Suspicion and hostility, stemming from cultural differences , have begun violent relations between Native American and non-Indians in North America. The resulting white-Indian conflicts often took a particularly brutal turn and ultimately resulted in the near-de-struction of the indigenous peoples.
On November 29, 1864, one of the most gruesome events of the American-Indian wars occurred when 650 Colorado volunteer forces attacked a Cheyenne and Arapho encampent along Sand Creek. Although they had already begun peace negotiations with the U.S. government, more than 150 Native Americans were killed and mutilated and more than 2/3 of which were women and children.
Disputes on the southern plains culminated in the Sand Creek massacre (1864), during which Colorado volunteers slaughtered over two hundred of Black Kettle’s Cheyennes and Arapahos, many of whom had already attempted to come to terms with the government. In Minnesota, attacks by the Eastern Sioux prompted counterattacks by the volunteer force. After which the tribes were removed to the Dakotas. The conflict became general when John Pope mounted a series of unsuccessful expeditions onto the plains in 1865.
Initial failures against a loose Indian coalition, forged by leaders including Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, culminated in the annihilation of five troops of Custer’s cavalry at the Little Bighorn. The tribes had to sue for peace, and even Sitting Bull’s band returned from Canada to accept reservation life in 1881. Another outbreak among the Sioux and Northern Cheyennes, precipitated by government corruption, shrinking reservations, and the spread of the Ghost Dance, culminated in a grisly encounter at Wounded Knee (1890), in which casualties totaled over two hundred Indians and sixty-four soldiers.