Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Native American Warriors: Manuelito

Manuelito was one of the war chiefs of the Navajo people before, during and after what is now known as the Long Walk Period. He was born to the Bit'ahni Clan, near the Bear's Ears in southeastern Utah in about 1818. His name means “Little Manuel,” in Spanish but he had many other Navajo names too. The Navajo once lived in much of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. They had clan leaders instead of "head chiefs".

By the 1850s, leaders including Manuelito, had become wealthy through livestock, agriculture, and raids on Mexican and neighboring Indian tribes. But as the western territories became part of the U. S. after the Mexican War, this all changed. Mexicans automatically became American citizens while Navajos did not. When the Mexican-Americans raided Navajo homes, kidnapping women and children to be sold as slaves, the U.S. Army usually did nothing. When Navajos fought back, the government punished them. Manuelito’s own home, crops and livestock were destroyed by soldiers in a “punishment raid” in 1859.

In 1860, he attacked Fort Defiance, Arizona, a military outpost commanded by Colonel Edward R.S. Canby. By then, the Civil War had started, and the Army needed soldiers to fight east of the Mississippi River. So Canby and Manuelito made peace, but with no Army to keep peace, fighting continued.

By 1863, the situation was so bad General James Carleton was sent from California with orders to remove all the Indians to a new reservation called Bosque Redondo, at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, a dry wasteland. Navajos were given a short time to surrender. When they did not, Carleton sent Kit Carson and his troops to destroy crops, livestock, and homes. By October 1863, the first Navajos began making the “Long Walk” from their homelands 350 miles southeast to Fort Sumner. They were given plenty of food and good treatment so others would follow, and when they did not, Carson raided the Canyon de Chelly, a Navajo heartland.

Navajo began to surrender by the thousands in March 1864 and Manuelito and his warriors became the last hold-outs. In February 1865 Carleton sent six Navajo headmen to plead with him to surrender for the sake of his starving people. He still refused. Finally, in September, Manuelito and 23 of his warriors surrendered, their emaciated bodies clad only in rags.

In 1868, after hundreds died of disease and starvation, a new treaty was signed granting the Navajo a reservation back in their original land, along with livestock and food supplies. Manuelito served as head chief from 1870 to 1884. In 1876 he traveled to Washington where he met with President U.S. Grant. He died from measles complicated by pneumonia in 1894 at the age of 76, one of the most respected figures in Navajo history. More about this hero at: www.accessgenealogy.com/native/indianchiefs/manuelito_navajo_war_chief.htm

Research info gathered at: http://www.wikipedia.org/

Now, here's one of my poems that can ride bareback:


The Secret To A Great Lip-Sync...

or in anticipation ofa treat home hurries
the steel-toe shoes to potlick a ride
on your tongue I beg. Or truth
be told, the delights of being
safely tucked in the roof
of your mouth and
topple up the
stairs to
our bedroom.
A candle flickers
and the gull plays
voyeur on the window
ledge as the moon slips in &
out of clouds once it's stripped down
to its underwear.


Poem first published at: http://venerealkittens.blogspot.com/
Visit my ezine at: http://www.concelebratory.blogspot.com/
music blog: http://www.medleymakersant.blogspot.com/
and tutoring blog: http://www.miceintheclassroom.blogspot.com/
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.

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