Mary Alice Nelson, aka Molly Spotted Elk
  • Mary Alice Nelson, aka Molly Spotted Elk
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class

Mollydellis Nelson, often anglicized to Mary Alice Nelson, was a dancer who performed under the stage name of Molly Spotted Elk. When companies in venues in the U.S. wanted to relegate her to stereotypical depictions of Native Americans, she took her skills to France.

Here’s a link to our notes and research
Bones of 'Kennewick Man' returning home for burial

The 9,000-year-old bones known as “Kennewick Man” or “the Ancient One” will be returned to Columbia River tribes for burial under terms of an amendment passed Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation is a conference-committee meeting away from going to President Obama for his signature.  It must be reconciled with similar legislation, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., passed in the Senate.

Twenty-two members of the Colville tribes donated DNA to prove that “the Ancient One” was genetically linked to modern Native Americans.

Once this was confirmed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act required that “Kennewick Man” be returned to culturally affiliated tribes.

“For two decades, the native peoples of the Columbia River Basin have striven to rebury their ancestor. The action taken by Congress today honors the rights and traditions of these tribes and returns the ‘Ancient One’ home,” said U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash.

The burial precludes scientists’ opportunities to study the remains, although, as Smithsonian magazine noted, “ancient human remains from North America are incredibly rare, and forensic technology gets better all the time.”

Kevin Taylor, in Indian Country Today, wrote:

“It’s the chafe between science and spirituality, between people who say the remains have so much to tell us about the ancient human past that they should remain available for research, versus people who feel a kinship with the ancient bones and say they should be reburied to show proper reverence for the dead.”

The remains were discovered in 1996 by two college students. They initially thought they had come across remains of a murder victim. They instead found someone living at a time when Pleistocene glaciers covered much of North America.

The repatriation of “the Ancient One” saw a rare revival, in a polarized Washington, D.C., of the once-fabled bipartisan cooperation of the Northwest’s congressional delegations.

The amendment was cosponsored by Heck and Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., whose district is in central Washington.  Other cosponsors were Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Similar cooperation, earlier this year, passed legislation sponsored by Heck that renamed the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge after conservationist, native-rights and tribal fisheries advocate Billy Frank Jr.

“Tribes in Washington state have a right to bring 'the Ancient One’ home,” said Kilmer.  "I’m glad the House has recognized this and passed our bipartisan legislation to honor the descendants of the Ancient One and clear the path for a proper burial on tribal lands.“

The House-approved amendment transfers the remains from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, in order to repatriate the remains to the tribes.

The coalition of Columbia Basin tribes includes the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, and the Wanapum Band of Priest Rapids.

DailyPBO: The President & The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation - June 2014

The crowd to President Obama: “We love you President Obama! You’re our hero!” President Obama: “I love you back!”

Obama became only the fourth sitting president to visit an Indian reservation. Attending with the First Lady, it was a truly inspiring event at the Cannon Ball Pow Wow Grounds in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The Native American community was bursting with pride over the president’s visit and when he spoke Lakota during his speech, they were completely moved. It was a wonderful day for a community that never (and I mean NEVER) gets the respect they deserve. Bravo, Mr. President. For more reactions, check the Twitter hashtag: #PrezRezVisit

For years, I opened my 11th-grade U.S. history classes by asking students, “What’s the name of that guy they say discovered America?” A few students might object to the word “discover,” but they all knew the fellow I was talking about. “Christopher Columbus!” several called out in unison.

“Right. So who did he find when he came here?” I asked. Usually, a few students would say, “Indians,” but I asked them to be specific: “Which nationality? What are their names?”


In more than 30 years of teaching U.S. history and guest-teaching in others’ classes, I’ve never had a single student say, “Taínos.” So I ask them to think about that fact. “How do we explain that? We all know the name of the man who came here from Europe, but none of us knows the name of the people who were here first—and there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them. Why haven’t you heard of them?”

This ignorance is an artifact of historical silencing—rendering invisible the lives and stories of entire peoples.

This is probably one of the most depressingly heart-wrenching photos I’ve ever seen. Native American children taken from their families and put into school to assimilate them into white society. the slogan for this governmental campaign ’“kill the Indian to save the man”. no official apology has ever been issued. never forgotten.

