Episode Removed from Ancestral Lands Depopulation Number
The Beaver Wars 1640-1701 200,000 100,000
The Removal Act of 1830 100,000 10,000
The 52 Smallpox Epidemics 230,000
The California Genocide   140,000
 Totals 300,000 480,000


      Heretofore, Native American history has been told by anecdote, with even the most ambitious Native American History classes, documentaries, and books reflecting less than half of the total picture.  As a result, students are left with an incomplete picture and simply do not understand what happened.  By teaching the Four Directions of Native American History, most of the history can be told in a valid context.
      We would be the last to consider the Wounded Knee or Sand Creek Massacres as anecdotal, or the Pueblo Conquest, or the aggression of De Soto for that matter in and of themselves, but when compared to the four above protracted episodes, they do not tell the story.  When one considers that the post-contact United States Indian population was just over 900,000, and by 1880 the population had decreased to about 300,000, a population decrease of 600,000, the effect of the Four Directions reflected 80% of the depopulation.  When considering removal, the Four Directions concept reflected about 90% of the removal from ancestral territories.

      In discussing Native American aboriginal populations, Larry Sunderland(1) wrote:

     There is no issue more hotly disputed than that on the aboriginal populations of Native Americans. Estimates for the United States range from less than a million to more than 14.5 million. One, however, cannot compare the various estimates without looking beyond the final numbers. In each case, the seemingly more conservative numbers are based on populations at the time of contact for the respective ethnies, whereas the higher numbers for the year 1492 include a provision for post-Columbian/pre-contact disease.
Aboriginal Estimates for Conterminous United States (In thousands)
Demograopher Year Contact 1492
Mooney 1910 846
Mooney 1928 849
Kroeber 1939 728
Driver 1969 2,500
Thornton/Marsh-Thornton 1981 1,845
Dobyns 1983 14,579
Thornton 1987 5,000
Sunderland 2001 904
     Historically, smallpox, by far the most deadly disease introduced into the New World by the Europeans, has a mortality rate of about 30%. Other deadly diseases included diphtheria, influenza, measles, pneumonia, scarlet fever, and others combined probably contributed to less than 10% of the contribution of smallpox.
     Driver, Thornton/Marsh-Thornton, and Dobyns, archeological demographers, theorized that diseases introduced in 1492 by Columbus, or surely by 1520 by Cortez, spread across the Americas before most of the native population ever had contact with the Europeans. However, Ramenofsky (1987) asserts about Dobyns projection of 95% decline:
Dobyn’s position on disease and Native American depopulation contrasts strongly to that of Kroeber. Yet it is difficult to accept his estimates of pre-contact aboriginal populations because of his biases and methods of reconstruction that derive from incomplete data.
     No demographer doubts that depopulation as a result of post-Columbian/pre-contact disease was significant. Even Kroeber, by far the most conservative of demographers, states on the subject:
After some hesitation I have omitted ... accounts of the relations of the natives with the Whites and events befalling them after such contact was established. It is not that this subject is unimportant, or uninteresting, but that I am not in a position to treat it adequately.
     Indeed, several early explorers who were the first to contact ethnies observed the scars of past smallpox among the Native Americans. But knowing that the phenomenon existed and quantifying it are two different issues. The NAHDB (Native American Historical Data Base constructed by Larry Sunderland) reflects historical depopulation in the United States due to disease, primarily smallpox, at about 230 thousand, albeit this estimate is based on unstable statistics. It also reflects the nature of the epidemics as often affecting large geographical areas of averaging 140 thousand square miles per epidemic on the relatively mobile Great Plains to an average of 14 thousand square miles per epidemic in regions of sedentary cultures. But most of these 45 or so outbreaks among sedentary peoples affected small areas and only a few ethnies at a time during historical times until 1900. In no case did a single epidemic sweep the continent. These numbers, therefore, in no way support Dobyns estimates of 20:1.
     None of the archeological demographers seem to dispute Mooney’s estimates for the conterminous United States but do dispute Kroeber’s estimates for California, his area of expertise. Indeed they use, for the most part, Mooney’s numbers as a basis for their estimates. Kroeber’s estimates are disputable for California and Cook, Baumhoff, Bean, and Smith have done so, refining Kroeber’s estimate to a combined 149 thousand reflected herein for the contact population. Once again, 1492 California populations estimated by Cook at 300 thousand and even Dobyns at 336 thousand are not necessarily unreasonable though an estimate of 750,000 by Powers (1976) seems to be quite high.
     So in the final analysis there is really relatively insignificant dispute once the apples are put in the barrel with the apples and the oranges are put in the barrel with the oranges, except for Dobyns 1492 estimates which are clearly off base. Indeed Kroeber was not too far off for California except in the far northern part of the state. And since the post-Columbia/pre-contact disease is a broad statistic based on unstable data, it cannot reasonable be applied to a single ethnie. It is necessarily a broad generalization.


