April in North American Indian History
by Phil Konstantin Copyright © Phil Konstantin (1996-2013)
1536: After being shipwrecked in Galveston, Texas, Cabeza de Vaca and a few men march across the continent to California. They will be the first “white men” to visit many Indian tribes. Today, Cabeza de Vaca will reach “civilization” again at San Miguel in New Galicia.
1880: Captain Eli Huggins, and Troop E, Second Cavalry, from Fort Keogh, in east-central Montana, surprise a band of “hostile” SIOUX, today. During a brief battle, the soldiers capture 5 Indians, 46 horses, and some weapons. Lt. John Coale, and Troop C, 2nd Cavalry, from Fort Custer, in south-central Montana, had a skirmish with SIOUX on O’Fallon’s Creek. One soldier is killed in the fighting. According to Army reports, some of these Indians were believed to have been involved in the theft of Crow Indian scout horses, from Fort Custer, on march 24, 1880. For his part in cutting off the Indians’ herd of ponies through the use of “fearless exposure and dashing bravery,” second lieutenant Lloyd M. Brett was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Captain Huggins will also be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the fighting today.
1513: Today, according to some sources, Ponce de Leon will “discover” Florida and land south of the St. John’s River. He will claim Florida for Spain. There is considerable debate as to the exact date of this event.
1885: An incident in the Second Riel Rebellion takes place today.
1975: A 3 day National Conference on Indian Water Rights is convened today in Washington, D.C. Representatives from almost 200 tribes will attend the meeting.
1730: Today, in the CHEROKEE village of Nequassee, modern day Franklin, North Carolina, Sir Alexander Cuming will oversee a ceremony making Chief Moytoy the “Emperor of the CHEROKEEs.” This will be his final step in having the CHEROKEEs acknowledge the sovereignty of King George II of England.
1861: White settlers have started moving onto SIOUX lands, near New Ulm, Minnesota. In an effort to improve their illegal standing, today, they petition President Lincoln for protection against the Indians.
1840: Today, COMANCHE Chief Piava arranges an exchange of 2 prisoners with the residents of San Antonio. Two captives from each side are released.
1879: According to Army files, a group of Indians stole almost 30 horses from Countryman’s ranch, on the Yellowstone River. Local citizens, and “friendly” CROW Indians pursued them. They would be found on April 22, 1879.
1832: After being removed from Illinois in 1831, Black Hawk, and his SAC followers lived in Iowa. Wanting to return to their old home land, today, Black Hawk, and almost 1000 of his tribe, will cross the Mississippi River back into Illinois. Not much later, they will be attacked by the whites. (See 4/6)
1879: Having been cast out of Little Wolf’s Band of CHEYENNE for killing 2 of their fellow Northern CHEYENNE, a group of 8 Indians are moving on their own. Today, they will attack a sergeant, and a private, of the 2nd Cavalry, on Mizpah Creek. The sergeant will be seriously wounded, and the private will be killed.
1792: Today, CHICKAMAUGA Chief Captain Bench, and followers, will attack settlements near Holston. After killing 4 people, he will leave a declaration of war beside the bodies. A former friend to Europeans, the death of his great uncle, Old Tassel, at the hands of whites, turned his heart to war.
1875: Black Horse in one of several Southern CHEYENNE Indians being sent to prison from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency (later called Fort Reno) in west-central Indian Territory, to St.Augustine, Florida, for his part in the uprisings in Indian Territory, and Texas. While handcuffed, he attempts to escape into the rest of his tribe. He is pursued, and mortally wounded, by the Army guards under Captain Andrew Bennett, 5th Infantry. Several of the shots at Black Horse miss him, and hit other Indians in the crowd. The Indians retaliate with a hail of bullets and arrows. Almost half of the CHEYENNEs flee the agency, to some hills south of the Canadian River. Lt.Col.T.H.Neill, and 1 company of Infantry, and the troops of Cavalry, pursue the CHEYENNE. A fight begins when the soldiers catch up to the CHEYENNE. The fight continues until after sunset. The next day, 11 Indians were found dead. Nineteen Indians were wounded in the engagement. Most of the CHEYENNE would, eventually, return to the agency. Another group of 60 to 70 CHEYENNEs, characterized as some of the worst criminal elements of the tribe by the Army, flee north to the Platte River country.
