SALEM in History
The Vanishing Indian: Removal, Relocation, Reservation and Representation in the Nineteenth Century
Follow-Up Session January 20, 2005


Primary Sources from Partner Collections
*note: most of the images below can be viewed on ARTscape the Peabody Essex Museum website.

Samuel Bartoll
Fireboard: Landing of the Pilgrims
Oil on wood panel
1825
Peabody Essex Museum

"This painting was commissioned as a fireboard for the newly completed East India Marine Hall. By that time, New England intellectuals had brought the pilgrim narrative to mature form: an ideological construction that placed the responsibility for the (presumed) disappearance of Native people with the Natives themselves (or with God)."

Quoted from: Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum, by John R. Grimes, Christian F. Feest, and Mary Lou Curran. NY: American Federation of Arts, New York in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2002; 54.


Attributed to Joseph Ropes
Native Encampment at Salem
Oil on canvas
ca. 1840
Peabody Essex Museum

"This painting depicts a group of Native people, probably Penobscot, in their summer encampment on the outskirts of SAlem. In this and other coastal towns, groups of Natives visited annually to make and sell baskets and other wares. In the background is the Beverly-Salem railroad bridge, and on the tracks is a wood-burning engine of a type last used in 1842."

Quoted from: Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum, by John R. Grimes, Christian F. Feest, and Mary Lou Curran. NY: American Federation of Arts, New York in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2002; 52.


Edward Curtis
Blackfoot Encampment
Photograph
1900
Peabody Essex Museum

The body of work that Curtis created from his time studying and photographing Native American cultures became the popular conception of those tribes for his white audiences.

"This shows the usual circle in which Tepees are placed in a Blackfoot camp. To the right of the large Tepee in the foreground, and leaning against it, is a Travois, or baggage carrier."

Curtis, Edward. The Master Prints. Salem, MA: Peabody Essex Museum; 147.
For more information on Curtis and works by the artist in the Peabody Essex Museum collection, see: http://www.pem.org/curtis/


Edward Curtis
Oglalla Sioux in Ceremonial Dress
Photograph
1905
Peabody Essex Museum

In 1806, Lewis and Clark recorded encounters with this Native tribe in what is today South Dakota. Leaders of the Sioux who are still famous today include Sitting Bull and Crazy horse, who led battles against settlers and their armies. (Another great leader, Red Cloud, was also photographed by Edward Curtis.) The Oglalla entered into several peace treaties with the United States including treaties of 1825, 1865, and 1867.

Edward Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs of Native Americans from 1901 to 1930. Many of his images were criticized as contrived and looking back at “traditional” costumes that were not necessarily worn at the time he photographed his sitters.

For more information on Curtis and works by the artist in the Peabody Essex Museum collection, see: http://www.pem.org/curtis/


Edward Curtis
Nampeyo
Photograph
1900
Peabody Essex Museum

Curtis not only photographed his subjects, he interviewed them as well, and wrote about his subjects.

"At the present time Nampeyo is not only the best but practially the only Hopi pottery decorator who is doing work anything like the old time primitive way. Her designs are full of artand full of meaning, whereas much of the work done now is very inferior. The Hopis and other Indians generally are allowing their work to deteriorate very much."

Curtis, Edward. The Master Prints. Salem, MA: Peabody Essex Museum; 75.
For more information on Curtis and works by the artist in the Peabody Essex Museum collection, see: http://www.pem.org/curtis/

Probably Choctaw
Sash
ca. 1820s
Wool and Beads
Peabody Essex Museum

"Like the Cherokee (Tsalagi), Seminole, and other southeastern Native people, the Choctaw were subjected to Andrew Jackson's 'Trail of Tears' removal policy during the 1830s. Untold numbers of them died from exposure and disease during the journey to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma."

"This type of predominantly red sash (eskofatshi) served as an emblem of Chocktaw identity both before and after their removal. Such sashes were worn diagonally across the chest, sometimes in crossed pairs. The reversed-scroll design, often referred to as a 'coiled snake,' recalls ancient motifs on regional pre-Columbian ceramics. The energized edges of the scrolls combine with the highly contrasting colors to give the strap an intense graphic impact, readily discerned at a distance."

Quoted from Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum, by John R. Grimes, Christian F. Feest, and Mary Lou Curran. NY: American Federation of Arts, New York in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2002; 119.

Northeastern region, possibly Iroquois (Handenosaunee) artist
Wampum belt
Shells, leather and cordage
18th century
Peabody Essex Museum

“Wampum are cylindrical shell beads, typically about one Quarter inch in length and one eighth inch in diameter. Wampum beads are white or purple, with the white made from the interior column of the Atlantic whelk shell and the purple made from that of the quahog…. The more important use of wampum was as a symbolic and documentary medium. Among the Iroquois, wampum strings functioned as mnemonies for reciting ritual speeches, while belts of wampum solemnized intertribal communiqués and commemorated councils and treaties."

