The Plains Indians • The Great Plains is the region basically between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. • The Spanish introduction of horses in the 1600s changed the way of life of many Indian nations, since travel and buffalo hunting was made easier. • Horses were a form of currency • The U.S. government made the Plains region an area reserved for Indians in the early 1834. • There was great diversity in the region, although most tribes relied upon the buffalo.
Family Life • Lived in small tribes • Moved around constantly (nomadic) • Men hunted, dealt with horses, played games and relaxed • Women did everything else • Religions • Polytheistic • Rain gods, sun gods, etc…
Railroad tracks were laid in the traditional grazing lands of the buffalo, which contributed to their near-extinction by the end of the 1800s
Buffalo Bill Cody • Hired by railroads to kill buffalo for meat for the workers. • Killed 4280 buffalo in 18 months. • 22$ per buffalo (skin & tongue) • Averaged 60 a day. • White man killed 30+ million buffalo
Hunting buffalo became a popular sport, encouraged by cattle ranchers who wanted the Great Plains for grazing cows
ash fertilizer used in refining sugar • $4-12 a ton • 100 animals
Settlers push West • Whites believed land was theirs and it was their Divine right to take the land. • Manifest Destiny • Natives believed land belonged to no one • Reasons settlers push West • GOLD and Silver • 1st discovered in California at Sutters Mill in 1848
Government policy towards Plains Indians changed in the mid-1800s • Various gold and silver strikes, the transcontinental railroad, and the cattle industry brought many settlers into Indian lands. • The government declared a policy of concentration, in which Native Americans were required to live within boundaries on the Plains. • After the mid-1860s, wars over land broke out between Native Americans and U.S. troops in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and New Mexico.
Reservation system • Oklahoma, first place for Reservations. • Most tribes resisted relocation • New lands were far from home and required a new lifestyle to survive • Often located in areas unsuitable for farming Oklahoma, 1891
Dawes Act of 1887 • Part of the plan for assimilation of Native Americans and make them “white” • Its goal was to undo tribal ownership and place farmland in the hands of private individuals. • 160 acres given to head of households • This law resulted in what many call the end of the traditional Native American ways of life. Senator Henry L. Dawes
Several attempts were made to assimilate Indians into the American way of life during the mid-1800s. Indian school, Pine Ridge, SD
Schools opened across the nation and were used to strip Native Americans of their traditional culture. Curriculum focused on manual labor skills. Cantonment, OK Making tin utensils at Carlisle, PA Art class at Carlisle, PA School at Pima reservation, AZ
Conflict erupted between whites and Indians in Colorado after gold was discovered during the 1850s and 1860s • The Cheyenne and Arapaho lived in the Rocky Mountain region, as negotiated in the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851.Miners entered their homelands during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush of 1858. • During the Civil War, Indians attacked miners while U.S. troops were busy in the south. • Governor John Evans of Colorado called for volunteer militiamen under Colonel John Chivington to suppress the Indians. Cheyenne
Sand Creek Massacre, 1864 • Tensions escalated throughout 1864. • Colonel Chivington ordered an attack on the camp on November 29. His troops murdered men, women, children, and the elderly. Killed over 150 people. • This atrocity angered many, and led to further violent conflict with other Native Americans.
Battle of Little Bighorn, 1876 • Thousands of miners entered the Black Hills of Montana in search for gold beginning in 1874. • The Lakota Sioux chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, angered by the invasion, declared war on the settlers. • Colonel George A. Custer and about 250 of his soldiers were attacked on June 25 at the Little Bighorn River. • Custer and his men were all killed in what is known as “Custer’s Last Stand.” Custer Sitting Bull
Wounded Knee Massacre, 1890 • Army troops followed the Indians to the Wounded Knee Creek. • As the Lakota prepared to surrender, a shot was fired. • Army troops shot and killed nearly 300 men, women, children and the elderly. • This was the last major violent clash between the U.S. government and Native Americans.
Growth of the cattle industry • As the population of the U.S. increased, a greater demand for meat led to growth in the cattle industry. • Huge profits could be made if the cattle could be driven overland to be transported to the east. • Today 100000 cows slaughtered daily and 23 million chickens daily.
Cowboys • Diverse group of men including Americans, Mexicans, African Americans, Native Americans, as well as various European immigrants • Extremely demanding job, often requiring 18 hours a day in the saddle, harsh weather conditions, loneliness, low pay, and possibility of stampede or death by dragging or disease Cowboys earned approximately $570 a month in 2006 dollars
Most property claims were aligned with streams, no fences at first even though the land was publicly held. As the cattle industry grew, cowboys spent much time “line riding,” containing their herds within their claimed property. Prevention ofCattletheft
Cattle drives • In order to get live cows to the east, ranchers needed to move them to the railroad. • This led to the “long drive,” where cowboys herded thousands of cattle to railheads. • Railheads were towns with railroad depots. • Chisholm Trail.
Ranching became big business • Profits soared in the cattle industry and attracted wealthy businessmen and foreigners to the industry. • The rise of “cattle barons” concentrated ownership of the herds in the hands of a few dozen large ranchers. Essentially had a monopoly. • The 1870s to the mid-1880s is referred to as the Cattle Kingdom. Charles Goodnight, cattle baron New Mexico cattle ranch
Decline of the Cattle Kingdom • In the mid-1880s, the cattle ranching business was devastated by several factors, including: • Overexpansion • Lowered prices due to overproduction • Battles over land usage with farmers who used barbed wire • Bad weather • Cattle diseases
Winter of 1887-1888 • One of coldest recorded winters on the Great Plains. • In Lincoln, NE, for example, 36 days of the winter were 0° or below. • Thousands of cattle died as a result of the freezing temperatures as well as starvation from lack of food. • This effectively ended the Cattle Kingdom.