Indian Quotes

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Indian Quotes

Bannock Indians Fording the Snake - by Frederick Remington - Indian Quotes

Bannock Indians Fording the Snake River
Painting by Fredrick Remington


  White quotes about the Indians; for and against…
Then, from the Indians themselves…
Indian Wisdom


Politicians, Soldiers, Preachers & others…

“I am not uninformed that the six Nations have been led into some difficulties with respect to the sale of their lands since the peace. But I must inform you that these evils arose before the present government of the United States was established, when the separate States and individuals under their authority, undertook to treat with the Indian tribes respecting the sale of their lands. But the case is now entirely altered. The general Government only has the power, to treat with the Indian Nations, and any treaty formed and held without its authority will not be binding. Here then is the security for the remainder of your lands. No State nor person can purchase your lands, unless at some public treaty held under the authority of the United States. The general government will never consent to your being defrauded. But it will protect you in all your just rights.”
President George Washington (1790)
to the Seneca Nation of New York, after the passage of the First version of the Indian Intercourse Act.
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines A-L – Indian Treaties Timeline

Joshua Pilcher
“My mountaineers have been defeated, and the chiefs of the party both slain; the party were attacked by three or four hundred Blackfoot Indians [Blackfeet] in a position on the Yellowstone River where nothing but defeat could be expected. Jones and Immell and five men were killed. The former, it is said, fought most desperately. Jones killed two Indians, and in drawing his pistol to kill a third, he received two spears to his breast. Immell was in front; he killed one Indian and was cut to pieces. I think we lost at least $15,000.”
Joshua Pilcher (07/03/1823)
Contained in a letter to Benjamin O’Fallon, U.S. Agent for Indian Affairs regarding The Jones Expedition for The Missouri Fur Company (1822).
(see: The Originals Index – Expeditions Upper Missouri Expedition)

President Andrew Johnson
“It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation.”
“Toward the aborigines of the country no one can indulge a more friendly feeling than myself, or would go further in attempting to reclaim them from their wandering habits and make them a happy, prosperous people.”
Statements made during the announcement of the Indian Removal Act (1832)
(see: Wk. 22, 05/28/1830)
(see: Seminole Chief Osceola‘s comment below)

Tom Champion
“…I am convinced that the white people did more harm by keeping her away from them than the Indians did by taking her at first.”
In reference to Cynthia Ann Parker aka: Naduah. Tom Champion, Crowell Index, October 8, 1909
(see: Wk. 20, 05/20/1836)

Brigham Young
“The Indians … must learn that they have either got to help us or the United States will kill us both.”
Brigham Young in a letter to Indian Agent Jacob Hamblin (08/04/1837)

William Shorey Coodey
“At length the word was given to move on. I glanced along the line and the form of Going Snake, an aged and respected chief whose head eighty summers had whitened, mounted his favorite pony, passed before me and led the way in silence. At this very moment a low sound of distant thunder fell upon my ears. The sun was unclouded, and no rain fell. I almost thought it a voice of Divine indignation for the wrongs done my poor and unhappy countrymen, driven by brutal power from all they loved and cherished in the lands of their fathers to gratify the cravings of avarice.”
Observing the departure of the first Cherokee led group on The Trail of Tears (1838)
(see: Wk. 39, 09/28/1838)

George Catlin – artist
“The tallest race of men in North America, either red or white skins; there being few indeed of the men at their full growth, who are less than six feet in stature, and very many of them six and a half, and others seven feet.”
describing the Osage Indians (c.1830’s)

Jim BeckwourthMountain Man
“…though the Indian could never become a white man, the white man lapsed easily into an Indian.”
Wk. 44, 10/29/1866 – Jim Beckwourth

Texas Governor Hardin R. Runnels
“I impress upon you the necessity of action and energy. Follow any trail and all trails of hostile or suspected hostile Indians you may discover and if possible, overtake and chastise them if unfriendly.”
By this, he meant kill them, their families, destroy their homes and food supplies.
Instructions to Captain John Salmon “Rip” Ford, Commander of the Ranger, Militia, and Allied Indian Forces of Texas for dealing with the Comanche and Kiowa.
At the start of the Antelope Hills Expedition (1858).
(Needs ref to Massacres of Indians when posted.)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“It appears … that they are a race possessing magnanimity, generosity, benevolence, and pure religion without hypocrisy. They have been most barbarously treated by the whites both in word and deed.”
In reference to the Native Americans (c. 1855)

Hiram B. Rogers, a Texas Ranger (c. 1860’s)
“I was in the Pease River fight, but I am not very proud of it. That was not a battle at all, but just a killing of squaws.”
King Woolsey, An Arizona Territory Indian fighter and politician.
“…a broad platform of extinction is appropriate for Indian problem.” (01/01/1860)

Santa Fe New Mexican
“We learn that the wife of the late J.M. White has, at last, been deprived of her suffering, having been shot by the Indians who had her in possession.”
Santa Fe New Mexican – 1861

The Deseret News
“…the executioners were not very good marksmen.”
The Deseret News [Salt Lake City, UT]  (12/17/1862)
after 51 shots were required to dispatch four unfortunate Indian prisoners.

