The Nation: So Long, 1792

There has always been a great deal of mutual suspicion in confrontations between American Indians and American officialdom, but there was also—at one time at least—considerable dignity and pride. That was in the early days of the Republic, when men like the great Seneca leader Red Jacket could lead a delegation of 50 chiefs to Philadelphia (as he did in 1792) to talk about tribal relations with another powerful sovereign, President George Washington.

The suspicion and distrust remain, but the dignity is fast fading—on both sides. The seizure of Alcatraz three years ago by a number of young militants was an early...

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