The Indian Wars
Dr. Sunni Thibodeau
United States Hisotry Since 1876
30 September, 2013
The Indian Wars
The Indians had a rough time during the 1800’s. Like many other races and people throughout history, the Indians were a part of discrimination. They were removed from their own land and homes so Americans could start cultivating and building their own lands and futures. A lot of problems arose for the Indians which ended up leading to several battles.
A lot of the reasoning behind the wars can be seen in the quote, “Lakota Chief Sitting Bull asked, “If the white men take my country, where can I go?” (Western Indian Wars, n.d.). Basically, the expansion of the railroad and other ventures required a lot of land. The particular land that was needed was inhabited by the Indians. The Americans began to attempt to move and herd the Indians to different locations. It was not taken well.
During these difficult times, many Americans would shoot the Indians on sight. The problem with that was that the Indians were often peaceful and there was no reasoning behind the deaths. The collisions simply got worse from there. For example, a particular group of militia led by Colonel J. M. Chivington brutally killed and massacred hundreds of Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado. Those Indians had previously been given immunity.
Such harsh treatment was not something that was taken lightly. Some Indians fought back. A group of Sioux Indians ambushed and killed Fetterman’s eighty-one civilians and soldiers. Fights and wars were just beginning, but it did bring something along with it. The Sioux Indians got the “Great Sioux Reservation”.
A simple reservation or two did not stop the turmoil, though. More battles arose after Colonel George Armstrong Custer announced gold in an area that was inhabited by the Plains Indians. This just created more warfare as people in search for gold herded to the lands, disrupting the lives of the Indians. Custer is often known for the battle of “Little Big Horn”. The battle of Little Big Horn is where he led around 250 men to their deaths. The Indians had been more prepared then they had expected. In response, however, the U.S. Army later hunted down the large number of about 2,500 Indians that had over taken Custer’s men and killed them. The whites continued to subdue the Native Americans and move them to reservations. It was not an easy task and the number of deaths rose, but it continued none the less.
“Western Indian Wars.” The Price of Freedom: Americans at War. Smithsonian National Museum of American History Behring Center, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2013. <http://amhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/printable/section.asp?id=6>