1830: President Jackson has submitted a bill that would call for the removal of most of the Indians in the southeast to lands west of the Mississippi. In a speech today, Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen, denounces the bill. He asked the Senate when was it ever proclaimed “that the right of discovery contained a superior efficacy to all prior titles?”
1873: In a MODOC council in the lava beds, Hooker Jim, Black Jim, Schonchin John and others tell Captain Jack that the peace commissioners are just buying time to bring in more soldiers. They say the commissioners just want to trick the MODOCs. They demand that Captain Jack, as tribal Khief, kill Commissioner General Canby during the peace conference. Captain Jack is against the idea, but he agrees to do so.
1984: The first meeting between the eastern and western CHEROKEES since the 1800s is held today.
1756: Today, Governor Robert Morris will declare war on the DELAWARE and SHAWNEE Indians. As a part of his declaration, he will offer the following bounties: prisoners: men over 12=150 Spanish pieces of eight, women or boys=130; scalps: men=130, women and boys=50. The bounty on scalps will lead to the killing of many innocent Indians who were members of neither tribe. The legislation for this would be called “The Scalp Act”. Web Editor Note – It is still on the Books in PA today!!
1944: Ernest Childers gets the Medal of Honor today.
1772: Whites can now buy Indian land in Oklahoma without government approval.
1884: A woman, identified by local missionaries as Sacajawea, dies today in Wyoming. If this is the Sacajawea of the Lewis and Clark expedition, she would be almost 100 years old.
1837: As part of the treaty signed on March 6th, the SEMINOLEs were to report to Tampa Bay no later than today for transport to the Indian Territory. Prior to today, General Jesup reneged on one of the provisions of the treaty. He allowed whites to come among the Indians to seek out blacks whom they claimed as runaway slaves. This would make the SEMINOLEs doubt if the United States would live up to this agreement. Many of the SEMINOLEs would disappear into the woods.
1871: On this date, APACHEs raid the San Xavier mission, south of Tucson, and steal livestock.
1968: The American Indian Civil Rights Act is passed.
1859: The QUINAULT and QUILEUTE treaties signed on July 1, 1855 and January 25, 1856 will be officially proclaimed by the President of the United States.
1836: Since April 5, 1836, a blockhouse 12 miles from the mouth of the Withlacoochee has been staffed by Captain Holleman and 50 volunteers from the Florida militia. Today, they will be attacked by up to 1,000 SEMINOLE warriors. The attacks on the block house will continue to be attacked for the next 2 months.
1875: Sergeant Alchesay, Corporal Elsatsoosu, Kelsay, Kosoha, Machol, Nannasaddie and Nantaje in the Indian Scouts, will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor today for their service to the U.S. Army as a scout during “campaigns and engagements with APACHEs” during the winter of 1872 and 1873.
1946: Congress will create the Indian Claims Commission today. The commission is established to hear and decide claims made by Indians based on land losses from treaties.
1846: The 2 CHEROKEE factions (old settlers and new emigrants) continue to feud over who has legal control of the CHEROKEE Nation. Based on appeals from the old settlers and the agreement of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, President James Polk asks Congress to approve the creation of separate reservations for the two sides. The new emigrants will oppose the proposal. An agreement will be reached by both sides on August 6, 1846.
1614: John Rolfe marries Pocahontas
1528: Today, Panfilo de Narvaez, with 4 or 5 ships, and approximately 400-500 men, including Cabeza de Vaca, sight land, on the western coast of Florida. This will be the first significant exploration of Florida.
