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The Good Indian? 

by KEVIN TAYLOR & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & " & lt;/span & ... I had two hearts and have had two hearts ever since ... " & r & & r & This is the heart of a quote from a man who was thrust by fate into the gristmill of change when two races, two cultures, two wildly disparate ways of living on Earth ground against each other like millstones right here in Spokane.





And with two hearts, well, there's twice the loss.





In a city that doesn't often recognize its indigenous past, a conflicted Spokane Indian who was born nearly 200 years ago stands at the crossroads of race relations yet again.





When a statue erected in honor of Spokane Garry was jack-hammered to the ground and hauled away to a dump earlier this year, Indians around town reacted sharply.





The statue had been repeatedly vandalized and damaged by weather over the years. But the sense of anger grew as it became clear the city had no plans to seek a replacement artwork of Garry and instead erected on his previous spot an abstract sculpture of a totem pole it got for free from the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.





That the sculptor was white added a little more sting, a number of Indians have said. The sculptor, David Govedare, joined his voice to the chorus of displeasure, telling The Inlander that he was never told his piece, "Totem Ascension," was going to be used in such a manner, adding that it was hardly appropriate in Chief Garry Park.





The furor caught the attention of an 8-year-old girl who had just written a report on Garry for her third-grade history class. Victoria Schauer wrote a letter to the mayor that said, in part, "It makes me sad how he (Garry) was treated and I think we need to have a new and improved statue of him in his park and more mention of him throughout Spokane."





She put the letter in an envelope along with $5 of her allowance money and sent it to City Hall to start a fund for a new statue. As for her wish for more mention throughout Spokane ...





"Indians are invisible in Spokane, still invisible," says Sherman Alexie, a Spokane (and Coeur d'Alene) tribal member who grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation at Wellpinit.





Charlene Teters, like Alexie, is a Spokane tribal member and an artist. She has taught at universities around the country and now is on the faculty of the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, N.M. When she was growing up in the city, "I remember at Shadle I was one of only two Indians in the school -- and the other was my brother.





"It was like we were secrets," she says. "People would try to guess, 'Are you Italian? Are you Japanese?' They usually never guessed Indians. It never dawned on them that we were still around."





Victoria Schauer's donation in late May sparked the creation of a committee appointed by Mayor Mary Verner to discuss a new Garry artwork. Her gesture also came to the attention of Jon Osterberg in Seattle, a media relations guy with Pemco Insurance and history buff familiar with Garry. Osterberg convinced company executives to kick in $15,000 as seed money to help raise funds for a new statue or a bronze bust.





The Inlander has been seeking ideas for a Garry piece from several notable artists in the area. Strikingly, all three submitted by Indian artists are not representational at all, but speak instead to the culture.





One design includes the word Indian in steel. "It's just the idea that hey, we're here, you know? And you have to drive by the word Indian every day," artist Ric Gendron says of his design.





"Every time I go home I go back into invisibility," Teters says. "I sort of joke that most people there don't know there are Spokane Indians who are not the baseball team."





In the manner of the Cheshire Cat, the question hangs hazily before us: Who was Garry? How do we find him through all the different lenses and distortions with which we view the past?





For example, George Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company recalls seeing Garry in 1841, a decade after his Christian education at a fur company mission.





He was appalled, Simpson writes, to see Garry playing cards, eagerly thumbing "the black and greasy pasteboard ... relapsed into his original barbarism."





A more likely view, retorts Jeanne Givens, a great-great-great granddaughter of Garry's who now lives in Bellevue: "He was being an Indian. Gambling and having fun is real Indian.





"I think Garry had to walk such a fine line. In order to be effective [keeping peace and negotiating for a homeland] he had to remain Indian," Givens says.





So once again, 116 years after he died, Garry stands at the junction of indigenous and Western cultures, connecting the back then and the right now in a way he would never have imagined. But ultimately, should the new artwork represent him or his people?





Spokane Garry had a life like a roller coaster with plenty of ups and downs. His death has been like that, too.


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & H & lt;/span & e was once a pivotal figure in treaty talks with governors, generals and other dignitaries stopping by to chat him up or have a cup of coffee (he always had coffee beans and sugar on hand).





By the time he was 81, however, Garry's star had faded and he was shriveling away in a tepee pitched in Indian Canyon, "pining away on his couch of skins," a newspaper wrote, where he died at 1 in the morning on January 13, 1892, according to his death return, which lists the cause of death as "congestion of the lungs."





