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The Plains Wars
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  • 1. The Plains Wars Mr McDonald
  • 2. What motivated the Indians?
    • White settlement of the Plains.
    • A lack of understanding/ignorance by the Army.
    • A lack of respect by the American government with regards to treaties.
  • 3. Settlement on the Plains
    • Not bad at first e.g. Oregon Trail for 1848.
    • Real problems started with the gold rushes and the gradual settlement on the Plains.
    • The fencing of the land and the destruction of the Buffalo made this worse.
  • 4. Army Ignorance
    • The Army was used to protect settlers but no real thought was made to see Indian views.
    • There was a deep mistrust by both sides and the Army was quick to react in ways that went ‘over the top’.
  • 5. Broken Treaties
    • The Indians were seen as a problem by 1851.
    • The American government made treaties to create reservations but these kept getting smaller and the land was poor – it often led to trouble.
  • 6. The Conflicts:
    • 1862 Little Crow’s War (Sioux).
    • 1863 The Cheyenne Uprising – also Sand Creek Massacre.
    • 1867 Red Cloud’s War (Sioux).
    • 1868 The Winter Campaign – also Battle of Washita.
  • 7. Little Crow’s war
    • Little Crow was Santee Sioux.
    • He gave his tribe’s homelands for reservation life.
    • The life was bad – harvests failed and no compensation came from Washington.
    • 12,000 people faced death.
  • 8. Little Crow’s War
    • In August 1862 the Santee Sioux attacked the white traders and settlers.
    • 20 men were killed, 10 women and children were captured.
    • The Indians took food and ambushed soldiers trying to deal with the incident.
    • These attacks lasted over three months.
  • 9. American Reaction
    • 307 Santee Sioux were tried for the rebellion.
    • 38 were hanged.
    • 2000 were moved to a smaller reservation. Conditions were worse and several hundred died in the winter.
  • 10. Cheyenne Uprising 1863
    • Black Kettle signed an agreement in 1861 (Fort Wise).
    • His tribe moved to Sand Creek in Colorado.
    • The land was hard and infertile and had been opened up for white settlement.
    • Even Buffalo could not be found. They were starving
  • 11. Cheyenne Uprising 1863
    • The Cheyenne ended up attacking wagon trains and stealing food.
    • No-one was harmed but in 1864 there was news they were stealing cattle.
    • The Army responded by attacking the camp at Sand Creek.
    • Colonel Chivington commanded the American forces.
  • 12. Sand Creek Massacre
    • Chivington said any tribes wanting peace had to report to the Forts.
    • The Cheyenne reported to Chivington who decided to misinterpret the Indians actions.
    • An American and white flag at the camp were ignored.
  • 13. Sand Creek Massacre
    • At least 163 Cheyenne were killed – many women and children!
    • It was an atrocity and Col. Chivington left the army before he faced trial.
    • Those taken prisoner were shown to American theatre audiences.
    • It meant more violence in the long term.
  • 14. Consequences
    • The Sioux, Arapaho, Kiowa, Commanche and Cheyenne all joined forces and fought a war lasting until 1868.
    • Hundred of settlers were attacked.
    • In 1867, the Kiowa, Arapho, Cheyenne and Commanche made peace at Medicine Lodge Creek – but not Red Cloud and his tribe.
  • 15. Red Cloud’s War 1867
    • The creation of the Bozeman Trail was to allow gold miners to get to the gold in Montana. This went against the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1851.
    • Red Cloud wanted this stopped and attacked those making the journey on the trail.
  • 16. Red Cloud’s War
    • The Government tried talking to Red Cloud but whilst doing this they built Forts along the route.
    • Red Cloud was angry at this and withdrew from the talks. He attacked the Forts.
    • He was joined by other Sioux leaders Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.
  • 17. Red Cloud’s War
    • Captain Fetterman took a party of soldiers to guard wood cutters building a Fort whent ehy were ambushed.
    • 100 soldiers died in the ambush.
    • In Spring 1867, the government threw in the towel – the forts were abandoned and the army left – Red Cloud won – but for how long?
  • 18. Consequences
    • Red Cloud won but the Army was humiliated and wanted revenge.
    • Red Cloud ended up loosing out in the end with a new Fort Laramie Treaty (1868).
    • A new Sioux reservation was made in the Black Hills but not everyone agreed – Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull did not.
  • 19. The Winter Campaign of 1868
    • By 1868 the army had grown wise to Indian tactics – they did not attack in winter – no doubt due to conditions and their way of life.
    • The Americans decided to go on the offensive.
    • A winter campaign was launched on the Cheyenne for attacks on white settlers.
  • 20. Winter Campaign
    • The Army led by Sheridan and Custer attacked Black Kettle’s camp at Washita.
    • Black Kettle was flying a peace flag but it did not stop the attack.
    • It was like Sand Creek all over again.
    • The dead were mainly women and the venerable – even Black Kettle died.
  • 21. Consequence
    • Even the right to roam for Buffalo was removed from the Medicine Creek Treaty.
    • This highlights the way in which America failed to keep the promises it made and why the Plains Wars continued until 1890 and the Battle of Wounded Knee.