The great plains is the grassland between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains
Indians who did not become farmers became nomads.
Nomad- people who travel from place to place
Settlers did not see a problem with taking Indian land, because they felt they could be very productive there. The Natives saw settlers as invaders and were angry.
When settlers started moving into the Great Plains, the government made treaties with the Natives. Land was either purchased or turned into reservations. Although it seemed like the problems had been worked out, there were misunderstandings and fraud occurred.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, in charge of managing deliveries to reservations, was corrupt and supplies was mishandeled or stolen.
Any government attempts to protect the reservations were poorly manned. Several settlers stole from the Indians or attacked them... violence broke out from both sides.
The Sand Creek Massacre, 1864
Peace was taken advantage of in the Cheyenne tribe area which consisted of the central plains (including parts of Colorado). Wagons were being raided gruesomely. The Cheyenne chiefs moved their tribe to camp at Sand Creek. The U.S. Colonel Chivington took advantage of this in November of 1864. Before Chief Black Kettle could mount an American flag, 150 to 500 people had been slaughtered. After this, Cheyenne agreed to move to reservation land.
The Battle of Little Bighorn, 1876
The Sioux tribe were from the northern plains which included Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana territories. They became angry with the government after a road was built through their hunting grounds in 1865.
The Sioux warriors killed over 80 of Captain Fetterman's soldiers in 1866 out of anger for the road (Bozeman Trail)
A treaty ended the war in 1868. It allowed the Sioux to have a large reservation in about 1/2 of South Dakota today.
All was well until 1874 when the government sent Lieutenant Colonel George Custer to investigate gold in the Black Hills. This was part of the Sioux territory. He reported gold, and the government offered to buy the Black Hills from the Sioux.
Indian forces left the reservation angry and ready to fight. Custer assumed their troops would be less in number and split his troops. The Sioux killed Custer and 200 soldiers in less than an hour
This battle is also known as Custer's Last Stand
The army ended up forcing the Sioux back onto their reservations.
The Battle of Wounded Knee, 1890
Several Native American prophets predicted danger or prosperity around this time. A prophet named Wovoka promised life would return to normal if the Natives performed purification rituals. The Ghost Dance was a ritual where people joined hands and whirled in a circle.
This Ghost Dance ritual became popular with the Teton Sioux that were struggling with reservation life. They became restless by 1890. The army sent the Seventh Cavalry, Custer's old unit, to the area.
Police officers thought that if they arrested the Chief, Sitting Bull, things would calm down. However, he was killed. His followers numbering to about 350 surrendered and were rounded up at a creek called Wounded Knee. A fire was shot alarming the soldiers who ended up killing over 200 Sioux.
After this, the violence between the U.S. and Indians was only seen in minor battles, if any at all.