Good Modoc female wanted

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On February 25,Good Modoc female wanted passed a very unusual piece of legislation. It awarded "Winemah Riddell [ sic ]. It is not unusual to find thousands of names in the pension files housed in the National Archives. Good Modoc female wanted is unusual is that a woman received it for her courage in battle.

Historical sources often reflect roles of men who influenced history over time, but in them are sometimes found s of women's deeds. Through a multitude of sources, Winema's story unfolds, illuminating actions and people who, with her, shaped events in the latter half of the 19th century.

Winema Riddle was a Modoc woman whose life story illuminates Native American women's roles in history through her interactions with outsiders. She married outside her Nation, she became a mediator for her people, and she earned a military pension from Congress for her actions in time of war by saving a federal official's life. Winema gained national attention because of her role in the Modoc War of —, a war that lasted approximately eight months but that finds its roots in the Indian policy of the 19th century. Inunder pressure from settlers, the government decided to move the Modocs onto the Klamath Reservation in southern Oregon.

The Klamaths, however, were historic enemies of the Modocs, and some Modoc people left the reservation for their old homes. The U. Government sent Federal troops to move the Modocs back to the reservation, and in the two sides clashed. This is the story of how Winema Riddle worked for peace between her native Modocs and the U.

To understand the importance of the pension Winema received, we must explore the events and personal history surrounding this woman who, for the most part, has been overlooked in the s of history. The Modocs' ancestral homeland spans the border of California and Oregon. For centuries the Modocs lived in this area, raising their families and establishing a society based on interdependence with each other and on extensive trade networks throughout California and the Pacific Northwest. The arid environment is relatively inhospitable, but it did not impede the formation or growth of the Modocs as a viable and vibrant nation.

Born and raised in the ancestral homeland of the Modocs, Winema's family nurtured her and imbued her with the values of her people, but she herself stretched the boundaries of gender and race. Winema proved her courage in her early life during the s. By all s, it is clear that one courageous deed set her apart from her peers early on. When she was a young teen, she saved a canoe full of children from being dashed in strong rapids by steering it to safety, earning her the name "Winema," which translates into "woman chief.

Another example of her courageous character was her defiance of her father and Modoc tradition when she refused to marry the young man her family had chosen for her. Instead, she ran off and married Frank Riddle, a Kentuckian who had come to California in to seek his fortune in the gold fields. Her marriage to Frank resulted in a short estrangement from her people and her family; however, Frank sought to gain her father's approval of their marriage and did so by meeting the obligations of a Modoc groom.

He gave several horses to his new father-in-law, and in return, her family gave gifts to Frank to welcome him as Winema's husband. Frank and Winema settled close to her family in the Lost River area in California after their marriage. The bonds between the Riddles and the Modocs established their role as critical players that would grow in the following decades.

Winema's quick study of white ways helped her as both wife and mediator. Her fluency in the Modoc language Lutuami and her working knowledge of English gave her unique skills with which she could act for peace between her people and outsiders. The s, the decade in which Winema was born, was one of the most pivotal in California and Oregon Indian history. With the westward movement of white Americans, Native Americans throughout the American West experienced dramatic changes in their societies. The gold rush compounded these issues. The Modocs felt the impact as non-Indians sought different routes to the burgeoning urban areas and the gold fields of California and Oregon.

Indeed, as the westward movement gained momentum, so did the unease that enveloped Modoc country throughout the s, s, and s. These events influenced Winema in several ways. First, her family and people had to adjust to new circumstances, many of which were out of their control.

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As they met new challenges and threats to their subsistence, they were drawn into similar problems their neighbors experienced, including the call to remove natives from the area as settlers set their sights on northern California and southern Oregon. Complaints by settlers bombarded the Oregon Superintendency and the Indian Office in Washington as early as In July of that year, Oregon Superintendent Anson Dart reported difficulties in southern Oregon and recommended that the permanent boundary line between California and Oregon be set.

This suggestion would have put the Modocs under the jurisdiction of Oregon even though most of them, including the Riddles, resided in California. The Modocs needed to find a way not only to maintain their land base but to protect their families and customs. Unease became outright hostility inwhen a volunteer regiment from Yreka led by Ben Wright sought vengeance for an attack on an emigrant party headed for California.

