Native Americans - Fitchburg State University

Report
Native Americans
Culture and Change
Culture
• Some Native Americans were farmers,
most were nomads following buffalo herds
• Native Am lived in extended family groups
• Dependent on nature for food and religion
• Lived in bands of 500 headed by
governing council
• Gender determined task assignment
Changes under Pressure
• Ranchers, miners, and farmers move into
Plains territory
• Result deprived Native Am of hunting
grounds and forced to relocate
• Railroad building through plains territory
• Disruption of buffalo herds
Resistance
• 1862 Sioux uprising; Sioux moved to
reservations in Minnesota
• Government promise payments to support
themselves
• Traders keep payments to pay off debts
• 1862 Congress delayed payments
• Dakota tribe faced starvation; denied
credit to buy food
Sioux uprising
• Chief Little Crow wage war against
soldiers not civilians
• Lost control of warriors- slaughter civilians
• Military tribunal sentenced 307 Dakota
Indians to death- only 38 executed
• Military troops sent to patrol plains to
prevent further uprisings
Lakota Indians
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•
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•
Chief Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull
Fight to control their hunting grounds
1866 Military defeated by Red Cloud
Fetterman’s Massacre- Crazy Horse
ambush army
• Sand Creek Massacre- between
Cheyenne, Arapaho and miners
Sand Creek cont.
• Native Am attacked wagon trains, stole
horses and cattle; 200 settlers killed
• Native Am orders to surrender at Fort
Lyons and some complied
• 1864 Remaining Indians under Chief Black
Kettle seek peace; told to wait at Sand
Creek
• No one knows what really happened
Sand Creek cont.
• Some say Chief Black Kettle flew both the
American flag and white truce flag
• Some say the army brutally murdered the
Indians
• Others say they battled for two days and in
the end 14 soldiers died and anywhere
from 60-600 Native Americans died
Indian Peace Commission
• Formed in 1867
• Created two large reservation for Sioux
and Southern Plains Indians
• Bureau of Indian Affairs put in charge
• Native Am were forced to sign treaties
• Did not guarantee compliance with terms
• Result- Indians on reservation faced
poverty and corruption
Last Native American Wars
• By 1870’s many Native Am leave
reservations in disgust
• Return to traditional life of hunting
• Buffalo herds depleted
• Buffalo hunters kill for hides and sport
• Railroad hire sharpshooters
• Military encouraged buffalo hunting
Battle Little Bighorn
• Background- Lakota and Sioux
reservations located in Black Hills where
gold discovered
• Native Am moved to Bighorn Mts. In
Montana
• June 25,1876 Lt. Col. George Custer
launched a 3 prong attack in broad
daylight on Lakota
Battle Little Bighorn cont
• 2500 Lakota and Cheyenne resist; killed
210 soldiers
• Newspapers portrayed Custer as victim of
massacre
• Fear retaliation, Sitting Bull flees to
Canada
• Chief Joseph of Nez Perce tribe refused to
return to reservation
Little Bighorn cont.
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•
•
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Chief Joseph retreat on 1300 mile journey
1877 Chief Joseph surrendered
Native Am resistance ended 1890
Lakota defied army orders and continued
to perform the “Ghost Dance”
• Sitting Bull arrested but in resistance died
• Troops tried to disarm Native Am at
Wounded Knee Creek
Last Battle
• Wounded Knee; 200 Native Americans
died, 25 soldiers
• In the aftermath- authors such as Helen
Hunt Jackson bring attention to the plight
of the Native Americans
• She wrote “A Century of Dishonor” 1881
• Focus on the need to assimilate Native
American
Dawes Act 1887
• Head of household received 160 acres;
single men 80 acres, children 40 acres.
• Rest of reservation land sold to settlers
and the money put into a trust fund for
Native Americans
• Some Native Am succeeded as farmers
• Most lacked the desire or the training
• Private ownership of land went against
tradtion

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