I1876 Indian Removal … others say Grant Extends Indian Reservation Deadline

1876 – All Native American Indians were ordered to move into reservations.

In a move that prevented open war across the Northern Plains, President Ulysses S. Grant issued an executive order extending the deadline set previously for all Native Americans to return to their reservations. The initial date for the deadline had been carefully calculated two months before by Grant and his generals Philip Sheridan, commander of the Division of the Missouri, and George Crook, commander of the Department of the Platte, to be unreachable by the Indians, who had settled into their winter quarters. When the Indians did not move (General Sheridan noted that the Indians would not move no matter the date, though Lakota leaders had already decided they would travel to the agencies that spring), they would march troopers into the Indian camps and force them into submissive positions on the reservations.

The matter at the core was gold. White encroachment on Indian lands had gone on for decades, and the Indians had gradually migrated and dealt with the growing White settlement. Several wars had raged, but none were as large as the surprise attack Sheridan and Crook were planning to clear the Indians quickly and effectively out of the Black Hills, where gold had been discovered by the Custer Expedition in 1874. A gold rush was in full sway and expected to boom. The Federal government had ended stopping trespassers onto the Sioux hunting grounds as an initial part of the plan and offered to pay the tribes $25,000 and reservations south in Indian Territory. Spotted Tail summarized the feelings of the Sioux leaders who had traveled to Washington with, “You speak of another country, but it is not my country; it does not concern me, and I want nothing to do with it. I was not born there.”

Yet, the land was needed both to open for the glut of would-be miners following the Panic of 1873 as well as for railroad projects. Grant had previously reversed the objectives of the Federal government, which had been anti-Indian since its founding. Johnson’s order to General Sheridan years before about the Cheyenne and Arapaho had been, “I want you to go ahead, kill and punish the hostiles, capture and destroy the ponies.” Grant later confronted Congress on the policies, saying, “Wars of extermination are demoralizing and wicked” and “A system which looks to the extinction of a race is too horrible for a nation to adopt without entailing upon itself the wrath of all Christendom.” Despite his advances in upholding treaties, in his second term the question of the Black Hills had turned him to the same policies he had derided.

In late January, a telegram from the US Indian Agent at Standing Rock reached the president, saying that his requests to extend the deadline had been repeatedly denied despite that travel in the midst of winter was impossible. He noted that any God-fearing, decent man would be reasonable rather than start a war, and Grant felt his spark of conscious. The Whiskey Ring scandal that had implicated his secretary Orville E. Babcock had destroyed Grant’s popularity among Republicans, and he decided that acting in favor of the Indians could not do any more damage, saying famously, “If I’m going to be unpopular, I might as well do the right thing.”

In spring of 1876, the majority of the Indians came to their reservations as had been agreed. Sheridan and Crook were allowed to mop up the stragglers and then ordered to maintain some kind of peace amid the Indians and the swarms of prospectors centering on Deadwood. Methods of herding the remaining buffalo were organized by the Sioux and government agents, who finally were able to work a deal for the Northern Pacific Railroad giving the Indians a toll based on transport. When the gold began to give out, the prospectors deserted, and the Sioux gradually came back into control over much of the area. Conservationist Theodore Roosevelt hunted the buffalo in 1893, and his political actions back East helped give funding to rebuilding the Northern Buffalo Herd, which had been barely saved from the extinction that had struck the Southern.

Despite decades more of politics and needless violence, the White and Native Americans gradually learned to live alongside one another, perhaps best exemplified by the peaceful demonstrations at Wounded Knee in 1890 where invited government officials understood the severity of breaking up the Great Sioux Reservation and determined to honor the previous treaty.

In reality, the request for extension was firmly denied. The Great Sioux War began, leading to nearly double the casualties of American soldiers as Sioux (such as in the disastrous Battle of Little Bighorn), but firmly establishing the US Army’s control over the Indians. The buffalo were systematically eradicated, leaving the Native Americans no choice but to depend upon the Federal Agencies for supplies. Policies of assimilation continued for decades on the reservations, especially after the cultural misunderstanding of the Ghost Dance that led to the Massacre at Wounded Knee.

On 1/31 ~ The House passes the 13th Amendment

Amendments 13-15 are called the Reconstruction Amendments both because they were the first enacted right after the Civil War and because all addressed questions related to the legal and political status of the African Americans.

On 1/31 in 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The amendment read, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

When the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln’s professed goal was the restoration of the Union. But early in the war, the Union began keeping escaped slaves rather than returning them to their owners, so slavery essentially ended wherever the Union army was victorious.

In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in areas that were still in rebellion against the Union. This measure opened the issue of what to do about slavery in border states that had not seceded or in areas that had been captured by the Union before the proclamation.

In 1864, an amendment abolishing slavery passed the U.S. Senate but died in the House as Democrats rallied in the name of states’ rights. The election of 1864 brought Lincoln back to the White House along with significant Republican majorities in both houses, so it appeared the amendment was headed for passage when the new Congress convened in March 1865. Lincoln preferred that the amendment receive bipartisan support–some Democrats indicated support for the measure, but many still resisted.

