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It is believed that Native American Indians arrived into North America via the Bering Strait and Northern Canada, 15,000 + years ago. When the Europeans arrived in the 16th century the population had been in decline. Diseases (smallpox) killed off millions of Indians over the next 400 years. US governments have sought to 'assimilate' them into the US way of life. Most tribes have been reluctant to give up their own way of life.
"All things in the world
have souls. The sky has a spirit: so do the animals, trees, grass,
water, stones, everything. The spirits are
our gods and we pray to them so
that they will help us"
Role of Women
From prairie to breadbasket
Building the railways
Start of the cattle industry
The conflict over land: The Great Plains
Land: did not believe in ownership
- they shared the land with others.
Lifestyle: Many were nomads
- following the buffalo on the Plains
Belief: in the Great Spirit
Land: believed in owning the land
Lifestyle: settlers & farmers
1830 Indian Removal Act
President Jackson started the movement of Indians.
All land west of Mississippi was for the Indians.
Great American Desert
. The Great Plains was seen as a desert - of no use to the white farmers
. The plains were for the Native American Indians
The Great Migration: Trails
The 1840s saw Americans start the migration from East to West
- across the Plains
- across the Indian lands
Many early pioneers like
traded with the Indians
Annual fur trade camps, were attended by Indians & whites.
There was respect for the
Indian way of life.
Arrival of the railway in the 1860s
made the situation worse for the Indians. It went against the treaties.
Railroad companies killed buffalo
to feed their workers.
Railroad companies sold off land either side of the tack to settlers.
Indians hated the 'iron horse' attacked the workers, ambushed trains & destroyed track.
The US army came to protect the railroad companies.
Agreements & Treaties
Agreements & Treaties continued through the 1860s, 1870s & into the 1900s
Generally speaking the new agreements & treaties
reduced the size of the reservations & restricted the Indian lifestyle
1865 Little Arkansas Treaty
US govt wanted peace & attacks to stop on wagon trains. Indians wanted access to hunting grounds.
Agreement on reservations, but never implemented.
1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty
Reduced the size of the reservations given in the 1865 Treaty. Not agreed by Indians.
1868 Fort Laramie Treaty II
Agreed Lakota ownership of Black Hills, plus other hunting lands.
Gold prospectors continued to break the Treaty.
1871 Indian Appropriation Act
No Indian tribes recognised as independent nations.
Made taking of their land easier.
1887 Dawes Act
Native Americans now lived in reservations that were getting smaller and smaller in size.
Federal govt. supplied the reservations with food & supplies.
Land allowed to be divided up & given to individual Indians.
Given 160 acres, but not own it for 25 years. then allowed to be US citizens.
Any land left was then made available to others.
Government hoped Indians, would become more 'American'.
Some Indian children were taken away from their parents to be educated separately.
Many reservations had problems:
Some in the U.S. thought reservation life made people lazy.
Amount of land given over to reservations was 60% less than originally given.
By 1890 there were no large areas of land available.