This Month in Indigenous History

November 18, 2018

November 6, 1864: Colonel Kit Carson and his troops leave Fort Bascom in western New Mexico, en route for the Texas panhandle to “punish” the Comanche and Kiowa.


November 7, 1811: Prophetstown Indians attack General William Henry Harrison’s force of 760, killing 60 and injuring 128. More than 100 Indians are killed, including 25 Kickapoo. Harrison destroys the cornfields at Prophetstown, angering Tecumseh’s followers.


November 8, 1762: As a part of the Treaty of Fountainbleau, Spain acquires all of French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River for helping France in the Seven Years War.


November 9, 1875: Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who led the resistance to forcible Native relocation, are ordered to the Great Sioux Reservation.


November 10, 1813: “Red Stick” Creeks, an anti-white faction of the Creek Indians, surround a pro-white group of Creeks at Talladega, in east-central Alabama. Andrew Jackson’s force of 2,000 soldiers attack—410 of the 700 Creeks are killed; Jackson’s force loses only 15.


November 11, 1865: Medicine Bottle and Little Shakopee, leaders of the Santee Sioux uprising, are executed at Pine Knob. They had escaped to Canada, but officials there aided in their kidnapping and return to the US.


November 12, 1935: The Secretary of the Interior authorizes an election to establish a constitution for the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wok Indians.


November 13, 1747: A conference regarding alliances is held between representatives of the British in Pennsylvania and the Miami, Shawnee, and Six Nations tribes.


November 14, 1851: Lieutenant Colonel J.J. Abercrombie and members of the Fifth Infantry begin construction of Fort Phantom Hill, north of Abilene, Texas. The fort is often visited by local Comanches, Lipan-Apaches, Kiowas, and Kickapoo.


November 15, 1861: The Potawatomi sign a treaty setting aside land for common tribal usage.


November 16, 1811: Tecumseh predicts a “light across the sky.” The light is said to have appeared as predicted.


November 17, 2004: Navajo code talker, Joe Billison, dies in Window Rock, Arizona. He transmitted messages during WWII, confounding the Japanese. In 2000, Billison, a long-time President of the Code Talkers Association, provided the voice for Hasbro’s GI Joe Code Talker.


November 18, 1825: The Arikara Indians of North Dakota sign a peace treaty, promising not to supply any nation, tribe, or band of Indians unfriendly with the US with guns, ammunition, or other implements of war.


November 19, 1787: The Northwest Ordinance officially organizes the Northwest Territory for white settlement, and settlers begin pouring into the region. Violence erupts as Indigenous tribes resist this encroachment. President George Washington sends armed expeditions to put down Native resistance.


November 20, 1831: While looking for rumored lost silver mines in Texas near the old San Sabá Mission, Jim Bowie and ten companions encounter almost 150 Caddo and Waco Indians. A fight ensues that becomes legendary in Texas history. The Indians set fire to the brush and trees surrounding the Americans, but this ploy fails. After losing over 50 warriors to Bowie’s one, the Indians retreat.


November 21, 1850: California passes the Indenture Act, which establishes a form of legal slavery by allowing whites to declare Native people vagrant and auction off their services for up to four months. The law also permits whites to indenture Indian children with the permission of a parent or friend, which led to widespread kidnapping of Indian children, who were sold as “apprentices.”


November 22, 1812: General Hopkin’s force destroys Prophetstown along with deserted Winnebago and Kickapoo villages along the Tippecanoe River. The Indians ambush and kill 16 of Hopkins’ force on Wildcat Creek, northwest of present-day Kokomo.


November 23, 1877: While authorities are attempting to arrest a Bannock man named Naught, who is accused of shooting two teamsters, other Indians shoot Alex Rhoden, who is walking across the street in Nalad City, Idaho. This incident leads to the Bannock War.


November 24, 1999: American Indian farmers file a $19 billion class action lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture for a 20-year history of loan discrimination.


November 25, 1712: The Commander in Chief of the Carolinas’ militia meets with Tuscarora Chief Tom Blunt. They eventually sign a treaty not to attack each other. Blunt also agrees to bring in Tuscarora King Hancock.


November 26, 2007: A new study by the University of Michigan bolsters claims that Native Americans are descended from a group that crossed a lost land link from modern Siberia to Alaska. The study examined genes of Indigenous people and from two Siberian groups.


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