Oregon Militia Brings Battle Back to Malheur Reservation
Sarah Winnemucca isn’t a name known by many—her surname is more likely identified as a town in Nevada than the last name of one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent American Indian writers and activists. Author of Life Among the Piutes, one of the first published narratives by a Native American, she made frequent headlines for her vocal support of indigenous rights. One of her most long-lasting campaigns was to restore her people, the Northern Paiutes, to the Malheur Reservation, which was created in 1872 by the U.S. government. In January 1879, following the Bannock War, residents of the reservation were forced to travel 350 miles to the Yakama Indian Reservation after an ill-informed decision to punish the Northern Paiutes, many of whom had supported the US against the Bannocks in the War. Even the so-called “hostiles” in the war were motivated by the usual: colonialist land encroachment and resource exploitation.