The Beaver Wars 1640-1701:  Depopulation 200,000; Removal 200,000
      The Beaver Wars were the bloodiest war(s) ever fought on American soil.  When Henry Hudson sailed up the river that would later bear his name, he had no idea that his voyage would bring bloodshed and suffering to Indian people as much as a thousand miles distant, but such was the case. The Dutch established their colony on the banks of the Hudson and began to supply the Iroquois with trade goods. These included steel knives and tomahawks as well as guns, powder, and ammunition. Armed with modern European weapons, the Iroquois were an irresistible force. In exchange for these goods, the Dutch wanted furs in general, but beaver pelts in particular. In time the Iroquois country became "trapped out." The warriors of the Five Nations then turned to face the west and northwest. The nations who occupied the lands coveted by the Iroquois were armed with stone-age weapons --flint-tipped arrows, lances, and war clubs. The Iroquois soon possessed large numbers of Dutch firearms. The outcome was predictable.
      The Iroquois were already at enmity with the French and all of their Algonquian speaking neighbors fostered by the Mourning Wars or the perpetual practice of Counting Coup.  The Iroquois began to attack caravans of canoes bringing beaver pelts down the St. Lawrence Seaway.  They expanded to raiding villages.  Iroquois raids occurred in every state east of the Mississippi River and north of the Ohio.
      The Iroquois war bands, by 1649, penetrated Huron territory to such an extent that the remaining villages dispersed, removing north or fleeing west.  By 1650, the Iroquois controlled land north into Canada, as far south as Virginia, and as far west as Illinois.  They dominated the Indians in the area, and soon turned their attention on the French.
      Some of the Iroquois, particularly the Oneida and the Onondaga, had for the most part peaceful relations with the French.  But the Mohawk were the strongest tribe in the Confederacy, and considered themselves the most important. Chief Canaqueese, a man born from a Dutch father and a Mohawk mother, negotiated with the French in 1654 in an attempt to sway the French from their other Indian allies, like the Ottawa.  The French, however, wanted the Mohawk to either trade solely with them, or disband the Iroquois Confederacy.   The treaty, instead of bringing peace, turned to war.  The Mohawk then attempted unsuccessfully to blockade Montreal. 
      In the wake of the Iroquois aggression, a large shift in tribal geography came about.  Eastern tribes flooded into the Mississippi region, and tribes already living there either fought the invaders or in turn moved further west.  Because of the Iroquois wars, the Dakota, Lakota, Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Blackfeet, moved into the Northern Plains and adapted there into the nomadic hunters and gathers as they would come to be known. 
      Eastern Indians flooded the Great Lakes region.  Many of them lived as refugees, in hastily made camps, changing their way of life to adapt to new conditions.  With the huge influx of new population, game and other resources became depleted, and the area became impoverished.  More conflicts and wars sprung up as existing tribes tried to oust the refugees.  This was the setting further French explorers, such as Marquette and Joliet would encounter.  Not understanding that it was a new development, the French interpreted the situation as the long-standing practice of the Indians. 
