of a massacre of Lakota Sioux by the US Army in 1890, which is considered the last event in long-lasting Plains Indian Wars.

The seizure of the town lasted for 71 days with various eruptions of violence, gunfire, and attempted negotiations. At any given moment, about 300 people were participating in the occupation from over 180 unique bands, tribes, and nations. Even though the village was surrounded by police, US marshals, and BIA officials, a couple hundred more protesters slipped in and out of the occupation.

Originally, local issues on the Pine Ridge Reservation involving tribal police and inheritance conflicts led to the occupation, and many community members supported and took part in what became Aim's more public protest. After threats from the federal government that if they didn't leave, he would force them out, Russel Means declared that the people of Wounded Knee were part of the independent Oglala Sioux Nation as per the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 which also symbolically spoke for all the broken treaties of the United States government since the start of colonization.

Ultimately, several factors including the federal government's lack of cooperation, and a lack of food, medical supplies, ammunition, and electricity led to the end of the occupation on May 13. 1973.

Wounded Knee (Massacre)

Wounded Knee is a small village on the South Dakota Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation which on December 29, 1890 was the site of a brutal massacre of between 150-300 Sioux people by the US Army after two centuries of American Indian resistance against white colonization. (not to be mistaken with the Occupation of Wounded Knee by the American Indian Movement in 1973).

The massacre is considered to be the event that ended the Plains Indian Wars. The Sioux attempted to resist relocation by camping in the Badlands which the US took as a threat, arresting Big Foot and Sitting Bull, two important chiefs. Sitting Bull was killed and Big foot attempted to escape with the people, but the army usrrounded and opened fire upon the people, resulting in a mass death. The event still has resonance and remains symbolic of historical relations with the US for tribal peoples today.


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