So even his ornate headstone (donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1925) is wrong, giving the date of his death as Jan. 12.





Garry's funeral and burial in a pauper's grave was held Jan. 16, according to the Jan. 15 editions of The Spokesman, which appears to have the most accurate account among local newspapers of the day.





Garry died on a day like many January days in Spokane -- cold, dismal and likely overcast. National Weather Service records indicate he died in the middle of cold snap with snowfall.





The weather broke on the 15th, temperatures rising to 37 degrees, and his funeral was written up as something of a spectacle:





"Old Garry is Dead," cries the headline, "Gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds of the Great Beyond." The article says, "nearly all the members of the now-meager tribe were present," along with "a number of ladies and gentlemen of the paleface race."





All were heart-struck, it seems, when Garry's aged and blind widow, Nina, "was led up to the coffin and as she passed her hands over the familiar features and smoothed the long, gray hair for the last time tears coursed down her cheeks."





Garry didn't draw much praise from city fathers who, one thinks, would have appreciated Garry's steadfast work to keep relations between settlers and Indians friendly.





"An old skulker and a hypocrite," scoffed city of Spokane founder James N. Glover.





"He was weak and vacillating," added the Rev. H.T. Cowley.





Blessed are peacemakers. Even the one-armed moral crusader and Civil War Gen. O.O. Howard, who commanded the military's Department of the Columbia in the 1870s, had little good to say of Garry.





In his book, Famous Indian Chiefs I Have Known, Howard gushes about another Spokane leader, Lot, whom he describes as a "fine, tall Indian chief." Garry, he writes, "was a small, pompous, querulous old man, not at all like Lot."





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t wasn't always so. Garry was once considered the best and the brightest -- a teenager sent by his people more than 1,000 miles from home to learn everything he could about whites.





His father, illeum spokanee (ILL-e-khum), was a leader of the Middle Spokane, who lived mostly around the confluence of the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers. (Upper Spokanes lived upstream at the present-day city and parts of the Valley. Lower Spokanes lived downriver, where the reservation is today.)





Garry was born about 1811, just a few years after fur traders began nosing around the area. By the time Garry was 14, competing fur trading companies and area tribes were engaged in serious deal making.





Hudson's Bay Company representatives called a meeting with illeum spokanee (there are no capitals for tribal names in Salish) and other Indian leaders at their trading outpost, Spokane House, in 1825 with a proposal that the tribes each pick a child to be educated in European ways at the Red River Mission in Winnipeg, Manitoba.





It's hard to say why popular historical writings are always so treacly, painting this as Indians going off to seek the "white man's medicine," as if they were a bunch of primitives who thought praying to a new god would cause metal goods to fall from the sky like manna.





It seems clear, from reading accounts of the time, that this was a pretty strategic business deal all around -- the better the two parties could communicate, the better the dealings.





Still the Hudson's Bay people were taken aback when illeum spokanee chose his own son, as did a Kootenai leader. There was an ulp! moment (found in HBC correspondence) that no harm better come to these lads or there'd be hell to pay.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & H & lt;/span & ere's one of the sad things about Garry. We don't know his birth name. Also, family members told historian E.T. Becher in the 1950s that even his mission name was pronounced jerry which, now that there is no voice to say it and only a word to look at, is lost also.





At Red River, officials renamed their Inland Northwest students (there were seven, eventually) with their tribe as one name and a company bigwig as another. So Garry became Spokane Garry and his companion became Kootenai Pelly, named for HBC governors.





Much has been written about Garry's five years of schooling, so imagine instead what it must have been like to come riding home for good in 1830 dressed in European clothing and a tam-o-shanter on his head. (Garry apparently loved the tam because one was still on his head when he was sketched by Gustavus Sohon in May 1855.) He was also fluent in French and English -- the languages of both sets of newcomers exploring his homeland -- and further, he could read and write and carried with him Bibles, prayer books and journals.





The import of Garry's literacy was potent and appears to have spread around the Inland Northwest like wildfire.





Historian Cecil Drury, in remarks to a Spokane history club in 1973, called Garry's Bible, "One of the most important books in the history of the Northwest." Not so much for the Word of God (although Drury may disagree), but more for the power of the written word Indians recognized as the key to dealing with whites. And Garry had cracked the code.