1777: Today, American settlers in Boonesborough will survive an attack by the SHAWNEEs. The fortifications of the town will prove to be too much for the Indians to surmount. The SHAWNEEs will try again on July 4, 1777.
1879: On February 13, 1879 – Victorio, and 22 WARM SPRINGS APACHE Indians surrendered to Lt.Charles Merritt at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico. Eventually, 39 APACHEs come into the camp in west central New Mexico. Today, fears of being sent to a reservation, leads all of the Indians to escape from Ojo Caliente, and to eventually return to Mexico.
1528: Panfilo de Narvaez sights Indian houses near Tampa Bay, Florida. He will anchor his boats in the area, today. Seeing Narvaez, the Indians will abandon their village. Narvaez hold Spanish royal title to the land between the Rio de las Palmas, and the cape of Florida.
1550: Charles V orders a stop to Indian land conquests.
1818: Jackson sets out for Florida today to fight the SEMINOLEs.
1881: One Bull arrives back at Sitting Bull’s camp with a reports on fort conditions.
1528: Today, Panfilo de Narvaez will claim Florida for Spain. He has just landed on the western Florida coast.
1644: Forces under 99 year old Opechancanough, a leader of the POWHATAN Confederacy, attacks the English along the Pamunkey and York rivers, 22 years after his first attack at Jamestown. His followers will kill almost 400 Virginia colonists.
1858: The YANKTON SIOUX sign a treaty today. Article 8 provides for the Indians to retain access and use of the red pipestone quarry in southwestern, Minnesota.
1859: Ft.Mojave is established today to “protect” the area from the MOJAVE and PAIUTEs.
1537: Today, Hernado de Soto receives royal permission to “conquer, pacify, and people” the land from Rio de las Palmas to Cape Fear (Florida) on the Atlantic.
1606: According to the first charter of Virginia, issued today, part of the colonists goals are to civilize the natives. “…and may in time bring the infidels and savages, living in those parts, to human civility.”
1806: The Department of War establishes the office of Superintendent of Indian Trade. This position will be appointed by the President. The job will entail the purchase of goods for and from the Indians.
1869: Donehogawa (Ely Samuel Parker) is appointed as the first Indian to be Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Donehogawa, a SENECA IROQUOIS, was trained as a lawyer and a civil engineer. Unable to find work in the white world, Donehogawa contacts his old friend Ulysses Grant. Grant makes him an aide, and they work together through much of the Civil War. Because of his excellent penmanship, Donehogawa draws up the surrender papers for Lee to sign at Appomattox. Promoted to Brigadier General, Ely Parker worked to settle many conflicts between whites and Indians. After Grant becomes President, he will be appointed as Indian Commissioner on this date.
1839: Today, General Alexander Macomb, the new military commander in Florida, meets with several SEMINOLE Chiefs, including Chitto and Halek Tustenuggee. The council agrees that the SEMINOLE can remain in Florida if they stay near Lake Okechobee.
1877: Two Moons, Hump, and 300 other Indians surrender to Col.Nelson Miles, today. Most of the rest of Crazy Horse’s followers will surrender on May 6, 1877 at the Red Cloud, and Spotted Tail agencies.
1889: The Oklahoma land rush begins.
1637: WONGUNK Chief Sequin gave settlers the land on which to establish the village on Wetherfield, north from Saybrook, on the Connecticut River. After he was ordered out of the area, even though he was promised protection as a part of the agreement, he lead an attack on the settlement. With the help of 200 PEQUOT warriors, Sequin’s force killed 9 settlers, and took 2 more hostage.
1701: Today, William Penn will sign a treaty of friendship at Philadelphia with representatives of the SUSQUAHANNA, SHAWNEE, GANAWESE, and the IROQUOIS. All parties will agree to act peaceably with each other. The treaty will be known as the “Articles of Agreement”.
1754: DELAWARE Chief Teedyuscung will lead a group of 70 Christian Indians out of the village of Gnadenhutten today. They will leave to live in the village of Wyoming, Pennsylvania.
