Indigenous Peoples on the U.S. –
Mexico & U.S. – Canada Borders
TCSS
October 19, 2007
El Paso, Texas
Jeffrey P. Shepherd, Ph.D.
http://faculty.utep.edu/jpshepherd
Main Points
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Images of Indians
Food for thought
Kickapoo
Jumano
Tohono O’Odham
Blackfoot
Concluding Comments
Food for thought
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Terms such as: citizenship, progress, settler,
assimilation, equality, etc. have different
meanings for Native Peoples
Arrival of Europeans involved complex
processes of alliance-building, negotiation,
treaty-making, conflict, and cooperation
The “Indian Wars” of the 19th century did not end
tribal culture or history
“The West” and “The Border” were/are foreign
concepts for Indigenous Peoples
Ideas Students Might Consider
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Survival and adaptation
Syncretism, or blending of cultures and
ideas
Stereotypical images of Indians and
diversity of Indigenous cultures
Citizenship
American History from Native perspectives
Historiography
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Indians as obstacles to progress & expansion
Indians as doomed to disappear or assimilate
Indians as passive victims of whites
Indians as actors and agents of historical change
Indigenous histories, cultures, and worldviews
Indigenous Nations as sovereign entities
Native languages & oral history
Before the Borders
Ethnic Cleansing and Indian Wars
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Spanish policy of missions for sedentary people,
warfare for mobile people
Used the U.S.-Spanish-Mexican border to escape
Indian Removal Act of 1830 relocated eastern
tribes west of the Miss. River to Indian Territory
Manifest Destiny, post U.S.-Mexico War
Gold Rush, migration, territories
Treaties as a recognition of independence AND a
tool of conquest and land acquisition
Ethnic Cleansing in Texas
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Ethnic Cleansing in Texas and Wars against the
Apaches, Tonkawas, Karankawas & Comanches
Texas Rangers, government, migrants, “settlers”
1830s through 1870s perpetual state of war against
non-white peoples
Fled into Mexico or chose status as “Mexican” to
gain citizenship and hide ethnic identity
Mexico did not legally recognize a distinct race of
Native People: all declared citizens. No reservations
held in trust by federal government
Two BIG reservations: Indian Territory and Dakotas
Kickapoo
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History of movement and profound sense of
expansive space
Algonquian Language
Migrations from the Great Lakes
Fought for Tecumseh in 1809-12 Pan-Indian
Rebellion, during War of 1812
Fled south into Mexico, which became Texas.
Austin sought treaties and guarantees of their
support during Texas Independence
Post-Independence ethnic cleansing by Mirabeau
Bonaparte Lamar
Migration Southward
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1850s Mexican Treaty for land in El Nacimiento
Splinter bands into Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas
and Mexico: El Nacimiento and Eagle Pass
Mexico granted Kickapoo right to cross border
Treaties and reservation in Texas
A federally recognized tribe, 1983
Land held in trust, semi-sovereign
Unique status of tribal lands in Texas
Eagle Pass, Kickapoo Reservation
Kickapoo, Oklahoma
Kickapoo Women in South Texas
Jumanos
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Debatable origins of Jumanos and complex
relationship with Apache, Pueblos, Kiowa,
Comanche, Mansos, Conchos
Migratory and agricultural bands
Economic middlemen for surrounding tribes and
ethnic groups
West Texas, Chihuahua, Southern New Mexico
Some were “detribalized” and incorporated into
surrounding Mexican or Native communities
Jumanos Today
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Redford, Texas
Jumano leader Enrique Madrid, recognition would
“help us overcome what we’ve had to live with for
150 years as Americans.”
Gabriel Carrasco, “want our identity back.”
Ignacio Menchaca de la Vega, “If you said you were
Native American, if you said you were Jumano
Apache, you were a dead Jumano Apache. Simple
as that.”
De la Vega added that many Indians tried to “blend
in with Mexicans for survival.”
Tohono O’Odham
The O’Odham
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I’itoi: Creator
He Hu Kam: “the old ones” (Hohokam)
Irrigation canals & ball courts
Drought, dispersal, rancheria culture
Patrilineal
Expert basket makers
Knowledge of land, plants, rain, environment
Him:dag: Patience, quiet, acceptance, fortitude,
way of seeing, thinking about and being in the
world
Sonoran Catholicism
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Spanish missions in O’Odham land
Mining & ranching, land loss
St. Francis Xavier, Jesuit saint
Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi
Worship without priests
San Xavier del Bac
Correlation between saints and Indigenous deities
T.O. Children & Father Schwartz, n.d.
