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Historical Events & Related Products
Between 1790 and 1899 the lives of the Plains Indians changed from a "free range" group of people to a reservation system and forced assimilation. The Plains Indians educated themselves and used the laws of the new government to retain their identity as citizens of this new nation and gained the right to vote in any election process. Congress accepted the Plains Indians on conditional terms, the days of roaming the Great Plains had come to an end and a new age began.
March 1,1790 The first U.S. census included slaves and free African-Americans, but Indians were not included.
March 26,1804 The U.S. government gave first official notice to Indians to move west of the mississippi river.
March 30,1870 The fifteenth Amendment was ratified. It finally recognized the natural rights of all men to vote, including Indians. Women continued to be second class citizens.
March 3,1871 Indian Appropriation Act - This congressional Act specified that no tribe thereafter would be recognized as an independent nation with which the federal government could make a treaty. All future Indian policies would not be negotiated with Indian tribes through treaties, but rather would be determined by passing Congressional statutes or executive orders. Marking a significant step backwards, the act made tribal members wards of the state rather than preserving their rights as members of sovereign nations.
March 17,1876 General George Crook's advanced column attacked a Sioux/Cheyenne camp on the Powder River in South Dakota, mistakenly believing it to be the encampment of Lakota warrior Crazy Horse. The people were driven from their lodges and many were killed. The lodges and all the winter supplies were burned and the horse herd captured.
March 2,1889 Congress overrode the Ft. Laramie Treaty, divided the Great Sioux Reservations and opened up 9 million acres of land and paved the way for statehood.
March 2,1899 Congress allowed railroad companies blanket approval for rights-of-way through Indian lands.
March 9,1969 A small group of Sioux Indians occupied Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay for four hours.