      In the aftermath of the Beaver Wars, the French found a further foothold in the New World.  They stepped in to mediate peace between warring tribes, between refugees, and existing Indians.  They also helped refugees, supplying food and providing aid, mainly through missionaries.  France's influence spread.
      Relations between the French and the Iroquois, particularly the Mohawk, remained tense in the ten years after the failed peace treaty.  In response to French encroachments in Mohawk territory, Canaqueese began to attack any Whites he found along the St Lawrence River.  Canaqueese and his army were eventually taken prisoner and held at Quebec. Although the the other Mohawk were put to work in the camp, the chief was treated with respect, exempt from work and quartered in a well-equipped cabin.
      The English were a growing force in the east.  Not only were they subjugating Indians but they also were fighting, successfully, against the Dutch.  In 1664, Fort Orange passed into English control; New Amsterdam was renamed New York.  The Dutch had been the counterbalance to the French; the Iroquois lost their ally.
      In the fall of 1665, the French launched another major attack against the Mohawk.  They did not, however, find any Mohawk army to engage. They attacked nearby villages instead, destroying crops and leaving hundreds of Mohawk to starve to death during the winter. 
      By 1670, the French and Algonquin alliance had solidified into a wall of power in the west.  The Iroquois had lost their European support with the conquer of the Dutch in the New World by the English.  And so the Iroquois unchecked power began to wane.
      Early in the 18th century, representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy met with the French governor in Quebec and negotiated a peace treaty. The Iroquois agreed to stop marauding and allow refugees to return to the east.  The French were eager to have good relations now with the Iroquois.  With the budding power of the English in the New World, they hoped the Iroquois would provide a buffer zone between them and their long-standing enemies.  The Iroquois signed a similar peace treaty with the English in New York. 
      The Iroquois became an aggressive counterweight to colonialism.  The threat of the Iroquois siding with one side or the other kept the peace in fledgling American colonies.
      In summary, the Dutch gave the Iroquois arms and a market for beaver pelts, and the willing Iroquois killed or indirectly caused the deaths of +/- 200,000 and displaced +/- 200,000 from their ancestral homelands.  The following is a summary of some of the more notable events of the Beaver Wars:
Year Iroquois Action
1648 Attacked Iroquoian speaking Huron south of Great Lakes killing 10,000, absorbing some; tortured to death Jesuit missionary St. Jean de Brebeuf
1649 Destroyed Iroquoian speaking Tiontonati killing 8,000
1650 Attacked Iroquoian speaking Neutrals killing or absorbing 9,000, 90% of tribe, invaded Algonquian speaking Kickapoo, Sauk, Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Miami territories forcing them to flee into Siouan speaking Winnebago territories thereby displacing them
1653 Attacked Iroquoian speaking Erie killing 18,000, absorbing some
1660 Only about 2,200 surviving Iroquois warriors, one third adopted from defeated tribes
1664 Inflicted severe losses on Algonquian speaking Mahican
1670 Attacked Siouan speaking Tutelo and Saponi in Virginia
1676 Defeated Iroquois speaking Susquehanna killing more than 4,000
1680 Attacked the Algonquian speaking Illinois
1701 Defeated by French and Great Lake Algonquians, relinquished territories