Drury told his audience a story that Lawyer, one of the pivotal leaders of the Nez Perce, immediately sought out Garry to have him read from the Bible. The meeting led to one of the critical incidents in cultural relations here. Four Nez Perce were dispatched on an epic journey to the east. They walked into St. Louis in 1831 looking for a General Clark -- yes the Lewis-and-Clark Clark, whom the tribe had famously met in 1805 -- and asked for missionaries to be sent this way. It seems they were really looking for teachers, but teachers and missionaries were often one and the same. Missionaries, both American Board Protestants and Jesuit Catholics, soon raced this way.





Illeum spokanee had died in 1828 while Garry was away, but the son carried out the task he was given. Garry is credited with creating the first school in what was then called Oregon Territory, setting up a large structure of lodge poles and tule mats in what is now Drumheller Springs Park at Maple and Euclid. For years, mainly in winter when food gathering was slow, he taught both children and adults ABCs, simple phrases from a Salish-English dictionary he created in his journals and how people could write their names.





He was also a fairly devout Episcopalian, enough so that when the missionaries reached here, they found people who observed the Sabbath with Bible preaching and gospel hymns.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & G & lt;/span & arry soon became a pretty prominent guy, enjoying the best of his two-hearts world. He had two wives and plenty of horses, signifying stature on his Indian side. He lived with white-guy comforts of Western clothing, some of the best technology available in his day, and goodly supplies of flour, sugar and coffee. He always rode a white horse.





By the 1850s, however, these dual aspects of Garry, instead of being double the fun, were going to pull him in two.





Settlement was increasing, gold had been discovered near Colville, and tensions were rising between one culture that roamed the land looking for such treasures as camas bulbs and another that dug up precious metals and chopped down trees.





Garry was such a notable that Gov. Isaac Stevens, on his way west as the first governor of the newly created Washington Territory, stopped by Garry's house Oct. 17, 1853, to introduce himself. The two had a pleasant time conversing in both French and English, but were also, documents show, sizing each other up pretty carefully.





Garry, it is said, stayed hidden at a distance and watched Stevens for several hours before riding up to "discover" he had company. Stevens, despite writing cheery accounts of Garry's language and farming skills, also wrote in his diary, "[He] is not frank, and I do not understand him."





Clearly, Garry was not the easily manipulated "savage" Stevens may have expected. Both men knew big changes were coming and neither wanted to tip his hand, it appears.





In fact, Garry references this in the postscript to a letter he wrote to Stevens a few years later, Sept. 12, 1856. The language is stunningly modern, as if it were speaking today: "P. S. Sir I have heard that you had said that the first time you would see me you were going to cut my balls out but I should not like it much and my old woman much less."





Bang! A quip that reveals Garry totally understood Stevens on a political level and had a deft sense of humor about it. And, that Stevens didn't get the upper hand at that first meeting.





The body of the letter further expands the sense that Garry and Stevens had a clear understanding of each other. Garry writes that Stevens has chosen a bad time for a treaty talk -- salmon were running at the Spokane Falls, and his people were laying in their winter's supply. Plus, almost all the Coeur d'Alene had gone across the Rocky Mountains to hunt buffalo, similarly gathering food for winter.





He acknowledges hearing unsettling rumors of war and of Stevens "talking hard" about Indians but adds, "you have more confidence in me than that ... for I know you know too much to give credit to such idle talk. When we next meet we can have a good understanding together for I will keep nothing from you and expect the same from you."





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & L & lt;/span & ittle more than a year after that letter, Garry was on the cusp of his downfall. Tensions kept rising. Indians accused of stealing from whites were summarily killed. Indian accusations of miners raping women or stealing supplies were never pursued.





It came to a head when Indians in the region practiced summary justice themselves, resulting in Stevens and 30 armed men dashing into a Spokane village Nov. 27 1857, demanding to know immediately if the tribe was choosing peace or war.





Stevens was rattled by unrest among the Yakamas and the Cayuse. The Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and bands of what are now the Colvilles Confederated Tribes took a few days to gather and listen, in early December, to Stevens pitch the idea of a reservation for their own safety.





Garry, in his response, pointed out the lack of justice for the murder of Indians as key to the rage that was tilting the region towards war. Addressing injustice could prevent war, not moving Indians out of the way.





But he appeared less than sanguine. "When I heard of the war, I had two hearts and have had two hearts ever since. I have two hearts and the bad heart is a little bigger than the good."





