“There is increased activity over on the Indian side. There are disagreements, laughing, singing, outbursts of anger, and occasionally some planning…. Indians are gaining confidence and courage that their cause is right.
The struggle goes on. .. . Indians are gathering together to deliberate their destiny…”
– Mel Thorn
Native Americans were greatly ignored throughout the mid-20th century in the sense that United States never honored the treaty made with the Indians. Howard zinn mentions a quote by this young college graduated, Paiute Indian (who was the first president of National Indian Youth Council) to demonstrate that Native Indians were practically getting involved in their civil right movements and with such educated young leaders they would contribute greatly towards the betterment of Native Americans throughout the country.
“I am a Yakima and Cherokee Indian, and a man. For two years and four months, I’ve been a soldier in the United States Army. I served in combat in Vietnam-until critically wounded…. I hereby renounce further obligation in service or duty to the United States Army.
My first obligation now lies with the Indian People fighting for the lawful Treaty to fish in usual and accustomed water of the Nisqualiy, Columbia and other rivers of the Pacific Northwest, and in serving them in this fight in any way possible. …
My decision is influenced by the fact that we have already buried Indian fishermen returned dead from Vietnam, while Indian fishermen live here without protection and under steady attack… .
Just three years ago today, on October 13, 1965, 19 women and children were brutalized by more than 45 armed agents of the State of Washington at Frank’s Landing on the Nisqually river in a vicious, unwarranted attack. …
Interestingly, the oldest human skeletal remains ever found in the Western Hemisphere were recently uncovered on the banks of the Columbia River-the remains of Indian fishermen. What kind of government or society would spend millions of dollars to pick upon our bones, restore our ancestral life patterns, and protect our ancient remains from damage-while at the same time eating upon the flesh of our living People . . . ?
We will fight for our rights.”
– Sid Mills
The United States tradition of not honoring the treaties signed with Native Americans continued with treaties such as the treaty signed with the Iroquois that gave all rights of that specific land to seneka nation, but kennedy violated the treaty by building a dam on that land. In his book Howard Zinn mentions this quote by a Native American who had served in Vietnam war, Sid Mills (who was arrested fishing illegally at Nisqually river) to show that in general the Indians were disappointed by the fact that United States was not acknowledging their contributions towards the betterment of the country.