War and Peace on the Plains

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  • War and Peace on the Plains
    • The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty bought a few years' peace
      • To protect the Oregon Trail the US government wanted to create a safe corridor across the plains
      • A gathering of about 10 000 Sioux, Shoshonis, Cheyennes, Crows and Araphahos assembled in council near Fort Laramie, Wyoming
      • The tribes granted transit rights across the plains and allowed the US to build forts along the trail
      • Each tribe agreed to remain within its own territory so each could be held responsible for attacks in that area
        • First attempt at a reservation system on the Great Plains
      • In return the US promised the signatories annuities (annual payment)
        • Later reduced by Congress
      • In 1853 a similar treaty signed with the Comanches and Kiowas of the southern plains obtained protection for the Santa Fe Trail
      • The treaties were stopgaps only From 1855 various wars resumed between the US and northern plain tribes
    • The Civil War (1861-1865) was mainly fought in the East
      • Civil War- an unsuccessful bid for independence by a Confederacy of 11 Southern states who wanted to continue allowing slavery
      • Westward migration of settlers continued during the war
      • Most of the fighting was East of the Mississippi, but attempts were made by both sides to involve Native Americans
      • The war had a vital effect on the cattle trade
      • Many Civil War soldiers- including Custer and Sherman and Sheridan-went on to be involved in conflicts with the Plain Indians
    • Little Crows War was an uprising in Minnesota, 1862
      • The Santee Sioux, had been peaceful, accepting reservation life and adopted the white settlers' ways
      • Their chief, Little Crow, wore a jacket and trousers, went to church and took up farming
      • But Civil War shortages, a delay in payment in their annuity, cheating by traders and a poor harvest left his people near starvation
      • In August, four Dakota (Santee Sioux) returning from an unsuccessful hunt murederd 5 settlers for a dare
      • Fearing retaliation on the entire tribe, Little Crow reluctantly led his warriors in a uprising made easier by the absence of many teoops away fighting in the Civil War
      • Hundreds of settlers and about 100 soldiers were killed, and the town of New Ulm burned, before the Dakota were defeated at Wood Lake in September
      • 38 Dakota prisoners were hanged in December, and most of the Dokota were expelled from what was left of their land


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