The Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1876

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  • The Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1876
    • conflict over the Black Hills
      • 1874: Northern Pacific Railroad was approaching Sioux hunting ground in Dakota
        • US Army Commander George Custer led an expedition of the 7th cavalry protecting the railroad builders from Plains Indian's attacks
          • he also used his mission to prospecct for gold in the Black Hills.
            • thousands followed within months, staking claims to land in clear breach of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.
      • Gov. offered to buy the Black Hills form the Sioux for $6 million or pay annuity to mine there.
        • this was rejected: continued Sioux raids against prospectors were used as an excuse to say that they had broken the Fort Laramie Treaty
    • Battle of the Little Bighorn 1876
      • US Army planned to attack the Sioux tor force them back to reservations
        • Custer scouts found a camp of 2,000 in the valley of Little Bighorn: Custer only had 600 men and was ordered to wait for reinforcement
          • recklessly led his men into the Little Bighorn Valley and Crazy Horse led an attack, killing all the men and Custer.
    • Impacts of the Battle
      • public perceptions  from weak savages to a serious threat; either assimilate or die.
      • enormous pressure on the US Gov. to crush the Plains Indians resistance: gov. policy focused on achieving this.
      • Plains Indians must be kept on their reservations
        • army divisions pursued the Sioux relentlessly: by the end on 1876 most Sioux had gone back into reservations to become completely dependent on the Gov. for food and shelter.
      • Previous treaties could be ignored
        • Gov. decided that some Plain Indians had fortified their right to have treaty deals.
          • should live in smaller reservations with worse conditions.
            • faced with starvation, the Sioux gave up the Black Hills and other land.
      • Military control of Plains Indians must be Maintained
        • the Sioux weapons and horses were taken and they had to live under military rule.
          • number of soldiers and forts in the region increased.

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