Throughout North American expansion the Lakota people have suffered some of the worst and straight forward persecutions against Native American Indians, and live in some of the poorest if not the poorest conditions in the United States. This is sad for a people who use to be one of the strongest nations in the Central Plains, feared by white men and other Indian nations alike for their ferocity and warrior abilities in the heat of battle. The Lakota arrived at positions of dominance because of their success in controlling live¬stock, land, trading rights, and people. Wars for conquest were motivated principally by these practical considerations, not driven by aggressive instincts. Their success in this respect rested on significant socioeconomic transformations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Lakota adapted their traditional way of life to an equestrian buffalo-hunting economy which followed the herds around the plains and expanded their territory. Because of this the Lakota experi¬enced political and social decentralization during their movement onto the prairies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some political consolida¬tion occurred during the nineteenth century, but only after they had achieved dominance in the northern central plains. One of the most famous and controversial Lakota people is Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala, for years he frustrated he United Stats government efforts to open up the west by way of the Bozeman trail. Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and other Lakota warriors were constantly attacking white settlers and miners crossing their territory to reach the gold fields of Montana. The most famous of these was the Fetterman Massacre of 1866, on the bitterly cold morning of December 21; about 2,000 Indians concealed themselves along the road just north of Fort Phil Kearney. A small band made a diversionary attack on a party of woodcutters from the fort, and Commandant Colonel Henry Carrington...
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