Plains Indians • • • Great Plains – the vast grassland extending through the west-central portion of the U.S.
Highly developed ways of life existed.
Planting of crops & settled villages Nomadic tribes produced and traded goods Tribal laws = social order
• The Plains Indians way of life was changed when they were introduced to horses (Spanish) Travel farther Hunting more efficient Farming was secondary to roaming the plains
• Buffalo Destroyed by tourists and fur traders In just less than 100 years the number of buffalo in the U.S. went from approximately 15 million in 1800 to fewer than 600 in 1886. Indians used buffalo for food, clothing, shelter and fuel
1862 – Congress passed the Homestead Act • Offered 160 acres/cultivate for 5 years • 1862-1900 – between 400,000 and 600,000 families move west Several thousand settlers were known as the exodusters – African Americans who moved from the South to Kansas in the great exodus
Free land was not the only lure • 1869 – the transcontinental railroad was finished. • • Made travel easier. It took about 10 days to travel from coast to coast. Provided transportation for good and supplies “bargain” fare from Omaha to Sacramento was about $40 (more than a month’s pay for the average person) How efficient was transportation before the railroad? Give examples!
American Character • • • Rugged Individual – out to tame the land These characteristics were found in the frontier and its opportunities Character is formed by interaction with the environment: use, settle, and improve land Image from 1900
• The measure of a person is economic how much wealth is accumulated The white man is looking to better his place in society, so as to turn opportunity into prosperity
• • • Owning land and a house, staking mining claims, or starting a business were some of the way white settlers improved their stations in society Prospectors, settlers and ranchers alike argued that the N.A.s had forfeited their rights to the land because they hadn’t settled down to “improve” it.
Since the plains were “unsettled”, it was an open invitation for settlers to move in!
• Native Americans Success is based on character Character is created by bravery and loyalty Interaction with the land – very spiritual / the land sustains them Chief Joseph
• Land was the source of most conflicts : Whites believed the Indians used the land inefficiently (underutilized) Thus it was the justification for taking it
As more and more settlers and the railroads moved westward, the government’s policies changed toward the N.A.’s • 1834 the federal gov. passed an act that designated the entire Great Plains as a large reservation for N.A. tribes • 1850s, more settlers meant policies changed again, less land for the N.A. tribes Government officials signed treaties with some Chiefs Unfortunately, those Chiefs did necessarily represent all of the tribes (not all agreed to sign the treaties) INCREASED tension!
Cheyenne and Sioux continued to hunt their traditional lands, clashing with settlers and miners – often tragic results Chief Wolf Robe of the Southern Cheyenne, June 1909
1864 – the Cheyenne, forced onto a barren area of the Colorado Territory known as Sand Creek Reserve, began raiding nearby trails and settlements for food and supplies Territorial governor, John Evans orders militia to attack the raiders.
• • He also encouraged the Cheyenne who didn’t want to fight to report the Fort Lyon near the reserve Most returned to their winter camps on the reserve 1999
General S.R. Curtis sent a telegram to militia Colonel John Chivington that read, “I want no peace till the Indians suffer more.” What do you think happened next?
•November 29, 1864 – Chivington and 500 of his men attacked the Cheyenne at dawn, killing about 200 inhabitants, mostly women and children Revenge for his family •Afterward treated like a hero in his home town of Denver
The Sioux were angry that whites were settling along the Bozeman Trail which was opened during the Civil War • The Bozeman Trail ran right through the Sioux’s favorite hunting ground in the Bighorn Mountains Sioux chief, Red Cloud appealed to the govern. to stop settlers from using the trail, but soldiers continued to build forts along it
When the attempts of negotiation proved futile, the Sioux, Arapaho, and Cheyenne resorted to guerrilla warfare Dec. 21, 1866 – Crazy Horse and many others lured Capt. Fetterman and his company into an ambush at Lodge Trail Ridge.
• • N.A.’s called it “The Battle of the Hundred Slain” Whites called it “The Fetterman Massacre”
After two more years of skirmishes, the gov. agreed to close the Bozeman Trail In return – Oglala & Brulé Sioux signed Treaty of Fort Laramie(1868) • Sioux agreed to move onto a reservation along the Missouri River Sitting Bull – leader of the Hunkpapa Sioux never signed the treaty and expected to be able to continue using their traditional hunting grounds
Late 1868 – Kiowa and Comanche refuse to move onto a reservation in the Texas Panhandle • 6 years of raiding followed The raiding led to the Red River War of 1874-75 U.S. Army dealt with the guerrilla tactics by rounding up all friendly tribes onto reservations • U.S. Army opened fire on all others, crushing the resistance on the southern plains Gen. Sheridan’s orders… “to destroy their villages and ponies, to kill and hang all warriors, and to bring back all women and children.”
1872 – miners began moving into the Black Hills in search for gold Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho protested The Army sent Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer to investigate the situation • Custer reported that the Black Hills had gold “from the grass roots down”
• 1876 - Sitting Bull had a vision which he interpreted as a sign of victory for his people The Sioux win a small battle against Custer’s 7 central Montana) th Cavalry at Rosebud Creek (south June 25, 1876 – Custer rode out in search for glory He expected to send his disciplined regiment against 1,500 warriors. Custer’s plan had some flaws
• • 1.
He underestimated the # of N.A. warriors (2,000 3,000) His men and horses were exhausted Custer split up his regiment and attacked with 200 troops Crazy Horse and his warriors outflanked and overpowered Custer and his troops at what is know as the Battle of Little Bighorn Within 20 minutes Custer and his men were all dead
Sioux suffering continued… • • • Reduced rations, increased restrictions, and loss of cattle to disease Wovoka (a prophet) had a vision that the Native American lands were restored, the buffalo returned, & the whites disappeared He promised this would come true if the ritual called the Ghost Dance was performed
The Ghost Dance movement spread rapidly among the 25,000 Sioux on the Dakota reservation The dance’s popularity alarmed the military and local reservation agent • The reservation agent decided to have Sitting Bull arrested
40 Indian policemen were sent to arrest Sitting Bull Sitting Bull’s bodyguard, Catch the-Bear shot one of the policemen • Police then returned fire, killing Sitting Bull
The army was not satisfied with the death of Sitting Bull On December 29, 1890 – the 7 th Cavalry rounded up 350 starving and freezing Sioux and took them to a camp at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota The soldiers demanded that the Indians give up all of their firearms
One Indian resisted the order and fired his rifle Soldiers fired back Within minutes the 7 th Cavalry slaughtered 300 unarmed Native Americans (women and children included) The Battle of Wounded Knee brought the Indian wars - and an entire era - to a bitter end
Assimilation – a plan under which Native Americans would give up their beliefs and way of life and become part of the white culture Native Americans had already lost much of the land and their means for independent living, they didn’t want to lose their culture also
1887 – Congress passed the
• • The plan was to “Americanize” the Indians by cultivating in them the desire to own property and farm Dawes Act – broke up the reservations and distributed some of the land—160 acres for farming or 320 acres for grazing—to each adult head of a Native American family Was the land broken up for the Native Americans good for farming?
No, in fact most of the land that was left for the Indian was useless for farming
The Dawes Act addressed their physical assimilation and education addressed their mind and spirit. Off-reservation boarding schools flourished—set up to “kill the Indian and save the man.”
Ethnocentrism-belief that ones own ethnic group is better than others groups. Assimilation The Dawes Act Transcontinental railroad Increased military action against Native Americans