War Cry: Will Crossing Historical Boundaries in Indian Wars help Yakama Women?

Authors: Emily Washines


Themes: Activism, Cultural Preservation, Family and Youth, Health and Wellness, Intergovernmental Relations, Law and Justice, Leadership, Racism and Prejudice

Tribes: Confederated Tribes of Yakama

Three months after one of the largest treaty councils held in the United States, there was a war that sent shock through the Northwest. The Yakama War took place from 1855-1858. According to historical accounts, the war started because of violence against Yakama women and girls. History books often interpret the Yakama Warriors' response not as a defense of women, but as unhappiness with the treaty, resulting in decades of written erasure of violence against women. This case examines systems and patterns of Yakama historical and present-day Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). War Cry is a balance of strength and vulnerability to bring both history and justice forward.  This path of post-war reconciliation also explores the question: How do you talk to someone when our great-grandparents were historic enemies? Examples are given of the meeting process between descendants of Yakama Nation tribal members and the U.S. military and militia. Sharing steps in crossing historical boundaries will help discussions about historical trauma and reconciliation action.