September 30th is both Orange Shirt Day & National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, which promotes the awareness of U.S. Indian Boarding Schools by wearing orange on this day.
The day was born in Canada, when a residential school survivor told the story of wearing an orange shirt that her grandmother bought for her, and then having it stripped off of her when she arrived at a boarding school.
This day recognizes the loss of identity, culture, and language that many Indigenous children experienced in these institutions.
*Trigger warning: The following blog will talk about child abuse & child death.
Beginning with the Indian Civilization Act Fund of March 3, 1819 and the Peace Policy of 1869 the United States, in concert with and at the urging of several denominations of the Christian Church, adopted an Indian Boarding School Policy.
Between 1819 to 1969, the Federal Indian Boarding School system consisted of 408 Federal schools across 37 states or then-territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and 7 schools in Hawaii. Some individual Federal Indian boarding schools accounted for multiple sites. The 408 Federal Indian Boarding Schools accordingly comprised 431 specific sites.
These government-sponsored religious schools were implemented as part of a larger goal: to assimilate and absorb Indigenous people into the settler culture by systematically undermining the cultures and ways of life of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
Residential schools did this by disrupting families by taking away the children, thereby severing the intergenerational ties through which Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing and being are taught and sustained. Indigenous children as young as 3 years old were removed and isolated from their homes, families, traditions, cultures, and communities. They were forbidden from speaking their languages and forced to adopt Christian religious practices, and modes of thinking, behaving, and being.
At boarding schools, staff forced Indigenous students to cut their hair and use new, Anglo-American names. And by removing them from their homes, the schools disrupted students’ relationships with their families and other members of their tribe.
On top of that, many children faced other forms of abuse including physical, emotional, & sexual abuse.
In 2015, the Orange Shirt Society was formed to create awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools with the purpose of supporting Indian Residential School Reconciliation and promoting the truth that every child matters. The Orange Shirt Society is a non-profit organization based in Williams Lake, BC where Orange Shirt Day was first honored in 2013.
Orange Shirt Day was created out of Phyllis’ story.
In 1973, when Phyllis (Jack) Webstad (Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation) was six years old, she was sent to the Mission School near Williams Lake, BC. Her first memory of her first day at the Mission School was that of having her own clothes taken away – including a brand new orange shirt given to her by her grandmother.
In 2013, Phyllis attended the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake. At this event, Phyllis shared her story with those in attendance – and Orange Shirt Day was born.
The September 30th date was chosen because it was the time of year in which children were taken from their homes and families to residential schools, and the date now provides an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the current school year.
Many children never returned home and their fates have yet to be accounted for by the U.S. government. In recent years, efforts to raise awareness about the legacy of boarding schools have gained momentum with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland – the nation’s first Native American to serve as cabinet secretary – who launched an initiative to investigate the boarding schools.
The Interior Department’s initial investigation found that 19 boarding schools accounted for the deaths of more than 500 American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children but noted the number of recorded deaths was expected to rise.
Indigenous communities are currently undergoing a complex and ongoing process of healing after decades of Indian Boarding Schools. The trauma inflicted by these institutions has had deep and lasting effects on individuals, families, and entire communities. Healing is a multifaceted journey that encompasses several key aspects:
- Cultural Revival: Indigenous communities are working diligently to reclaim, preserve, and revitalize their traditional languages, customs, and spiritual practices. This process is essential for reconnecting with their cultural heritage, which was often forcibly suppressed during the boarding school era.
- Truth and Reconciliation: Truth and reconciliation commissions have been established in various countries, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Canada. These initiatives aim to provide a platform for survivors to share their stories and experiences, while also seeking acknowledgment, apologies, and redress from the government and church institutions responsible for the schools.
- Community Support: Indigenous communities are strengthening their support systems, both internally and externally. Mental health services, counseling, and community healing circles provide safe spaces for survivors and their descendants to share their feelings and experiences and seek emotional support.