1802: Today, the State of Georgia will cede its western lands to the United States, with the proviso that the Federal Government obtain the title to Indian lands as soon as “can be peaceably obtained on reasonable terms.”
1541: Coronado leaves Alcanfor en route to Quivira. While in Quivira, Coronado had killed many of the inhabitants of TIGUEX PUEBLO.
1774: Michael Cresap is one of many “frontiersmen” in Kentucky who wishes to instigate a war with the local Indians. He hopes that the Indians would lose the war, and be forced off their highly coveted lands. Today Cresap, and a few friends, come across a SHAWNEE and a DELAWARE Indian traveling through the woods. Cresap’s group kills them both.
1872: Captain Charles Meinhold, and Troop B, 3rd Cavalry, encounter an Indian war party on the South Fork of the “Loup” River, Nebraska. A fight ensues, in which, 3 Indians are killed. Scout William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Sergeant John H. Foley, Privates William Strayer and Leroy Vokes will be given the Congressional Medal of Honor for “gallantry in action” during this engagement.
1906: A law is passed which grants the President to pick the CHEROKEE Chief.
1763: Today, Pontiac will hold a council with a large group of OTTAWA, WYNADOT, and POTAWATOMI Indians. He will tell them of his plans to attack Fort Detroit. He will extol the virtues of returning to the old Indian ways, before the coming of the Europeans.
1877: General George Crook contacts Red Cloud with a message for Crazy Horse. Crook promises that if Crazy Horse surrenders, he will get a reservation in the Powder River area. On this date, Red Cloud delivers the message to Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse agrees and heads to Fort Robinson, in northwestern Nebraska. Where he will surrender to the U.S. Army.
1871: Either convinced that Eskiminzin’s APACHE are responsible for raids near Tucson, or just looking for an excuse to attack the ARAVAIPAs, William Oury sets out with 140 armed whites and Indians for the APACHE camp near Camp Grant.
1882: Remnants of Loco’s CHIRICAHUA APAPCHEs who fought in the battles south of Stein’s Pass, and in Horseshoe Canyon, on April 23, 1882, are attacked today by Captain Tullius Tupper, Troops G, and M, 6th Cavalry, and a company of Indian scouts, 25 miles south of Cloverdale, Arizona. Six APACHEs are killed, and 72 head of livestock are seized, according to Army reports. The surviving Indians head toward Mexico.
1700: Lemoyne d’Iberville today visits a PASCAGOULA Indian village, one day’s walk from the French post at Biloxi. The PASCAGOULAs have been hit hard by disease brought by the Europeans. D’Iberville is impressed by the beauty of the PASCAGOULA women.
1851: One in a series of treaties with California Indians will be signed today at Camp Barbour. These treaties promise to set aside lands for the Indians and to protect them from Americans.
1882: Lt.George Morgan, and 6 men from Troop K, 3rd Cavalry are ordered to arrest “Ute Jack”, a Chief of the White River UTEs. Jack has a knife and he resists. He is shot in the arm by a soldier. Escaping to a nearby teepee, Jack finds a rifle, and shoots the detachment sergeant. Major Julius Mason, 3rd Cavalry arrives, and according to Army reports, “measures are taken resulting in the capture and death of the Indian.”
1682: La Salle stays with the TAENSA Indians for 4 days, starting today, on Lake Saint Joseph in Louisiana. He will sign a peace treaty with them.
1860: Fort Defiance, in northwestern Arizona, was the first fort to be build in NAVAJO country. Built near land used by Manuelito’s Navajos to graze their horses, an inevitable conflict begins when the army claims the grazing land for their own mounts. A series of raids on both sides leads to a full scale attack. On this date, Manuelito, and nearly 1,000 warriors attack Fort Defiance. The Navajos capture a few outbuildings, but the soldiers soon regroup and volleys are exchanged throughout the rest of the day. The Navajos will leave that night considering the message delivered. The Army will eventually retaliate.