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The American West. Chapter 13. The Plains Indians. The Plains Indians lived in the area from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to Mexico. Plains Indians. The most important tribes were the Sioux, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, and Comanche.
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The American West Chapter 13
The Plains Indians The Plains Indians lived in the area from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to Mexico.
Plains Indians • The most important tribes were the Sioux, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, and Comanche. • The plains area was hotter than 100 degrees in the summer, and could drop to 40 degrees below zero with heavy snows in the winter. The region was so dry that when it rained it often flooded. The rolling land was covered with grassland and a few mountains. The Black Hills were high and steep. • Few Indians lived on the Great Plains before white men brought the horse in the 1600’s.
They used buffalos for everything from source of food to building teepees
Teepees • The teepee opening always faced east. The outside of the teepee was decorated with paintings of animals, stars, or other objects. The Plains Indians had little furniture. Their beds were made from buffalo robes, skins with the hair left on.
Comanche BuffaloHunters and Their Tepee Lodges Aug. 1871. National Archives
Government Policy • Changed in the mid-1800s • Before, had forced Indians West • Now, they seized Indian land and forced tribes onto reservations
U.S. army’s policy: destroy the buffalo and the Indians will move • 60 million >100s
Indian Wars • Sand Creek Massacre • Battle of Little Bighorn • Wounded Knee Massacre • Ghost Dance
Resistance Ends in the West • Reservation system: • The government wanted to control the territory • Americanization • The Dawes Act (1887): broke up most reservations and turned Native Americans into individual property owners.
“You are therefore directed to induce your male Indians to cut their hair, and both sexes to stop painting their faces…the wearing of citizens’ clothing, instead of the Indian costume and blanket, should be encouraged.” BIA letter to Greenville Indian School, CA, 1902
Mining & Railroaders When the 1849, California gold rush ended, miners looked for new opportunities
Comstock Lode • A massive body of silver ore discovered under what is now Virginia City, Nevada in 1859. • Between 1859 and 1878 it yielded $400 million in silver and gold. • It is notable not just for the immense fortunes it generated and the large role those fortunes had in the growth of Nevada and San Francisco, but also for the advances in mining technology that it spurred. Miner working in the Comstock Lode
Klondike Gold Rush, 1897 • About 100,000 people came to the Klondike • Many people from other countries • Placer mining, hydraulic mining, hard-rock mining
Boom towns marked by lawlessness and disorder • Vigilantes • gunslingers Wild Bill Hickock
1863, 2 companies raced to build the first railroad from one coast to the other
Laborers • Mostly Chinese • Irish • African Americans • Mexicans
The Homestead Act • The Homestead Act of 1862 has been called one the most important pieces of Legislation in the history of the United States. Signed into law in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln after the secession of southern states, this Act turned over vast amounts of the public domain to private citizens. 270 millions acres, or 10% of the area of the United States was claimed and settled under this act.
Sodbusters • Farmers in the plains who built their homes out of sod and worked hard to remove sod from their fields in order to make them usable.
The Chinese Exclusion Act • The statute of 1882 suspended Chinese immigration for ten years and declared the Chinese as ineligible for naturalization. Chinese workers already in the country challenged the constitutionality of the discriminatory acts, but their efforts failed. The act was renewed in 1892 for another ten years, and in 1902 Chinese immigration was made permanently illegal. The legislation proved very effective, and the Chinese population in the United States sharply declined.
Ghost Dance of the Oglala Sioux, Frederic Remington, Harper's Weekly, December 1890.