Native American Timeline - Page 5
War - This war occurred when the US army responded to some
American deaths along the Salmon River, said to have been committed
by the Nez Perce. To avoid a battle that would have resulted in being
forced onto a reservation, about 800 Nez Perce
fled 1,500 miles. They were caught 30 miles south of the Canadian
border. Survivors were sent to
Territory in Oklahoma,
despite the promise of the US government to allow them to return to
Standing Bear, a
refused to move to a reservation because it was within lands already
given to the
The U.S. Government seized the
Sioux in violation of a treaty.
John D. Lee was brought to trial for
his part in the
Fancher Party Massacre of 1857. He was
convicted by an all
jury. On March 23 he was executed by firing squad at the site of the
massacre, after denouncing
Young for abandoning him. His last words are for his executioners:
"Center my heart, boys. Don't mangle my body."
Sitting Bull escapes to Canada
with about 300 followers.
General George Crook at
Nebraska on May 6, having
received assurances that he and his followers will be permitted to
settle in the Powder River country of
Defiant even in defeat, Crazy Horse arrived with a band of 800 warriors, all brandishing
weapons and chanting songs of war.
A small band of
is defeated by
General Nelson A. Miles, thus
ending the Great Sioux
Ponca arrived at the Otto
reservation. They were forcibly marched from their old reservation
to Indian Territory.
The Otto took pity on the
Ponca and gave them some horses to help
carry their people.
By late summer,
there were rumors that Crazy Horse was planning a return
to battle, and on September 5 he was arrested and brought back to
Fort Robinson, where, when he resisted being jailed, he was held by
Indian guard and killed by a bayonet thrust from a soldier on
September 6. He was 36.
Congress passed the
Manypenny Agreement, a law taking the
and ending Sioux rights outside the Great Sioux
Reservation. The Sioux
land - 134 million acres guaranteed by treaty in 1868 was reduced to
less than 15 million acres.
Chief Joseph surrendered
his rifle at Eagle Creek in the Bear Paw Mountains in
after months in which his starving band eluded pursuing federal
troops: "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more
Buffalo have disappeared and Lakota now live on handouts from the Federal Government.
escape from their reservation in Oklahoma
in an attempt to reach their lands in Montana
A Commission finds
Bureau permeated with "cupidity,
inefficiency, and the most barefaced dishonesty." The department's
affairs were "a reproach to the whole nation." Carl Schurz had
already dismissed the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Q. Smith on September 27, 1877. He now
discharged many more Bureau employees and began a reorganization of
the Indian agents.
The first students, a group of 84
Lakota children, arrived at the newly established United States
Indian Training and Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania,
a boarding school founded by former Indian-fighter Captain Richard Henry Pratt to remove young
Indians from their native culture and refashion them as members
of mainstream American society. Over the next two decades,
twenty-four more schools on the Carlisle model will be established
outside the reservations, along with 81 boarding schools and nearly
150 day schools on the Indians’ own land.
On January 14, Chiefe Joseph of the
Tribe addressed Congress about tribal lands stolen through treaties.
He gave the analogy that it was like having horses that he doesn’t
want to sell being sold by his neighbor, with the neighbor then
letting the buyer take the horses.
In January, the U.S. Army
rounded up 540
and, in what’s known as the
Paiute Trail of Tears, forcibly took
them to the Yakima Reservation in
On February 2, they arrived at the reservation after a forced march
through winter snows.
Civilization Regulations - Congress
set up a series of offenses that only Indians could commit. These regulations outlawed
Indian religions, the practices of "so-called" medicine men,
ceremonies like the Sun Dance, and leaving the reservation without
permission. These regulations were in place until 1936.
A Century of Dishonor
publication. - Helen Hunt Jackson released her book detailing the
plight of American Indians and criticizing the US government's treatment
January 18, 1881
Indian Reservation was established.
and 186 of his remaining followers surrender
Fort Buford, North Dakota. He is sent to Fort Randall,
for two years as a
prisoner of war instead of being pardoned, as promised.
is assassinated by Crow Dog - White officials dismiss the
killing as a simple quarrel, but the Sioux
feel that it was the result of a plot to wrest control from a strong
Congressional Act -
Congress provided funds for the mandatory education of 100 Indian pupils in industrial schools and for the appointment of
an Inspector or Superintendent of
Indian Rights Association - This organization was created
to protect the interests and rights of Indians. The association was composed of white reformers who
wanted to help Indians abandon their cultural and spiritual beliefs and
assimilate into American society.
