Retired UWSP professor talks about dark history of Native American treatment
Wednesday, June 29, 2016 10:07 PM
Retired University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) history professor David R. Wrone recently presented a lecture
about the heinous mistreatment of Native Americans by frontiersmen and the American Government to the American Bar Association (ABA) during its annual Leadership Meeting held June 16 to 18 in Vancouver, Canada.
The ABA’s motto is to “defend liberty and protect freedom,” and it prides itself on championing social justice, so it invites speakers each year to sensitize its members to the historical issues connected to ethnic and racial groups. Last year, the ABA invited George Takei, best known for his role as Sulu on the original “Star Trek” series, to talk about the Japanese American relocation to camps during World War II.
This year, Wrone was invited to talk about the history of Native American tribes to remind its members of the darkness humans are capable of.
He titled his talk “Who’s the Savage?” – taken from his book “Who’s the Savage? A Documentary History of the Mistreatment of the Native North Americans” he co-authored with the late UWSP professor Russell S. Nelson Jr. The book was used in colleges throughout the country.
“From the beginning … In 1776, we were hemmed in by a mountain barrier from Maine to Georgia by the Appalachian Mountains, and it was very difficult to cross. On the other side were the Indian tribes,” Wrone said. “In 1778, George Washington sent an emissary to the Delaware Nation (Lenape tribe) at the forks of the Ohio River, which is Pittsburgh today, and we signed the first treaty with the tribes and they agreed to remain neutral during our war. They also agreed to come into the nation as the 14th state.
“But on the way home from the treaty through the forest, the frontiersmen assassinated the chiefs and threw the tribes into war against us,” Wrone said.
But the violence didn’t stop with the assassination of tribal chiefs.
“In southern what is now Ohio, (Mohicans) set up an ideal Mohican community near the Pennsylvania border. These people had their own frame houses, picket fences, cattle herds, school houses in their language,” he said. “A hundred miles away, the frontiersmen in a Pennsylvania village decided the Mohicans were hostile.
“Now, these (Mohicans) were fundamentalist Christians, they were Moravian pacifists. The frontiersmen came in upon them suddenly and seized 96 of them and put them in a big barn. And while the Indians sang Christian hymns in their language and prayed for the souls of their captors, they were taken one by one to a blacksmith’s anvil and the Americans smashed their heads in with a maul. All 96 of them,” Wrone said.
“Another illustration would be in northern Georgia. The Cherokee had many bands of Cherokees and some of the bands were opposed to us moving into the Tennessee Valley. In the 1780s, the frontiersmen occupied the northern part of the Tennessee River, the southern part was Cherokee,” he said. “Some frontiersmen sent an emissary to Old Corntassel band of Cherokees to come and discuss problems they had. So, the chief came with six of his assistants, crossed the Tennessee River, and per the agreement, they left all their weapons in their canoes.
“They went up to the cabin where the meeting was to take place, and the white people inside as per agreement had left their rifles outside. After they entered, the whites outside rushed the cabin, slammed and barred the doors and windows. Then inside they picked up the kindling axes and chopped the Indians to death,” Wrone said.
Wrone said the frontiersmen just didn’t want to live near the Native Americans, who refused to leave the land that had been their home for thousands of years. So, they resorted to violence.
“When General (Andrew) Jackson became President Jackson in 1833, he explained in his annual message to Congress that the Indians were ‘inferior people’ and unable to civilize and if they didn’t civilize, they would disappear. So, he pushed through the removal acts. All the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi would be moved west,” Wrone said.
“A classic example of that were the Cherokee. The Cherokee 15 years before had undergone a transformation. Sequoia had developed an Indian alphabet, and the Cherokees had their own printing press, their own newspapers, printed books and laws printed in the Cherokee language. They were 90-percent literate. That was at least twice the literacy rate of whites,” he said.
“They had their own ferries, textiles mills, they had cattle herds, hogs, cotton fields and so forth. They were unbelievably dynamic in their civilization. So, we decided they were savages and they had to be moved west of the Mississippi. Their land in northern Georgia and parts of Tennessee was then raffled off to the whites,” he said.
The U.S. Army marched in, rounded up the Cherokee men, women and children and marched them to one of 11 stockades for the approximately 16,000 Cherokees. On the heels of the Army were mobs of frontiersmen who robbed and looted the towns and villages after the Cherokee were forcefully removed.
“Then they went to the Cherokee cemeteries and dug up the bodies looking for souvenirs and valuables,” Wrone said.
The Cherokee tribes were then moved through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Roughly 25 percent of them died on the way because they were not allowed to bring anything along, including blankets for the winter.
