This Month in Native American History
by Phil Konstantin

Panther Moon (Choctaw)

May 1, 1637: After numerous incidents, and incursions on both sides, English settlers in Connecticut declare war on the Pequot Indians. Most of the fighting take places in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

May 2, 1670: King Charles of England gives all trade rights to "all the Landes Countreyes and Territoryes upon the Coastes and Confynes of the Seas" lying within the Hudson Strait to the Hudson’s Bay Company. This monopoly remains in effect until 1859.

May 3, 490: Maya Lord Kan - Xul I (King K'an Joy Chitam I) is born, according to some sources. Eventually, he rules over Palenque, Mexico.

May 4, 1805: The Pascagoula, and the Biloxi, Indians sell their lands along the Gulf Coast to "Miller and Fulton." Miller and Fulton are among the first settlers in the Rapides Parish area. The documents, signed by six Indians, are confirmed. The Pascagoulas move to the Red River area.

May 5, 1800: William Augusta Bowles is an adventurer in the southeastern part of the United States. With Creek and Cherokee supporters, he proclaims a new nation, Muscogee, out of lands claimed by Spain along the Gulf coast, with himself as "Director-General". Bowles declares war on Spain, and begins a campaign against their outposts in his "nation." Some sources list this as happening on April 5, 1800.

May 6, 1626: The Purchase of Manhattan takes place. The Shinnecock or Canarsee Indians, according to which source you believe, sell it to Peter Minuit.

May 7, 1877: Colonel Nelson Miles, and his force of four Cavalry Troops, and six Infantry Companies, finds Lame Deer, and his followers on the Muddy Creek, near the Rosebud. Nelson surprises the village with a charge. Lame Dear, and Iron Star, parley with Miles about a peaceful settlement, but after they return, fight erupts, again. The battle continues, and proceeds toward the Rosebud River. Lame Deer, Iron Star, and twelve other Indians are killed. Four soldiers are killed. Lt. Alfred M. Fuller, and six soldiers are wounded. Almost 450 mounts are seized. The camp supplies, and many lodges are also captured. Corporal Harry Garland and Private William Leonard, Company L, and Private Samuel Phillips, Company H, Second Cavalry, will win the Congressional Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action" as a part of today's battle. Company L First Sergeant Henry Wilkens, and Farrier William H. Jones, will also be awarded the Medal of Honor for their gallantry in today's battle, and for actions against the Nez Perce on August
20, 1877.

May 8, 1725: In one of the last battles of Lovewell's or Father Rasleâ's War, Pigwacket Indians defeat a British army under Captain John Lovewell at Fryeburg, Maine.

May 9, 1885: Today through the 12th, events in the Second Riel Rebellion take place in Canada. Major General Frederick Middleton and a force of 800 soldiers attack the Metis and Cree holding the village of Batoche. The fighting continues through the 12th until the soldiers finally overrun Batoche.

May 10, 1869: One of the most devastating events in the lives of the plains Indians is the crossing of their lands by the railroads. The railroads bring settlers, hunters, and separate the buffalo herds. The "iron horses" of the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific meet at Promontory Point, Utah, completing the first cross continental railroad in the United States.

May 11, 1968: The Constitution of the Indians of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington is modified.

May 12, 1860: A battle in the Paiute War takes place in Nevada at Big Bend in the valley of the Truckee River. Major William Ormsby’s Nevada militia are attacked by Paiutes under war Chief Numaga.

May 13, 1614: The Viceroy of Mexico finds Spanish Explorer Juan de Oñate guilty of atrocities against the Indians of New Mexico. As a part of his punishment, he is banned from entering New Mexico again.

May 14, 1832: Near the Kyte River, Major Isaiah Stillman, and 275 soldiers are patrolling the area, on the lookout for Black Hawk. Weary of fighting, Black Hawk sends a few representatives to Stillman's camp to negotiate the surrender of his four dozen warriors. When the soldiers fire on Black Hawk's representatives, a few manage to escape. With the soldiers in pursuit, Black Hawk sets up an ambush. Becoming confused by the sudden attack, Stillman's troop panick and flee the area. Eleven soldiers, and three Indians are killed in the fighting. However, the soldiers report a massacre of troops. The "battle" is called "Stillman's Run."

May 15, 1846: A treaty is signed by Texas Governor Pierce Butler, and Colonel M.G. Lewis (Meriwether Lewis' brother), and sixty-three Indians of the Aionai, Anadarko, Caddo, Comanche, Kichai (Keehy), Lepan (Apache), Longwha, Tahuacarro (Tahwacarro), Tonkawa, Waco, Wichita and tribes. It is ratified on February 15, 1847, and signed by President Polk on March 8, 1847.

