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Native American Struggles

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Presentation on theme: "Native American Struggles"— Presentation transcript:

1 Native American Struggles
Starting in the mid- 1850’s, miners, railroads, cattle drives, and farmers came to the Plains. The Plains Indians had millions of buffalo to supply their needs. After the Civil War, American hunters hired by the railroads began killing the animals to feed the crews building the railroads and for sport. William Cody claimed to have killed more than 4000 buffalo in 18 months. The loss of the buffalo helped lead to the loss of a way of life for the Plains Indians.

2 Conflict In 1867 the federal government began moving the Indians to a few large reservations. One large nation was in Oklahoma, the “Indian Territory”. Another was in the Dakota Territory. Managing the reservations would be the job of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most reservations were on poor land and the Indians were often tricked to move there. Many Natives moved to the reservations but some resisted.

3 Battles on the Plains William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody (back row center) meeting with Indians and government officials following the massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890. "The Death of Custer" at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, as enacted in Buffalo Bill's Wild West. In General George A. Custer led an army to check on rumors of gold in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a land promised to the Sioux Indians. Gold was found and prospectors flooded the area. The Sioux protested but the government did not honor its promise The Sioux leader “Sitting Bull” refused and gathered Sioux and Cheyenne warriors at Little Bighorn River where they were joined by another Chief Crazy Horse and his followers. Custer divided his forces and attacked with 250 soldiers against thousands of Natives. Custer an all his men were lost. The defeat shocked the nation. The Native victory was short lived as the Army crushed the uprising soon after.

4 The Apache Wars Geronimo fought against both Mexican and United States troops and became famous for his daring exploits and numerous escapes from capture. His 38 men, women and children evaded 5000 U.S. troops (one fourth of the army at the time) and the Mexican army for a year. His forces became the last major force of independent Indian warriors who refused to acknowledge the United States Government in the American West. This came to an end on September 4, 1886, when Geronimo surrendered to United States Army General Nelson A. Miles at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona. Geronimo was sent as a prisoner to Fort Pickens, Florida. In 1894 he was moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In his old age Geronimo became something of a celebrity. He appeared at fairs, including the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, and selling souvenirs and photographs of himself. However, he was not allowed to return to the land of his birth. He rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's 1905 inaugural parade.

5 Chief Joseph Surrenders
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce led his people in an attempt to resist the takeover of their lands in the Oregon Territory by white settlers. In 1877, the Nez Perce were ordered to move to a reservation in Idaho. Chief Joseph agreed at first. But after members of his tribe killed a group of settlers, he tried to flee to Canada with his followers, traveling over 1500 miles through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Along the way they fought several battles with the pursuing U.S. Army. Chief Joseph spoke these words when they finally surrendered on October 5, 1877. Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever. Chief Joseph - Thunder Traveling to the Loftier Mountain Heights

6 A Changed Culture Reformers like Helen Hunt Jackson were horrified at the treatment of Native Americans and pushed for reforms. Congress changed government policy with the passage of the Dawes Act in 1887.

7 The Dawes Act of 1887 Ethnocentrism Congressman Henry Dawes, author of the act, once expressed his faith in the civilizing power of private property with the claim that to be civilized was to "wear civilized clothes...cultivate the ground, live in houses, ride in Studebaker wagons, send children to school, drink whiskey and own property." The law aimed to give Native Americans private individual ownership of land, eliminate their nomadic lifestyle, and encourage them to become farmers. The law broke up the reservations in an attempt to end tribal identification. Native American children were sent to white-run boarding schools for deculturization. The plan failed and speculators acquired most of the valuable land with Natives receiving land that was often dry and ill-suited for farming.

8 Wounded Knee The frozen body of one of the victims at Wounded Knee. The caption written on this photograph identifies him as the medicine man who triggered the conflict with a handful of dust tossed into the air to illustrate how the power of the Ghost Dance would sweep the whites from the plains. The Dawes Act changed the Natives way of life and in despair they turned to Wovoka in 1890, a prophet who claimed the Sioux would regain their greatness by performing a ritual known as the Ghost Dance. The reservation officials became alarmed by the dance and arrested Sitting Bull as the leader of the movement. He was shot during the arrest. In response the Sioux gathered at a creek called Wounded Knee in South Dakota and were confronted by the army. In the battle 150 Sioux and 25 soldiers were killed. This ended the armed conflict between whites and Native Americans.