"Predominantly whte belts, such as this one, are usually associated with cordial purposes. Although the belt could have originated anywhere in the Northeast, the fact that it was in the collection of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions suggests a possible Iroquois attribution."

Quoted from Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum, by John R. Grimes, Christian F. Feest, and Mary Lou Curran. NY: American Federation of Arts, New York in association with University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2002; 103.

 

 

"Indian Affairs 1831." Leverett Saltonstall collection. Peabody Essex Museum. Transcription by Abaigeal Duda.

Leverett Saltonstall was born on 13 July 1783 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was educated first at the Phillips Exeter Academy, and then entered Harvard College. He received a law degree from Harvard in 1802, and then moved to Salem to practice law at the office of William Prescott. Saltonstall's employer sparked his interest in political work, and Saltonstall entered and won the 1813 election to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He also served in the Massachusetts Senate, and was serving as the Senate President when he penned this document on Indian affairs. He went on in 1836 to serve as the first Mayor of Salem, and then to represent District 2 of Essex County in the U.S. Congress.

The "Indian Affairs 1831" document raises questions about the validity of negating treaties between the United States and Native American Indians, as the state of Georgia proposed to do with support from President Andrew Jackson. Two important cases tested Georgia's policies: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831 and Worcester v. Georgia in 1832. The Supreme Court ruled that states could not pass laws conflicting with federal Indian treaties and that the federal government had an obligation to deny white intruders from occupying Indian lands. This angered both the President and many white opportunists who were attracted by reports of gold found on Cherokee lands.


 

Constitution of the Salem Women's Indian Association. Salem Women's Indian Association collection. Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum. Transcription by Abaigeal Duda.

This organization existed in Salem from 1885 to 1908 as an auxiliary to the Massachusetts Indian Assocation. As stated in the Association's constitution, its aims were: "First, To strengthen a Christian public sentiment which shall aid our Government in the abolition of all oppression of Indians within our national limits and in the granting them the same protection of law that other races enjoy among us; and, Second, To aid in educational and mission work for and among the Indians."

 

 

Meeting Minutes, 20 April 1886. Salem Women's Indian Association. Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum. Transcription by Abaigeal Duda.

This entry summarizes finanical collections and donations toward educational and missionary efforts. It also reports a public event, an "Indian Meeting" organized by the Association and held at the Tabernacle Church in Salem. Highlights included addresses by clergy, and presentations by two Native American Indian children who attended a missionary school.

 

Primary Sources from Other Local Archives and Collections

--none currently listed--

Additional Primary Sources Used in Content Session and Follow-Up Sessions
 

Dawes Act (1887)

This treaty provided for the breakup of reservation lands and established a policy to allot discrete pieces of that land to individual Indians, thereby challenging and attempting to discourage communalism in favor of individualism, an agriculture-based lifestyle, and acculturation--goals of reformers and politicians alike. Purportedly aimed at protecting Indian property rights, the results of this Act and subsequent related acts were often devastating for both individuals and groups.

 

 

Humfreville, J. Lee. Twenty Years Among Our Savage Indians: A Record of Personal Experiences, Observations, and Adventures Among the Indians of the Wild West... Hartford, Conn.: The Hartford Publishing Company, 1897. Salem State College Archives, Salem State College, Salem, MA.

This heavily-illustrated volume (with reproductions of images from the Beureau of Ethnography in Washington)is written by a former Captain of the U.S. Calvary who interacted with many Native Americans across the American West from the 1850s through the 1870s. Although in rare instances, the author is sympathetic to some Indians, on almost every page--and in condensed form in the Author's preface-- his prose, the topics he covers and the perspective he offeres highlight a prevailing image of Native Americans as inherently wild savages in need of civilizing by whites. Includes accounts of some major military confrontations, as well as heroic images of settlers and white mountain men.

 

 

President Andrew Jackson's Message to Congress 'On Indian Removal' (1830)

In this message in December 1830, Jackson justified the removal policy already established by the Indian Removal Act of May 1830,in part by discussing the value of the removal for the growth and wealth of the states in the Southeast. He makes an analogy between the forced dislocation of Native Americans and the many European Americans who left their homelands for the United States.

 

 

Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868)

In 1868 this treaty between the government and the Sioux Nation recognized and established the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux reservation set aside for exclusive use by the Sioux people. Yet, in 1874 Gen. George A. Custer led an expedition--including miners looking for gold--into the Black Hills, and in the two years that followed more and more miners entered the area for the gold that had been discovered. The Army began to take action against the Sioux, despite the treaty. In 1876 Custer was defeated by Sioux at the Little Bighorn River, but the next year (1877) the U.S. government confiscated the Black Hills land. Ownership of the Black Hills remains a contested issue to this day.