Mass: San Xavier
San Xavier del Bac
Pilgrimage to Magdalena, SON, MX
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St. Francis of Assisi
festivities
Burial site of Father Kino &
original place where the
image of Assisi resided
Catholic & Indigenous
pilgrimage for rejuvenation,
penance, forgiveness
Border crossing
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo &
Gadsden Purchase
We Didn’t Cross the Border, the Border
Crossed Us…
Conquest, Reservations, Survival
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1859: Gila River
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1874: San Xavier 71,000 acres
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A.O. Maricopa
1912: Ak Chin
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A. O. and Maricopa
1882: Gila River 10,235 acres
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T.O. & Hia C-ed O’odham
1879: Salt River
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Akimel
A.O. & T.O.
1916: Main Reservation 2.7 million acres
Continued
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Crossed the border in search of labor, for religious
sites, food, and social gatherings.
The reaction of Americans, esp. Arizona territorial
officials, to the Mexican Revolution led to
increased fears of porous borders
Statehood in 1912 empowered politicians to
monitor the border, along with militias, national
guard, local authorities
Arizona Rangers and Border Patrol trampled
religious freedoms, economies, cultural practices,
and family ties
Adapted with search for wage labor in southern
Arizona cotton and agricultural industries.
And finally…
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1924 Indian Citizenship Act & Immigration Act
Reorganized tribal government in 1937
Accepted Mexican born tribal members, though
many lacked birth records or citizenship papers.
Citizenship within the T.O. nation sufficed for
membership, services. Familial and band
structures more important than “national”
citizenship to a transnational people
World War Two, urbanization
Federal lawsuits for water rights
Caught in cross-fire of “border security,” fear,
and misunderstanding.
The Blackfoot
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Confederacy of three main groups
Piegan/Pikuni (in MT reservation)
Blood/Kainai
Blackfoot/Sitsika
Present day 15,000 members, @ 8,500 on U.S. rez
1.5 million acre reservation
Montana and Alberta
Algonquian language group
Plains Nations
Blackfoot Reservation
History
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Migrations from the Great Lakes region
Expert buffalo hunters
Shoshoni attacked in early 1700s with horses,
Blackfoot adapted it and became horse traders.
Economic networks with Flathead, Shoshoni, Cree,
Nez Perce: stretched from Pacific Ocean to Great
Lakes, Atlantic
Avoided trade with Europeans
Expanded across present day border, east of
Rockies
Sitsika (CA)
From Borderlands to Bordered Lands
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Lewis and Clark, 1803
U.S.-Canadian Border (20 treaties)
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Jay Treaty of 1794
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1814 Treaty of Ghent
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Indigenous right to cross freely
U.S.-British Treaty in 1818 established the international
border from Great Lakes to Rocky Mountains
Oregon Treaty of 1846 extended the border west of the
Rockies
The Medicine Line
Blackfoot crossed over the border strategically
for raiding and trading
Comparative Treaties
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1855 Treaty: U.S.
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Large Reservations for several upper plains
Indians
Treaty 7: Canada (1877)
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Railway lands
Royal Proclamation of 1763 limited BR from
crossing Native lands
1 square mile per family, cattle, education, health
care, tools
Created several small reserves for Blood,
Blackfoot bands
Continued
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Destruction of the buffalo, creation of
railroads, and enforcement of the border
Hemmed in tribes at the same time their
food sources dwindled
Regulation of reservation life
Used border to escape
Maintained family and kin connections
Spiritual landscape defied border
Early Twentieth Century
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Canadian Blackfoot could cross into U.S.
legally until Congress passed Indian
Citizenship Act and an Immigration and
Naturalization Act in 1924
Both made centuries of free movement
illegal. U.S. criminalized the first
inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere.
Comparisons
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Native peoples recognized territorial differences
based on use rights (material resources) and
spiritual dictates (origins, four directions, etc)
Europeans created new boundaries in places that
for centuries were porous and flexible.
“Middle Grounds” and Borderlands
Rise of national-political boundaries did violence to
Native cultural landscapes and spiritual homelands
Abstract political lines divided humanity into
antagonistic groups and arbitrary categories
Native peoples ignored these distinctions as foreign
Borders were a form of theft of Native property
Conclusions and Comments
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Tohono O’Odham have filed for triple citizenship
Mohawk have taken the U.S. to the International
Court, United Nations
Kumeyaay have taken claims to the OAS
Blackfoot created binational committee to push
legislation forcing U.S. to follow its own treaties
Cocopah sued INS, ICE, Homeland Security
Kickapoo continue to move across the border,
with passports
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