The United States government used many different techniques to remove Indians from Western lands so they could use it for their own selfish needs. Some of these methods were clearly harmful, while others were written to seem reasonable and helpful. Nomadic Indians were finding it hard to live due to declining bison herds and deteriorating grasslands. This situation was made worse by thousands of pioneers pouring into the west because of the new discovery of silver and gold in the Rocky Mountains. The government attempted to solve this problem by creating a structure of smaller reservations for Indians. They would use force if necessary. The Indian’s responses varied from tribe to tribe. The Pueblos, Crows, and Hidastas happily and obligingly adjusted to their new life. Others felt differently, however. The Navajos and the Sioux strongly opposed the new reservations, but failed in the end. Ten years later, eight new western reservations had been established.
Many Great Plains tribes retaliated faced the U.S. army in a series of battles for the West. Similarly, soldiers who were a part of the local militia destroyed Cheyenne and Arapaho camps, who responded with many attacks on travelers. The governor of Colorado authorized white citizens to find and kill and hostile Indians. He then ordered a set of troops to massacre a peaceful group of Indians, including women and children, at Sand Creek. These Indians had originally believed they would be protected by federal troops.
This massacre and others that were similar revitalized debate over federal Indian policy. In 1867, Congress sent a peace commission to end the disputes. They set aside two large land reserves, hoping the tribes living there would take up farming and convert to Christianity. Although hidden, here it is clear that one of the government’s main goals was assimilation. The plan seemed to be successful at first. Most Indians believed that they were not meant to live like the...
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