Guess who found out something horrid about what white people did to my tribe?

So I found out the the Osage own oil on our reservations. So in the 1920s white people would marry into the Osage and then kill their spouse to get the oil rights. And yet that isn’t taught to ANYONE here in the US. Isn’t that lovely? Edit: here’s a link for anyone who is skeptical


December 15th 1890: Sitting Bull killed

On this day in 1890, the Native American Lakota Sioux chief, Sitting Bul, was killed. Formal peaceful relations between the Sioux and the United States government had begun in 1868 upon the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty. However, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in the 1870s, led to a torrent of white prospectors invading the Sioux lands. The Sioux tribes united under Sitting Bull’s leadership, and his people initially secured some major military victories over American forces, most famously at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, where Sioux and Cheyenne warriors defeated the famed General Custer. Sitting Bull then led his people to Canada, only to return in 1881. It was around this time that he joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, but he soon returned to his people to protect the rights of indigenous Americans. Sitting Bull was killed on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 1890 by police, who were trying to arrest him under fears he would join the Ghost Dance movement.

“I would rather die an Indian than live a white man”

From Delta State University’s Paxton Papers Collection, Series 2. A photograph of a indigenous Filipino man (?) and soldier that are both enlisted in Company “A” of the 45th Infantry at Camp John Hay.


Tennessee Congressional Candidate Has A Dream To ‘Make America White Again

Rick Tyler, a local businessman running in the heavily Republican district, has drawn sharp criticism for a pair of inflammatory signs near Highway 411 in Polk County: One that says “Make America White Again,” and another that invokes Martin Luther King Jr. and reads “I Have a Dream” over an image of the Capitol surrounded by Confederate flags.   

It was intended to elicit the idea in people’s minds of … what ‘Make America White Again’ could possibly mean. My quick response to that is the ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Mayberry’ America that I grew up in was a better America,

Tyler said, claiming that time had no “break-ins” or “Muslim sleeper cells,” had less immigration by people of color — and was so safe you could leave your doors unlocked.

“He wants to go back to the 1950s where whites are in control and blacks ‘know their place. He’s about as racist as you can get, from what I can tell.

Topher Kersting said [running as an independent] 

WTF?! Go back to what else? Jim Crow? The “good old days” when if a black person looked sideways at a white person, they were lynched? Separate but equal? 

If you aren’t offended by this message, you are what’s wrong with this country. #Hate it!



Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage

William Loren Katz

Black Indian Slave Narratives

Patrick Minges

Red Over Black: Black Slavery Among the Cherokee Indians

R. Halliburton, Jr.

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas

Gabrielle Tayac

The Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-Seeking People

Kenneth W. Porter

Minnie Spotted Wolf (1923–1988) was the first Native American woman to serve in the United States Marine Corps.

A member of the Blackfoot tribe, Spotted Wolf spent her childhood working on her father’s ranch in Heart Butte, Montana, where she cut fence posts, drove trucks and broke horses. She first expressed an interest in joining the army when she was aged 18, shortly after the US entered into World War 2 at the end of 1941. However she was initially discouraged by a recruitment officer who told her that the war was ‘not for women’.

Spotted Wolf was eventually accepted into the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in July 1943, making her the first Native American female Marine. She almost did not accept the post as her father was dying from a horse riding accident, however her mother and sister strongly encouraged her to pursue her ambitions. She underwent rigorous boot camp training at Camp Lejeune, during which she gained 15 pounds of weight from the diet and rigorous exercise. She later described the training as “hard, but not too hard” given her background on the ranch.

On completion of her training Spotted Wolf went on to serve 4 years in the Marines in California and Hawaii. She drove trucks loaded with heavy equipment, a job normally reserved for men, and also sometimes worked as a jeep driver for visiting generals. Spotted Wolf’s career quickly gathered media attention and she was featured in numerous news stories, and even her own comic book, to promote the war effort.

Following her discharge in 1947, Spotted Wolf returned to Montana where she married a farmer named Robert England with whom she had four children. She attended college to qualify as a teacher and spent the next 29 years teaching in reservation schools. She died in 1988 aged 65 and was buried in her military uniform.