The Spokanes in Council

Headquarters Expedition against Northern Indians
Camp on the Ned-whauld River, W. T.
Lat. 47 Deg., 24 Min. N.
September 24, 1858

I have the honor to submit a continuation of the history of my operations since the 21st, the date of my last communication (No. 18).

Marching from my camp on the morning of the 22d, at the distance of three miles we emerged from the woods onto the open prairie, and after pursuing a west-southwest course for eighteen miles over a rolling country thinly studded with pines we reached this place and encamped.

Before reaching here I was advised that the whole Spokane nation were at hand, with all their chiefs, headmen, and warriors, ready and willing to submit to such terms as I should dictate.

Yesterday at 10 o’clock a. m. I assembled the Indians in council, and after enumerating the crimes they had committed, I made the same demands upon them which had been made upon the Coeur d’Alenes.

Speeches were made by the principal chiefs. They acknowledged their crimes, and expressed great sorrow for what they had done, and thank fullness for the mercy extended to them. They stated that they were all ready to sign the treaty and comply in good faith with all its stipulations.

The chiefs Garey, Polothin, and Mil-kap-si were present; the first two are Spokane, the last is a Coeur d’Alenes. It will be recollected that each of those men wrote a letter to the general in August last. That of Mil-kap-si was particularly significant, haughty, and defiant in tone, and willing to make peace if we desired it, but unwilling to take the initiative. This man was not present when the treaty was made with the Coeur d’Alenes. Now he comes in and humbly asks for peace, and that he may be allowed to sign the treaty. I granted his request, but I took occasion before the whole council to remind him of his letter to General Clarke, and to say to him that we had not asked for peace.

Amongst this assemblage of Spokane Indians were representatives from the Calespelle and some other small bands, who stated that they had not engaged personally in the war, but that some of their young men had been in the fights. I did not make any special treaty with them, but told them that they might consider themselves on the same footing as the Spokane, so long as they refrained from war and conformed to the articles of the Spokane treaty.

The entire Spokane nation, chiefs, headmen, and warriors, expressed great joy that peace was re stored, and promised, before the Great Spirit, to remain our true friends forevermore. They have suffered, they have felt us in battle, and I have faith that they will keep their word.

Enclosed herewith are copies of the treaties made with the Coeur d’Alenes and Spokane.

I cannot close this communication without expressing my thanks to Father Joset, the superior of the Coeur d’Alene mission, for his zealous and unwearied exertions in bringing all these Indians to an understanding of their true position. For ten days and nights the father has toiled incessantly, and only left us this morning after witnessing the fruition of all his labors.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant
G. Wright, Colonel 9th Infantry
Major W. W. Mackall, Assistant Adjutant General,
Headquarters Department of the Pacific,
Fort Vancouver, W. T.

Manring, B. F. Conquest of the Coeur d'Alene, Spokane and Palouse Indians. The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 3 No. 2, 1912.

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