Editorial: Lewis and Clark not kind to Natives

"In September 1804, Lewis and Clark encountered a Sioux war party that wanted the explorers to pay a toll for passing upstream on the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark refused, and weapons were drawn. After a tense stand-off, the Sioux let them pass, even though they easily could have wiped out the explorers' party right there.

Clark wrote about that incident by describing the Sioux who had spared him as "the vilest miscreants of a savage race." His post-expedition service as the territorial superintendent of Indian affairs is said to have set the tone for cruel government treatment of native peoples, who were mercilessly and systematically robbed of their lives, land and culture.

In October 1809, Lewis � his health failing, embattled with Washington bureaucrats over the future of the Louisiana Territory and descending into madness � committed suicide by shooting himself.

How large a role these dramatic events are going to play in the bicentennial celebration is debatable. But without including large doses of the unpleasant truth, the celebration threatens to be little more than sanitized boosterism in service of a discredited legend."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Tell whole Lewis and Clark story (The Corvallis Gazette-Times 12/1)

Relevant Links:
Chinook Nation - http://www.chinooknation.org

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