The Removal Act of 1830:  Depopulation 10,000, Removal 100,000
      Early in the 19th century, while the rapidly-growing United States expanded into the lower South, White settlers faced what they considered an obstacle.  This area was home to the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations, the so-called Five Civilized Tribes.  These Indian nations, in the view of the settlers and many other White Americans, were standing in the way of progress.  Eager for land to raise cotton and upset over these nations providing a sanctuary for escaped slaves,  the settlers pressured the federal government to acquire Indian territory.
      Andrew Jackson, from Tennessee, was a forceful proponent of Indian removal. In 1814 he commanded the U.S. military forces that defeated a faction of the Creek nation. In their defeat, the Creeks lost 22 million acres of land in southern Georgia and central Alabama. The U.S. acquired more land in 1818 when, spurred in part by the motivation to punish the Seminoles for their practice of harboring fugitive slaves, Jackson's troops invaded Spanish Florida.
      From 1814 to 1824, Jackson was instrumental in negotiating nine out of eleven treaties which divested the southern tribes of their eastern lands in exchange for lands in the west. The tribes agreed to the treaties for strategic reasons. They wanted to appease the government in the hopes of retaining some of their land, and they wanted to protect themselves from White harassment. As a result of the treaties, the United States gained control over three-quarters of Alabama and Florida, as well as parts of Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and North Carolina. This was a period of voluntary Indian migration, however, and only a small number of Creeks, Cherokee, and Choctaws actually moved to the new lands.
      In 1823 the Supreme Court handed down a decision which stated that Indians could occupy lands within the United States, but could not hold title to those lands. This was because their "right of occupancy" was subordinate to the United States' "right of discovery." In response to the great threat this posed, the Creeks, Cherokee, and Chickasaw instituted policies of restricting land sales to the government. They wanted to protect what remained of their land before it was too late.
      Although the five Indian nations had made earlier attempts at resistance, many of their strategies were non-violent. One method was to adopt Anglo-American practices such as large-scale farming, Western education, and slave-holding. This earned the nations the designation of the "Five Civilized Tribes." They adopted this policy of assimilation in an attempt to coexist with settlers and ward off hostility. But it only made whites jealous and resentful.
      Other attempts involved ceding portions of their land to the United States with a view to retaining control over at least part of their territory, or of the new territory they received in exchange. Some Indian nations simply refused to leave their land -- the Creeks and the Seminoles even waged war to protect their territory. The First Seminole War lasted from 1817 to 1818. The Seminoles were aided by fugitive slaves who had found protection among them and had been living with them for years. The presence of the fugitives enraged White planters and fueled their desire to defeat the Seminoles.
      The Cherokee used legal means in their attempt to safeguard their rights. They sought protection from land-hungry White settlers, who continually harassed them by stealing their livestock, burning their towns, and squatting on their land. In 1827 the Cherokee adopted a written constitution declaring themselves to be a sovereign nation. They based this on United States policy; in former treaties, Indian nations had been declared sovereign so they would be legally capable of ceding their lands. Now the Cherokee hoped to use this status to their advantage. The state of Georgia, however, did not recognize their sovereign status, but saw them as tenants living on state land. The Cherokee took their case to the Supreme Court, which ruled against them.
      The Cherokee went to the Supreme Court again in 1831. This time they based their appeal on an 1830 Georgia law which prohibited Whites from living on Indian territory after March 31, 1831, without a license from the state. The state legislature had written this law to justify removing White missionaries who were helping the Indians resist removal. The court this time decided in favor of the Cherokee. It stated that the Cherokee had the right to self-government, and declared Georgia's extension of state law over them to be unconstitutional. The state of Georgia refused to abide by the Court decision, however, and President Jackson refused to enforce the law.
      In 1830, just a year after taking office, Jackson pushed a new piece of legislation called the "Indian Removal Act" through both houses of Congress. It gave the president power to negotiate removal treaties with Indian tribes living east of the Mississippi. Under these treaties, the Indians were to give up their lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for lands to the west. Those wishing to remain in the east would become citizens of their home state. This act affected not only the southeastern nations, but many others further north. The removal was supposed to be voluntary and peaceful, and it was that way for the tribes that agreed to the conditions. But the southeastern nations resisted, and Jackson forced them to leave.
