History of the United States Since 1865, HIS 204
Dr. Darrell Rice
August 22, 2011
Native Americans Thriving Culture
“North America was not an uninhabited land when European settlers first came because there was already an indigenous and thriving culture of people” (Bowles, 2011, The Isolation of the Plains Indians 1850s-1890s, para. 1). Through the many treaties and wars, the Native Americans where forced to live on reservations, first the one big reservation until finally smaller reservations to isolate each tribe from other tribes. Native Americans learned to live without the great buffalo herds and some to farm the land during their isolation. To overcome this isolation took many years of dedication from the American Indian to reveal their culture to future generations. Although Native Americans survived isolation there was a struggle from 1865 to the present, because many challenges where involved in ending the American Indian’s isolation, along with the major people involved in their struggle. First, Native Americans survived isolation through the different struggles from 1865 to the present. In 1867, a treaty was being negotiated and the Indians refused to give up any more of their land, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 removed soldiers from the Powder River country and new boundaries for the Crow Indian Reservation in Yellowstone Valley (Heidenreich, 1985). The removal of the solders was the results of Red Cloud’s War, the only war that the United States ever lost to the Indians (Heidenreich, 1985). Crow’s boundaries included the east and south of the river to the present-day Montana-Wyoming line in the Yellowstone Valley (Heidenreich, 1985). Yellowstone Valley is an isolated area that the Indian tribes would visit but as whites would deplete surrounding resources the Indians where forced into the Valley. The Crow and Sioux reservations joined in the valley, making the hunting grounds a joint area for the tribes. Miners demanded protection from the U.S. army when gold was discovered in the Black Hills hunting grounds, even though the Indians were in their treaty rights (Bredhoff, 2001). “Custer, leading an army detachment, encountered the encampment of Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Bighorn River. Custer’s detachment was annihilated, but the United States would continue its battle against the Sioux in the Black Hills until the government confiscated the land in 1877” (Bredhoff, 2001, para. 3). The Black Hills of Dakota is another treaty of 1868 until the United States seized the land in 1877, to this day; the Sioux and the U.S. Government are in dispute of the land (Bredhoff, 2001). The Sioux Nation was awarded money for their land but refused the award and is an ongoing case (Giago, 2009). Every treaty that was ever made the U.S. government always seemed to break them, forcing the Native Americans into war and smaller reservations. To this day, Indian Nations are still trying to reclaim their land that was taken from them by the United States government. For the Sioux Nation to reclaim the Black Hills in Yellowstone Valley would bring great victory for every Indian Nation in the United States and closer to ending isolation. As the Crow Indians were forced into selling their land in 1879, to build the Northern Pacific Railroad through the valley and part of the reservation in the gold section of the Yellowstone Valley, Yellowstone history had ended as the Indians resources had been depleted (Heidenreich, 1985). Pretty Shield summarized the great change: Sickness came, strange sickness that nobody knew about, when there was no meat. …These things would not have happened if we Crows had been living as we were intended to live. But how could we live in the old way when everything was gone? Ahh, my heart fell down when I began to see dead buffalo scattered all over our beautiful country … And then white men began to fence the plains so that we...