To understand the stages in losing their land and to mind map them
To create a more detailed mind map
To select and prioritise the most important reasons
By 1840 the US government had moved all of the eastern tribes to behind the 95th meridian or the Permanent Indian Frontier. Land behind it was seen by the whites as the ‘Great American Desert’ and was given to the Indians forever. The Permanent Indian Frontier (around 1834) The Permanent Frontier was not permanent at all. White settlers in the east crossed the plains on the Oregon and California Trails, particularly after the 1848 gold rush. The Indians attacked them as they felt invaded!
Thomas Fitzpatrick the US Governments Indian agent called a meeting of all the main plains tribes near Fort Laramie. The Cheyenne and the Arapaho plains tribes signed an agreement to move to land along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and to stop attacking travellers in return for guarantees of protection and $50,000 per year for 10 years.
The policy was effectively ‘concentration’ of Indian tribes onto ‘One Big Reservation’ Thomas Fitzpatrick Fort Laramie
Gold in Colorado and the failure of the Fort Lyon Treaty 1861
Gold was discovered at Pikes Peak in Colorado (in lands promised to the Cheyenne and Arapaho under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851). Many miners settled on the land and Railroad companies wanted the Indians moved off this land. The Indians saw that the Whites had broken the Treaty and attacked the miners. A new conference was called at Fort Lyon in 1861.
At Fort Lyon the US government forced the Indians to abandon their claims to the land in the Fort Laramie Treaty. However, the chiefs could not get their warriors to agree to give up their land and live on a small reservation; they went on the war path fighting for their way of life. Fort Lyon Pikes Peak - Colorado
Despite trying to make peace and surrender Black Kettle and the Cheyenne were attacked by Colonel Chivington. Despite raising the white and US flags over 450 Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women and children were slaughtered by Chivington’s volunteers.
Black Kettle (Chief of the Cheyenne) escaped and alerted other tribes who stepped up violence against the whites. A US enquiry found that Colonel Chivington planned the attack in cold blood The attack Chivington orders the attack
The US government peace commission and the Indian chiefs met at Bluff Creek. The Cheyenne and the Arapaho along with the Kiowas and the Comanches agreed to live on small reservations and give up their claims to the south western Plains
The South western plains were more peaceful for a while but the Northern Plains were still occupied by the Sioux who wanted to fight for their land. Bluff Creek 1865
Commissioners from the US government meet with Plains Tribes and through a combination of threats and bribery they are forced to move onto small reservation. Tribes included the Cheyenne and Arapaho along with the Kiowas and Comanches who were forced to move again.
This was the beginning of a policy of ‘concentration’ which meant moving Indians onto small reservations where they could no longer hunt or practise their nomadic way of life. John Taylor, Treaty Signing at Medicine Lodge Creek , 1867
This was a separate meeting with the Northern Tribes who threatened the Bozeman Trail. US representatives wanted to end the plains wars here too. It was agreed that Red Cloud and the Sioux could keep their hunting grounds and that the US Army would abandon various forts along the Bozeman trail. Red Cloud thought he had won the plains wars.
Life on the Reservations was hard as good quality supplies did not reach them as promised and the whole purpose of small reservations was to make the Indians forget their own way of life and adopt the white mans.
General Sheridan of the US Army planned a winter campaign against the remaining Sioux and Cheyenne to clear them off the land. He asked for the services of the decorated but unpredictable General Custer to help him. Custer and his men marched on the Cheyenne camping at the Washita river in the winter killing 103 Indians (mostly women and children) including the Cheyenne peace chief Black Kettle .
The attacks continued throughout the winters of 1868 -1869 and the majority of plains tribes wearily surrendered at for Cobb and were sent off to their reservations agreed at Medicine Lodge Creek.
Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull of the Sioux refused to move from the Black Hills where gold had been found in 1874. They demanded huge sums of money and support for 7 generations. Grant, the US president refused, and any Indians not going onto reservations were to be treated as hostile and killed
After collecting forces at the Rosebud River Sitting Bull had a vision during a Sun Dance. Crazy Horse attacked a US Army camp controlled by General Crook killing 84 and forcing them to withdraw. A Sun Dance
General Terry was in command of this campaign was determined not to let the Sioux and Cheyenne escape so split his force in two so that it could attack Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse from the North and South in a pincer movement. Custer’s 7th Cavalry got there faster than Gibbon’s men but despite warnings from scouts that there were too many Indians to kill he split his forces into three and attacked alone while the main larger force of men were still two days away. Sitting Bull’s vision came true and Custer’s force of 225 men were all killed by the Indians after making a last stand on high ground. Custer had been arrogant to underestimate the Indians who had good fighting skills a larger force and better weapons than Custer had imagined. General Terry arrived on 27th June to find no Indians and the badly mutilated and scalped bodies of the cavalrymen.
The Little Big Horn was a hollow victory as General Crook and General Terry came after them. The Sioux and Cheyenne went their separate ways shortly after and by 1876 they had be pursued to breaking point. Many of them drifted onto the reservations. Even Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull had to surrender. Crazy Horse was killed in 1877 escaping from Fort Robinson. The Indians Won the Battle but still lost the Black Hills, their sacred land.
Sitting Bull continued to try to negotiate through peaceful means. He came to believe along with many of his followers that following a ‘Ghost Dance’ would restore the Indians to their land. Sitting Bull’s was arrested for coordinating one of these dances and many of his followers fled south to the Cheyenne River Reservation where they thought they would be safer with Big Foot’s. Big Foot however, had led his own ghost dance and was a fugitive from the US Army.
While fleeing south to seek the protection of Red Cloud but were attacked by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek. Among the confusion the Cavalry opened fire with guns and artillery killing 250 Indians. Native American resistance was broken. Paiute Ghost Dance