      Jackson's attitude toward Native Americans was paternalistic and patronizing -- he described them as children in need of guidance. and believed the removal policy was beneficial to the Indians. Most White Americans thought that the United States would never extend beyond the Mississippi. Removal would save Indian people from the depredations of Whites, and would resettle them in an area where they could govern themselves in peace. But some Americans saw this as an excuse for a brutal and inhumane course of action, and protested loudly against removal.
      Their protests did not save the southeastern nations from removal, however. The Choctaws were the first to sign a removal treaty, which they did in September of 1830. Some chose to stay in Mississippi under the terms of the Removal Act.  But though the War Department made some attempts to protect those who stayed, it was no match for the land-hungry whites who squatted on Choctaw territory or cheated them out of their holdings. Soon most of the remaining Choctaws, weary of mistreatment, sold their land and moved west.
      For the next 28 years, the United States government struggled to force relocation of the southeastern nations. A small group of Seminoles was coerced into signing a removal treaty in 1833, but the majority of the tribe declared the treaty illegitimate and refused to leave. The resulting struggle was the Second Seminole War, which lasted from 1835 to 1842. As in the first war, fugitive slaves fought beside the Seminoles who had taken them in. Thousands of lives were lost in the war, which cost the Jackson administration approximately 40 to 60 million dollars -- ten times the amount it had allotted for Indian removal. In the end, most of the Seminoles moved to the new territory. The few who remained had to defend themselves in the Third Seminole War (1855-58), when the U.S. military attempted to drive them out. Finally, the United States paid the remaining Seminoles to move west.
      The Creeks also refused to emigrate. They signed a treaty in March, 1832, which opened a large portion of their Alabama land to White settlement, but guaranteed them protected ownership of the remaining portion, which was divided among the leading families. The government did not protect them from speculators, however, who quickly cheated them out of their lands. By 1835 the destitute Creeks began stealing livestock and crops from White settlers. Some eventually committed arson and murder in retaliation for their brutal treatment. In 1836 the Secretary of War ordered the removal of the Creeks as a military necessity. By 1837, approximately 15,000 Creeks had migrated west. They had never signed a removal treaty.
      The Chickasaws had seen removal as inevitable, and had not resisted. They signed a treaty in 1832 which stated that the federal government would provide them with suitable western land and would protect them until they moved. But once again, the onslaught of White settlers proved too much for the War Department, and it backed down on its promise. The Chickasaws were forced to pay the Choctaws for the right to live on part of their western allotment. They migrated there in the winter of 1837-38.
      The Cherokee, on the other hand, were tricked with an illegitimate treaty. In 1833, a small faction agreed to sign a removal agreement: the Treaty of New Echota. The leaders of this group were not the recognized leaders of the Cherokee nation, and over 15,000 Cherokees -- led by Chief John Ross -- signed a petition in protest. The Supreme Court ignored their demands and ratified the treaty in 1836. The Cherokee were given two years to migrate voluntarily, at the end of which time they would be forcibly removed. By 1838 only 2,000 had migrated; 16,000 remained on their land. The U.S. government sent in 7,000 troops, who forced the Cherokees into stockades at bayonet point. They were not allowed time to gather their belongings, and as they left, Whites looted their homes. Then began the march known as the Trail of Tears, in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.
      By 1837, the Jackson administration had removed 46,000 Native American people from their land east of the Mississippi, and had secured treaties which led to the removal of a slightly larger number. Most members of the five southeastern nations had been relocated west, opening 25 million acres of land to white settlement and to slavery.
      The Indian Territory soon became a repository for tribes across the country:
Year Arriving Ethnie(s)  Comments
1845 Absentee Shawnee Arrived from Kansas
1859 Caddo, Hasinai, Kichai, Tawakoni, Tonkawa, Waco Removed from Texas due to White violence
1859 Comanche, Kiowa, and Kiowa Apache Removed from Texas after battles with Texas Rangers
1862 (Tonkawa) Surprise attack by Delaware, Shawnee, and Caddo killed 137 Tonkawa ... fled to Texas
1863 Southern Cheyenne Fled from Colorado after Sand Creek Massacre
1867 Southern Arapaho Placed on reservation with Southern Cheyenne
1867 Sac/Fox, Shawnee, Quapaw, Wichita, and Wyandotte  Ceded lands, arrived from Kansas
1868 Illinois Peoria and Ottawa Arrived from Kansas
1868 Miami Arrived from Illinois
1869 Potawatomi Arrived from Kansas
1869 Largest Shawnee band Arrived from Texas to join Cherokee
1870 Osage Given Oklahoma reservation
1873 Kaw Sold Kansas lands and relocated to Oklahoma
1873 Kickapoo Arrived from Mexico
1873 Modoc Arrived from California after defeat in lava beds
1875 Ponca and Pawnee Suffered severely in removal from Nebraska
1878 Nez Perce Defeated Chief Joseph's band removed to Oklahoma after war
1881 Oto/Missouria Sold Kansas land for reservation
1883 Iowa Arrived from Kansas
1884 Tonkawa Arrived from Texas and placed on reservation
1885 (Nez Perce) Returned to Colville Reservation in Washington
1886 Apache Geronimo final surrender, band interred at Fort Sill
      Here's an easy way to remember some highlights of the Removal Act and its result:


YOU'LL LOVE OKLAHOMA by Larry T. B. Sunderland

      Oral cultures, including Native American, often relied on stories for teaching, and more often than not, the stories were in poetry form. This can be demonstrated by using a story to learn about the Removal Act. The following story/poem "You’ll Love Oklahoma" relates the historical experience of some of the tribes removed. The narrator is President Andrew Jackson. He is trying to convince the various tribes to remove to the Indian Territory, later called Oklahoma. (Take turns reading the verses out loud individually and have your entire group or class call out "You’ll love Oklahoma." when it is called for.)


The Removal Act was passed for you
Knowing what you’d be going through
With people who want to steal your land.
This country owes you a helping hand.
The Removal Act was passed for the benefit of southern slave owning settlers. The settlers wanted Indian lands for farming and gold prospecting, and the tribes destabilized slavery by often providing a haven for escaped slaves.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Cherokee folks, we have nothing to hide.
We’ll build you comfortable boats to ride.
Sit back, relax, all the way
We’ll flip the bill. You won’t have to pay.
The Cherokee were promised boats but, instead, were forced to march through winter to the Indian Territory. More than 4,000 died along the "Trail of Tears."
You’ll love Oklahoma!
If you’re Choctaw, the place for you
Is the Red River Valley with soil so fine
You’ll think you’re in the land
Of honey and wine.
The Choctaw had their own "Trail of Tears", and experienced famine in the mostly dry outlaw ridden Red River Valley of southeast Oklahoma.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Modocs fought for lava beds.
We’re giving you good farmland instead.
You can’t grow corn out of basalt.
f you don’t like it here ... it’s your fault.
The Modoc indeed fought for their California lava bed homeland and their chief Captain Jack and three others were hanged. Much of the rest of the tribe were taken to Oklahomawhile other were taken to Oregon. The Modocs did not grow corn.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Shawnee sure moved around a lot.
Trust me now you’ve found your spot.
Here’s the prettiest place you’ve ever been.
You’ll never want to move again.
The Shawnee indeed moved a lot due to pressure from the Beaver Wars and later White settlers.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
Couldn’t let you Nez Perce go to Canada
When we had such a wonderful place for ya.
Once you’ve basked in the Oklahoma sun,
You’ll never want to see Oregon.
The U.S. Army chased the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph from Oregon to Montana in a running war. The tribe was removed to Oklahoma where they suffered greatly before some were allowed to return to Idaho.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
You Apache folks with Geronimo,
We gave you quite a chase.
We weren’t trying to be bellicose.
We’re just trying to tell you about this place.
Geronimo’s Chiricahua Apache fought the U.S. Army for many years before being interned at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma
You’ll love Oklahoma!
That horrible day with Chivington
You Cheyenne really took it on the chin.
Come to Oklahoma. You’ll be safe.
Nothin’ like that will ever happen again.
The Southern Cheyenne under Black Kettle had a reservation at Sand Creek, Colorado when they were attacked by Chivington and about 200 were massacred. They were promised a safe place in Oklahoma, but General George Custer’s cavalry massacred 200 more including Black Kettle.
You’ll love Oklahoma!
As along as the sun goes across the sky.
As long as the rivers don’t run dry,
This land will forever be yours,
And there won’t be any more wars.
The White man will forever stay
Off your land an out of your way.
Many of the treaties make this reference to the sun crossing the sky and the rivers not running dry. But using the excuse that because some of the tribes supported the south during the Civil War, the Indian lands of Oklahoma were soon opened up to White settlement and most of the tribes were terminated with the Dawes Act.
You’ll love Oklahoma!