On October 24, a federal Grand Jury
Arizona charged civil authorities with mismanagement of Indian Affairs on the San Carlos Reservation.
Ex Parte Crow Dog
Supreme Court decision. - Crow Dog, a Sioux
Indian who shot an killed an Indian on the Rosebud Reservation, was prosecuted in federal
court, found guilty, and sentenced to death. On appeal it was argued
that the federal government's prosecution had infringed upon tribal
sovereignty. The Court ruled that the US did not have jurisdiction
and that Crow Dog must be released. The decision was a reaffirmation
of tribal sovereignty and led to the passage of the 1885
Major Crimes Act which identified seven major crimes, that if
committed by an Indian on Indian land, were placed within federal jurisdiction.
A group of clergymen, government
officials and social reformers calling itself "The Friends of the
Indian” met in upstate New York to develop a strategy for
Native Americans into the mainstream of American life. Their
decisions set the course for U.S. policy toward Native Americans over the next generation and resulted in the
near destruction of native American cultures.
Courts of Indian Offenses - The Secretary of the Interior
established these courts to uphold the 1880 Civilization Regulations
to eliminate "heathenish practices" among the Indians. The rules of the courts forbade the practice of all
public and private religious activities by
Indians on their reservations, including ceremonial dances, like
the Sun Dance, and the practices of "so-called medicine men."
Chief Sitting Bull
was released from prison. He rejoined his tribe in Standing Rock
where he was forced to work the fields. He spoke forcefully against
plans to open part of the reservation to White settlers. Despite the
old chief's objections, the land transfer proceeded as planned. He lived the rest of his life across the Grand River from his
On September 8, Sitting
delivered a speech, at the celebration of the driving of the last
spike in the transcontinental railroad system, to great applause. He
delivered the speech in his Sioux
language, departing from a speech originally prepared by an army
translator. Denouncing the U.S. government, settlers, and army, the
listeners thought he was welcoming and praising them. While giving
the speech, Sitting Bull
paused for applause periodically, bowed, smiled, and continued
insulting his audience as the translator delivered the original
On November 3, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that an Indian is by birth "an alien and a dependent."
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
Major Crimes Act - This
Congressional Act gave federal courts jurisdiction over Indians accused of rape, manslaughter, murder, assault with
intent to kill, arson, or larceny against another Indian on a reservation. The list was eventually expanded to
include 14 crimes.
When U.S. troops pursued a band of
the Indians caught the
soldiers in a triple cross-fire trap and
killed them all.
United States v. Kagama Supreme
Court decision. Two Indians on the Hoopa Valley Reservation in northern
California killed another
Indian on the reservation. They were prosecuted and found guilty
by the federal government. The Indians argued that Congress did not have constitutional
authority to pass the Major Crimes Act (1885). The Court, however,
upheld the full and absolute (plenary) power of the Congress to pass
the Major Crimes Act and of the federal government - not state
governments - exclusively to deal with Indian
Indian tribes are the wards of the nation. They are
communities dependent on the United States -
dependent largely for their daily food; dependent for their political
rights. They owe no allegiance to the states, and receive from them no
protection. Because of the local ill feeling, the people of the states
where they are found are often their deadliest enemies. From their
very weakness and helplessness, so largely due to the course of
dealing of the federal government
with them, and the treaties in
which it has been promised, there arises the duty of protection, and
with it the power." Thus, the case challenged the major crime act
and its ruling upheld it by implying that because Indian tribes were wards of the US, Congress had the power to
regulate tribes, even if it interfered with their sovereign power to
deal with criminal offenders on tribal lands.
Geronimo, described by one follower
as "the most intelligent and resourceful . . most vigorous and
farsighted” of the
leaders, surrendered to General Nelson A. Miles in Skeleton Canyon,
after more than a decade of guerilla warfare against American and
Mexican settlers in the Southwest. The terms of surrender required
Geronimo and his tribe to settle in
Florida, where the Army hoped he
could be contained.
The Dawes Severalty
Act, otherwise known as the General
Allotment Act, gives the President power to reduce the landholdings
of the Indian nations across the country by allotting 160 acres to the
heads of Indian families and 80 acres to individuals. The "surplus lands"
on the reservations were opened up to settlement.
