Plains Indians

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The destruction of the Plains Indians' cultures connected with the technological developments and government actions in the United States. During the period of struggle between Indians and Whites in the late 19th century, Indian leaders often traveled east to plead their case before the federal government, with few results. The building of the transcontinental railroads and all their branches was an inevitable part of the Industrial Revolution that drove America following the Civil War. The Indians were repressed due to the railroad, which cut through their territory in the West, the declining population of the buffalo, wars, and the loss of their land to White settlement.

The federal government tried to quiet the Indians' protests by signing treaties with the chiefs of the tribes. However, the treaties failed because those who signed didn’t necessarily represent groups of people in Indian culture, and in most cases, the Indians didn’t recognize the authority chiefs outside of their own tribes. In the 1860s, the U.S. government made new efforts to relocate Indians into even smaller reservations than before. Indians were often promised that they wouldn’t be bothered further if they would just move out of their ancestral lands, and often, Indian agents were corrupt and sold off cheap food and products to their own fellow Indians. White men often ignored the treaties, though, and frequently scammed the Indians. In frustration, many Native American tribes attempted to fight back.

After the Civil War, the U.S. Army’s new mission became to move the Indians out of the West so the White settlers could move in. A couple of Indians and Whites battled between 1860s to 1890s in a series known as the Indian Wars. Many times though, the Indians were better equipped than the federal troops sent to stop their revolts because arrows could be fired more rapidly than their rifles. However, the invention of the Colt .45 revolver and Winchester repeating rifle put the Indians...
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