- Education and Awareness: Advocacy for accurate and inclusive education is a significant part of the healing process. Indigenous communities, along with allies, are working to ensure that the history of Indian Boarding Schools and their impact is integrated into school curricula. This helps promote understanding and empathy among future generations.
- Inter-Generational Healing: Many Indigenous communities are addressing the intergenerational trauma passed down from boarding school survivors to their descendants. Healing ceremonies, storytelling, and cultural activities play a vital role in this process.
- Legal Actions and Restorative Justice: Some Indigenous communities are pursuing legal actions to seek justice and restitution for the harm caused by Indian Boarding Schools. These actions aim to hold responsible institutions accountable for their actions.
- Empowerment and Resilience: Indigenous communities are celebrating their resilience and strength in the face of adversity. By highlighting their achievements, talents, and contributions to society, they counteract negative stereotypes and narratives.
Learning about Orange Shirt Day and the generational trauma endured by Indigenous people attending Indian Boarding Schools is not just a matter of historical significance; it is an essential step toward acknowledging our shared past, fostering empathy, and working towards a more inclusive and just future. By understanding the profound impact these schools had on Indigenous communities and by actively engaging in conversations and education around this painful chapter in history, we can contribute to the process of healing, reconciliation, and building stronger, more compassionate societies.
The current 2018 Farm Bill is expiring on September 30th and members of Congress in the House and Senate are continuing to develop their drafts for its renewal as the government works to avoid a shutdown.
The Farm Bill sets policy for agriculture, forest health, food aid programs, conservation, and other areas overseen by the Department of Agriculture.
Many agriculture and advocacy groups over these past few months have convened listening sessions and voiced their concerns and hopes for the future Farm Bill. Some are hoping the new bill will include boosted support for environmental programs, like paying farmers to develop land conservation plans and incentivizing practices like cover crops to promote soil health.
If Congress fails to pass a new bill by Jan. 1, 2024,
some programs will revert back to 1940s-era policy
that, among other things, would see the U.S. Department of Agriculture buying dairy products off the market, driving up consumer prices.
Who writes the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is authored by members of Congress on the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
What is not included in the Farm Bill?
There are several policy areas that are not included in the Farm Bill. Some of these include farm and food workers’ rights and protections; public land grazing rights; Food and Drug Administration food safety; renewable fuels standards; the Clean Water Act; and tax issues.
What programs are covered by the Farm Bill?
In addition to SNAP, the Farm Bill covers programs that assist with:
• Prices and income support for farmers who raise widely produced and traded non-perishable crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice.
• Natural resource conservation efforts on working lands, as well as land retirement and easement.
• Federal loans
• Community and rural business
• Farm and food research, education, and extension for federal labs and state university-affiliated research groups
• Forest conservation
• Renewable energy systems
• Crop insurance
What will this Farm Bill look like?
The Congressional Budget Office’s recently released May 2023 baselines for USDA Mandatory Farm Programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) confirming that the 2023 Farm Bill, upon enactment, could potentially be the first trillion-dollar Farm Bill in U.S. history.
Total outlays across SNAP and mandatory farm programs for fiscal years 2024 to 2033 are projected at $1.51 Trillion. Compared to the cost of the 2018 farm bill at enactment of $867 billion, the 2023 Farm Bill will represent a $640 billion or 74% increase in spending – primarily driven by increases in SNAP outlays.
What’s currently happening?
The House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill are currently being written by their respective agricultural committees. Though marker bills continue to be introduced, the initial phase of Farm Bill drafting is coming to a close. Once they finish writing their separate versions of the bill, the House and Senate Agriculture Committees will debate, amend and vote on their drafts. Then, these drafts will be brought to each full chamber to be debated and amended.
The new 2023 Farm Bill holds immense potential for shaping the future of our agriculture industry.
As we eagerly anticipate its enactment, we must remain actively engaged, advocating for policies that prioritize innovation, environmental stewardship, and fair market conditions.
