The Great Sioux War

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The Great Sioux War of 1876

By 1876, gold had been discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gold was found on Sioux land, and this region was considered sacred to the Lakota Sioux Indians. The he land was to be protected and respected by the United States Army, because of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 18681, but the Army could not keep miners off the Sioux ground, which led to the increase of Sioux grievances towards the Americans; some grievances that are still taken offense to today. These battles and negotiations soon were known at the Great Sioux War of 1876.

In 1874, the government had sent out Lieutenant Colonel George Custer to examine the Black Hills. On his expedition, Custer revealed the presence of gold in the area, and before Custer and his troops returned to Fort Abraham Lincoln, news of their discovery was telegraphed nationally (Keenan 21). Motivated by the economic panic of 18732, thousands of miners invaded the forbidden lands of the Sioux. At first, the U.S. Army struggled to keep miners out of the region, but the evictions increased political pressure on President Grant and his administration to secure the Black Lands from the Sioux.

In May 1875, Sioux delegates, Spotted Tail, Red Cloud, and Lone Horn traveled to Washington, D.C. to persuade President Grant to honor the treaties and stop the invasion of miners into their lands. The US leaders said that Congress wanted to pay the tribes for their land and have them relocate (O’Brien 178). They refused to sign a new treaty, and Spotted Tail said, You speak of another country, but it is not my country; it does not concern me, and I want nothing to do with it. I was not born there… If it is such a good country, you ought to send the white men now in our country there and let us alone.

Although, the chiefs did not find a peaceful solution, they were not apart of the warfare the following year.
The Great Sioux War is said to begin after the government had given the Sioux a warning...
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