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!"
Chief Washakie, c.1804-1900, a chief of the Eastern Shoshone 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 Shoshone 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.
The above text was edited using material found on the following