North America was not just a vast empty plain before Europeans arrived, there were native tribes from coast to coast.
Native tribes of the plains depended on buffalo hunting for most of their needs
During the great Western migration, thousands of settlers set out across the plains
At first, some people tried to negotiate a way to peacefully share the West. First lady Mary Todd Lincoln (at Right) welcoming Native Americans at the White House
But others were hostile to Native Americans and efforts were made to systematically kill off the buffalo, the source of their livelihood.
Piles of buffalo hides killed by white settlers
The government began forcing Native Americans off of their land and selling it to white settlers.
Native Americans retaliated, and encounters with settlers often ended in violence.
The U.S. Calvary wages a campaign against the Native Americans all across the West.
George Armstrong Custer commanded the 7th Calvary in the Battle of Little Bighorn, the worst U.S. Army defeat against Native Americans.
The battle is also called Custer’s Last Stand
Sitting Bull led the Native American forces to victory at Little Bighorn. There were 2,000-3,000 Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors compared to Custer’s 700 soldiers.
Native Americans fight back
But eventually it came to an end…
The Battle of Wounded Knee marked the end of Native American resistance. With it, they were forced to accept defeat.
At Wounded Knee, U.S. forces massacred 300 unarmed Native Americans with deadly Gatlin guns (left). This included women and children.
Burying the Native American dead in a mass grave at Wounded Knee
After they were forced to accept defeat, the U.S. policy for Native Americans was “assimilation.” This meant that they would have to give up their way of life and adopt American culture. Young boy before attending assimilation school.
After assimilation school
Students were taught how to exist in white society, like job skills.
They were taught Christianity… The Bible translated to Algonquin
…and how to meet white society’s social expectations.
Native American children were sent by the hundreds to assimilation boarding schools that taught them to reject their native cultures.