But the atrocities didn’t stop there. In the southwest in the 1850s, American professional scalp hunters would track down the Apaches and murder men, women and children for their scalps. The Americans would then sell the scalps to Mexican authorities.
“Then there’s General Custer; we celebrate him. We celebrate him because of all the propaganda and his family relations and so forth,” Wrone said. “But on Nov. 27, 1868, on a river on what is now western Oklahoma, the Cheyenne had a village under the leadership of Chief Black Kettle. Custer, with his 7th Calvary, snuck up on him in the night and attacked them at dawn’s early light.
“Black Kettle’s band was a pacifist band, so he attacked a band of pacifists, killed 20 men, 40 women and children, captured the remaining women and children and took them back to Fort Cobb, a three- or four-day’s march at least, and to defend themselves against avenging other tribes, they used the women and children as human shields,” Wrone said.
“Then, at Fort Cobb, he took the Cheyenne women – who were noted for their beauty – and raped them. Custer took the daughter of Black Kettle – whom he had just shot in the back – and raped her and took her as his mistress. From her he had a son named ‘Son of Yellow Hair.’ When his wife came out a year later, he took them to the gates of the fort and kicked them out,” he said.
That’s the celebrated General Custer, he said.
“One question I was asked by the (ABA) moderator was, ‘how did I get interested studying Indians?’” Wrone said. “I said, ‘I came into it with a positive attitude.’
“As a child in the 1930s, I’m 83 now, I had a regular medical doctor but we were also treated by a Cherokee medicine man three times a year who would come to my central Illinois town with his (medicines) and herbs, and he’d treat us,” Wrone said. “He was very, very kind. He had a three-piece suit, polished shoes and was just a wonderful man. He also taught us boys the proper way to climb a tree.”
Wrone and his childhood friends would go to the movies for a nickel – later a dime – on Saturdays. He said they thought it strange the movies about cowboys and Indians usually featured Indians attacking the caravans – armed with guns – with bows and arrows.
“Then one of our neighbor kids had his aging grandmother living with him. She had gone west in a covered wagon to the Oregon Country, and when she described it, she said the Indians traded with them and were great friends,” he said. “Later, when I became a professor, I read there’s only been six white people killed by Indians going west in wagon trains.”
Wrone called it “awful propaganda.”
He said his family history had a part in defining his perception of Indians as well. His great-grandfather was wounded and left for dead by his unit in an Indian skirmish, only to be discovered by the “enemy’s” warriors, taken back to their camp, nursed back to health and released unharmed and untortured.
His great-grandfather on the other side was captured by the Shawnee in a raid, and they held him for a few weeks, kept him healthy and released him, also unharmed and untortured.
These positive stories led him to a mistrust in the propaganda coloring the Native Americans as savages and ultimately led to a life of academic study to discover the truth.
Over the years, Wrone said he’s read more than 40 history books used in schools, and not one mentions the atrocities against Native Americans.
“Once in a while they’d give a sentence on Cherokee removal, but never really explained what happened. So I went to the original sources, and there we found the reality,” he said.
Wrone said it is important for us to remember these deeds to ensure they don’t happen again.
“It is important for us to remember this is a part of our heritage as Americans and that we have this (in our history). It’s not just one institution, it was many institutions involved here – including religious, civilian and military – and that we have that element in us. We have to know it exists in order to define and prepare ourselves better for the future. We have to be honest,” he said.
Rex Bradford|Mary Ferrell Foundation|16 May, 2016 — With the National Archives’ planned 2017 release of some 3600 postponed JFK records, attention has been focused on what will be in these new releases, and also what known records will remain “missing.” Important among these are currently-withheld documents of the Church Committee, the Senate committee which in the mid-1970s conducted the most wide-ranging congressional review of U.S. intelligence agencies in our nation’s history, and also conducted a probe into these agencies’ response after the JFK assassination.
Church Committee Documents Scheduled for Release in 2017
The documents scheduled for October 2017 release includes 26 Church Committee records currently withheld in full, listed below.
