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The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek: A Tragic Clash between White and Native Americaby Richard Kluger
Synopses & Reviews
The riveting story of a dramatic confrontation between Native Americans and white settlers, a compelling conflict that unfolded in the newly created Washington Territory from 1853 to 1857.
Whenappointed Washington's first governor, Isaac Ingalls Stevens, an ambitious military man turned politician, had one goal: to persuade (peacefully if possible) the Indians of the Puget Sound region to turn overtheir ancestral lands to the federal government. In return, they were to be consigned to reservations unsuitable for hunting, fishing, or grazing, their traditional means of sustaining life. The result was an outbreak ofviolence and rebellion, a tragic episode of frontier oppression and injustice.
With his trademark empathy and scholarly acuity, Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Kluger recounts the impact ofStevens's program on the Nisqually tribe, whose chief, Leschi, sparked the native resistance movement. Stevens was determined to succeed at any cost: his hasty treaty negotiations with the Indians, marked bydeceit, threat, and misrepresentation, inflamed his opponents. Leschi, resolved to save more than a few patches of his people's lush homelands, unwittingly turned his tribe-and himself most ofall-into victims of the governor's relentless wrath. The conflict between these two complicated and driven men--and their supporters--explosively and enormously at odds with eachother, was to have echoes far into the future.
Closely considered and eloquently written, The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek is a bold and long-overdue clarification of thehistorical record of an American tragedy, presenting, through the experiences of one tribe, the history of Native American suffering and injustice.
From the Hardcover edition.
Seeks to clarify historical records on unjust land disputes between Native Americans and white settlers, tracing the efforts of Washington's first governor, Isaac Ingalls Stevens, to resettle the Nisqually tribe in unsuitable regions. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ashes to Ashes.
From Pulitzer Prize–winner Richard Kluger, the riveting story of a brutal confrontation between Native Americans and white settlers, a harrowing drama that unfolded in the new, idyllic Washington Territory in 1853.
Washington’s first governor, Isaac Ingalls Stevens, had one goal: to persuade (peacefully if possible) the Indians of the Puget Sound region to turn over their ancestral lands to the government. In return, they were to be consigned to reservations suitable for neither hunting and fishing nor their traditional way of life.
With empathy and scholarly acuity, Kluger recounts the impact of Stevens’s program on the Nisqually tribe, whose chief, Leschi, sparked the native resistance movement. Kluger describes the brief but bloody guerrilla war that ensued and its dire consequences: Leschi became the object of the governor’s vendetta and was eventually condemned to death, a skewing of justice that would threaten the very existence of the Nisqually people.
Closely considered and eloquently written, The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek is a bold and long-overdue clarification of the historical record on an American tragedy that presents, through the experiences of one tribe, the history of Native American suffering and injustice.
About the Author
Richard Kluger is the author of Ashes to Ashes, which won the Pulitzer Prize; his books Simple Justice and The Paper were both finalists for the National Book Award. He lives in California.
Table of Contents
Preface : A fresh reckoning — Pt. I. The governor and the chief — "I know what I am about" — Paradise for free — The Northwest Express — A credit to his race — Christmas at Medicine Creek — Blood in the Autumn air — The territory in dread — An impressive performance — The wages of zealotry — Pt. II. The trials of Leschi — Judgment day - and night — With malice aforethought — All the favors of the law — Epilogue : After Leschi — I. Salmon and survival — II. For whom the eagle cries — III. Red wind rising.
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Biography » Military