Additional Farm Bill Resources
With the end of Plastic Free July, we wanted to give a quick recap of how it impacted the Davis Food Co-op
As you can see in the charts below:
- We reduced the number of plastic products carried at the Co-op by 2.2% in the month of July, compared to the month of June.
- Plastic product sales decreased by 2.1% for the month of July, compared to the month of June.
- For our Fiscal Year of 2023, we have reduced the number of plastic products carried by 0.6% compared to FY 2022.
- For our Fiscal Year of 2022, plastic product sales have decreased by 12.5% compared to FY 2022.
For the month of July, we offered 2X rewards for Owners who purchased items from the Bulk Department.
Owners increased their bulk purchases for the month of July by 106.44%, compared to 2022.
Research shows that 88% of participants made one or more changes that have become new habits and a way of life.
The Davis Food Co-op encourages customers to go beyond the month of July and continue their plastic-free journey.
By consistently making seemingly small changes, we accumulate significant impacts over time.
National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration that takes place across the United States to honor and promote the importance of farmers markets in local communities. This week-long event typically occurs in early to mid-August and is a time to recognize the vital role that farmers markets play in supporting local farmers, connecting consumers with fresh, locally-grown produce, and fostering community engagement.
In the heart of Davis, California, lies a vibrant and cherished institution that has stood the test of time—the Davis Farmers Market. As we celebrate National Farmers Market Week, we delve into the fascinating history of this local gem.
Definition of Farmers Markets
The USDA defines it as: “a multi-stall market at which farmer-producers sell agricultural products directly to the general public at a central or fixed location, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables (but also meat products, dairy products, and/or grains).”
History of Farmers Markets
Farmers markets date all the way back to Egypt over 5,000 years ago. Farmers along the Nile came together to sell their fresh produce.
The first farmers market in the United States opened in 1634 in Boston, Massachusetts. Many markets began following: Hartford in 1643, New York City by 1686, and Philadelphia in 1693, to name a few.
During the 1700s, 1800s, and the first half or so of the 1900s, grocery stores gained in popularity; consequently, interest in farmers markets fell. During the late 1970s, a peach harvest surplus inspired lawmakers to allow farmers markets in California.
The seeds of the Davis Farmers Market were sown in the late 1960s and early 1970s when five individuals—Martin Barnes, Jeff & Annie Main, Henry Esbenshade, and Ann Evans—found themselves united through friendship, political activism, and their studies at UC Davis. Under the mentorship of UC Davis rural sociologist Isao Fujimoto and his Alternatives in Agricultural Research Project, they developed a shared passion for sustainable agriculture and community-driven initiatives. In 1976, the trio of Henry Esbenshade, Martin Barnes, and Annie Main received approval from the Davis City Council to establish the Davis Farmers Market in Central Park.
Bolstered by the support of the Davis Food Co-op, which promised to buy any produce that farmers couldn’t sell, they embarked on a mission to connect local farmers directly with consumers.
Alongside the market’s growth, farmers and consumers began advocating for changes in State regulations that limited direct marketing of food. The efforts of individuals like Davis Farmers Market board member Les Portello contributed to the state Department of Food and Agriculture adopting regulations that created the nation’s first Certified Farmers’ Markets.
These new regulations enabled farmers to sell their products directly to consumers without strict size and packaging requirements, as long as they met minimum quality standards and operated in a market certified by the county agricultural commissioner.
This significant development further bolstered the Davis Farmers Market’s mission of supporting local farmers and promoting sustainable agriculture.
To this day, there are over 100 vendors at the Davis Farmers Market, where you can find fruits and vegetables, a variety of meats and seafood, nuts, wine, local eggs and honey, fresh-baked goods, plants, flowers and gifts. Today, the market serves between 7,000 and 10,000 people a week with more than 70 percent of the vendors coming from within a one-hour drive from farm to market.
The current schedule for the Davis Farmers Market:
Saturdays 8am-1pm, year-round, rain or shine!
