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Telegram from Herb Blatchford to Shirley Witt

Seven Generations 2020

Telegram from Herb Blatchford to Shirley Witt
February 25, 1964
ink on paper
4 x 6 in.
Shirley Hill Witt Papers (MSS 591 BC, box 3, folder 33), Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

The Washington State fish-ins March 1-3, 1964, kicked off an era of Indigenous direct action as a way to assert tribal sovereignty. But this campaign to protect treaty rights, which was organized with help from the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) and brought together people from forty-seven diverse tribes from across North America, signaled a new direction for the organization.

In this telegram from Herb Blatchford in Gallup, New Mexico, to Shirley Witt in Ann Arbor, Michigan—where she was a university student—he urges her to head to Washington to be a part of the demonstrations. “Washington State protest looks NIYC success. Need all board members.”