The 52 Smallpox Epidemics:  Depopulation 230,000


      Smallpox is a highly contagious deadly disease probably first introduced into the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492.  It is a disease that is equally contagious to all races resulting in an average mortality rate of 30% for those who contract the disease.  Native Americans were no more or less susceptible to the disease that the people who infected them. 
      The first known smallpox epidemic in what is now the United States occurred in Florida and is estimated to have killed 2,000 of the now extinct Utina tribe.  There are, however, ancestors of the Utina among the Seminole of Florida and Oklahoma.  The last such epidemic occurred in California in 1921 among the Shasta and resulted in the death of approximately 200 persons.  Between those two dates, it is estimated that 200,000 Native Americans died from smallpox.  These numbers are based on unstable statistics and the actual result could be plus or minus 50,000.
     The last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949.  The last case the the world was in Somalia in 1977.  Smallpox vaccinations have long since been stopped.
     Several possibly linked smallpox epidemics killed almost 27,000 Native Americans between 1670 and 1698 on the Eastern Seaboard affecting at least 32 tribes and ultimately destroying some of those tribes.  An epidemic which swept across the Northern Plains and the Northwest Plateau in 1781 killed more than 16,000. 
     Many believe that Lord Jeffrey Amherst provided Indians with smallpox infected blankets during the French and Indian War in 1763.  Amherst and his men were under siege by Ottawa led by Chief Pontiac.  Claims that a similar experience befell the Cahuilla and Serrano of Southern California have not be substantiated.
Period # of Smallpox Epidemics Estimated Deaths Estimate Deaths/Epidemic
1600-1700 9 57,000 6,300
1700-1800 10 43,000 4,300
1800-1900 32 130,000 4,000
1900-2000 1 .2 200
52 230,000 4,400
      The greatest epidemics of more than 9,000 deaths:
Year(s) Epidemic States Estimated Deaths
1670-1698 Eastern Seaboard DE, GA, MD, NC, SC 26,800
1781 Pan-Northern AB, ID, MB, MT, OR.WA 16,400
1870 Northwest Coast AB, BC, WA 12,900
1837 Pan-Plains KA, MT, ND, OK, SD, TX 12,300
1738 Cherokee/Catawba GA, NC, SC, TN 12,300
1672 Second Florida Utina FL 11,500
1829 Second Oregon OR 10,800
1824 First Oregon OR 10,600
1803 Southern Plains KA, NE, NM, OK, TX 9,200
The California Genocide:  Depopualtion 140,000
      The first mission was established in California by Father Junipero Serra in San Diego in 1769. Serra was a Spanish priest who lived until 1884. A total of 21 missions were established in California. The Indians were indentured to the missions and were not free to leave. Many Indians died due to disease and mistreatment. During this period, the Indians were not allowed to practice their ceremonies and sing their traditional songs. Many were forgotten as a result.


Mexican Rule

Mexico expelled the Spanish from California in 1821. The Indians then came to be ruled by feudal Mexican overlords. A few rich owned almost all of the land south of the Sacramento River and some distance north as well. Mistreatment of the Indians continued, and their populations continued to decrease.


Gold Rush
      Gold was discovered in 1848, and the resulting gold rush and influx of settlers meant even greater population loss for the California Indians. The new state of California did nothing to protect the defenseless Indians. By 1880, there was just over 15,000 Indians remaining in California and several ethnies even became extinct.



Chapter Four Review Questions                                      Name ___________________________


1. Which ethnie ruthlessly attacked its neighbors in an event called the Beaver Wars?


2. The Mourning Wars were also called "counting  ________________________'.
3. What disease caused the greatest Native American depopulation, more than any other disease?


4. Which president was in office when the Removal Act was passed by Congress?


5. List the Five Civilized Tribes.

_________________________, ___________________________,

_________________________, ___________________________,


6. Which tribe was massacred by Chivington in Colorado? 


7. Which state did the Indian Territory become? _____________________________
8. When was the last case of smallpox in the United States?  


9. What were the three periods of Native American genocide in California?

___________________________, __________________________,


10. In which state was the greatest Native American genocide?


(1)  Sunderland, Larry T. B., The Native American Handbook, Four Directions P, 2001, Pgs 2-3.

Iroquois Beaver Bars