Church Committee documents, currently postponed in full, scheduled for 2017 release
- 157-10004-10102: ANTI-FIDEL CASTRO ACTIVITIES
- 157-10005-10012: REQUEST FOR ACCESS TO FBI FILES
- 157-10005-10102: MEMORANDUM [BARON TO FILES]
- 157-10008-10087: MEMORANDUM [MOSK TO RANKIN]
- 157-10011-10121: REPORT
- 157-10011-10122: MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD
- 157-10011-10123: CIA REPORT
- 157-10011-10155: ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN “PEOPLE AND THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH”, FEB. 1976
- 157-10002-10002: (NO TITLE)
- 157-10002-10028: RAPPROCHEMENT WITH CUBA – TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM ATTWOOD
- 157-10002-10029: INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD BISSELL, 8/6/1975
- 157-10002-10030: TRANSCRIPT OF HEARING WITH RICHARD BISSELL, 7/17/1975
- 157-10002-10096: POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC – OPERATION MONGOOSE [HURWITCH]
- 157-10002-10151: INTERVIEW WITH SAM PAPICH, 8/22/1975
- 157-10002-10179: COMMITTEE BUSINESS RE: RELEASE OF CHURCH COMMITTEE REPORT ON ASSASS.
- 157-10002-10334: RESPONSE TO COMMITTEE LETTER DATED DECEMBER 18, 1975
- 157-10014-10004: (NO TITLE) [TRANSCRIPT: ANGLETON, JAMES, 9/12/1975]
- 157-10014-10006: (NO TITLE) [TRANSCRIPT: ANGLETON, JAMES; MILER, SCOTTY, 1/22/1976]
- 157-10014-10047: (NO TITLE) [TRANSCRIPT: 5/6/1976]
- 157-10014-10049: (NO TITLE) [TRANSCRIPT: 3/15/1976]
- 157-10014-10084: (NO TITLE) [TRANSCRIPT: 5/10/1976]
- 157-10014-10090: (NO TITLE) [TRANSCRIPT: 11/12/1975]
- 157-10014-10144: (NO TITLE)
- 157-10014-10145: (NO TITLE)
- 157-10014-10154: CLERK OF COMMITTEE CHRON JUNE 1975
- 157-10014-10174: FBI ON WARREN COMMISSION
The ARRB and Missing Church Committee Records
This list is unfortunately short. It appears that a number of JFK-related Church Committee records have “gone missing,” perhaps permanently so. This problem was known to the Assassination Records Review Board. Master researcher Malcolm Blunt provided the MFF with pages copied from the files of ARRB staffer Ronald G. Haron; these 114 pages include memos discussing the problem of missing files, in particular interview transcripts.
An important case that raises issues relevant to past, present, and future congressional investigations which are vulnerable to subversion and obstruction by the federal agencies being investigated.
New filings which support the motion for attorney fees in the case of Jefferson Morley v. Central Intelligence Agency, Civil Action No. 03-02545 (RJL).
Following are: 1.) Supplemental Memorandum on Points and Authorities In Support of Plaintiff’s Motion, 2.) Dan Hardway, Sworn Declaration, Dated 25 April, 2016, 3.) Exhibit 1 to Hardway Declaration, Composite of Documents. (Click on each link to open file)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Mark Lane, famed Civil Rights attorney and author of the best-selling book, “Rush to Judgment,” which detailed the facts of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, died late last night at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the age of 89. Lane, who was with his wife, Trish, at the time, suffered a heart attack and collapsed in her arms. He is survived by his wife and his three daughters, Anne Marie, Christina and Vita.
Mark Lane joined the legal profession after the Second World War. A member of the Democratic Party, he helped establish the Reform Democratic Movement in 1959. A supporter of John F. Kennedy, he managed his presidential campaign in New York.
In 1960 Lane was elected to the New York Legislature. Over the next couple of years he campaigned to abolish capital punishment and worked closely with Mary Wagner in her attempt to deal with the city’s housing problem. Lane was also the only public official arrested as a Freedom Rider.
Mark Lane took a close interest in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He read a statement in the New York Times by Jean Hill who claimed that she and her friend, Mary Moorman, who was taking Polaroid pictures of the motorcade, were only a few feet away from Kennedy when he was shot. Hill thought the shots had come from behind the wooden fence at the top of the knoll. Lane contacted Hill who told him that as soon as the firing stopped she ran towards the wooden fence in an attempt to find the gunman. However, Hill and Moorman were detained by two secret service men. After searching the two women they confiscated the picture of the assassination.
Lane later recalled: “In the weeks following the assassination I analyzed the case, setting my analysis alongside what was then known about the case as I had done a hundred times before for clients I had represented. The difference was that there was no client… When I completed my analysis of the evidence and the charges, I had written a ten-thousand-word evaluation.” A copy of the article was sent to Earl Warren. In a letter sent with the article, Lane wrote: “It would be appropriate that Mr. Oswald, from whom every legal right was stripped, be accorded counsel who may participate with the single purpose of representing the rights of the accused.”
For the first three weeks the mainstream media consistently reported that Lee Harvey Oswald had been the lone gunman responsible for the death of Kennedy. However, James Aronson, the editor of the left-wing, National Guardian, had considerable doubts about this story. In the first edition of the newspaper after the assassination, he used the headline: “The Assassination Mystery: Kennedy and Oswald Killings Puzzle the Nation.”