Joseph Rodman West
“Men, that old murderer has got away from every soldier command and has left a trail of blood for 500 miles on the old stage line. I want him dead or alive tomorrow morning, do you understand? I want him dead.”
Brig Gen. Joseph Rodman West in reference to prisoner Mangas Coloradas
(see: Wk. 03, 01/17/1863)

“well armed, well mounted, cunning and brave.”
“catching the Indians was easy, but we had a terribly hard time letting them go.”
comments from soldiers in the South Platte River Campaign of 1865.
(see: Wk. 05, 02/04/1865 – Battle of Mud Springs)
(and: Wk. 06, 02/08/1865 – Battle of Rush Creek)

George E. Hyde, author
(see also: References – Books – Novels and History (non-ref) – Hyde)

“…an amazing feat,” “These Indians had moved 400 miles during the worst weather of a severe winter through open, desolate plains taking with them their women and children, lodges, and household property, their vast herds of ponies, and the herds of captured cattle, horses, and mules. On the way they had killed more whites than the number of Cheyenne killed at Sand Creek and had completely destroyed one hundred miles of the Overland Stage Line.”
In reference to the march of the Indians north from Sand Creek (CO) to the Powder River Country (WY).
(see: Wk. 06, 02/09/1865 – The Migration)

Reuben F. Bernard
“This Indian was at peace until betrayed and wounded by white men.”
Commander of Fort Bowie, AZ. (1869), commenting on Apache Leader Cochise.
(very likely a self-serving statement, due to Bernard’s involvement in the “problems” with Cochise.

Anderson Nelson Ellis
“While he was talking, we had a fine opportunity to study this most remarkable man… His height, five feet ten inches; in person lithe and wiry, every muscle being well-rounded and firm. A silver thread was now and then visible in his otherwise black hair, which he wore cut straight around his head about on a level with his chin. His countenance displayed great force. Cochise spoke through an interpreter. He spoke in his language to one of his warriors who also spoke Spanish. The warrior repeated the words in Spanish to a Spanish speaker in Gen. Granger’s contingent, who then translated them into English for the general. Cochise declared: ‘When I was young, I walked all over this country, east and west, and saw no other people than the Apaches. After many summers I walked again and found another race of people had come to take it. How is it? Why is it that the Apaches wait to die, that they carry their lives on their fingernails? They roam over the hills and the plains and want the heavens to fall on them. The Apaches were once a great nation. They are now but a few, and because of this they want to die, and so carry their lives on their fingernails.'”
A description of Apache chief Cochise (age 56) Ellis, was an Army doctor who had been an eyewitness to a meeting between Cochise and Gen. Gordon Granger in 1871.

Charles Reade – American writer and novelist
having been the most promising of all young American authors.”
In reference to Fredrick Wadsworth Loring, killed in the Wickenburg Massacre.
(see: Wk.45, 11/05/1871)

E.C. Thomas
“To be sure, peace will come through war, but not by extermination.”
E.C. Thomas, in response to public calls for an extreme response to the Indians. Son of Rev.Eleazar Thomas who was murdered along with Gen. Edward Canby at a peace parley during the Modoc War.
(see: Wk. 15, 04/11/1873)

Arizona Miner (newspaper)
“Al Zieber (sic: Sieber), Sergeant Stauffer and a mixed command of white and red soldiers are in the hills of Verde looking for some erring Apaches, whom they will be apt to find.”

Marcus Reno
“The [Sioux and Cheyenne] Indians are the best light cavalry in the world. I have seen pretty nearly all of them, and I do not except even the Cossacks.”
After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, 1876.

Lt. Gen. William T. Sherman
“…during an assault, the soldiers can not pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age.”
1876, after the Little Bighorn.

Chris Hedges
“…there are few resistance figures in American history as noble as Crazy Horse. …his ferocity of spirit remains a guiding light for all who seek lives of defiance.”
Chris Hedges, author
(see: Wk. 36, 09/05/1877)

Elmer S. Dundy
“The right of expatriation is a natural, inherent and inalienable right and extends to the Indian as well as to the more fortunate white race…”
Nebraska Judge Elmer S. Dundy
part of the decision in United States ex rel. Standing Bear v. Crook (1879)
(see: Wk. 18, 05/02/1879)

George Crook
“The only people on this continent who have no standing before the law are the original owners of the land.”
then Brigadier General George Crook [Grey Fox] (1879)
(see: Wk. 19, 05/12/1879)

Denver Post
“He saw the shadow of doom on his people” – 1928
” He sought peace among tribes and whites, and a fair shake for his people, though Ouray was dealt a sad task of liquidating a once-mighty force that ruled nearly 23 million acres of the Rocky Mountains.” – 2012
excerpts from articles on Ute Chief Ouray (1833 – 1880)
(see: Wk. 34, 08/24/1880)

The Denver Tribune
“In the death of Ouray, one of the historical characters passes away. He has figured for many years as the greatest Indian of his time, and during his life has figured quite prominently. Ouray is in many respects…a remarkable Indian…pure instincts and keen perception. A friend to the white man and protector to the Indians alike.”
from Ute Chief Ouray‘s obituary – 1880
(see: Wk. 34, 08/24/1880)

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