Evidence indicates that the Modocs were not responsible, but it was their neighbors to the south, the Pitt Rivers, who perpetrated the attack. Wright, however, made no distinction between the Good Modoc female wanted Rivers and Modocs, and he and his men slaughtered a village of about 40 Modocs. Some of Winema's family members lived in this village, including her cousin, Kintpuash, whom whites later called Captain Jack. He witnessed the murder of his father and other family members.

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This event would not only intertwine Winema and Kintpuash's lives on levels other than familial obligations but influence the future of their people. The Modocs' struggle to maintain their subsistence patterns became desperate as more non-Indians moved into their territory.

They appealed to the California Superintendency to secure an area in their ancestral homeland for their own use. They asked for assistance from Judge Elisha Steele, who with the help of rancher John Fairchilds and Frank and Winema Riddle, negotiated a peace in This agreement would have established a reservation in northern California for those who assented to the treaty.

In turn, Good Modoc female wanted Lost River Modocs agreed to allow safe passage through their territory and to maintain peace with settlers and neighboring native nations. The Modocs who agreed to this treaty felt secure in the knowledge that they would remain in their homeland under the protection of the California Superintendent.

However, because Congress and the Indian Office had not authorized Steele to enter in such an arrangement, objections from Washington, D. Unaware of the bureaucratic and communication problems between the California Superintendency and the Indian Office, the Modocs continued to live in their homeland, often visiting white towns to trade and to seek employment.

The following year, representatives from the Indian Office notified the Modocs of an upcoming treaty council through which the Modocs would be ensured suitable land on which to live. The treaty, ed in Octoberprovided land for all Modocs within the boundaries of the Klamath Reservation—not the Lost River area. As tension grew throughout northern California, government officials were determined to find solutions.

Between andthe prevalent solution to the Indian problem was to place them on reservations where the United States could watch over them. However, there was an obstacle to overcome—how to get their compliance to move and remain on the reservations. This government policy guided Modoc action and drew Winema into the national spotlight.

The Modocs split between those who remained on the reservation under the leadership of Old Schonchin and those who later left and argued that officials were inconsistent and unjust in implementing the policy. When Lindsay Applegate, one of the first white settlers in the southern Oregon area, became subagent for the Klamath Agency inone of his main tasks was to convince the Lost River Modocs to come to the reservation.

He informed the commanding officer at Fort Klamath that he would represent the Modocs, who "have frequently called upon me and now for the last time to represent their grievances. As they had feared, they were the target of Klamath harassment, and they did not receive the supplies promised them. Many Modocs moved several times between and to and from the reservation as conditions worsened and the government took no action. Inas the crisis on the Klamath Reservation continued, President Ulysses Grant and his new administration, struggling with the issues of Reconstruction and budgetary issues, refocused Indian Policy.

Grant's administration sought to redirect military personnel and resources from reservation administration and implemented the "Peace Policy," shifting Indian agencies on reservations from military supervision to church management. Meacham worked closely with several officials and Winema in trying to bring peace to a troubled region.

That same year President Grant ordered the army to force the Modocs back to the Klamath reservation; the Modocs complied, but little had changed. Upon their return, Meacham supplied them with blankets and goods, and O. Knapp, the commanding officer of Fort Klamath, supplied flour and beef. The Modocs, however, again experienced trouble with the Klamaths, who harassed them, often taking their supplies.

Again they left the reservation for the Lost River area in California. In March Knapp ordered the Modocs back to the reservation and sent a detail of soldiers to accomplish this goal. Approximately 45 Modocs had not returned to the reservation. Knapp reported, "on the 17th [the soldiers] started after these Indians, found them at Hot Creek Cal.

Had no trouble in bringing them in. Many times Kintpuash and other Modocs brought their problems to Knapp's attention. The solution Knapp offered was to move the Modocs to a different Good Modoc female wanted of the reservation. The Modocs did move, but the problems did not cease. The Modocs grew tired of Knapp's moving them Good Modoc female wanted different areas and the lack of a permanent solution to the conflicts. In the spring ofmany of them left the reservation for the last time. When more than Modocs left, settlers' apprehensions increased. Superintendent Meacham proposed a possible solution to the increasing tension: the creation of a subagency at Camp Yainax on the southern border of the Klamath reservation.

