Native Americans' attitudes and opinions are more difficult to determine because they are generally recorded second-hand by agents, missionaries, and other Euro Americans.
Some first-person statements are available in minutes from treaty councils and other meetings with government officials. Minutes are included in items found by searching on council as well as in the article, "The Indian Treaty of Point No Point." Minutes were often recorded by a clerk who sat by an interpreter. As Native Americans became more savvy about official meetings, they demanded the right to chose their own interpreters and recorders. In a council held in 1871 at the Warm Spring Reservation, Ta-se-nick of the Wascoe tribe is recorded as saying:
"How can you expect the children to learn if they go to school in blankets, and if girls are naked, how can you teach them to knit. They are still like Indians. Your coming is like the rising of the sun, it brings daylight to us. I think now my children will grow up like white people."
The article, "Lawyer of the Nez Perces" shows Nez Perce leaders, Lawyer and Looking Glass, taking opposing views on the signing of an 1855 treaty, with Looking Glass admonishing," 'My people, what have you done? While I was gone, you have sold my country.' " Other materials describing the trials of the Nez Perces, such as "The Nez Perces in Exile" show the tribe divided on how to co-exist with Euro Americans over the course of three decades.
Some agents' reports, such as E.C. Chirouse’s "Annual report of Tulalip agency," reflect Native-American attitudes, while David Buerge's essay, "Chief Seattle and Chief Joseph: From Indians to Icons," (external link) in the Special Presentation (external link), discusses the points of view of these two historical leaders.
- Is there evidence of what Native Americans thought were the best ways to deal with the presence of Euro-American people and culture?
- What objections did Native Americans have to a reservation policy?
- What sorts of attitudes did Native Americans have towards Euro Americans? Were they as varied as Euro-American attitudes towards Native Americans?
- Do you think that Native Americans' debate over what to do about Euro Americans was as fierce as the debate over "The Indian Problem?" Why or why not?
- Were Native Americans receptive to any aspects of Euro-American culture? If so, which ones?
- Is there any reason to question the authenticity of statements recorded in council minutes?