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Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins Petition

Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins Petition/tiles/non-collection/p/pm_013imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration


In the 19th century, Native American author and activist Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins served as an intermediary between her Paiute community in Nevada and the United States government. (Although Piute is used in the document, Paiute is the current spelling of the tribe.) She presented a petition to Congress, asking for the Paiute to be restored to Malheur Reservation, “which is well watered and timbered, and large enough to afford homes and support for them all,” in eastern Oregon. In wrenching language, she asked for the return of removed tribal members, writing that “families were ruthlessly separated, and have never ceased to pine for husbands, wives, and children.” Her petition was referred to the House Committee on Indian Affairs. Winnemucca Hopkins’s autobiography, Life Among the Piutes, was published in 1883 and included a copy of this petition before it was sent to Congress the following year. Mary Mann, the autobiography’s editor and wife of Representative Horace Mann, asked readers to help the cause by copying and signing the petition, “for the weight of a petition is generally measured by its length.”

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