Wednesdays 4-8pm for Picnic in the Park (mid-May through mid-September)
Wednesdays 3-6pm (mid-September through mid-May)
Today, along with their children, Annie and Jeff run Good Humus Produce, which can be found at the Market every Saturday.
Their eight and a half acre farm is made up of orchards, California native hedgerows, flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Beyond their produce they also make jams and jellies with their own fruits and herbs, floral arrangements and wreaths with their flowers, and they also make tons of dry fruit using the natural California sun.
You can find their products at the Davis Food Co-op & they also have their own Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook
Written by Ann Evans, this revised editon of the Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, which celebrates the Market’s 40th anniversary, focuses on the second generation of farmers and vendors. Ann Evans speaks of the importance of Farmers Markets, farmers, and the joys of cooking seasonally.
You can find this book available at the Co-op and online
As we commemorate National Farmers Market Week, let us recognize and celebrate the remarkable history of the Davis Farmers Market and the invaluable contributions it continues to make to the community.
Find more information about the Davis Farmers Market here
We believe that taking care of yourself and the planet can go hand in hand. Below are five easy, zero waste self-care recipes that can be easily added to your daily routine.
• 4 tbsp organic cocoa butter
• 2 tbsp pure refined organic shea butter
• 1 and a half tsp safflower oil
• 1 ½ tbsp tapioca starch
• 5-15 drops of essential oil(s) of your choice
1. Melt the cocoa butter and shea butter on low heat.
2. Then, add the safflower oil and the tapioca starch, and mix well.
3. Once the mixture cools down, add your preferred essential oil. (To cool it down faster, you can transfer it to another container or add it to the fridge for 5 minutes)
4. Next, pour the mixture into a silicone mold, or if you don’t have it, you can use metal tins.**
5. Put in the freezer for an hour and a half (or a bit longer, if you put it in the fridge), and then take out of the silicone mold/tins.
• ** Make sure to line the tins with paper, so you can easily take the lotion bars out, once they get solid.
• It’s best to store it in a tin, in the fridge.
• This recipe makes 2 medium bars or 3 smaller. Adjust recipe as needed.
Caffeine Eye Serum
• 1/4 cup ground organic coffee
• 1/3 cup sweet almond oil
• 2 Tbsp castor oil
• dropper bottle
• cheesecloth or nut milk bag
1. Combine the sweet almond oil and the coffee in a glass jar.
2. Cover with a lid and let sit on the counter for a week to infuse.
3. Using your cheesecloth or nut milk bag (that’s what I used), strain the infused oil into a bowl, you might have some small coffee residue that gets through and that’s just fine.
4. Add the castor oil to the bowl and stir to combine.
5. Use a funnel to pour the oil into your dropper or roller ball bottle.
If you use a roller ball, store it in the fridge so the roller ball gets cold and then use it as needed for puffiness — the cold ball will increase effects! Perfect to use first thing in the morning!
Rose Water Toner
• Organic rose petals (4 stems total)
• 1.5 liters of distilled water
1. Remove petals from stems and run them under lukewarm water to remove any leftover residue.
2. Add petals to a large pot and top with enough distilled water to just cover (no more or you’ll dilute your rosewater).
3. Over medium-low heat, bring the water to a simmer and cover.
4. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until petals have lost their color.
5. Strain the mixture into a large bowl to separate the petals from the water.
6. Discard petals and pour water in a clean glass jar to store.
7. Add rose water to a spray bottle and spray mist directly onto face throughout the day or use a reusable cotton round to remove dirt and other residue.
• 2 Tbsp Fractionated Coconut Oil
• 1 Tsp Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap – Unscented Baby
• Few Drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional)
• 1/3 Cup Distilled Water
• Reusable Cotton Rounds
• Small Glass Jar (I like a wide-mouth pint-sized mason jar!)
Add ingredients in glass jar and Shake.
Boom, done! Shake jar right before each use.
• Some folks find that coconut oil can clog their pores, so feel free to swap that out with jojoba oil.
