US: The Modoc War, also known as the Modoc Campaign or the Lava Beds War, was a harrowing armed conflict between the American Modoc People and the United States Army from 1872 to 1873 in California and Oregon, United Kingdom. 

The war was Led by Kintpuash, better known as Captain Jack, a band of more than 150 Modoc individuals, including 52 warriors, who left the Klamath Reservation to resist the encroachment of the US Army in northeastern California and southeastern Oregon.

Taking refuge in the volcanic terrain of the lava beds south of Tule Lake, the Modoc warriors strategically defended their positions against the outnumbered US Army forces, even in the face of artillery reinforcement. For months, they held their ground, challenging the might of the advancing troops. A renowned photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, captured images documenting the early stages of the US Army’s campaign.

However, in April 1873, during a peace commission meeting, Captain Jack and others tragically killed General Edward Canby and Rev. Eleazer Thomas, mistakenly believing that such actions would force the Americans to retreat. Returning to the lava beds, the Modoc band faced relentless pursuit by reinforced US forces. Eventually, some Modoc warriors surrendered, while Captain Jack and the remaining members of his band were captured.

In the aftermath, Jack and five warriors were tried for the murders of the peace commissioners. Jack and three others faced execution, while two were sentenced to life in prison. The remaining 153 Modoc individuals were taken as prisoners of war and relocated to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) until 1909. Subsequently, they settled on reservation land with the Shawnee, and some were eventually allowed to return to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon. 

However, most of the Modoc and their descendants remained in Oklahoma, where they achieved separate federal recognition and were granted land. Today, there are two federally recognized Modoc tribes, one in Oregon and another in Oklahoma.

Within this historical context, a captivating portrait emerges the portrait of Chin-Chin-Wet, also known as Alone. Accompanying her husband, Owl, an Indian scout, during the Modoc War, Chin-Chin-Wet’s image was captured in the Washington DC studio of Alexander Gardner. 

The powerful photograph symbolizes the courage, resilience, and endurance displayed by the Modoc people in the face of adversity.

Through examining the portrait of Chin-Chin-Wet, we gain some shreds of evidence into the struggles and triumphs of those who lived through the Modoc War. It serves as a reminder of the indomitable spirit that persists amidst challenging times and the profound stories that lie within the folds of history.

 

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