HELEN HUNT JACKSON A CENTURY OF DISHONOR PDF

She was moved to research and publicize the plight of the Native American after hearing Chief Standing Bear of the Poncas tribe speak in Boston about the great sufferings of his people as they were forcibly removed from their native land to a reservation in Oklahoma. In the introduction to her book, a copy of which she sent to every member of Congress, Jackson urged the legislative body to "redeem the name of the United States from the stain of a Century of Dishonor. The selection provided here details the sufferings of the Northern Cheyenne as they attempted to hunt on their native land without permission from their Indian Agent. In , President Chester A. Leah R. The winter of and summer of were terrible seasons for the Cheyennes.

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The names of the different tribes and bands, as entered in the statistical tables of the Indian Office Reports, number nearly three hundred. The poorer, the more insignificant, the more helpless the band, the more certain the cruelty and outrage to which they have been subjected.

This is especially true of the bands on the Pacific slope. These Indians found themselves of a sudden surrounded by and caught up in the great influx of gold-seeking settlers, as helpless creatures on a shore are caught up in a tidal wave.

There was not time for the Government to make treaties; not even time for communities to make laws. The tale of the wrongs, the oppressions, the murders of the Pacific-slope Indians in the last thirty years would be a volume by itself, and is too monstrous to be believed. It makes little difference, however, where one opens the record of the history of the Indians; every page and every year has its dark stain. The story of one tribe is the story of all, varied only by differences of time and place; but neither time nor place makes any difference in the main facts.

There are hundreds of pages of unimpeachable testimony on the side of the Indian; but it goes for nothing, is set down as sentimentalism or partisanship, tossed aside and forgotten. President after president has appointed commission after commission to inquire into and report upon Indian affairs, and to make suggestions as to the best methods of managing them.

The reports are filled with eloquent statements of wrongs done to the Indians, of perfidies on the part of the Government; they counsel, as earnestly as words can, a trial of the simple and unperplexing expedients of telling truth, keeping promises, making fair bargains, dealing justly in all ways and all things. To administer complete citizenship of a sudden, all round, to all Indians, barbarous and civilized alike, would be as grotesque a blunder as to dose them all round with any one medicine, irrespective of the symptoms and needs of their diseases.

It would kill more than it would cure … However great perplexity and difficulty there may be in the details of any and every plan possible for doing at this late day anything like justice to the Indian, however hard it may be for good statesmen and good men to agree upon the things that ought to be done, there certainly is, or ought to be, no perplexity whatever, no difficulty whatever, in agreeing upon certain things that ought not to be done, and which must cease to be done before the first steps can be taken toward right ng the wrongs, curing the ills, and wiping out the disgrace to us of the present condition of our Indians.

Cheating, robbing, breaking promises—these three are clearly things which must cease to be done. Till these four things have ceased to be done, statesmanship and philanthropy alike must work in vain, and even Christianity can reap but small harvest.

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A Century of Dishonor: Summary & Author

This lesson will summarize its main concepts and introduce you to its author. She used the book to detail injustices Native Americans faced and had been facing for years. In fact, she sent copies of the book to every member of congress with a personal message and call to action. What was it about Jackson that made her take on this cause? Luckily, her father, a professor at Amherst College as well as an author and minister, prepared for her education; she attended a female seminary before marrying Edward Hunt in Though she had two sons, both of them and her husband were dead by

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Synopsis[ edit ] Originally published in , Helen Hunt Jackson chronicles the treatment of American Indians by the United States beginning in colonial times through to her present. The book can be broken down into four major themes: the mistreatment of seven major Native American tribes promises and treaties issued and broken by the United States government to these tribes forced removal of these and other tribes to reservations located on land that was unsuitable for farming or sustaining the Native American way of life massacres of the Native American people by white Americans. Jackson calls attention to the changes that occurred when the United States took territory from the colonial powers. Most prominently, the United States did not acknowledge or respect Native claims to the land, as recognized by treaties, to the same degree that Spain, Britain, and France had. This was in part, she explains, because the treaties written in English purposefully had different expectations than those written for and signed by the Native populations. She contextualizes her distress by examining the attitudes of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary from the end of the 18th century through much of the 19th century.

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Excerpt from A Century of Dishonor (1881, by Helen Hunt Jackson)

The names of the different tribes and bands, as entered in the statistical tables of the Indian Office Reports, number nearly three hundred. The poorer, the more insignificant, the more helpless the band, the more certain the cruelty and outrage to which they have been subjected. This is especially true of the bands on the Pacific slope. These Indians found themselves of a sudden surrounded by and caught up in the great influx of gold-seeking settlers, as helpless creatures on a shore are caught up in a tidal wave. There was not time for the Government to make treaties; not even time for communities to make laws. The tale of the wrongs, the oppressions, the murders of the Pacific-slope Indians in the last thirty years would be a volume by itself, and is too monstrous to be believed. It makes little difference, however, where one opens the record of the history of the Indians; every page and every year has its dark stain.

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