.. e simple gifts offered. He wanted the troops to move from the forts; Reno, Philkearny and C.F. Smith. During the summer of 1868 his request was accepted. The troops moved.
A civil war hero William Tecumseh Sherman moved into the territory as the new commander of the plains. He had plans to get the treaty signed. His hopes were to, shut up the congressional critics, get the Sioux to agree on a treaty and maintain the army’s morale. After negotiations were made Red Cloud lead one hundred-and twenty-five leaders of the Sioux nations to sign the treaty of 1868. This treaty guaranteed absolute and undisturbed use of the Great Sioux Reservation. No person shall ever be permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in territory described in this article, or without consent of the Indians pass through the same (Matthiessen 7-8).
This treaty also stated that the hunting rights on the land between the Black Hills and the Big Horn Mountains as long as the grass shall grow and the water flows.(Guttmacher 73). It forced the Indians to be farmers and live in houses. There could be no changes made to the treaty without three fourths of all adult males of the Sioux nation agreeing (Ambrose 282). The Indians had divided into those who agreed with the treaty, the friendly and those who wanted nothing to do with the treaty, the hostile. The U.S. government did not recognize these separate groups.
They forbid trade with the Powder River Indians until all Indians moved to the reservation. This was not in the Treaty of 1868, (Guttmacher 76). Even though the government was getting the best part of the treaty they were not satisfied with progress. In 1871 the Indian Appropriation Bill was passed which stated hereafter no Indian nation or tribe within the United States shall be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation, tribe or power with whom the U.S. may contract by treaty (Matthiessen 7-8). General Armstrong Custer was appointed as the new commander of the plains.
He led the Seventh Calvary on a mission to subdue a band of hostile Cheyenne. The calvary came across an Indian village and attacked them instead. Black Kettle, the chief of the village and his wife were killed as they rode to surrender. This killing of 100 Cheyenne, mostly women and children, and 800 ponies was advertised as Custers victory against the brutal savages (Guttmacher 81-82). The U.S. Army led an expedition into the Sioux territory. According to the Treaty of 1868 this expedition was not legal.
The expedition was to survey land for the Northern Pacific Railroad. The railroad meant progress. (Guttmacher 81). Since the civil war the American economy was booming. Railroad stocks led the way.
On, September 18 1873, banking crashed. Farm prices plummeted, grasshopper plaques ruined crops, yellow fever struck in the Mississippi Valley, and unemployment went sky high. The government figured that its role was to pour money into the economy. The gold supply was insufficient. President Grants solution to the economy was to open new territory for exploration. So in the spring of 1874 troops were sent to open a fort in the Black Hills.
The government, exaggerated at the best or lied at the worst, said the Indians were not keeping up their part of the treaty. Custer was in charge of this expedition. During this expedition Custer claimed that there was gold in the Black Hills. Grant looked at this as an opportunity to show the country he could pull them from the depression and he opened the Black Hills for prospecting. This broke the treaty of 1868 again (Ambrose 343-346). The Black Hills was a sacred place to the Sioux.
It was a place where spirits dwelled, a holy place called Pa Sapa by the Sioux. The whites had only the crudest concept of what the hills meant to the Indians. By 1876 ten thousand whites lived in Custer City, the frontier town of the southern Black Hills. Agency Indians were not living very well on the reservations. Government agents were corrupt.
They would accept diseased cattle, rotten flour and wormy corn. They would get a kickback on the profits. The Indians were undernourished and even starving. The agents also claimed the Indians exaggerated in their numbers just to receive more rations. However, in a census conducted by the government trying to prove this, they found that the Indians were actually claiming less (Ambrose 359).
In 1876, the agencies were taken from the churches and given to the army to control. This was petitioned to Washington with statements that soldiers were obnoxious and their dislike for Indians was very obvious. Also the army was corrupting the Indians by introducing and encouraging alcohol and gambling. The petition also stated that all the agency troubles had been caused directly or indirectly by the soldiers. No change in policy was done on behalf of these petitions (Kadlecek 33).
Unwilling to pay for the Black Hills and unable to defeat the Sioux in war, on August, 15, 1876 Congress passed the Sioux Appropriation Bill. This bill stated that further provisions would not be given to the Sioux until the hostiles gave up the Black Hills, Powder River country and Bighorn country. They would also have to move to the Missouri River in Central Dakota or to Oklahoma. Upset because of there defeat the Government demanded unconditional surrender of the Sioux or they would starve those in the agencies. Red Cloud and the other chiefs were told to sign a treaty or their people would starve. Crazy horse and Sitting Bull continued to fight for land that was stolen from them in a misleading treaty (Ambrose 417-418).
The Treaty of 1876 was not signed by at least three fourths of the male members of the Sioux nation as the Treaty of 1868 had stipulated. So they cheated by calling the treaty an Agreement instead of a treaty (Friswold 19). The government had changed or disturbed nearly every part of the Indians lives. They had taken their horses (their wealth), taken their land, taken the buffalo and taken their tipis. They still had their religion. They had seven ceremonial rites of which two were the most beneficial; the Vision Quest and the Sun Dance. The Vision quest was an individual dance and the Sun Dance a community affair.
In June 1877 the biggest Sun Dance seen on the reservation, twenty thousand strong, was held to honor Crazy Horse. This was the last big Sun Dance (Kadlecek 37-42). Crazy Horse was finally persuaded to bring his people in to live on the reservation. Crazy horse was lied to when a government official told him that he was needed at a conference. He realized this was a trap when he saw bars on the windows. He drew his knife and attempted to break loose. A white soldier, William Gentiles, lunged at Crazy Horse with a fixed bayonet that punctured his kidney. Crazy Horse died September, 5 1877 (Kadlecek 53).
The Sioux Indians had lost nearly everything that made them a strong nation. In 1881 the government prohibited all reservations from allowing the Sun Dance. The government went against the First Amendment and took away the Siouxs greatest religious ceremony. General Sherman, never known as an Indian lover, said a reservation was a parcel of land inhabited by Indians and surrounded by thieves (Matthiessen 17). This type of harassment did not stop.
In 1887 the General Allotment Act (the Dawes Act) was passed. This Act was designed to assist the Indians to mainstream into America. Each male Indian was given 160 acres of land from the reservation. Of course the excess land was taken by the government and sold to the whites. The Indians were not accustom to dealing with thieves and the majority of them lost their land through shady dealings (Matthiessen 17).
The U.S. Government used many deceptions to obtain the land the Indians once owned. The Sioux Indians were not treated with the most respect to say the least. They must be commended for staying strong and still being a big part of the United States today. Budd 3.