survivors of the fur company retreated downriver where they waited more than a month for
reinforcements so they might retaliate. The U.S. Army sent some
230 soldiers, 750
50 trappers under the command of U.S. Army Colonel Henry Leavenworth,
to take vengeance on the Arikara. After the attack on the Indians on August 9, 1823, some 50 of the Arikara
lay dead. Six days later, on August 15th, the military forces
burned an Arikara village, where they later built an American post as a
message to other "unfriendly” Indians, including the
Though the U.S.
Military was successful in subduing the Arikara,
the conflict sparked a great debate because Colonel Henry Leavenworth
had not entirely wiped out the tribe, at a time when Americans were
demanding cohabitation and subjugation of the Native Americans.
In addition to
subduing the Indians, the area was also central to the competition between the
U.S. and Great Britain for control of the middle
River and access to areas farther upriver and the Pacific Coast trade. After this first
plains war, the American fur trade and exploration
In the 1830's, the
were almost destroyed by small pox and in the end, were forced from
their lands by the Sioux in
the 1870's. Migrating into
North Dakota, they
for many years near the
Fort Clark Trading Post
on the Knife River and
began to work closer
tribes who inhabited the area. In 1872, they
at Like-a-Fishhook Village, near the
Fort Berthold trading post
in North Dakota. Ironically, for protection and jobs, the
men began to scout for the U.S. Army stationed at nearby
and in 1874, guided
George Custer on his Black Hills Expedition.
Two years later, in
group of Arikara
Custer and the 7th Cavalry on the
Expedition against the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne, and were the first scouts to lead the men when the
village was attacked.
fought valiantly alongside the soldiers, while others there were cut off
and returned to the base camp as they had been directed. During the
battle, three Arikara
warriors, Little Brave, Bobtail Bull, and Bloody Knife, were killed along
with some 260 other men serving under Custer.
scouts were undeservedly blamed by many for the the loss of the
Battle of the little Bighorn.