Meanwhile, Mark Lane also tried to find a magazine to publish the article of the assassination. He approached Carey McWilliams: “The obvious choice, I thought, was the Nation. Its editor, Carey McWilliams, was an acquaintance. He had often asked me to write a piece for him… McWilliams seemed pleased to hear from me and delighted when I told him I had written something I wished to give to the Nation . When he learned of the subject matter, however, his manner approached panic.” McWilliams told Lane: “We cannot take it. We don’t want it. I am sorry but we have decided not to touch that subject.” Lane got the same response from the editors of Fact who said the subject matter was too controversial. It was also rejected by The Reporter, Look, Life and the Saturday Evening Post.
James Aronson said he “heard that a maverick New York lawyer named Mark Lane had done some careful leg and brain work to produce a thesis casting doubt on the lone-assassin theory – and even whether Oswald had actually been involved in the crime.” Aronson contacted Lane who told him that the article had been rejected by thirteen publications. Aronson offered to publish the article. Lane told him that “I would send it to him but I would not authorize him to publish it. He asked why. I said that I was seeking a broader, non-political publisher and that if the piece originated on the left, the subject would likely never receive the debate that it required.”
Lane now took the article James Wechsler, an editor of the New York Post. He also rejected it and said that Lane would never find a publisher and “urged him to forget about it”. Lane now told him about Aronson’s offer. Wechsler, according to Lane was “furious” when he heard this news. “Don’t let them publish it… They’ll turn it into a political issue.”
By this time the article had been turned down by seventeen publications and so Lane decided to let Aronson to publish the article in the National Guardian. The 10,000 word article, published on 19th December, 1963, was the longest story in its fifteen-year history. It was presented as a lawyer’s report to the Warren Commission and titled A Brief for Lee Harvey Oswald. Aronson argued in the introduction: “The Guardian’s publication of Lane’s brief presumes only one thing: a man’s innocence, under US. Law, unless or until proved guilty. It is the right of any accused. A presumption of innocence is the rock upon which American jurisprudence rests… We ask all our readers to study this document… Any information or analysis based on fact that can assist the Warren Commission is in the public interest – an interest which demands that everything possible be done to establish the facts in this case.”
Aronson later admitted: “Few issues of the Guardian created such a stir. Anticipating greater interest we had increased the press run by 5,000, but an article in the New York Times about our story brought a heavy demand at the newsstands and dealers were calling for additional copies. Before the month was out we had orders for 50,000 reprints.”
In January, 1964, Walter Winchell made a vicious attack on Mark Lane and the National Guardian in his regular newspaper column. He described the newspaper as “a virtual propaganda arm of the Soviet Union ” and called Lane an “agitator” seeking to abolish the Un-American Activities Committee.
Aronson offered the article to both the United Press International and the Associated Press but both agencies rejected it. However, the article was published in several European countries and was discussed in most leading newspapers throughout the world. Some newspapers attempted to rubbish the article by describing it as “left-wing propaganda”. Bertrand Russell wrote to The Times complaining about this treatment: “Mr. Lane is no more a left-winger than was President Kennedy. He attempted to publish his evidence… in virtually every established American publication but was unsuccessful. Only the National Guardian was prepared to print his scrupulously documented material… I think it important that no unnecessary prejudice against this valuable work of Mr. Lane should be aroused, so that his data concerning a vital event may be viewed with an open mind by people of all political persuasions.”
Mark Lane continued to carry out his research into the assassination. He later recalled: “Had I known at the outset, when I wrote that article for the National Guardian, that I was going to be so involved that I would close my law practice, abandon my work, abandon my political career, be attacked by the very newspapers in New York City which used to hail my election to the state legislature; had I known that – had I known that I was going to be placed in the lookout books, so that when I come back into the country, I’m stopped by the immigration authorities – only in America, but no other country in the world – that my phones would be tapped, that not only would the FBI follow me around at lecture engagements, but present to the Warren Commission extracts of what I said at various lectures – I am not sure, if I knew all that, that I ever would have written that article in the first place.”
However, Lane did continue and by February 1965 he had completed the first draft of Rush to Judgment. He sent it to several publishers and finally it was accepted by Holt, Rinehart and Winston and published on 13th August. This concerned the CIA who wrote in a secret report: ” Rush to Judgment had sold 85,000 copies by early November… The 1st January 1967, New York Times Book Review reported the book as at the top of the General category of the best seller list, having been in top position for seven weeks and on the list for 17 weeks.”