Destruction of the Indian way of life

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Katie
  • Created on: 21-04-14 14:28
View mindmap
  • Destruction of the Indian Way of Life
    • The US army were an important factor in the destruction of the Indian way of life however, there are two other factors that proved more effective than any war could have done.
    • The Destruction of the buffalo herds
      • Between 1840 and 1885 the buffalo were almost hunted to extinction as more people were crossing the Plains, the buffalo were a good source of food. Their habitats were also destroyed and new diseases were introduced.
        • The numbers of the buffalo fell from around 13 million in 1840 to around 200 in 1885.
      • The buffalo were mainly hunted for food, however, once the railroads had been built, special excursion trains were run to that people could go and shoot buffalo for sport.
      • On the building of the railroads, some men were hired in order to keep the workers supplied with meat and to clear the way.
        • One man that did this was named Buffalo Bill, and by his count he killed 4280 buffalo.
      • The buffalo were killed off very quickly and there are two reasons for this. One was that in 1871, an eastern tannery discovered a process to produce high quality leather from buffalo hides. And two, the use of the railroads meant that people could get hold of buffalo hides easier and transport them back for easy money.
      • The hunters were only interested in the hides so the rest of the buffalo would be left to rot.
      • It wasn't until many years later that the bones to would be collected and sent east.
        • In the East, the bones were ground into fertiliser, or made into buttons, combs and knife handles.
        • The hooves were made into glue.
      • The Indians who depended upon the buffalo for their survival were not blind to what was happening. The killing of the buffalo was one of the causes of warfare on the Plains.
      • In the summer of 1874, some Indians attacked the buffalo hunters and would repeatedly do so.
    • The Reservation System
      • In 1825, the government developed a system of Indian reservations on the Great Plains.
      • These would be supervised by Indian agents and they were intended to keep the Indians away from the homesteaders and ranchers.
      • Originally, they were allowed to leave the reservations in order to go and hunt the buffalo, however, after all the conflicts in the 1860s and 1870s they lost this right.
      • The Indians were expected to live like farmers.
      • The land they were given was land that the settlers didn't want which meant that it was difficult to harvest, resulting in having to depend on the government for food rations.
      • Sometimes the Indians would encounter dishonest Indian agents, some housing money was stolen, food rations weren't enough and there wasn't any medical treatment available
      • The change on to reservations wasn't so bad for everyone. The tribe Pawnee were already farmers as well as hunters so the change wasn't as bad for them.
      • Some people could also gain more power by talking to the Indian agents as some leaders refused to.
      • In the 1890s some church groups took over the reservations however, this didn't stop the Indian agents always being honest.
      • The destruction of Indian Culture
        • Territorial
          • The government would split off any unused land of the Sioux to give to the whites.
          • This would then split the Sioux up into smaller groups.
        • Political
          • The chiefs lost most of their power as they no longer distributed the food rations.
          • In 1885 the government took control of all legal matters.
        • Economic
          • The Indians weren't allowed to leave the reservations to hunt nor steal horses to increase their wealth.
        • Religious
          • Feasts, dances ceremonies and the like were all banned.
          • There was no need for young boys to have visions.
        • Educational
          • Children were sent to boarding schools were they were not allowed to speak their own language.


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The American West 1840-1895 resources »