Native Americans

Westward Expansion

How American Expansionists Moved the Native Americans

During the Westward Expansion (1807-1912), American expansionist's goals conflicted with the Indians needs in the area of expansion. Seeing as many of the tribes relied on buffalo for survival in many different ways, several tribes followed the buffalo migration. The tribes made use of the meat, fat, bones, and hooves. By the 1970's, buffalo population was at a low and continually decreasing because non-Indians and Army commanders started to kill the bufflo- sometimes just for the sport. In the mere three years between 1872 and 1875, hunters killed 9 million buffalo. Shortly after, by 1880, the Indian way of life was ruined. The way was cleared for American settlement on the plains.

U.S. Government

In the early 1860's, the government had given up the policy of treating the West as a large Indian reserve. They introduced a system of multiple, small reservations for the Indians to be confined to. While some tribes peacefully accepted the situation, others were not as understanding. A population of over 100,000 people of tribes resisted. In 1867, violent massacres resulted in the government to set aside two large areas, one north of Nebraska and one south of Kansas. The singing of treatiest located them to these tracts.

Red River War

The Red River War was an affect of the Indians who refused to be confined to reservations. Through the 1860-1870s, there was constant battle with the non-Indians, raiding settlements and attacking group installments. The war posed Cheyennes in Kansas against american troops in 1874. The war was fought intermittently until a leader of the Apaches, Geronimo, surrendered in 1886.

The Battle of Little Bighorn

In the northern Plains, there was conflict between the Sioux and U.S. Army. Indians in Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas tried over and over again to control the Sioux, who entered and left their reservations at will. In 1874, the U.S. Army decided to respond to the issue by sending out a force under control of Colonel George Armstrong Custer into South Dakota. Upon the discovery of gold in the hills of South Dakota, the federal government planned for Custer's forces to hunt down all Sioux not in reservations beginning January 31st, 1876. Six months later, at the battle of Little Bighorn, Custer made an unwise decision to divide his troops, and the (numerically) superior force of Indians wiped him and all his men out. After the army using other successful tactics, the Indians gradually lost the will to resist.

Ghost Dance

In the 1880s, Sioux were desperate and looked to the prophet Wovoka, who promised them their original dominance of the Plains would return if they performed the Ghost Dance. Sioux Indians gathered in groups wearing Ghost Shirts to perform the dance in attempt to reaffirm their culture. Officials and military authorities became suspicious and attempted to arrest a Sioux hero named Sitting Bull, but he was accidentally shot in a skirmish outside his cabin. There was a massacre 2 weeks, December 29th 1890, taking place at Wounded Knee where 300 Indians died. This was a symbolic end to Indian resistance. The Plains were then conquered and moved into reservations within the next ten years.
Westward Expansion Rap