• I prefer to use rose scented Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. Rose is gentle and hydrating for the skin and it smells delicious!
• Keep your reusable cotton rounds in the container so they are ready to go or simply dunk one when you are ready to use the cleanser.
• You can also add a few of your favorite essential oil drops. Lavender, rose, jasmine, and/or chamomile are great for sensitive skin.
• 2 1/2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
• 2 1/2 tbsp unrefined shea butter
• 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour
• 1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
• 10 drops lavender essential oil
• 2 drop tea tree essential oil (optional)*
1. Place coconut oil and shea butter in a glass bowl or jar and place the bowl/jar inside a medium sauce pan.
2. Add water to the saucepan (enough to surround bowl/jar but not to overflow it) and bring to a boil.
3. As water is heating up, stir coconut oil and shea butter and continue to do so until it melts.
4. Once melted, add in arrowroot starch, baking soda and essential oils.
5. Place in a small glass jar (or pour into empty deodorant stick(s)) and allow to cool at room temp or in fridge until it’s reached a solid state.
6. Cover with lid until use.
7. Spoon out a pea-sized amount with a wooden scoop or with fingers and rub between fingers before applying directly to underarms.
If this is your first time around using natural deodorant, your armpits may require an adjustment period while making the switch. Start by using this DIY Natural Deodorant 1-2 days a week and slowly increase.
Find all of these ingredients at the Davis Food Co-op!
Foraging has been around since the existence of humankind. What began as a universal necessity later became an indicator of socioeconomic status, as those with fewer financial resources resorted to foraging to put food on the table.
The way we obtain food nowadays is very different. In industrialized countries like the United States, most people get their food from grocery stores or food delivery services.
Over the last decade, interest in foraging has grown as people seek new, nutritious, and flavorful ingredients, as sustainability advocates explore ways of breaking their dependence on industrial agriculture, and as Indigenous communities and other groups work to revive traditional practices.
• “To wander in search of food or provisions.”
• “To search for a particular food or foods, often in the wild.”
Foraging can be done during any season, but you will find different plants/herbs to harvest during the different seasons. It can be a rewarding practice and can be done almost anywhere, including urban areas. *
*Note that in urban areas, there could be a higher risk for pollutants and contaminants, so be cautious when foraging in those areas, ensuring that the items are well washed before consuming.
My favorite time to forage will always be during the summer. The weather makes it more enjoyable to be out in the elements looking for the plants and herbs.
I was able to get my first experience of true foraging a few years ago during the Kid’s Lakota Summer camps I participated in as a mentor, in South Dakota. Strawberries, blackberries, wild peas, sage, mint, chokecherries, and turnip (Thíŋpsiŋla in Lakota) were just some of the many abundant plants we were able to locate and harvest.
If you are new to foraging and want to explore it, here are some tips to help you get started below:
Learn to accurately identify your plants/herbs and wild mushrooms. Never rely on one single characteristic like bloom or leaf for identification. Use three or more points of ID. Consider color, leaf, bloom, stem, fruit, bark/branches, fragrance, location, life cycle of the plant, soil conditions, and/or spore print (for mushrooms).
Think about potential contaminants:
Don’t eat anything that may have been treated or from near sources of pollution. Try to find foods as far from human activity as possible when out and about in the countryside or the wilds. Washing foods can help reduce pollutants.
If you are allowed to forage, never take more than you need. Wherever possible, leave root systems in place, taking only small, sustainable amounts so the plants can continue to grow and wildlife can still have sufficient amounts for that season. Try to only forage from abundant wild food sources.
Tools to help Forage
- Gloves: These help with prickly plants like stinging nettle, rosebushes, and wild berry bushes. Gloves also prevent you from any allergic reaction in the chance you touch something poisonous or something you may not know you are allergic to.
- Clippers/Pruners: Having a hand tool like this one can help save a lot of time from hand picking certain items and can even allow you to collect things in bunches rather than one at a time.