On July 16, J. D. C. Atkins, the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, wrote in his annual report that English would be
the exclusive language used at all
Indian schools. He argued that native languages were not only of
no use, but were detrimental to the education and civilization of
Lakota move to Pine Ridge Agency on
Act - This Congressional Act divided the Great Sioux
Reservation into six separate reservations in an effort to dilute
their power and make much of their land available for non-Indian
sign an agreement with the U.S. government
breaking up the great Sioux
Reservation. The Sioux
will get six separate small reservations. The major part of their
land was thrown open to settlers.
Organic Act - This Congressional Act divided Indian land into two territories in what is currently the state
the Territory of Oklahoma
in western Oklahoma
was opened up to non-Indian
settlement; and the Indian Territory in eastern Oklahoma
was retained for continued
Indians were hanged over the wall of a Spanish church in
on the charge of using witchcraft to chase away rain clouds.
January 1, 1889
Paiute rancher named Wovoka
announced that he had dreamed a vision of a new world set aside for
native people and that white people would vanish en masse. It was
the birth of the short-lived
February 19, 1889
Indian reservation at La Push,
April 22, 1889
In the first "
Land Rush," the U.S. government bows to pressure and opens for
settlement land that it had previously promised would be a permanent
refuge for Native Americans moved from their eastern territories. Native
American tribes are paid about $4 million for the parcel
of land. The starting gun sounds at noon, and an estimated
50,000 settlers race across the land; by sunset, all 1.92 million
acres have been claimed.
Congress established the
Territory on unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory,
breaking a 60-year-old pledge to preserve this area exclusively for
Native Americans forced from their lands in the east.
May 29, 1890
Charles L. Hyde, a Pierre,
citizen, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Interior saying the
Ghost Dance was leading to a possible uprising by the Sioux.
Prior to the letter, federal agents were not concerned about the
Ghost Dance, but soon after, they feared the ceremony.
October 16, 1890
Reservation Police forcibly removed
Kicking Bear from Standing Rock Agency, South Dakota,
for teaching the Ghost Dance, a visionary ceremony foretelling the disappearance of
December 15, 1890
When Federal troops tried to arrest
Indians in Little Eagle, South Dakota
on December 15,
Sitting Bull ordered his warriors to resist and he was shot in
the back of the head and killed. The aftermath of his death led to
the massacre of the Sioux at
December 29, 1890
Big Foot's band of
Minneconjous try to reach Pine Ridge and the protection of
Red Cloud after
Sitting Bull's death. Also present were members of the Sioux
band led by Chief Spotted Elk. Hungry and exhausted, they had
assembled under armed guard as requested to receive the protection
of the Government of the United States of America, surrendering
their arms and submitting to a forced search of tents and teepees
that yielded but two remaining rifles. Marched to
Creek, South Dakota,
they were disarmed by the U.S. Army. A group of 120 men and 230
women and children were counted by Major Samuel Whitside at sundown
on December 28, 1890. The next day an unidentified shot rang out and
the well-armed 487 U.S. soldiers
ringing the defenseless people
opened fire. Afterwards, 256 Sioux
lay dead and were buried in mass graves. Twenty (20)
Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded the soldiers.
Indian Education - A Congressional Act authorized the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs "to make and enforce by proper means" rules and
regulations to ensure that Indian children attended schools designed and administered by
Amendment to the Dawes Act -
This amendment modified the amount of land to be allotted and set
conditions for leasing allotments.
Indian Education - This Congressional Act made school
attendance for Indian children compulsory and authorized the BIA to withhold
rations and government annuities to parents who did not send their
children to school.
Experts estimated that fewer that
buffalo remained of the more than 20 million that once roamed
the Western plains.
More than 100,000 white settlers
Outlet to claim six million acres of former Cherokee
On February 10, the Campo
Indian Reservation near San Diego was established for the Campo
band of Kumeyaay Indians. The tribe that had dwindled down to 200 members, from
2000 forty years earlier, was given one acre of land.
On January 8, the Yakama signed away
23,000 acres of timberland formerly inhabited by the Wenatchee tribe
to the U.S. for $20,000.
Chief Lomahongyoma and eighteen
Indians were placed in
for their resistance to government attempts to erase the
culture. The nineteen
jailed for their resistance to farm on individual plots away from
the mesas and for refusing to send their children to government
Curtis Act - This
Congressional Act ended tribal governments practice of refusing
allotments and mandated the allotment of tribal lands in Indian
Territory - including the lands of the
On March 2, Congress allowed
railroad companies blanket approval for rights-of-way through
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