Diane Eickhoff

A glaring flaw

Clarina Nichols was first and foremost a feminist, and her written views on Native Americans are scant. But nothing supports the claims about the pioneering suffragist and newspaper editor made in a recent column.

As the author of the first biography of Clarina I. H. Nichols, I read with interest Rolf Parker's commentary about his discovery of articles in the Windham County Democrat in which Nichols allegedly endorses the extermination of Native Americans in the west.

There are several major flaws in Parker's argument, but the most glaring one has to do with the example that he hangs his hat on.

In the Oct. 12, 1853, issue of the Democrat, Parker found a brief article, “From Oregon,” documenting attacks by Athapaskan natives on white settlers. The Democrat included, without comment, a line from an Oregon newspaper promising to “avenge these outrages, and not quit the field while the color of an Indian is seen.”

Leaving aside whether reprinting a story constitutes agreement with the author's views - a highly dubious assumption with 19th-century weeklies - Parker falsely assigns agency for this reprint to Clarina Nichols.

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