indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Mark Trahant: Counting up presidential visits to Indian Country

Filed Under: Opinion | Politics
More on: barack obama, mark trahant
     


President Chester Arthur visits the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in 1883. Photo from Frank Jay Haynes collection, Smithsonian

The Associated Press, MSNBC and other news media are sticking to the story that Barack Obama is only the fourth president to visit a reservation. I say at least seven, more likely eight.

So one by one here goes the documentary evidence (for those who care).

President Chester Arthur's visit to Wind River, Wyoming, 1883. Picture from Frank Jay Haynes collection, Smithsonian. The trip was on horse back and included a senator and the Secretary of War. (I love the umbrellas in the picture above.)

The second visit is President Warren Harding’s trip to Alaska in 1923. The first port of call was Metlakatla. (As Stephen Conn points out: Any presidential visit before the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act would be a visit to Indian Country.)

Third. President Calvin Coolidge’s visit to South Dakota.

A trivia question: How many US Presidents have been photographed wearing headdresses? (It went badly for Coolidge.) Answer: At least one, Jimmy Carter.

Fourth. Franklin Roosevelt visited at least three reservations, only once speaking on Indian Affairs. He traveled to Quinault in Washington state, Blackfeet, Montana, and Cherokee, North Carolina. (He was also photographed with a chief in North Dakota.)

Here is a film from the Montana trip. (The meeting was in Glacier National Park, but he traveled from the town now called East Glacier.)

Fifth. It wasn't an official presidential trip, per se, but Harry S Truman was president when he stopped on the Fort Peck Reservation in 1952 as part of his whistle stop train campaign. He was met by Assiniboine leaders. He was given a pipe to smoke. Montana Rep. Mike Mansfield, who was also on the platform, told the Indians, “The President doesn’t smoke. What he did here was for the first time.”

Louis Henry Montclair wrote about this trip.

Sixth (depending on your point of view). Ronald Reagan went to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to meet tribal leaders. One extraordinary meeting was in the presidential suite at the Hilton where Reagan, Ivan Sidney and Peterson Zah talked about the Navajo-Hopi dispute in Aug. 1985. We could certainly argue about Albuquerque, but I think it should count as “home turf.”

Seven. Then, of course, President Clinton's trips to Pine Ridge and Shiprock.

There were two presidential trips that did not happen.

Nixon administration officials wanted Richard Nixon to give the opening speech at the dedication of Navajo Community College.

They said it would be ideal, it was on the way to San Clemente and would be smart. The record of the "why" is complete, but I have never found out why it did not happen.

Nixon's second trip that did not happen was to New Mexico for the celebration of the return of Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo. Nixon instead sent the teenage daughter of Vice President Spiro Agnew.

And I wonder about President Herbert Hoover? I’ll keep checking on this one.

Herbert Hoover lived as a child in Pahwuska, Oklahoma. Hoover wrote in a letter: "I attended school with the Indians appropriate to my size. They were of course being taught English. I and my cousins were mostly interested in learning Osage."

Eighth. President Obama’s trip last week. But he needs another trip to match Clinton and a couple more trips to catch up with FDR.

Mark Trahant is the 20th Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a journalist, speaker and Twitter poet and is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Join the discussion about austerity. Comment on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TrahantReports


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Obama administration asks tribes about infrastructure projects (9/23)
House passes measure to combat illegal sale of tribal property (9/23)
Mike Rounds: Righting historical wrongs against Native citizens (9/23)
Indian Health Service names new medical officer in Great Plains (9/23)
Interior Department finalizes rule for Native Hawaiian relations (9/23)
Native Sun News Today: Democrat accepts invitation to debate (9/23)
Jeffrey Whalen: A failed experiment in socialism at Pine Ridge (9/23)
Mary Annette Pember: A young boy's journey to Standing Rock (9/23)
Harlan McKosato: Obama must keep promise to Indian people (9/23)
Dean Suagee: Native input needed to guide future of our parks (9/23)
Another North Dakota tribe battles pipeline company in court (9/23)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe extends Class III gaming compact again (9/23)
Top gaming executive on Navajo Nation put on leave with pay (9/23)
Bill slammed as 'modern day Indian land grab' moves forward (9/22)
Republican lawmaker eagerly defends Dakota Access Pipeline (9/22)
Appeals court in DC sets stage for October 5 #NoDAPL hearing (9/22)
Bureau of Indian Affairs role in #NoDAPL 'task force' in doubt (9/22)
Miami language champion Daryl Baldwin earns 'genius grant' (9/22)
Landowners from Lower Brule Sioux Tribe see $11M in offers (9/22)
Mark Trahant: Politicians can no longer ignore the Native vote (9/22)
Native Sun News Today: Nation rallies to #NoDAPL movement (9/22)
Dave Archambault Sr.: History unfolds on Standing Rock land (9/22)
David Ganje: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe takes stand for water (9/22)
Democracy Now: Sacred Stone Camp founder standing ground (9/22)
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation pushes for cleanup of mine site (9/22)
Harold Monteau: #NoDAPL movement draws a line in the sand (9/22)
Judge restores affidavit option for North Dakota Native voters (9/22)
Editorial: Long overdue federal recognition for Virginia tribes (9/22)
Tohono O'odham Nation seeks sanctions in fight over casino (9/22)
California governor keeps busy with tribal gaming compacts (9/22)
County sheriff leads investigation into #NoDAPL confrontation (9/21)
Federal appeals court sets October 5 hearing in #NoDAPL case (9/21)
Tribes deliver Wisconsin firewood to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (9/21)
Democrats host forum on Dakota Access Pipeline on Capitol Hill (9/21)
Uncertainty on land-into-trust as Obama era comes to a close (9/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.