Rick Williams: The Iniquitous History of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861 - Colorado’s Efforts Toward Reconciliation

Center for Great Plains Studies Author
03/16/2022 Added
262 Plays


This presentation will provide the truth behind the theft of 53 million acres of land during a time when fraud within the Indian Bureau was nefarious. The details and background of the 1861 Treaty of Fort Wise with the Cheyenne and Arapaho people reveal one of the most sordid examples of fraud ever in Indian Country. The undisputable facts of corruption, collusion, conspiracy, nepotism, and cronyism are all included in the story of the removal of Indians from the Front Range and Eastern plains of Colorado. Richard B. Williams, Lakota/Cheyenne Elder and Educator, has dedicated his career to empowering Native scholars. He served as the President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund for 15 years, from 1997 to 2012. Rick Williams was the first Native scholar to graduate from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1975. Concurrently, he finished an independent study program at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Boulder, Colorado, where he continued his work as a paralegal after graduation. In 1987, he completed a Master of Arts in educational administration at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. Rick Williams has received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island for his work in Native education and the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Colorado Board of Regents and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in recognition of his dedicated service to American Indian students and their communities, among other accolades. Although Rick is retired, he continues to serve as a consultant for the Johnson Scholarship Foundation and has created the “Truth, Restoration and Education Commission” to study the history of Indians in the State of Colorado. This event is part of a yearlong series of events: “A Year of Reckoning and Reconciliation: Conversation, Learning, and Connecting.” To see the schedule visit go.unl.edu/gp2022

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