May 16, 1760: Creek warrior Chief Hobbythacco (Handsome Fellow) has often supported the English, but, at the outbreak of the Cherokee war, he decides to support the Cherokees. He leads an attack on a group of English traders in Georgia. Thirteen of the traders are killed during the fighting. Creek Chief "The Mortar" also participates in the fighting.

May 17, 1629: According to a deed, Sagamore Indians, including Passaconaway, sell a piece of land in what becomes Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

May 18, 1661: Captain John Odber is order by the Maryland General Assembly to take fifty men and go to the "Susquesahannough Forte." According to a treaty signed on May 16th, Maryland is required to help protect the Susquehannocks from raids by the Seneca. Odber’s force is to fulfill that part of the treaty.

May 19, 1796: Congress passes "An Act Making Appropriations for Defraying the Expenses Which May Arise in Carrying into Effect a Treaty Made Between the United States and Certain Indian Tribes, Northwest of the River Ohio."

May 20, 698: As part of a series of attacks on neighboring cities in Guatemala, Maya warriors from Naranjo attack Kinichil Kab'

May 21, 1877: In retaliation for the Custer defeat, the Sioux and Ponca are ordered to go to a new reservation in Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma). The Poncas have nothing to do with the war, and they continue their complaints about the bureaucratic error which places them on a reservation with the Sioux in the first place. The government does not bend, and the Ponca begin their march to Indian Territory.

May 22, 1851: As one of the last conflicts in the "Mariposa Indian Wars" in California, a large group of Yosemite Indians are captured at Lake Tenaija.

May 23, 1873: The Northwest Mounted Police is founded. One of the main reasons for its creation is the problems being fomented by Americans selling alcohol to Canadian Indians. This organization eventually becomes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

May 24, 1539: Mexican Viceroy Don Antonio de Mendoza has decided to send an expedition to search for wealthy cities north of Mexico. On March 7, 1539, Friar Marcos de Niza started the expedition from Culiacan. Accordiong to Niza’s journal, he finally sees Cibola, although he never sets foot in the pueblo. His report will lead to future expeditions looking for the "Seven Cities of Gold."

May 25, 1673: At the site of modern Niles, Michigan, the British erected Fort St. Joseph. Its garrison of sixteen men, led by Ensign Francis Schlosser, is attacked by a large Potawatomi war party. Only Schlosser and three other men survive the attack. The British are later traded for Potawatomi prisoners in Detroit.

May 26, 1540: The "Lady of Cofitachequi" has been taken with the de Soto expedition, against her will. With a large quantity of the pearls that de Soto's men took from her village, she escapes.

May 27, 1763: Fort Miami is located at the site of modern Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is garrisoned by twelve British soldiers, led by Ensign Robert Holmes. Pontiac's rebellion has started, and the Ensign is convinced to leave the Fort by his Miami Indian girlfriend. Miami warriors kill the Ensign, and a Sergeant who leaves to Fort to look for the Ensign. The Miamis demand the surrender of the remaining soldiers. To drive home their point, they throw the head of Ensign Holmes into the fort. The soldiers surrender, and all but one are eventually killed.

May 28, 1830: Andrew Jackson, called "Sharp Knife" by the Indians, has long fought the Indians of the southeast. He believes that the Indians and white settlers will not be able to peacefully live together. His solution to this is to renege on all of the previous treaties, which granted the Indians their lands forever, and to move all Indians west of the Mississippi River. Jackson makes this proposal to Congress during his First Congressional speech on December 8, 1829. Congress makes the proposal into a law on this date.

May 29, 1980: Department of the Interior Field Solicitor Elmer Nitzschke, states the Mille Lacs Reservation Business Committee has the right to control the Sandy Lakes Indian Reservation in Minnesota. The Sandy Lakes Band of Ojibwe, which lives on the reservation, feels they should have control of the reservation.

May 30, 1851
A treaty is signed by Kko-ya-te and Wo-a-si, in California.

May 31, 1796: The Treaty of the Seven Tribes of Canada is signed by three Chiefs at New York City. The tribes give up all claims to lands in New York, except six square miles in Saint Regis. They are paid 1233 pounds, six shillings, and eight pence now, and 213 pounds, six shillings, eight pence annually, if five more Chiefs show up and sign the treaty.

Dates reprinted with permission by Phil Konstantin:

Panther artwork by Steve Babecki: poster/


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