9 The Ghost Dance

10 Farmers in Protest After the Civil War farming expanded and as more land was cultivated supplies grew faster than demand which caused prices to fall while the farmers costs of transporting their goods to market, for seed, and for equipment all rose. Farmers blamed their troubles on three groups: Railroads, because they engaged in pools and rebates. Eastern manufacturers because they charged high prices for their products. Bankers because of their lending practices and a money supply based on gold.

11 The Grange Farmers began to organize to solve their problems. In a short time they created a political movement. The movement started with local self help groups that eventually became called the National Grange The Grange offered farmers education, fellowship, and support encouraged economic self-sufficiency. It set-up cash only cooperatives in an attempt to end buying on credit that burdened farmers with debt they often could not pay. The Grange looked to gets states to limit railroad rates and did get many laws passed. The railroads put pressure on the state legislatures and the laws were repealed. The Grange cooperatives also failed as farmers, always short of cash, had to borrow money until their next crop was sold. The Grange was replaced by Farmers Alliances.

12 Farmers’ Alliances Like the Grange the farmers alliances offered farmers education, fellowship, and support. The alliances supported a plan for the federal government to store farmers’ crops in warehouses and lend money to the farmers. When the stored crops were sold the farmers would repay the government loans. The plan would reduce the power railroads, merchants, and banks had over them by offering the farmers federal protection. The alliances did not remain united and were split by regional differences.

13 The Populists: A Party of the People
The Populist (or People's) Party was formed in 1892 when the Knights of Labor and the Farmers Alliance leaders turned their movements into a political party.

14 The Populists: A Party of the People
The issues the Populists endorsed were: Australian (or Secret) Ballot. The Popular Election of U.S. Senators. (This plank would become part of the Constitution in 1913 when Amendment XVII was ratified.) Direct Democracy. The Populists urged the adoption of the initiative. They felt the initiative would expand Democracy by allowing laws or amendments to be initiated directly by the voters. They wanted the right to pass a referendum where legislation is submitted to the people for approval. They also wanted the right of recall so the people could remove elected officials before their term expired. All of these measures looked to give the people a more direct voice in government by increasing democracy for common people.

15 The Populists: A Party of the People
The issues the Populists endorsed were: Banking Reform. The Populists believed that much of their economic hardship had been caused by bankers' unfair practices. Government Ownership of the Railroads. During the Theodore Roosevelt administration, steps were taken toward reform of the railroads.) Graduated Income Tax. The Populists viewed the graduated income tax as a means to pry loose a portion of the tremendous wealth of the nation's most prosperous citizens. Free and Unlimited Coinage of Silver. The Populists in 1892 raised the silver issue the free silver crusade would die a natural death in the years following 1896 as prosperity returned and the world's gold supply increased.

16 The Free Sliver Movement
Populists wanted the federal government to mint silver freely the result of this which would have been a considerable increase in the money supply and inflation. Populists favored an inflationary monetary policy on the grounds that it would enable debtors (often farmers, laborers, and industrial workers) to pay their debts. Wealthy creditors such as banks, leaseholders, and landlords, who under this theory suffer considerably strongly opposed the idea..

17 The Election of 1896 In 1896, the Populists gained control of the Democratic Party and engineered the nomination of William Jennings Bryan. The campaign was dominated by the silver issue. An energetic campaign failed to sway the electorate, except in the farm belt. The Republicans were returned to power and the Populists were badly split between those who wished to remain with the Democrats and those who wanted to reclaim their identity.

18 The Cross of Gold Speech
William Jennings Bryan's speech before the Democratic convention concluded with the following: Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good, but that we cannot have it until other nations help us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we will restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States has it. If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

19 The Populist Legacy Many of the Populist ideas were later adopted by the other parties and became law. In the 1900’s, the U.S. abandoned the gold standard, adopted an eight hour work day, and introduced an income tax. Election reforms achieved the secret ballot and direct election of senators.


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