Native American Timeline - Page 3
Indian Intercourse Act - Congress created
Territory in the west that included the land area in all of
and parts of what later became
The area was set aside for Indians who would be removed from their ancestral lands which,
in turn, would be settled by non-Indians.
The area steadily decreased in size until the 1870s when Indian
Territory had been reduced to what is now Oklahoma,
excluding the panhandle.
The Oglala Tribe becomes more centrally organized
with most bands following Chief Bull Bear and rest following Chief
Smoke. This was a change from their previous more loosely governed
bands with many leaders of comparable influence.
Treaty of New Echota - A
portion of the
nation agreed to give up
lands in the Southeast in exchange for land in and removal to Indian
Territory. A larger group of the Cherokee
did not accept the terms of this treaty and refused to move
Seminole War - The second and
most terrible of three wars between the US government and the
Seminole people was also one of the longest and most expensive wars
in which the US army was ever engaged. Thousands of troops were
sent, 1,500 men died, and between 40-60 million dollars were spent
to force most of the Seminole to move to
Indian Territory - more than the entire US government's budget for
In five groups, over 14,000
Indians were forcibly removed by the US Army from Alabama to Oklahoma.
Two thirds of the 6,000
Blackfoot died of smallpox.
Trail of Tears
- Despite the Supreme Court's rulings in
1831 and 1832 that the Cherokee
had a right to stay on their lands, President Jackson sent federal
troops to forcibly remove almost 16,000 Cherokee
who had refused to move westward under the unrecognized Treaty of
New Echota (1835) and had remained in Georgia. In May, American
soldiers herded most into camps where they remained imprisoned
throughout the summer and where at least 1,500 perished. The
remainder began an 800-mile forced march to Oklahoma
that fall. In all some, 4,000 Cherokee
died during the removal process.
On January 30,
Osceola died from complications of malaria at Fort Moultrie, South
Carolina. He led a valiant fight against removal of his people to
Indian Territory, but eventually the
Seminole were forcibly relocated.
Forty-eight wagons arrive in
Sacramento by way of the
Oregon Trail, one of
the earliest large groups to make this journey.
Seminole War ends.
Westward migration begins
along the Oregon Trail through
Plains Indian country.
Thomas H. Hardy,
Superintendant of Indian Affairs in
St. Louis warns of trouble
The U.S. Government purchases
Laramie from the American Fur Company and begins to bring in
The Bureau of
Indian Affairs (formerly The Indian Office) is transferred from the War Department to the
newly-created Department of the Interior.
Physician services were extended to
Indians with the establishment of a corps of civilian field
January 24, 1849
James Marshall discovers gold
California. News of the
find begins the California Gold Rush of
There are 20,000,000
on the plains between
On September 9, California entered the
Union. With miners flooding the hillsides and devastating the land,
California's Indians found themselves deprived of their traditional food
sources and forced by hunger to raid the mining towns and other
white settlements. Miners retaliated by hunting Indians down and brutally abusing them. The
responded to the situation with an Indenture Act which established a
form of legal slavery for the native peoples of the state by
allowing whites to declare them vagrant and auction off their
services for up to four months. The law also permitted whites to
indenture Indian children, with the permission of a parent or friend,
which led to widespread kidnapping of Indian children, who were then sold as "apprentices."
herds by sports and hide hunters severely limits Plains Indians food supply and ability to survive.
A series of
Fort Laramie treaties were signed with
and other Plains tribes delineating the extent of their territories
and allowing passage across these territories in exchange for
payments to the tribes. The extent of Lakota territories were clearly described. Thus began the
incursions of miners and wagon trains on the
and later the Bozeman
Trail, few at first but an onslaught after
the end of the
commissioners attempting to halt the brutal treatment of Indians in
eighteen treaties with various tribes and village groups, promising
them 8.5 million acres of reservation lands. California politicians
succeeded in having the treaties secretly rejected by Congress in
1852, leaving the native peoples of the state homeless within a
hostile white society.
August 5, 1851, Santee
Little Crow signed a treaty with the federal government, ceding
nearly all his people's territory in
Though not happy with the agreement, he abided by it for many years.
California began confining
its remaining Indian population on harsh military reservations, but the
combination of legal enslavement and near genocide has already made
California the site of the
worst slaughter of
Native Americans in United States history. As many as 150,000
Indians lived in the state before 1849; by 1870, fewer than
30,000 will remain.
Ash Hollow Massacre - Colonel William Harney uses 1,300 soldiers to massacre an
entire Brulé village in retribution for the killing of 30 soldiers,
who were killed in retribution for the killing of the Brulé chief,
Conquering Bear, in a dispute over a cow.
January 26, 1856
In the first Battle of Seattle,
settlers drove Indians from their land so that a little town of white folks
could prosper. The sloop Decatur fired its cannon, routing
Two settlers were killed.
In September, the Fancher
group of California-bound emigrants from
Salt Lake City. According to
Young's edict, the
townspeople refused to sell supplies to the group. They headed south
and camped in Mountain Meadows.
On September 7, the Francher Party
suffered a coordinated joint attack by
Mormon militiamen. Many were killed on both sides
before the pioneers could gain a tenable defensive position. Then
followed five days of siege.
On September 12, the
negotiated a surrender. The local Mormon leader,
John D. Lee, and
54 Mormon militiamen approached the Francher Party and offered to
provide safe passage through the territory. The surviving members of
the Fancher Party would hand over their livestock to the
their guns to the Mormons. In return, the pioneers were guaranteed
safe passage from the area. Once the emigrants accepted the Mormon
offer and laid down their weapons, the Mormons opened fire on them.
