This book, written from the point of view of the American Indians who tried to defend their land from the white men, highlights the lives and deeds of some of the most important Indian chiefs from the earliest Iroquois and Algonquins in 17th century New England, to the flight of the Nez Perces under Chief Joseph. Piskaret, King Philip, Pontiac, Logan and Cornstalk, Little Turtle, Tecumseh, Black-hawk, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull are some of the Chiefs whose stories are told here.
Alas! for them, their day is o'er,
Their fires are out on hill and shore;
No more for them the wild dear bounds,
The plough is on their hunting grounds;
The pale man's axe rings through their woods,
The pale man's sail skims o'er their floods,
Their pleasant springs are dry!
When the white race came into the country of the red race, the red race long had had their own ways of living and their own code of right and wrong. They were red, but they were thinking men and women, not mere animals.
The white people brought their ways, which were different from the Indians' ways. So the two races could not live together.
To the white people, many methods of the Indians were wrong; to the Indians, many of the white people's methods were wrong. The white people won the rulership, because they had upon their side a civilization stronger than the loose civilization of the red people, and were able to carry out their plans.
The white Americans formed one nation, with one language; the red Americans formed many nations, with many languages.
The Indian fought as he had always fought, and ninety-nine times out of one hundred he firmly believed that he was enforcing the right. The white man fought after his own custom and sometimes after the Indian's custom also; and not infrequently he knew that he was enforcing a wrong.
Had the Indians been enabled to act all together, they would have held their land, just as the Americans of today would hold their land against the invader.
Of course, the Indian was not wholly right, and the white man was not wholly wrong. There is much to be said, by either, and there were brave chiefs and warriors on both sides.
This book is written according to the Indian's view of matters, so that we may be better acquainted with his thoughts. The Indians now living do not apologize for what their fathers and grandfathers did. A man who defends what he believes are his rights is a patriot, whether they really are his rights, or not.