The Untold Story of American Genocide The End of Native American Life in North America
Massive reduction in the indigenous population of North America has been a defining factor in American Indian history. Historians estimate that the Indian population stood at 10 million during the 1600s. By 1865, however, just 300,000 remained. Disease and near-constant warfare among Indian tribes and between native peoples and the United States decimated indigenous tribes during this period. After the Civil War, the United States relocated most American Indians west of the Mississippi River. In the West, the federal government maintained armed forts and other posts to protect white settlers and travelers. The federal government recalled most of these troops to fight in the Civil War. As a result, there was an increase in Indian attacks against the posts.
So where are we…. We have miners, ranchers, and most of all, farmers coming into the West in huge numbers One small problem…. NATIVE AMERICANS ALREADY LIVE THERE Plains Indians have lived there for thousands of years living as nomads—people who move from place to place Why would they be nomads? What were they following? BUFFALO!
So what does the US govt. do? The US Army sanctioned and actively endorsed the wholesale slaughter of bison herds. The US Federal government promoted bison hunting for various reasons, to allow ranchers to range their cattle without competition from other bovines, and primarily to weaken the North American Indian population by removing their main food source and to pressure them onto the reservations.
GeneralPhilip Sheridan "Let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffalo is exterminated, as it is the only way to bring lasting peace and allow civilization to advance.“
Market Hunters Professional marksmen to went West Buffalo hide could draw $3 in Dodge City (a huge winter coat could bring $50) at a time when most workers in the East made $1 per day Commercial hunting killed between 2,000 and 100,000 buffalo per day Used a .50 gun…shot so many times each rifleman would keep two to let one cool down Hire men to retrieve the bullets from the buffalo carcasses
The Sioux Indians This group of Native Americans would be the biggest problem for the U.S. Three famous chiefs were: 1. Red Cloud 2. Crazy Horse 3. Sitting Bull Many battles occurred between the U.S. Army and the Sioux: 1. Fetterman’s Massacre 80 soldiers dead 2. Sand Creek Massacre 14 soldiers died 3. Little Big Horn 210 soldiers died 4. Wounded Knee 25 soldiers died
Fetterman’s Massacre 1866 US Army was building forts along a gold trail headed towards Montana Crazy Horse – religious leader and war chief VS Captain William Fetterman
"With eighty men, I can ride through the entire Sioux nation" - Captain William Fetterman "Support the wood train. Relieve it and report to me. Do not engage or pursue Indians at its expense. Under no circumstances pursue over the ridge, that is, Lodge Trail Ridge" - written orders from Colonel Carrington to Captain Fetterman.
80 US troops die Massacre? Really? Why that word?
Mutilation & Indians – Eyes, Ears, Biceps, & Scalps All the bodies were mutilated except for that of a bugler. Sioux warriors later explained that the young soldier had carried on fighting using his bugle to beat off the Sioux warriors, while the older men around him gave up and begged for mercy. The Sioux covered the young soldier in a buffalo hide to signify their respect for his bravery.
Sand Creek Massacre Native Americans had killed up to 200 settlers in Colorado Governor told the Indians to come to Fort Lyon and surrender or they would be killed Chief Black Kettle brought hundreds of Cheyenne to the Fort to make a peace treaty Cheyenne make camp at Sand Creek awaiting word General John Chivington decides that because they had been attacking settlers, then they too should be attacked…including women and children Between 69-600 Native Americans killed
John Chivington Methodist minister and Civil War hero Massacred both women and children of a peacefully camped tribe Left the army immediately before charges could be filed
Sand Creek Testimony “I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces ... With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors ... By whom were they mutilated? By the United States troops ...”
Sand Creek Testimony “Fingers and ears were cut off the bodies for the jewelry they carried. The body of White Antelope, lying solitarily in the creek bed, was a prime target. Besides scalping him the soldiers cut off his nose, and ears…”
Sand Creek Testimony “Jis to think of that dog Chivington and his dirty hounds, up thar at Sand Creek. His men shot down squaws, and blew the brains out of little innocent children. You call sich soldiers Christians, do ye? And Indians savages? What deryer 'spose our Heavenly Father, who made both them and us, thinks of these things? I tell you what, I don't like a hostile red skin any more than you do. And when they are hostile, I've fought 'em, hard as any man. But I never yet drew a bead on a squaw or papoose, and I despise the man who would.”
Last Chance for Peace 1867 – US Government forms the Indian Peace Commission – proposed moving all remaining Indians onto two large reservations in the north and south plains Doomed for failure? Why? When Indian leaders signed they couldn’t ensure all of their people would abide by the rules. White miners didn’t follow rules either… Also—reservations systems were full of corruption by the white guys, and many of the Indians left the reservation because of a lack of basic necessities.
Battle of Little Bighorn 1876 – Miners begin overrunning the Sioux reservation in the Black Hill of the Dakota Territory Americans broke treaty, so many of the Lakota left to hunt buffalo at Little Bighorn Mountain On June 25th, 1876 Colonel George Custer attacked a group of 2,500 Indians. Custer and his officers shot their horses and laid behind them for cover. All 210 of Custer’s men (including himself) were all killed. It was very popular for Indians to scalp their victims after death.
Last Major Conflict Battle at Wounded Knee – the last major Indian conflict The Ghost Dance had been outlawed Sitting Bull arrested for leading a Ghost Dance Indians try to stop arrest, gunfight ensues, Sitting bull killed by police officer (who was a Lakota) Group of Ghost Dancers fled the reservation Army attacks at Wounded Knee Creek and 200 Lakota men, women, and children die
Dawes Act This was passed by Congress in 1887. Dawes Act – Indians assimilated into the American culture. It allowed each family of Indians to have 160 acres and another 40 for children. This plan ultimately failed. Indians go from nomadic buffalo hunters to farmers. Congress finally passed the Citizenship Act in 1924 that allowed Indians to be citizens. A few states did not grant citizenship until after WWII. The Indian Reorganization Act reversed the Dawes Act and restored ancient Indian lands to the tribes.