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Patricia FonsecaMay 2, 2012History 141 Course #31136History of the Americas Since 1800Professor Arguello
Americans flooded the territory between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean with rapid velocity, creating farms, ranches, mines, and towns. It wasn’t long before conflict between the Native Americans and the settlers grew to alarming standards. The federal government confined the Native Americans to small reservations in remote areas that were deemed useless by the settlers. Many Native Americans refused to be driven from their ancestral lands and waged war against federal troops. The Canadian national government had also taken over Native Indian lands and were engaged in war with the Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Missionaries and educators tried to rid the Native Americans of their native practices, language, and religion. They were offered land in exchange for adopting citizenship and renouncing their tribal rights.
The war against Native Americans was much more violent in the United States than it was in Canada. National policies supported the settler’s expansion and the removal of Native Americans. Canada had a small population, large territories, and less-aggressive policies against the Native Indians. Canada’s “Mounties” were concerned with keeping the peace and establishing a civil government while the U.S. Calvary approached it as a war for land. America did not establish social policy for its people of mixed-race. Canada recognized its mixed races as distinct people and established rights accordingly. Both nations assumed that the Natives had to become integrated into the society and economic system of their particular country.
Some Natives fled their lands to escape assimilation, some resorted to warfare, others just embraced the change and hoped that education would make the influx of whites easier for the younger generations to deal with. With the end of the Mexican War resulting in continued expansion into New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska, Native Americans were relocated to Oklahoma. In the summer of 1862, the eastern Sioux waged war with settlers from their homeland. By 1864, the Sioux, Pawnees, Cheyennes, and Arapahos had cleared most settlers from the central plains. This resulted in retaliation from the Colorado militia. The Sand Creek Massacre was waged against a peaceful Indian village. The Johnson administration established a general peace commission to end the conflict.
October 21, 1867: Leaders of the Kiowas, Kiowa- Apaches, Arapahos, Cheyennes, and Comanches signed the Treaty of Medicine Lodge. The agreement was to remain at peace, surrender hunting territories, live on the assigned reservations, while accepting the white man’s instruction in farming. Despite the treaties that subsequently followed, many violent uprisings occurred. The Plains tribes kept up a pattern of minor raids. 1867: Colonel Custer led a large part of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment on the banks of Little Bighorn. The Sioux had gathered a large force of northern tribes for the battle. The war ended the following summer as Sitting Bull and hundreds of his followers fled to Canada.
The violence between the Native Americans and the settlers was due to a number of factors. The Natives had strong leaders and strong attachment to their homelands. Most had warrior traditions. Their lands were well suited for agriculture or roads and trails. Minerals desirable to the settlers were found within the tribal lands. Many settlers were unhappy with the thought of letting the Native Americans control and monopolize these lands. Many settlers were content with letting the federal government push the Native Americans off of these lands to open up the resources.