"Hail, Fredonia!": The Deluded White Chieftains
||Sam Houston was not the first, nor even the
silliest. He was not even insincere, at least not all of the time.
He was only one of many Anglos or Hispanics who offered their good intentions,
saying that they would represent the interests of indigenous peoples.
And he demonstrated that good intentions meant nothing.
New national identities are not the property of tour guides, nor of
soldiers of fortune -- not even soldiers of fortune who are willing to
What the Fredonians failed to take into account was that there were
migrants from the United States already settling south of that line:
Stephen Austin and all of his people in the area toward San Antonio.
Some of these migrants held slaves, in violation of Mexican law, but they
were men of property, and therefore respectable. They worked easily enough
with Mexican authorities at that time, to put down the raffish intruders.
And nothing came of the supposed alliance between Fredonians and Indians.
In 1849, though, Houston was quick to propose that the United States
aid the planters of Yucatan in their war to repress Maya resistance.
Nothing had come of alliance between Houston and Indians.
While Houston was still fighting for the Texas Revolution, a poet-warrior
named James Dickson appeared in Washington, proclaiming himself as Moctezuma
II, determined to go out to the region west of the Great Lakes, where he
would recruit an "Indian Liberation Army" that would move down across the
Rockies, to conquer California for a new republic where only Indians would
be permitted to own lands. He did recruit a few supporters in the
East, he did go West, but he there found himself with his words growing
thin in the cold air. He faced local opposition from the Hudsons Bay Company.
Most of his followers drifted away. In the middle of the winter,
he headed toward the mountains. Nobody heard from him again.
Nothing came of the appeal by Dickson to the Indians.
In the years just after the Texas Revolution,
the Mexican government did not recognize Texas independence, and kept planning
expeditions against it. Some of those expeditions went, and stayed
on Texas soil for short periods of time. Besides that, the Mexican
Army sent agents into northeastern Texas, to arrange an alliance with the
Indians there, whom Texans were threatening with expulsion.
The Indians listened, and waited to see what help might come. None
came. Texans captured some of the agents, finding on them documents
that became one more ingredient in the campaign to expel the Indian nations.
Later, when the United States was invading Mexico, Mexican commanders talked
of a new effort to negotiate with indigenous nations against the gringos.
But nothing came of any of the Mexican appeals for a common cause with northern Indians.
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