Paiute, allies of the
Mormons, stormed the wagon train, and
slaughtered the women and all the older children. When the bloodbath
ended, 123 were dead; only 17 young children were left alive.
fled the area with his 17 wives and settled in Lee's Ferry,
Lee was arrested and tried
for his part in the
Mountain Meadows Massacre. He was convicted and sentenced to die.
On March 23, Lee was brought to Mountain Meadows, where he sat
blindfolded on the coffin that was to hold his remains and was
executed by a firing squad.
On May 17, 1,200 Coeur d'Alene,
Spokan, and Skitswich
Indians defeated a strong force of Colonel Steptoe near Colfax,
at the village of To-ho-to-nim-me.
On September 17, Colonel Wright
dictated terms of surrender to Indians at Coeur d'Alene mission. 24 chiefs of the Yakama,
Cayuse, Wallawalla, Palouse and
tribes were shot or hanged.
On February 26, white settlers from
Eureka, California attacked and killed 188 members of the Wiyot Tribe on
Indian Island in Humboldt Bay. Only one Wiyot member survived —
a child named Jerry James, who was the son of chief Captain Jim.
On April 29,
Chief Manuelito and his warriors attacked
Fort Defiance in
The fort, the first built in
country, was near livestock grazing land used by the Navajo.
Conflict began when the army claimed the grazing land for their
1860 to 1864
War broke out in the
Territory as a result of tensions between the Navajo
and American military forces in the area. During a final standoff in
January 1864 at Canyon de Chelly, fears of harsh winter conditions
and starvation forced the Navajo
to surrender to
Carson and his troops. Carson ordered the destruction of Navajo
property and organized the
Long Walk to Bosque Redondo reservation at
Sumner, New Mexico.
On February 13, the first military
action to result in the Congressional Medal of Honor occurred.
Colonel Bernard Irwin attacked and defeated hostile Chiricahua
Indians in Arizona.
On February 18,
Cheyenne ceded most of eastern
Colorado, which had been guaranteed to them forever in an 1851 treaty.
On September 22, in an unprovoked
peacetime attack, U.S. Army soldiers massacred visiting Navajo
men, women and children during a horse race at Fort Wingate, New
On September 22, 500
led by Cochise attacked the town of Pinos Altos, New Mexico. Three miners and 14 Indians were killed.
Congress passes the Homestead Act
making western lands belonging to many Indian Nations available to non-Indian
American settlers. This marked the beginning of mass
migrations to Indian lands for non-Indian
Uprising (or Santee War) in
The Sioux declared war on the white settlers, killing more than
1,000. They were eventually defeated by the US army, which marched
1,700 survivors to Fort Snelling. Others escaped to the safety of
their western relatives. Over 400 Indians were tried for murder, 38 of whom were publicly
executed. By 1864 90% of the Santee, and many of the Teton who
sheltered them were dead or in prison.
The mass execution
of 38 Sioux
men in Mankato,
for crimes during the Sioux
Uprising. The trials of almost every adult male who had voluntarily
surrendered to General Sibley, at a rate of up to 40 a day, were
conducted under the premise of guilty until proven innocent.
Originally 303 men were condemned to death.
intervened and ordered a complete review of the records. This
resulted in a reduced list of 40 to be executed. One was reprieved
by the military because he had supplied testimony against many of
the others. A last minute reprieve removed one more from the list. A
mix-up in properly recording the names of the men and in associating
the records with the proper men resulted in one man being ordered
released for saving a woman's life, a day after he was hanged.
July 3, 1863
After the end of the Santee
Little Crow leaves the
area. Eventually he returns to steal horses and supplies so he, and
his followers can survive. On this day, near Hutchinson, Minnesota,
Little Crow and his son
stop to pick some berries. Minnesota has recently
enacted a law which pays a bounty of $25 for every Sioux scalp. Some settlers
see Little Crow, and they open
fire. Little Crow will be
mortally wounded. His killer would get a bonus bounty of 500
dollars. Little Crow's scalp would
go on public display in St.Paul. Little Crow's son,
Wowinapa, escapes, but is later captured in Dakota Territory.
Long Walk to Bosque Redondo - Under the military
Carson, the federal government forced 8,000 Navajo
men, women, and children to walk more than 300 miles from their
ancestral homeland in northeastern Arizona
to a newly-designated reservation at Bosque Redondo in northwestern
New Mexico. The march ended in confinement on barren lands, as well as
malnutrition, disease, and hunger. For four years they endured life
in this desolate area under virtual prison camp circumstances. In 1866, the
signed a treaty allowing them to return to their traditional homes
to begin rebuilding their communities. In return, the Navajo
were forced to promise to remain on the reservation, to stop raiding
white communities, and to become ranchers and farmers. In 1868, the
government finally returned the Navajo
to their homeland.
On June 11, rancher Nathan Hungate,
his wife and two little girls were slaughtered in Chivington,
On November 29, 750
Colorado volunteers of the 3rd Colorado
Cavalry, under the command of
Colonel John Chivington (a Methodist pastor), attacked a
Arapaho village at Arapaho
in retaliation for the Hungate's. The soldiers scalped the
victims, then sliced off women's breasts, cut out their vaginas, cut
the testicles from the men, cut off fingers, raped dead women in
relays, and used baby toddlers as target practice. 163 Indians were killed; 110 of them were women and children. The
dead were left to be eaten by coyotes and vultures. On the way
back to Fort Lyon, the soldiers wore the sliced breasts and vaginas
atop their hats or stretched over saddlebows. Weeks later,
paraded through Denver, waving body parts of the dead. After two
congressional hearings, Colonel Chivington was driven into exile,
and Colorado Governor John Evans was removed from office.
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