Indian Affairs Reports by Decade
Newspaper Clippings by Decade
Sarah Winnemucca was a member of the Kuyuidika-a band of Northern Paiutes, born near Humboldt Lake in what is now western Nevada. In her autobiography, Life Among the Piutes, she writes “I was born somewhere near 1844, but am not sure of the precise time.” Her birth name was Thocmetony (sometimes spelled Tocmetone), which means “shell flower.” As a child she adopted the name of Sarah after her introduction to the white people and was also sometimes referred to as Sally or Sallie. Sarah Winnemucca died in 1891.
She was the daughter of old Chief Winnemucca and the granddaughter of Chief Truckee, who guided John C. Fremont during his 1843-45 exploration across the Great Basin to California. She was educated in California, and at the home of Major William Ormsby in Genoa, also known as Mormon Station, Utah Territory, which later became Nevada Territory and the State of Nevada. She spoke multiple languages and Indian dialects and could read and write. She was a prominent female Native American activist and educator and served as an interpreter and negotiator between her people and the U.S. Government at a time when white settlers and the native peoples were deeply divided. She was one of the most influential and charismatic American Indian women in American history. She was married at least twice, first to Lieutenant Edward C. Bartlett and later to Lewis H. Hopkins.
The intent here is to make digital records available to those interested in Sarah’s story and the affairs of the Indians during the latter half of the 19th century during tumultuous times between the whites and the natives. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, usually known as the Office of Indian Affairs until 1947, was established within the War Department in 1824. From 1789 to 1824 Indian affairs were administered in the Office of the Secretary of War. In 1849 the Office of Indian Affairs was transferred to the Department of the Interior, where it has remained. The digital records are official reports in chronological order by decade which contain items relating to Sarah Winnemucca’s work with the Army and the tribes from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Joint Special Committee of the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of War. Newspaper clippings obtained from microfilm were also digitized and are in chronological order by decade.
Nevada, which was originally a part of Utah Territory, did not become a Territory until March 2, 1861 and achieved statehood on October 31, 1864. Anything dated prior to March 2, 1861 would have been Utah Territory.
Research was conducted at the National Archives and Records Administration, Pacific Alaska Region, Seattle, WA concerning the Malheur and Yakima Reservations and microfilm was purchased for digitizing records for this collection. Contact was made with the State Archives and Historical Societies for Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Microfilm from Washington State Library from a private collection of papers related to Yakama Agency was also purchased: “U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Yakima Indian Agency, correspondence and records, 1870-1910.” The correspondence and records of the Yakima Indian Agency on film are in the Clifford C. (Click) Relander Collection, donated in 1971 to the Yakima Valley Regional Library. In addition to the dissertations and theses, the Nevada State Library and Archives purchased 11 reels of microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administration pertaining to the Northern Paiute Indians during the years 1850-1900. These reels are official records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Secretary of the Interior. These reels are cataloged and available through the CLAN catalog as well as through OCLC. Boston newspapers were read and printed at the Library of Congress for articles related to Sarah Winnemucca’s trips to the East. Some images may be difficult to read not only because of the handwriting, but also because of their age, storage and reproduction.
In addition, on March 9, 2005 the Sarah Winnemucca statue was dedicated in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, a gift of the State of Nevada to the National Statuary Hall collection. A duplicate statue was dedicated at the Nevada Capitol on April 6, 2005.
Additional resources on Sarah Winnemucca and Native Americans in Nevada can be found on the Nevada State Library and Archives Web site: http://nsla.nv.gov/Library/Library_Services/Native_Americans/