- A Digging Trowel: A portable digging towel or shovel is also good to have if you’ll be harvesting mushrooms or plants from the ground, helping you loosen the roots of foraged finds.
- Basket(s)/Bag(s): Having a designated basket or bag to keep your harvested items in allows you to get more than what you would be able to collect if you didn’t have anything on you. Or it would save time from you going back and forth to your car or whatever way of transportation you took to get to that location.
- Plant Identification App: There are many apps out there nowadays that can help you identify plants if you are uncertain about them. While this can be a helpful tool, it should NOT be something you solely rely on due to possibilities of it being inaccurate. This is especially true when there are safe plants that look very similar to ones that are toxic/poisonous.
Finally, remember the golden rule of foraging: “Don’t eat what you don’t know.”
If you aren’t 100% sure that a food is safe to eat, leave it alone.
Memorial Day, a solemn day of remembrance in the United States, holds deep historical significance as a time to honor those who have sacrificed their lives in military service. The first national observance of Memorial Day occurred on May 30, 1868. Then known as “Decoration Day”, the holiday was proclaimed by Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic to honor the Union soldiers who had died in the Civil War.
While the origins of this commemoration lie in the aftermath of the American Civil War, it is essential to recognize the often-overlooked contributions and impact of Indigenous peoples during this pivotal period.
This blog post explores and sheds light on the “Five Civilized Tribes” and events that took place throughout the Civil War.
Approximately 20,000 Native Americans served in the Union and Confederate armies. Tribes included: the Delaware, Muscogee Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Kickapoo, Seneca, Osage, Shawnee, Choctaw, Lumbee, Chickasaw, Iroquois, Powhatan, Pequot, Ojibwa, Huron, Odawa, Potawatomi, Catawba, and Pamunkey.
The Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Catawba, and Creek tribes were the only tribes to fight on the Confederate side.
By the 1830s, Andrew Jackson had removed many Native Americans from their lands in the southern United States. Most tribes were relocated into the Midwest in what was labeled “Indian Territory,” as they were promised by the government to be given land and to be considered nations of their own.
For Native Americans, fighting alongside the white man was seen as an opportunity to gain recognition and support from the prevailing government. They believed that participating in the war effort would restore Native lands and rights.
The term “Five Civilized Tribes” was applied by European Americans in the colonial and early federal period in the history of the United States to the five major Indigenous Tribes in the Southeast—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, and Seminoles.
Americans of European descent classified them as “civilized” because they had adopted attributes of the Anglo-American culture. Examples of such colonial attributes adopted by these five tribes included Christianity, centralized governments, literacy, market participation, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and chattel slavery practices, including purchase of enslaved African Americans. For a period, the Five Civilized Tribes tended to maintain stable political relations with the European Americans, before the United States promoted Indian removal of these tribes from the Southeast.
The Seminole Nation
The Seminole in the American Civil War were found in both the Trans-Mississippi and Western Theaters. The Seminole Nation in the Trans-Mississippi Theater had split alliances.
However, the majority of the tribe in the Western territories joined the Union Army under the leadership of Sonuk Miikko (commonly known as Billy Bowlegs). Sonuk formally enlisted in the Union Army as a captain in May 1862 and was assigned command of Company A of the First Indian Home Guards.
Others, such as John Jumper (pictured left), supported the Confederacy. When the Civil War broke out, Chief Jumper reluctantly agreed to sign an alliance with the Confederate States of America. He also enlisted in the Confederate Army, first serving as a major in the First Battalion Seminole Mounted Rifles, and as lieutenant colonel of the First Regiment Seminole Volunteers. He led these troops in the battles of Round Mountain, Chusto-Talasah, Middle Boggy, and Second Cabin Creek
After the War ended, the Seminole Indians became reclusive and their history was obscured.
The Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation was divided, with one side led by Principal Chief John Ross and the other by Stand Watie.
