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American Passages: A Literary Survey

Native Voices – Timeline

This timeline places literary publications (shaded) in their historical contexts.

1490s

1492

Columbus lands in the Bahamas, returns to Spain with first Indian slaves

1500s

1507

Geographer Martin Waldseemüller names the “new” land “America” for Vespucci

1510s

1512

Spanish Laws of Burgos forbid enslavement of Indians and advocate Christian conversion

1550s
John White, THE MANNER OF THEIR FISHING (ca. 1585)

c. 1558-85

Bernardino de Sahagûn, Florentine Codex

1580s

1588

Thomas Harriot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia

1590s

1598

First Spanish colony on the Rio Grande, establishing control over Pueblo Indians

1600s

1605

Garcilaso de la Vega, The Florida of the Inca

1620s

1622

First Indian uprising in an English colony: Powhatan Confederacy attacks Jamestown

1630s

1637

Pequot War

1640s

1643

Roger Williams, A Key into the Language of America

1670s

1675-78

King Philip’s War decimates native tribes in New England

1700s

1708

Approximately fourteen hundred Indian slaves in the North American colonies

1750s

1755-63

French and Indian War establishes English possession of Northeast

1760s

1768

Samson Occom, A Short Narrative of My Life (1768)

1763-75

Pontiac’s War

1770s

1778

Continental Congress establishes first treaty with Indian tribe, the Delaware

1780s

1787

Northwest Ordinance approved by Confederation Congress

1790s

1790

Congress enacts first law regulating trade and land sales with Indians

1810s

1812-14

War of 1812, the last war in which Indians fight with a foreign colonial power against the United States

1819

First appropriation by Congress of a fund ($10,000) to “civilize” the Indians

1820s

1829-30

Cherokee Memorials

1824

Bureau of Indian Affairs established

1827-28

Cherokee Nation ratifies its new constitution

1830s

1833

William Apess, “An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man”

1830

Congress passes Indian Removal Act, legalizing removal of eastern Indians to west of the Mississippi

1838-39

Cherokees travel the Trail of Tears

1840s

1846-48

Mexican War; Southwest is ceded to the United States

1849

Bureau of Indian Affairs shifts from War Department to the Department of the Interior

1849

California Gold Rush

1850s

1854

John Rollin Ridge (Yellow Bird), The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit

1854

United States war against Plains Indians

1860s

1868

Standing Bear court case establishes that Indians are “persons within the meaning of the law”

1870s

1872

Cochise, “[I am alone]”

1876

Charlot, “[He has filled graves with our bones]”

1877, 1890

Lorenzo Asisara, “Punishment”‘

1870

Congress appropriates first sum earmarked for federal administration of Indian education

1871

Congress passes a law putting an end to further treaties with Indian tribes

1876

General Custer and his Seventh Cavalry defeated by Sioux and Cheyenne in Battle of Little Big Horn

1878

Congress appropriates first funds for Indian police

1879

Carlisle Indian School founded

1880s

1886

Geronimo and his band of Apaches captured, ending Indian fighting in Southwest

1887

Dawes Severalty (General Allotment) Act redistributes tribally held lands

1889

Paiute Wovoka inaugurates Ghost Dance religion

1890s

1890

Massacre of nearly 300 Indians at Wounded Knee ends Indian resistance to U.S. government

1896

James Mooney, The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890

1898

Curtis Act dissolves tribal governments

1900s

1900

Zitkala Sa (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin), “Impressions of an Indian Childhood,” “The School Days of an Indian Girl,” “An Indian Teacher among Indians”

1910s

1910

Frances Densmore, Chippewa Songs

1910

Selin Williams, “The Bungling Host”

1916

Charles Alexander Eastman, From the Deep Woods to Civilization

1920s

1924

Congress makes all Indians U.S. citizens and grants them the right to vote

1930s

1932

Black Elk and John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks

1932

Ella Cara Deloria, Dakota Texts

1933

Mourning Dove, Coyote Stories

D’arcy McNickle, The Surrounded

1934

Congress passes Wheeler-Howard (Indian Reorganization) Act, ending Dawes era

1940s

1944

Founding of National Congress of American Indians

1946

Congress establishes Indian Claims Commission to judge all tribal claims

1950s

1956

Paul Radin, The Trickster

1953

Congress adopts House Concurrent Resolution 180, declaring its intent to terminate treaty relations with Indian tribes

1960s

1966

Hugh Yellowman, “Coyote, Skunk, and the Prairie Dogs”

1969

N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain

1969

Alexander Posey, Poems of Alexander Lawrence Posey, Creek Indian Bard

1970s

1973

Vine Deloria, God Is Red

1973

American Indian Movement members occupy Wounded Knee and battle FBI agents

1974

John Bierhorst, Four Masterworks of American Indian Literature: Quetzalcoatl, The Ritual of Condolence, Cuceb, the Night Chant

1977

Simon J. Ortiz, Poems from the Veterans Hospital

1977

Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

1980s

1983

Joy Harjo, She Had Some Horses

1986

Louise Erdrich, “Fleur”

1986

Paula Gunn Allen, The Sacred Hoop

1989

Luci Tapahonso, A Breeze Swept Through

1990

1990

Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War

1990

Congress passes Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, protecting Indian remains and sacred objects

1991

Gerald Vizenor, Landfill Meditations: Crossblood Stories

1992

Simon J. Ortiz, Woven Stone

1993

Luci Tapahonso, Saanii Dahataal: The Women Are Singing

1994

Greg Sarris, Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream

1994

Joy Harjo, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky

1993

Diane Glancy, Firesticks

Units