Within the year, his world collapsed. First came Lt. Col. Edward Steptoe's expedition, which was resoundingly chased away by an angry force of Coeur d'Alene, Spokane and other area Indians.





Garry lost standing in the eyes of his people by strenuously arguing that the Spokane should stay out of the fight. In the wake of the big victory, Garry looked like a coward. When Steptoe's humiliation prompted Col. George Wright's punitive expedition, Garry lost standing in the eyes of the whites who believed -- erroneously -- that Garry had urged the Spokane to fight and had brothers killed in the battles with Wright.





Garry consistently argued for peace, and, according to an oral history recorded by his great-great-grandson Joseph Garry in 1961, direct accounts of family say Garry was the only son of illeum spokanee (and Garry's mother).





Garry had cousins, and Joseph Garry explains in his account that the words for cousin and brother are almost identical in Salish and an unskilled interpreter could get it wrong.





Wright, of course, was implacable. Unlike Steptoe, he had superior weapons, the first use of long-range rifles and mini & eacute; balls, the new rifled bullet that was later used with devastating effect in the Civil War.





The tribes here were the guinea pigs for the heavy, conically shaped lead bullet that shattered bones and created terrible wounds even from great distance. The Indians, with muskets, suffered heavy losses in the battles that ran from Four Lakes near Cheney to the plains south of the city.





"I did not come to this country to ask you for peace," Wright told Garry. The two met at a ford in the river straight south of present-day Chief Garry Park.





"Wright's answer to Garry was to bring in the weapons and bring in the women and children and 'lay them at my feet and I will dictate the terms in which I grant you peace,'" says the artist and teacher Charlene Teters, summarizing Wright's remarks.





For the next 30 years, Garry's standing kept eroding as he negotiated with a never-ending procession of different generals and treaty commissioners and politicians seeking an ever-shrinking reservation for his band.





When the Dawes Commission visited in 1881 (meeting in a tent set up west of Monroe Street, possibly right at Inlander headquarters), Garry was still seeking a homeland for his people north of the river from the falls to Tum Tum. He was instead urged to move to the newly created Spokane Reservation around Wellpinit.





From horseback, he is said to have looked each commissioner in the eye and told them, "My tribesmen may go, but as for me, I will die first."





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he Good Indian. This was Garry's country, and he was unable to win control of it, even his own 160-acre patch he had farmed for 35 years, despite doing everything whites value in "Good Indians." He prayed and was an Episcopalian. He consistently urged peace. He adopted modern farming methods and taught them to his people as well.





He got nothing for it. In 1887, the government finally negotiated an agreement (treaty-making was abandoned in 1871) with Garry -- with no homeland.





No wonder people called him querulous, says Lynn Pankonin, a historian with the Spokane Tribe. Decades of negotiating, pursuing peace, a homeland for his people... and for what?





"I can understand his frustration at dealing with white people and dealing with government white people," she says.





The United States was willing to pay Garry's band as much as $95,000 to move to the Colville, Coeur d'Alene or Flathead (called the Jocko Reservation at the time) reservations.





Plus they would pay elderly leaders like Garry $100 a year for 10 years. He never lived to see any of this.





Most importantly, Article 4 of the 1887 agreement says that any of the Indians who had been working their own land at the time of the treaty could stay there, and the government would help when it came to "perfecting title," and the tracts would be "patented to them by the United States."





Except we all know where this is headed, right?





The next year, Garry's farm was simply taken over by a settler, Howard B. Doak, who ran an aged Garry off and burned his log storehouse full of supplies.





Accounts place the farm variously at Pleasant Prairie north of the Valley or the Peone Prairie or "at the east end of Wellesley" or most often listed as somewhere east of Hillyard. But its precise location is easily found in county records.





Turns out the farm is the SW quarter of Sec. 24, Twp. 26, Range 43. In common terms it is the land -- still mostly farmland 120 years later -- bounded by North Orchard Prairie Road and Palmer Road on the east and west, and south from East Orchard Road to about East Lincoln Lane.





This 160-acre plot was recorded by Doak, according the formal handwriting of some county clerk in the 1888 "Grantee/Grantor Book," on June 21, 1888, just five minutes before closing time. A parcel information search conducted by a title company shows the farm is now split into 22 parcels.





It appears the loss of the farm was a severe blow for Garry, in his late 70s at the time. He was suddenly impoverished with the loss of land and goods. He and Nina survived on the scant wages their daughter Nellie earned as a laundress in the city.





