“… I Will Stamp On The Ground With My Foot And Shake Down Every House …”

THUS SPAKE THE GREAT INDIAN CHIEF TECUMSEH, PREDICTING— SOME BELIEVED—THE SERIES OF VIOLENT EARTHQUAKES THAT STRUCK THE MIDWEST IN THE WINTER OF 1811–12

The town of New Madrid in southeastern Missouri looks out over a treacherous stretch of the Mississippi River, studded with bars and laced with stumpy shores—a graveyard of rivercraft, and haunted. Some of the ghosts are dead dreams. Read more »

The Splendid Indians Of Edward S. Curtis

The dignified portrait, opposite, of Bear’s Belly, an Arikara Indian warrior of the eastern plains, wrapped in a bearskin, the symbol of his personal medicine—and the photographs of the other native Americans on the following pages—are a sampling of a wondrous, but almost unknown, publishing project that took one dedicated photographer-author, Edward S.Read more »

The Ordeal Of Plenty Horses

CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO CULTURES, A YOUNG SIOUX SOUGHT TO MAKE HIMSELF A HERO—BY KILLING AN ARMY OFFICER

On January 8, 1891, newspapers throughout the United States headlined a tragic event in the Indian troubles rocking the Sioux reservations of South Dakota. A talented and popular army officer attempting to enter a hostile encampment to talk peace had been treacherously slain by a young Sioux warrior. The death of Lieutenant Edward W. Casey shocked and saddened his legions of friends and admirers.Read more »

Rout Of The Varmints

At the time World War I was nearing its end, I was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as an officer-instructor in light field artillery (horse-drawn three-inch cannon known as French 75’s).Read more »

The Hopi Way

ISOLATION ENDS FOR “THE PEOPLE OE PEACE”

Perched on the edge of a rocky mesa six hundred feet above the desert of northeastern Arizona is the Hopi Indian village of Hotevilla.Read more »

A Michigan Boyhood

A FAMOUS HISTORIAN RECALLS THE COUNTRY WHERE HE GREW UP

First there was the ice; two miles high, hundreds of miles wide, and many centuries deep. It came down from the darkness at the top of the world, and it hung down over the eaves, and our Michigan country lay along the line of the overhang. To be sure, all of the ice was now gone. It had melted, they said, ten thousand years ago; but they also pointed out that ten thousand years amounted to no more than a flick of the second hand on the geologic time clock.Read more »

“i Was Once A Great Warrior”

The tragedy of Black Hawk, who became the eponym of a war he tried to avoid

On July 4, 1838, the people of Fort Madison, in the Iowa Territory, invited an old Sauk war chief named Black Hawk to be guest of honor at their Independence Day celebration. A wrinkled and feeble old man, he sat at their banquet table under the trees on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and listened dourly while the white men bestowed honor and friendship upon him. When his turn came Black Hawk, too, spoke of friendship, but he could not forget the past as easily as the whites. They, after all, had gained by it; he had lost.Read more »

The Last Stone Age American

As an epilogue to his forthcoming book on the archaeology of the United States, C. W. Ceram, the author of Gods, Graves and Scholars, has chosen to tell a symbolic tale—the story of lshi. Chronologically, the story is quite modern; culturally, it reaches back to the Stone Age. Mr. Ceram’s new book, The First American, will be published later this month by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. A MERICAN H ERITAGE presents his moving epilogue—the end of “a chapter m History.” Read more »

Echoes Of The Little Bighorn

No single battle in American history has won more attention from more writers than the relatively insignificant defeat of a handful of cavalry by a few thousand Indians on the Little Bighorn River in 1876. How could there be anything new to say about it?Read more »

“this Nation Never Saw A Black Man Before’

With the current wave of interest in black history, authentic Negro heroes have been eagerly sought in the American past. It has been hard going, since the disposition of the white majority from colonial times until rather recently was to prevent blacks from playing any role that could possibly be viewed as heroic, and to ignore the exceptions that failed to conform to majority prejudices. And indeed, where a black man’s historical reputation has overcome all this, it has sometimes been in despite of honest historical evidence.Read more »