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Chief Washakie

"The white man, who possesses this whole vast country from sea to sea, who roams over it at pleasure and lives where he likes, cannot know the cramp we feel in this little spot, with the underlying remembrance of the fact, which you know as well as we, that every foot of what you proudly call America not very long ago belonged to the red man. The Great Spirit gave it to us. There was room for all His many tribes, and all were happy in their freedom."

"The white man's government promised that if we, the Shoshones, would be content with the little patch allowed us, it would keep us well supplied with everything necessary to comfortable living, and would see that no white man should cross our borders for our game or anything that is ours. But it has not kept its word! The white man kills our game, captures our furs, and sometimes feeds his herds upon our meadows. And your great and mighty government--oh sir, I hesitate, for I cannot tell the half! It does not protect our rights. It leaves us without the promised seed, without tools for cultivating the land, without implements for harvesting our crops, without breeding animals better than ours, without the food we still lack, after all we can do, without the many comforts we cannot produce, without the schools we so much need for our children."

"I say again, the government does not keep its word!"


Washakie

{wahsh'-uh-kee}

Washakie, c.1804-1900, a chief of the Eastern SHOSHONI Indians of Wyoming, was noted for his exploits in fighting and also for his friendship with the white pioneers. When wagon trains were passing through Shoshoni country in the 1850s, Washakie and his people aided the overland travelers in fording streams and recovering strayed cattle. He was also a scout for the U.S. Army.


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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.