In his annual report he "recommended the establishment of the band on a reservation to be set apart for them near their old home where they could be subjected to governmental control and receive their share of the benefits of the treaty. However, as Secretary of the Interior J. Cox later reported, "No action on this recommendation was ever taken by this Department. Between and it is clear that the Modocs tried to negotiate, sometimes with the assistance of Winema Riddle, but their pleas for a fair resolution fell on deaf ears.

Bywhen conditions became unbearable, the Modocs were determined to stay in the California-Oregon border area, having set up camp along Link River. But an effort in November to bring them back to the reservation forced them to split into separate parties, one led by Kintpuash, another by Hooker Jim. They decided to meet in the Lava Beds, a natural fortification in California.

Kintpuash headed immediately for the Lava Beds, but Hooker Jim chose a different path. He attacked a of settlers, killing men but sparing women and children. When he reached the Lava Beds and announced these activities, Kintpuash realized that the United States would not let this incident go unpunished. Indeed, the Oregon governor and citizens demanded the extermination of the Modocs. The government had other ideas and wanted the killers turned over for trial and execution.

Kintpuash was between a rock and a hard place. Ultimately, he refused to give any of his people over to a justice system he did not trust. As a result, war ensued, bringing the Modocs and Winema national attention. After the war broke out in November and tension grew, the government realized that the solution to these problems was to either force the Modocs onto the reservation which had failed miserably or to negotiate their return in a peaceful manner.

Although the war was inevitable, and it looked as if it would be a long affair, the Modocs were willing to negotiate and sent word that they would accept a reservation in the Lava Beds, but the answer was unequivocally negative. Communication was very difficult for several reasons. Mistrust ran high, and because Kintpuash's band was entrenched in the Lava Beds, runners and messengers willing to carry important messages were hard to find.

Winema was up to the task. Although Winema's activity during the reservation conflicts in the late s had been limited she and Frank remained in California while the other Modocs moved back and forththe continuation of the war directly changed her services and illuminated her abilities once again as peacemaker. As a primary interpreter, Winema carried words between the Modocs and U. In February progress seemed to be made as the Modocs and the officials in both California and Oregon began communication through messengers.

The Modocs were clearly unhappy with the way the United States carried out the treaty stipulations, but they were not averse to further negotiations. This position did not alleviate the anxiety of settlers, nor were the Modocs' concerns of primary importance until hostilities became imminent in California. Consequently, President Grant and his advisers decided to follow Meacham's earlier suggestion to settle the Modocs at a separate subagency at Klamath. But they had to find a way to bring the Modocs to the table for negotiations. Consequently, Grant ordered a peace commission established to bring the recalcitrant Modocs onto the reservation and those who had killed the settlers to justice.

In Marchchurchmen, military men, and interpreters accepted the responsibility of securing peace in a troubled land. Eleazar Thomas, Gen. Edward R. Canby, and Winema and Frank Riddle. The commission's main goal was to meet with the Modocs and induce them to return to the reservation and turn the killers over to the authorities.

General Canby early on recognized the Modocs' concerns on the reservation. In he related that when the Modocs had settled on the reservation, they "were Good Modoc female wanted much annoyed by the Klamaths that they complained to the local agent [Knapp], who, instead of protecting them in their rights, endeavored to compromise the difficulty by removing them to another location. One year after he made this statement, Canby found himself in the middle of a war that resounded throughout the United States and that ultimately took his life.

The history of the war and the peace commission can be found in numerous House and Senate reports. For example, House Report of the 50th Congress focuses on details of Winema's actions as she sought peace between her people and the U. Of particular interest is her interaction with the Modocs in the Lava Beds. Between February 20 and April 11,Winema and her husband served as mediators, often under dangerous circumstances. According to the report, the Modocs in the Lava Beds learned of the U. They believed this meeting would allow "Riddell and Fairchilds to conclude details.

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