Kids amused themselves by rolling rocks down upon Garry's tepee, when he set up camp at various spots in Peaceful Valley and near what is now the Sunset Highway, prompting a white landowner to invite the old man to live at the more remote Indian Canyon site, where he died.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & oday, there are two ways to take the term "good Indian." We can understand his great-great-grandson Joseph Garry to mean that Garry's Indian-ness was fully intact and that he would have been respected as an Indian by other Indians: "He was both a good Indian and pretty much acculturated in the ways of the white man," says Joseph Garry in his oral history.





If character traits are passed down through generations, Joseph Garry himself embodies the notion of a pretty good Indian. Raised in the Lovell Valley east of Tekoa, Joseph Garry emerged as a national powerhouse among Indians fighting U.S. government attempts to terminate reservations and destroy Indian culture. Losing the land means losing economic values and identity, he said.





"Every one wants to go forward and make progress, but I just don't believe the Indian should be ruthlessly torn from his land and have no choice," Joseph Garry says in the oral history.





It's a strong echo of the very things Garry stood for a century earlier. Jeanne Givens, who was niece to Joseph Garry, continued the legacy of leadership herself. Her uncle was the first Indian elected to the Idaho Legislature. She may well have been the first Indian woman elected to the same body.





University of Illinois historian Frederick Hoxie in his Encyclopedia of the North American Indian (1996) described Joseph Garry as "The most prominent American Indian spokesman of the 1950s."





But "good Indian" can also mean one who was compliant with whites and perhaps viewed as a sellout by other Indians.





There are stories among other Spokane, not often aired with outsiders, that go in this direction.





So here we are again: Who was Garry?


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & herman Alexie and Charlene Teters each say they learned nothing about Garry in public schools, at Wellpinit and Spokane, which has changed now. Teters takes a nuanced view of Garry's place in history.





"It speaks to the lack of power of the people that we had incredible leaders, but the only ones written about in history and in the mainstream are the good Indians ... like Sacajawea, the ones that assimilated and helped the white man colonize. Garry is our good Indian, but I don't want to diminish him as a person.





"He was a person of his time period. He was in a position to negotiate on behalf of the people who were being slaughtered and that took a lot of courage to come forward and negotiate for his people," Teters says.





"He was smart and he was assimilated," Alexie says.





Alexie, like most Indians interviewed for this story, would rather see an artwork that acknowledges the entire Native culture rather than an individual.





"My problem with a statue honoring Garry is it freezes the past," Alexie says. It becomes just another monument to a dusty historical figure -- just like statues to white generals.





He liked Ric Gendron's abstract approach that contained the word "Indian". That sort of statue shows Indians are still alive, still very real, and still walking around the city that bears their name.





"I like the idea that it's all of us -- and the past and present and future of us," Alexie says.





Givens would like to see a more representational statue of her great-great-great-grandfather. "I would prefer to see a depiction of the man," she says, but is open to discussion. "He was disregarded. He was forgotten. It's very heartbreaking. It's not a pretty part of history."





In this light, she adds, "I like the idea of something that says we are still here."





kevin@inlander.com





GET INVOLVED


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & committee appointed by Mayor Mary Verner to create -- and fund -- a permanent replacement for a monument to a Spokane tribal leader has identified a list of potential donors and is discussing thematic issues of the potential artwork, according to the committee's minutes.





The effort to build a permanent monument to Spokane Garry (the original was torn down by the city in May) "looks more promising," says city Arts Director Karen Mobley.





The fundraising began with $5 of allowance money from 8-year-old Victoria Schauer, who was reacting to the original statue's demolition. There is still less than $1,000 in the fund, Mobley says, but she is encouraged that individuals and businesses continue to step forward.





Pemco Insurance has pledged $15,000 as match money to help attract donors to help pay for a monument that is of sturdier material than the original. A bronze monument has an estimated price tag of $130,000.





A list of potential donors has been compiled, the minutes of the Aug. 25 committee meeting show. Discussion of who will choose the artist -- the city or the Spokane Tribe -- was also discussed at the meeting. The committee is also exploring a project tie-in with high school and middle school art classes at Wellpinit Schools.





Donations toward a permanent monument for Garry can be sent to the Spokane Arts Fund, c/o Spokane Arts Commission, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., 99201.

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