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Context, from Paiute history, about the Oregon militia attack on Malheur

This is a very interesting read, about the real history behind this contested area.


Oregon Militia Brings Battle Back to Malheur Reservation

Sarah Winnemucca isn’t a name known by many—her surname is more likely identified as a town in Nevada than the last name of one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent American Indian writers and activists. Author of Life Among the Piutes, one of the first published narratives by a Native American, she made frequent headlines for her vocal support of indigenous rights. One of her most long-lasting campaigns was to restore her people, the Northern Paiutes, to the Malheur Reservation, which was created in 1872 by the U.S. government. In January 1879, following the Bannock War, residents of the reservation were forced to travel 350 miles to the Yakama Indian Reservation after an ill-informed decision to punish the Northern Paiutes, many of whom had supported the US against the Bannocks in the War. Even the so-called “hostiles” in the war were motivated by the usual: colonialist land encroachment and resource exploitation.


The Malheur Indian Reservation was established for the Northern Paiutes in 1872 by President Grant. When Winnemucca arrived a few years later, she reported that Agent Charles Parrish dealt fairly with the Paiutes. Trouble broke out in 1876, however, when President Grant’s “Peace Policy” replaced Parrish with a “Christian” man—William Rinehart—who proved a cruel and corrupt leader. The Bannock War soon followed.

The Northern Paiutes found that Winnemucca’s heroic fidelity to the US was not rewarded in the aftermath to the Bannock War, when the residents of Malheur were ordered to move to the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington Territory. At Yakama, where, Winnemucca reported, “not an Indian was ever taught the alphabet,” Paiutes were denied the education they had received at Malheur. She also reported that her people weren’t adequately reimbursed for their work and, if paid, were later stripped of their earnings: “Yes, poorer in clothes. Poorer in horses. Poorer in victuals; in every thing. We have lost 53 head of horses, and have left 257 head. Our sick have been poorly cared for, and many have died for want of something to eat. Now, can anyone blame us for wanting to go back to our own country?” By November 1879 it was reported that no Indians remained at Malheur.


She then detailed the horrific move to Yakama:


Amid her tears the Princess said: “Many a time at night I would see a poor woman come into camp crying, and the civilized women would laugh at her. Why was she crying– because she was tired or cold? No; but because her baby was lying in her arms frozen to death! Old men left in wagons over night perished in the cold, and next morning were dumped out on the road with nothing to cover them but the snow.” Here the tears choked her utterance for a while, but, continuing, she said: “Thrown away as you would treat a hog! When we arrived at Yakima we were turned over like a drove of cattle–so many men, women and children. “


Copyright says I can't post any more from this article. Please go to the link and read it; if you have gotten this far, I am sure you will find it worth your time.

Also, more about the Bannock War, from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bannock_War

I have to admit I must've slept through this lesson in grade school.
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