The amendment passed 119 to 56, seven votes above the necessary two-thirds majority. Several Democrats abstained, but the 13th Amendment was sent to the states for ratification, which came in December 1865. With the passage of the amendment, the institution that had indelibly shaped American history was eradicated

Amendments 13-15 are called the Reconstruction Amendments both because they were the first enacted right after the Civil War and because all addressed questions related to the legal and political status of the African Americans.


In the Library … The Hobbit by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien – in memory

Cover has a drawing of a winged dragon with a long tail at the bottom. 1937 cover – drawing done by Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973), whose surname is pronounced /?t?lki?n/ (in General American also /?to?lki?n/), was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature there from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After his death, Tolkien’s son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father’s extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955 Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when they were published in paperback in the United States led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the “father” of modern fantasy literature—or, more precisely, of high fantasy. Tolkien’s writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire field. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.


How employers can help working people ride out the Seattle Squeeze ~ sign the petition

Target: Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Seattle Association, Washington Retail Association, Washington Hospitality Association, and other area business groups 


Employers in the region have a key role to play to help us all ride out the Seattle Squeeze. Public agencies and some large companies have encouraged telecommuting, altered work schedules, and other similar steps — but not everyone works in an office.

We call on the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Seattle Association, the retail lobby, and the restaurant lobby to join us in urging employers to do what it takes to offer some relief to the hundreds of thousands of people in our region who work in food service, retail, warehouses, caregiving, delivery, and other fields that require that a worker show up at a particular workplace in order to do their jobs.

What employers can do:
  • PROVIDE AT LEAST TWO WEEKS’ NOTICE OF WORK SCHEDULES. Employees will need extra time to plan their lives, accommodate caregiving needs, and adjust their commutes given the level of congestion and increased travel-time expected.
    Extended commute times will make short shifts particularly hard for employees, and fewer shift changes means less trips in the region.
  • DO NOT RELY ON ON-CALL SHIFTS. Expecting employees to be prepared to come to work without notice and arrive within a short time of being called in will be practically impossible during this period.
  • ACCOMMODATE WORKERS WHO NEED TO MODIFY THEIR AVAILABILITY. Employers should go the extra mile to adjust employees’ schedules to accommodate transportation challenges, and plan more shift overlap to account for added unpredictability in travel times.
  • ESTABLISH EMPLOYEE-TO-EMPLOYEE SHIFT SWAPPING SYSTEMS. Employees should be allowed to trade shifts with co-workers (including those who work at different locations) so they can provide additional flexibility to each other.
  • WAIVE DISCIPLINE FOR EMPLOYEES WHO ARRIVE LATE TO WORK DUE TO TRANSPORTATION. Employees should not be penalized for our region’s transportation squeeze, including through the application of “points” in occurrence-based discipline systems, algorithmic management systems, and similar practices.
  • CONTRIBUTE TO EMPLOYEES’ TRANSPORTATION COSTS. Policies which make transit free to employees can greatly increase ridership, reducing traffic impacts for everyone.
  • AUDIT FOR COMPLIANCE WITH SEATTLE’S SECURE SCHEDULING ORDINANCE. Large food, coffee, and retail chains doing business within the city limits of Seattle are already obligated by law to provide advance notice, pay for on-call shifts, accommodate transportation-related scheduling needs, and more.
What gig economy companies can do:
  • ADJUST PAY ALGORITHMS TO GIVE MORE WEIGHT TO TIME SPENT ON A JOB. Short-distance trips may take far longer to complete than usual, so pay rates should reflect time spent on the job rather than distance traveled.
  • PROVIDE WORKERS THE ESTIMATED TIME INVOLVED IN A GIVEN JOB. Workers will need this information before choosing to accept or reject a job so they can avoid longer trips if they have family obligations or otherwise require flexibility.
  • DON’T PENALIZE WORKERS FOR DECLINING JOBS THAT DON’T WORK FOR THEM. Nobody should risk their livelihood because they choose not to take jobs requiring long trips during a period of maximum traffic constraint.
  • WAIVE APPLICATION OF CUSTOMER STAR RATINGS TO WORKERS’ EVALUATIONS. Some customers will express frustration with extended travel and delivery times through in-app ratings. Workers do not have control over these conditions, so these ratings should not be applied to decisions on discipline, terminate, or other evaluations.
  • ENSURE ACCESS TO COMPANY REPRESENTATIVES WHEN ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED. Workers should have a place to go to resolve the situation if there is a transportation-related problem with completing a job.

workers & forced arbitration agreements

About 60 million workers are covered by forced arbitration agreements which restrict their access to the courts and instead require labor rights claims to go to arbitration — but few people really know what arbitration looks like…  this eye-opening piece in Bloomberg .

The subject of the case may be a former Wall Street hotshot trying to collect on a $1 million bonus, but the details are nonetheless startling, and undoubtedly worth a closer look (as is the lovely illustration). Most memorable perhaps is the arbitrator who denied that he had fallen asleep but did allow that “it’s a challenge for any arbitrator to have to keep paying close attention” because “sometimes the witness is very repetitive.” But the kicker is the straightforwardness with which a corporate lawyer explains the benefits of this system: there are usually more employees than managers on juries, and “every employee hates their boss,” which affects their outlook on legal claims.