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The Close of the Frontier

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1 The Close of the Frontier
The Struggle of the Plains Indians

2 The Struggle of the Plains Indians
Over 200,000 Indians lived in the Plains following the Civil War Conflict with settlers in the East before the Civil War resulted in the removal policy which placed Indians in the trans-Mississippi west, most in Oklahoma territory. Peace Commissions (army and Indian agents) sent to meet with Plains Indians in 1867 and 1868 promised aid and non-interference

3 Plains Culture Did not believe land could be owned
Most tribes were nomadic Moved from place to place following the buffalo herds Lived in Tepees Arrival of the horse on to the plains in the late 1400’s had a major impact on their ability to hunt

4 Destruction of the Buffalo
Buffalo was sacred to the Plains Indians Used all parts of the buffalo Buffalo hide for clothing and shelter Bladder for water containers Sinew for ropes and lashing Bone for tools and weapons Meat for food Nomadic lifestyle was based on the buffalo hunt

5 Destruction of the Buffalo
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. Buffalo nearly hunted to extinction

6 Decline in Bison Population
Year Population ,000,000 ,000,000 ,000,000 ,000,000 ,000 ,091

7 Conflict between the U.S. Government and Native Americans
In 1867 the federal government began moving the Indians to a few large reservations. 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.


9 The Battle of Little Big Horn
The Battle of the Little Bighorn 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.

10 Geronimo and the Apache
Geronimo fought against both Mexican and United States troops and became famous for numerous escapes from capture. His 38 men, women and children evaded 5000 U.S. troops (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 in Arizona.

11 Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce
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.

12 Chief Joseph Surrenders
"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, Too-hul-hul-sote 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."

13 Changing the Culture of the Plains Indians
The Dawes Act- 1887 A law passed by congress that sought to change the culture of the Plains Indians change Native Americans view of private ownership of land End the nomadic tradition “Civilize” the Native Americans Broke up Reservations into private parcels of 160 acres Each member of the tribe would get their own parcel Extra land was sold to settlers Goal was to get the Native Americans to become farmers and then American citizens

14 Changing the Culture of the Plains Indians
Native American Boarding Schools Schools that were established to “Americanize” Native American children Reservation lands were sold to support these schools

15 Wounded Knee The Ghost Dance
The Ghost Dance was a religious movement that inspired hope among suffering Native Americans. Believed the dance could reverse the events that occurred on the plains Newspapers began suggesting that this signaled a planned uprising. The military killed Sitting Bull while attempting to arrest him in a skirmish. The Ghost Dance

16 Native American resistance on the plains ends
Wounded Knee The Wounded Knee Massacre, Dec. 29, 1890, occurred the day after the surrender. Shooting began after a gun went off, and the fleeing Sioux were massacred. This action marked the end of the bloody conflict between the army and the Plains Indians. Wounded Knee Native American resistance on the plains ends

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