Selection from a typescript recording the proceedings of a meeting of the Yakama Indian Council held at White Swan, WA, July 1, 1910 (page 1).
Transcript of Council Proceedings: This example of treaty rights, treaty promises and the battles to keep them honored by all governments (state and federal) continues in all native nations. It is sad that such mistreatment by a nation that claims to be a harbor for freedom and equal rights has never since its birth treated the original people of these lands with truth and honor! Vivian M. Adams, Yakama
These comments regard encroachment onto tribal lands by the rail road. There was no discussion or notifying of tribal members that the railroad was going to cross Indian lands. The meeting was held so charges could be prepared against the Indian agent for fraudulently obtaining signatures for right of way for the Toppenish, Simcoe, and Western R.R.Here is something to contemplate in the following: Words were important, strong and binding. They held as truth in you as a person in the old days because we had no form of writing. If you spoke of anything, your words were taken to heart and when you proved to be true to your word, you were a good person, trusted and respected. What was documented in the following will give you insight into the belief of the importance and validity of the spoken word in Plateau minds during the early reservation times.At this council meeting, one of the speakers, Saluskin, asked McWhorter, "Will you stand by us in this business? We do not trust many of the whites, for they deceive us; you, we have always found true, and if you promise to stand by us, we believe that you will do so."People had been threatened and forced to sign for the R.R. right of way, some could not read and did not know what they had signed or were misled as to what they were signing.McWhorter replied..."In the presence of this council, I give Sluskin my hand that I will stand by you in this business..."Sluskin said they had four concerns..."We are under two authorities. You white people are living under one authority and we Indians are living under another..."Even if we are in the same country, under one sun and on one earth... we are separate. I do not like to be fooled when I know that no authority is looking after me. I refer to the authority placed over us when the treaty was made, when the streams, the mountains and the sun were called to witness that threaty. This authority has forgotten its promise."Judge Simpson commented then..."The government in a treaty with our fathers, made witnesses of the sun, the mountains and the rivers--that so long as these remain should this reservation be for them and their children...The sun has not grown dim, the mountains have not moved, the rivers still flow, but our reservation has changed, and is slipping away from us."These are the concerns our granfathers always spoke to the Great White Father about, but to this day has not found satisfaction in straight words, but must always go to the courts to argue and battle for rights promised in words and documents by the white man..McWhorter stated..."This government has made treaties with the Indian but break them at will. The words of Govenor Stevens calling the sun, the mountains and the rivers to witness that this reservation should be yours forever were not printed in the treaty. Your fathers were deceived. The white man creates such laws as are best suited for his own purposes...."The United States is strong and the Yakimas are weak. As a white man, I am ashamed of my race; as an Indian I advise you to do the best that you can and secure allotments for your children. Sell as little land as possible, but when you do sell, get all the money you can. So sure as yonder sun goes down, will your reservation be opened."There were so many concerns to speak of at this council, it is too lengthy to comment upon, but be certain it meant the care of the Indians, the land that remained in their ownership and the resources left. Vivian M. Adams, Yakama