In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

3 / Nonparticipatory Mapping Deputy Surveyor Charles A. Manners was accustomed to having Pawnees around his camps. For weeks the Indians had allowed the surveyor’s crew to proceed “unmolested” as they established a guide meridian from the third to fourth standard parallels in Nebraska Territory. The crew was laying the groundwork for the rectangular survey that would eventually blanket the trans-Mississippi West.1 Therefore, the surveyor was surprised when a group of “fifteen old men, accompanied by a young Indian who spoke very good English,” ordered them to leave, “in the most peremptory manner . . . or they would be shot.” Demonstrating the veracity of their threat, the Indians then “pulled up all the posts set on the north side of the [Platte] river, told us they would destroy all the landmarks made in that vicinity, and that we must and should leave.” On October 6, 1855, Manners wrote John Calhoun, surveyor general of the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, “The progress of the surveys under my charge has been suspended since the third of this month, on account of the positive refusal of the Pawnee Indians to allow us to proceed.”2 At first blush, this historical snapshot resonates with the same ambiguous “clash of visions” that historian Elliot West has argued produced the violence that engulfed the Great Plains in the second half of the nineteenth century.3 In this interpretation, the Pawnees’ actions could be understood as a rejection of an incomprehensible territorial system. Yet as I have demonstrated in the first two chapters, the Pawnees and other Indians on the eastern Plains played active roles in the boundary making that would become the basis for the rectangular survey. If it was nonparticipatory mapping / 77 not the process of surveying that the Pawnees were responding to, what then was responsible for their anger? Just two weeks after his first letter, Deputy Surveyor Manners again wrote the surveyor general after a similar interaction with the Pawnees. This time, however, the Indians articulated more specific complaints. “Their excuse for their conduct . . . [was] that they owned the land,” wrote Manners. The Pawnees let him continue his survey only after he told them—perhaps disingenuously—“that we were only sent to survey [the land], and that we did not wish to occupy it, and also that if it was theirs, the running and marking of lines and erection of corners did not invalidate their title thereto.”4 The Pawnees did not lash out at the American survey party as a rejection of their territorial system but rather because they were left out of it.5 In this chapter, I argue that the failure of the United States to live up to their 1833 promises to protect the Pawnees initiated new strategic warfare , which gave the architects of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie reason to exclude the Pawnees from the “largest Indian meeting ever held.” This chapter ties the localized actions of a few thousand Pawnees to the creation of the trans-Missouri West as a whole, integrating ethnohistorical factors into a contested landscape and reminding us of the myriad of ways Indians helped draw the American West. The exclusion of the Pawnees from the treaty session—and the map that accompanied it—both diminished their territorial claims relative to the Brulé and Oglala Sioux and allowed the United States to dictate the terms of an 1857 treaty held under very different circumstances than those at Fort Laramie. The ensuing six years of aggressive warfare had diminished the Pawnees’ population, and the few dozen Pawnees who met the American commissioner in 1857 paled in comparison to the twelve thousand to fifteen thousand Indians who met their counterparts in 1851. Thus, although the participatory mapping of the Lakotas at Fort Laramie allowed them to maintain vast territorial claims throughout the nineteenth century and beyond, by 1872 the Pawnees had been forced to relinquish the last remnants of the land they had occupied for centuries.6 To understand how this happened, we must return to the 1830s and the Pawnees’ burgeoning friendship with the United States. During the first third of the nineteenth century, the Pawnees controlled the region between the Loup fork of the Platte and the Arkansas River and from the Missouri to the 100th meridian, where the Great Plains transitioned from tall to short grass. They frequently traveled as far north as the Niobrara and as far south as the Canadian, through regions in which no map 15. Father PierreJean De...

pdf

Additional Information

ISBN
9781496208019
Related ISBN
9780803249301
MARC Record
OCLC
1038068511
Pages
402
Launched on MUSE
2018-06-13
Language
English
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.