The original photograph taken in my studio:

Edited for scale and converted to black and white:

The text I used was the Indian Removal Act of 1830:

U. S. Government, 21st Congress, 2nd Session

Chapter CXLVIII – An Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That it shall and may be lawful for the President of the United States to cause so much of any territory belonging to the United States, west of the river Mississippi, not included in any state or organized territory, and to which the  Indian title has been extinguished, as he may judge necessary, to be divided into a suitable number of districts, for the reception of such  tribes Indians as may choose to exchange the lands where they now reside, and remove there; and to cause each of said districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks, as to be easily distinguished from every other.

Section 2 – And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to exchange any or all of such districts, so to be laid off and described, with any tribe or nation within the limits of any of the states or territories, and with which the United States have existing treaties, for the whole or any part or portion of the territory claimed and occupied by such tribe or nation, within the bounds of any one or more of the states or territories, where the land claimed and occupied by the Indians, is owned by the United States, or the United States are bound to the state within which it lies to extinguish the Indian claim thereto.

Section 3 – And be it further enacted, That in the making of any such exchange or exchanges, it shall and may be lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided always, hat such lands shall revert to the United States, if the  Indians become extinct, or abandon the same.

Section 4 – And be it further enacted, That if, upon any of the lands now occupied by the   Indians, and to be exchanged for, there should be such improvements as add value to the land claimed by any individual or individuals of such tribes or nations, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such value to be ascertained by appraisement or otherwise, and to cause such ascertained value to be paid to the person or persons rightfully claiming such improvements. And upon the payment of such valuation, the improvements so valued and paid for, shall pass to the United States, and possession shall not afterwards be permitted to any of the same tribe.

Section 5 – And be it further enacted, That upon the making of any such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to the emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove to, and settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and also, to give them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their support and subsistence for the first year after their removal.

Section 6 – And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such tribe or nation to be protected, at their new residence, against all interruption or disturbance from any other tribe or nation of Indians, or from any other person or persons whatever.

Section 7 – And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to have the same superintendence and care over any tribe or nation in the country to which they may remove, as contemplated by this act, that he is now authorized to have over them at their present places of residence.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 cleared out the southern Native American tribes for white settlement on ancestral lands.


Paul’s statement regarding his beloved grandmother:

Juanita “Holy-named Woman” Left-hand

I was – and still am – constantly amazed at my grandmother Juanita’s life. As a child, I saw Indians portrayed on television in one way, and then in a different light when I got to visit with her in person on the reservation in Montana. Hearing her stories of traveling the plains as a child in the late 1890s was truly magical. At that early age, I didn’t fully comprehend that while she lived this seemingly amazing nomadic life, she was actually confined by boundaries and her world was a microcosm created before she was born. The Indian Remove act of 1830 relocated Native Americans east of the Mississippi to reservations west was one of the opening salvos to the systematic dismantling of the Native cultures. By the late 1890s, the buffalo were long gone and my grandmother was one of the last waves of Native Americans to try to cling desperately to their culture on reservations in the United States.

“Kill the Indian, save the man” was the motto of Indian schools operated by the United States government. Initially created by missionaries to save the “godless” Indians, that message was intended to forcefully convert the children to Christianity as well as ultimately assimilate them into the white culture.  My grandmother’s memories of the off-reservation government-run boarding school were things like, the changing of her name Holy-named Woman to the more white sounding “Juanita”; the Indian boys getting their braids cut off, beatings and the belittling of her culture by the faculty. One of her memories of the school was recorded in her oral history recounted in the book “Recollections from Fort Belknap’s past”.

“All the children were forbidden to say one word in Indian. After we got to know a little English if we were caught talking Indian, some of the girls would tattle. They would run and tell the matron. The matron would come running and all of us would cower in the corner, we were afraid of them. She would say, “Now which one of the girls was talking Indian?” The tattle-tale would point someone out, mostly it was always me. I would try to get back among the others but she’d grab me by my arm and jerk me out. She would backhand me as hard as she could across the mouth.”

The language, the culture, the hairstyles, the beliefs, the Indian names, the history… all systematically removed and replaced… but my grandmother, one of the last native speakers of the Assiniboine dialect, refused to forget. She knew she had to hold on to the old ways and make sure they were never forgotten. Her stalwart defiance in the face of all that is what I admire most about her. When the historians came calling in her later years, she was so happy to find a repository for all she fought so long to remember.

The traditional beadwork designs and dolls she made are now in the Smithsonian. The dictionary of the Assiniboine dialect and grammar was compiled with her help, as well as a number of books of Indian culture and the Indian stories she remembered from her time roaming the plains. I could not be more proud of being her grandson and my amazing heritage.

Images of Juanita “Holy-named Woman” Left-hand: