japonisme: no beauty's ever free II

21 August 2012

no beauty's ever free II

INDIANS! (as they were obviously ubiquitously known then). indians were such a draw to these new american tourists that not only were they featured in so many of the railway posters, but locomotives, no, whole trains were named 'chief,' and destinations such as 'indian days,' and 'indian-detour tours,' were created by santa fe, canadian pacific, southern pacific, great northern, and other railroads to draw the sight-see-ers on.

the artwork, you may agree, is often stunning; railway posters seem to have the ability to maintain mystery and romance wherever they occur. indians were what? an unknown culture? or the tokens of one? 'wild' animals in zoo-parks? simple-minded crafters of pots and baskets? it's hard to know.

at the same time as they were being used as lures to well-to-do gentlemen and their wives and children, they focused another attention on their very existence:

The first European Americans to encounter the western interior tribes were generally fur traders and trappers. There were also Jesuit missionaries active in the Northern Tier. As United States expansion reached into the American West, settler and miner migrants came into increasing conflict with the Great Basin, Great Plains, and other Western tribes. These were complex nomadic cultures based on horse culture and seasonal bison hunting. They carried out strong resistance to United States incursions in the decades after the American Civil War, in a series of Indian Wars, which were frequent up until the 1890s, but continued into the 20th century.

The transcontinental railroad brought more non-Natives into tribal land in the west. Over time, the U.S. forced a series of treaties and land cessions by the tribes, and established reservations for them in many western states. U.S. agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but European-American agricultural technology of the time was inadequate for often dry reservation lands. In 1924, Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens were granted citizenship by Congress.

In 1906, 300 Ute under the leadership of Red Cap left the White River Reservation in Colorado headed for South Dakota. The Ute were upset about the allotment of their reservation and increase of non-Indian settlers. In South Dakota, they hoped to form an alliance with the Lakota and with the Crow to stop the allotment program. The army stopped the group and detained them as prisoners of war at Fort Meade, South Dakota. The army was unconcerned that courts had ruled that Indians could not be detained or imprisoned without a trial. Nor was the army concerned that no actual state of war existed at the time. The army viewed the Ute as potential enemy combatants and felt that it had the right to hold them in prison indefinitely.

While the army often ignored due process of law when dealing with Indians, there are cases in which the army did attempt to see due process carried out. In 1915, a Mexican sheepherder was murdered in Colorado and popular opinion assumed that he had been killed by an Indian. The court of public opinion blamed Tsenegar, a Ute Indian, for the death. Subsequently a posse of 26 cowboys crossed into Utah and surrounded the Ute camp of Old Polk. Their supposed goal was to capture Tsenegar who was rumored to be in Old Polk's group. The cowboys, who were drunk at the time, began firing into the camp with no warning. The Indians had no idea who these men were nor why they were shooting at them. The Indian response was to fire back to distract the cowboys and then to slip away. When the smoked cleared, there were dead on both sides and the Ute had vanished.

In 1913 there was a rebellion among the Navajo which came to be known as the Beautiful Mountain Uprising. The uprising started when the Indian agent learned that Hatot'cli-yazzie, the son of Ba-Joshii, had three wives in spite of the agent's edict against plural marriages. Fed by information from the Indian agent, local newspapers painted a picture of the entire Navajo nation in revolt with a horrible massacre impending. To avert this massacre and save the non-Indians, according to the newspaper accounts, military action was needed. In response, the army sent in the cavalry with 261 men and officers to put down the Navajo "hostiles" who were under the leadership of Ba-Joshii. The Navajo force numbered only twelve men.

source: native american roots more background: "indians"

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Anonymous Evan said...

Looking at the Indian imagery...flashing to one of my current favorite TV shows- "Hell on Wheels" (speaking of railroads), &, I apologize for even going here, but feeling like the general attitude of our leaders hasn't changed much in 150 years, and that in the name of power & control, they will trample on the rights of anybody. The Republicans these days, seem to have women in their sights...OK...digressing...sort of...but substitute treaties for rights (or privileges, as Mr Carlin would say) & it just seems they hand those things out for as long as nothing about them gets in their way...but I have to wonder- more women are getting into politics, & leaving aside the Palins & Bachmans,they are generally smarter then 3/4 of the men in office. But those guys are smart enough to feel threatened so...lets reverse Roe v. Wade & pass legislation that birth control no longer be covered by insurance- that oughta slow these ladies down. Not exactly pox infected blankets, but still, I wonder. Again...forgive the digression & foray into a bit of free association with the fabulous art you display.

23 August, 2012 14:06  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i think comparisons to now are inevitable and perhaps even encouraged by me. i mean, who could miss, "The army was unconcerned that courts had ruled that Indians could not be detained or imprisoned without a trial. Nor was the army concerned that no actual state of war existed at the time. The army viewed the Ute as potential enemy combatants and felt that it had the right to hold them in prison indefinitely."

and besides, i have it on good authority that the only men who are threatened by women's sexuality are either impotant or have very tiny dicks, and this is what i have heard from real doctors!

23 August, 2012 17:19  
Blogger Nancy Ewart said...

Love the comment about who is threatened by women's sexuality - I always knew that. Gorgeous posters which cover a very tragic history. Thanks as always for your research, sharing and for posts which make me think. Well, I try to think but.....

24 August, 2012 19:55  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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