John Ross was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 to 1866. Fearing that joining the Confederacy would void the earlier Cherokee treaties with the United States, Ross tried to persuade his people to remain neutral in the conflict, but eventually most chose sides. At a general assembly on August 21, 1861, Ross ended his speech by announcing that in the interests of tribal and inter-Indian unity it was time to agree on an alliance with the Confederate States of America.
Stand Watie was the only Native American to rise to a Confederate brigadier-general’s rank during the war. Watie took part in what is considered to be the greatest (and most famous) Confederate victory in Indian Territory, the Second Battle of Cabin Creek, which took place in what is now Mayes County, Oklahoma on September 19, 1864. The Confederate Army put Watie in command of the Indian Division of Indian Territory in February 1865. By then, however, the Confederates were no longer able to fight in the territory effectively. On June 23, 1865, at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation (now Oklahoma), Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives for his command. He was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender.
The Cherokee Nation was considered the most negatively affected of all Native American tribes during the Civil War, its population declining from 21,000 to 1,500 by 1865. Despite the Federal government’s promise to pardon all Cherokee involved with the Confederacy, the entire Nation was considered disloyal, and those rights were revoked.
The Chickasaw Nation was the first of the Five Civilized Tribes to become allies of the Confederate States of America. In addition, they resented the United States government, which had forced them off their lands and failed to protect them against the Plains tribes in the West. In 1861, as tensions rose related to the sectional conflict, the US Army abandoned Fort Washita, leaving the Chickasaw Nation defenseless against the Plains tribes. Confederate officials recruited the American Indian tribes with suggestions of an Indian state if they were victorious in the Civil War.
Because the Chickasaw sided with the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, they had to forfeit some of their land afterward.
The Choctaw in the American Civil War participated in two major arenas—the Trans-Mississippi and Western Theaters. The Trans-Mississippi had the Choctaw Nation. The Western had the Mississippi Choctaw. The Choctaw Nation had been mostly removed west prior to the War, but the Mississippi Choctaw had remained in the east. Both the Choctaw Nation and the Mississippi Choctaw would ultimately side with the Confederate States of America.
There are several possibilities why they sided with the Confederacy:
1. They believed the United States was on the verge of collapse.
2. They were neglected by the United States.
3. A majority of Mississippi Choctaw soldiers were conscripted into service.
4. Some Choctaw may have been enticed to side with the Confederacy as a possible solution to their land grant problems.
5. Financial incentives including fifty dollar bounty to those who enrolled with the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.
The Choctaws continued their support for the Confederacy until its collapse.
Muscogee Creek Nation
At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Opothleyahola, a Muscogee Creek Indian Chief, was among the minority of Creek in Indian Territory who supported the Union. Because of rising conflict within the tribe, he led his followers to Kansas as a refuge. They engaged in three battles against the opposition along the way. Their journey became known as the Trail of Blood on Ice, because the people suffered harsh conditions.
Because many Muscogee Creek people did support the Confederacy during the Civil War, the US government required a new treaty with the nation in 1866 to define peace after the war.
At the end of the war, it was General Ely S. Parker, a member of the Seneca tribe, who drafted the articles of surrender that General Robert E. Lee signed at Appomattox Court House.
Ely S Parker was born in 1828 in Genesee City, New York, as a Seneca, although much of his life was spent straddling two cultures. Parker acquired knowledge of his grandfather’s Iroquoian religion, while he was educated at the local Baptist school. Raised and educated in two cultures, he was a trained attorney and a self-taught engineer. While a captain of engineers with the Rochester regiment of the New York State Militia, he was also a “sachem,” one of the honored positions in his tribe and active in Tonawanda affairs.
Despite being barred from practicing law and receiving an initial rejection from military service because of his race, Parker rose to General Ulysses S. Grant’s staff. In 1863, with Grant’s support, he was commissioned as a staff officer for Brig. Gen. John E. Smith.
