Destruction of Plains Indian way of life (1876 - 1895)

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  • Destruction of Plains Indian way of life (1876 - 1895)
    • Reservations
      • From mid-1870s majority of Plains Indians prisoners on reservations
        • Conditions bad - poor farm land so difficult to feed theselves
          • Forced submission to government as reliant on them for handouts
      • From 1876 the government had changed policy from President Grant's peace policy 1869 (stay on reservations but could leave to hunt) to peace within reservations but war without
      • 1885 - government took control of all legal matters so Indians couldn't judge or punish eachother
      • When Sioux banned from leaving reservations - no buffalo so economy crumbled
    • Battle of Little Bighorn
      • After Bighorn, Indians largely forced onto reservations to become farmers and Indian Agents used to control them
      • Plains Indians win battle
        • Mistake of army who under estimated Plains Indians
        • News reached rest of America
          • Encourages US Government to respond by reinforcing army (2500 troops sent West)
            • Indians split into bands after facing attack
              • Eventually leads to surrender of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse - armed resistance of Sioux over.
    • Dawes Act (1887)
      • Allows communal reservation lands to be broken up into plots of land
        • Intended to destroy power of chiefs and tribal structures as they could become self-sufficient and didn't need chiefs
        • Destroys nomadic lifestyle
        • Further reduces land - in next 10 years land halved
          • Reservations shrink
      • Began from 1871 Appropriations Act
        • Stopped treating Plains Indians as individual sovereign nations - stole freedom
    • Religion
      • Banned religious ceremonies such as sun dance
        • Government tried to replace with Christianity
        • Undermined spiritual beliefs - no buffalo no dance
    • Education
      • Young children sent to white boarding schools and brought up for white man's world
        • Couldn't speak native language, denied practice of own religion and respect of traditional way of life
          • If Sioux resisted - rations stopped
  • Causes
    • Army trying to attack Sioux that hadn't returned to reservations (Sitting Bull & Crazy Horse)
    • Battle of Little Bighorn
      • After Bighorn, Indians largely forced onto reservations to become farmers and Indian Agents used to control them
      • Plains Indians win battle
        • Mistake of army who under estimated Plains Indians
        • News reached rest of America
          • Encourages US Government to respond by reinforcing army (2500 troops sent West)
            • Indians split into bands after facing attack
              • Eventually leads to surrender of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse - armed resistance of Sioux over.

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