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Historical Events & Related Products

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.

  1. American Indian Policy In The Twentieth Century

    American Indian Policy In The Twentieth Century

    The study of government policy, at any level, is best done by hindsight. Avowed beliefs of politicians and political parties are often subject to the expediencies of the moment and the road to programmatic hell is well paved, a beautiful boulevard of good intentions. Even the most astute of scholars has a difficult time discerning how policies were formulated and put into effect. Chance and happenstance are more often the determinative factors in our lives than we would be willing to admit. Yet human societies seem to always stumble upward toward a more sublime and humane ordering of their domestic relations. Learn More
  2. Native American books - The Lakotas And The Black Hills - The Struggle For Sacred Ground

    The Lakotas and the Black Hills - The Struggle For Sacred Ground

    The majestic Black Hills mountain range contains some of the most breathtaking features of the American landscape, including Wind Cave in South Dakota and the stunning rock formation Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Learn More
  3. From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee - Book cover

    From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee

    "Allen's work is a lively account of his life and contemporary events from early years in Dakota Territory during the 1870's to the tragic day at Wounded Knee. Those interested will find here an early and detailed description of the Lakota Ghost Dance and a first hand account of the confusion and violence of 29 December 1890. Allen's personal connections to the Pine Ridge community through his mixed-blood wife, his skills as a journalist and his evident effort to recount those events judiciously make his observations even more valuable."
    ~Western Historical Quarterly Learn More
  4. The Rights of Indians and Tribes

    The Rights of Indians and Tribes

    The Rights of Indians and Tribes, first published in 1983, has sold over 100,000 copies and is the most popular resource in the field of Federal Indian Law. Learn More
  5. On the Border With Crook

    On the Border With Crook

    From 1870 until 1886, Captain John G. Bourke served on the staff of General George Crook, whom Sherman described as the greatest Indian fighter the Army ever had, a man whose prowess was demonstrated "from British America to Mexico, from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. Learn More
  6. Fort Laramie: Military Bastion of the High Plains

    Fort Laramie: Military Bastion of the High Plains

    Of all the U.S. Army posts in the West, none witnessed more history than Fort Laramie, positioned at the confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers, where the northern Great Plains join the Rocky Mountains. Learn More
  7. A Century of Dishonor

    A Century of Dishonor

    First published in 1881, Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor is a classic account of the U.S. government's flawed Indian policy and the unfair and cruel treatment afforded Norther American Indians by expansionist Americans. Learn More

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