The involvement of Native American tribes, including the Five Civilized Tribes, in the Civil War was a complex and nuanced aspect of this historic conflict. The divisions within tribes, such as the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole Nations, reflect the challenges faced by Indigenous communities during this turbulent period. While their impact on the overall war effort was limited, the consequences of their involvement had lasting effects on their communities and their relationships with the U.S. government. Understanding the role of Native American tribes, including the Five Civilized Tribes, in the Civil War provides valuable insights into the broader complexities of this significant chapter in American history.
If you’re like me, you struggle to keep any plant alive no matter how hard you try. Even if it claims to be the most resilient plant, I still found a way to kill it in about 3 days or less. Well, fear not, fellow plant killers! This year, I made it my mission to become a plant whisperer, one way or another. After shedding a tear or two over my failed attempts with two string of pearl plants that never survived (sobs), having known that they were a difficult plant to take care of, I embarked on a journey of serious research. My mission: to discover plants that are not only adorable but also beginner-friendly.
So if you are looking for recommendations, below are 10 plants that are suitable for beginners.
For owners with cats or dogs, I have also listed for each plant whether or not they are safe for your household.
These succulents produce stunning rosettes with plump leaves that can come in a wide variety of colors. And they are fairly low maintenance.
They like lots of bright light, though direct afternoon sun can burn the leaves. And they need well-draining soil.
Water when the soil has mostly dried out.
Pet Safety: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.
Aloe is quite tolerant of drought, so it won’t suffer if you forget to water it.
It likes bright, indirect light so a window could be a perfect spot for it. Aloe Vera needs water when the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry.
Water it once a week, or twice depending on how hot it is.
Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
They like plenty of light, but they can handle less if necessary. And they are not too particular about watering, as long as it is not too much.
Water it once a week during the spring and summer and only once every two to three weeks during the fall and winter.
Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
Lucky bamboo, also known as the Ribbon plant, is a popular houseplant often seen in homes and offices. Despite its name, it’s not bamboo but a member of the Asparagus family. They can make wonderful gift plants, and many people believe they bring good luck and enhance the chi, or energy, of their surroundings.
Lucky bamboo does best in indirect sunlight and humid conditions, making it an excellent plant for bathrooms or kitchens.
In general, lucky bamboo should be watered once a week.
Pet Safety: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.
Needing only medium to low light, this plant can pretty much take care of itself. The money plant produces offshoots that sprout from the the stem’s base, which means you get free new money plants!
Water your money tree once every one to two weeks. Always check the soil and water the plant thoroughly if the soil feels dry.
Pet Safety: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.
The prayer plant gets its name because its leaves remain flat during the day, but then at night they fold up like hands praying.
This plant enjoys low-light and humid environments. So your bathroom might be the perfect place for it, where there is frequent warm, damp air.
You should water your prayer plant once every one or two weeks or whenever the soil feels dry.
Pet Safety: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.
It features deep green, oval leaves on woody stems. It’s a relatively hands-off plant, just make sure it has bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.
Water more frequently in the spring and summer than the fall and winter, making sure the soil is never soggy.
Pet Safety: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.
The fishbone cactus features unique angled and toothed stems—hence another one of its common names, the zig zag cactus. It’s a tropical species that can handle more humidity and less sun than typical desert cacti.
Give it bright, indirect light, and water when the top 2 inches of soil have dried out.
The holiday cactus is beloved for its bright blooms that appear in the late fall and early winter. It is actually a rainforest plant, meaning it needs more water than desert cacti.
Water when the soil is dry about 2 inches down. It’s also not picky about its soil, as long as it has good drainage. And it does well if you have a window with bright, indirect light.
Pet Safety: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.
Philodendron species tend to have large, glossy leaves. There are both vining and non-climbing types. Keep them in a fairly warm and humid environment, and shield them from strong direct light.
Water when the top inch or so of soil has dried out.
Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
How many houseplants should I start with?
If you’re a beginner when it comes to houseplants, it’s ideal to start with just 1-3 plants that have similar growing needs (trust me, I know how hard it is to resist filling your whole space with plants). That way, you can easily work them into your routine and not have to consider any individualized care.