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Then and Now

1925 Indian Congress

In 1925, Native Americans from the Spokane region met in a large Indian Congress. The tribes set up tents and tepees in the Peaceful Valley area of downtown Spokane.


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Image One Photo submitted by Jack and Dolores Mader The Spokesman-Review Image Two Jesse Tinsley The Spokesman-Review

On June 2, 1924, the Indian Citizenship Act gave official status to all Native Americans in the hope that it would bring Indians into the mainstream of American life. This led to a series of regional gatherings, including the 1925 Indian Congress in Spokane, Wash. Five Northwest governors signed the invitation to 34 tribes. Twenty-eight tribes sent delegates, who came by saddle horse, train, wagon and motorcar in late October. Tepees were crowded onto fields and roadsides to accommodate the visitors, who each received a name badge and tickets for meals at local restaurants. Ten thousand Spokanites watched the horse parade, with riders in their finest regalia. There were long meetings between tribal elders and government officials. Friendly competitions included traditional games, a track meet, a beauty contest, and a race to assemble a tepee. Gonzaga narrowly lost the football game to Haskell, the Indian college from Lawrence, Kansas. The Spokane Betterment Organization, a group of business boosters, sponsored the event with a $12,000 budget. The event was held again in 1926, then abandoned. It was the largest gathering of Indians since the 1855 Council of Tribes in Walla Walla.


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