Did the United States Support The Great Sioux War?

In the year 1876, there were a series of wars referred to as The Great Sioux War and the Black Hills War. These battles entailed negotiations wherein the Lakota Sioux, as well as the Northern Cheyenne and the United States Government, argued over who was the owner of the Black Hills.  

Once gold was found in the Black Hills, the United States government began their quest to take it away from the Native American’s and claim it as their own. This caused a huge battle between the Native Americans, the settlers and the United States Government.

The Native American’s, both Sioux and Cheyenne, flat out refused to cede the ownership of the Black Hills and the military centered around the epicenter of the argument. Many Indians believed that the Cheyenne were the intended target of the argument however, it was clear that the American and the United States government were certain that the Black Hills should be in their ownership.

There were many battles and skirmishes that include the Battle of Little Bighorn which is also referred to as Custer’s Last Stand. The Army and the Plain Indians were in a war as to who would own the land. Ulysses S. Grant was president and they finally came to an agreement and annexed some of the Sioux lands and established Indian reservations that were to be permanent.

Meanwhile, the Cheyenne migrated west toward the Black Hills and the Powder River area before the Lakota. They introduced them to horses in around 1730 and by the late part of the 18th century, they were expanding their personal territory west of the Missouri River. Here, they would push the Kiowa and form alliances with both the Cheyenne and the Arapaho in an effort to gain control of the Black Hills which are located in South Dakota. They also wanted the lodgepole pines that would be sacred to the Lakota culture.

By the 19th century, Northern Cheyenne were the first to wage a tribal war and argue that the military may have overstepped their bounds. The Cheyenne were a major force in the warfare on the Plains.

There were many miners and many settlers who encroached into the Dakota Territory. The government couldn’t’ keep them out and by the year 1872, the territorial officials were even considering harvesting the timber resources in the Black Hills and floating them downriver for sale.

The geological survey’s also recommended that there was a huge potential for mineral resources and they were approached regarding getting the Lakota to sign away the Black Hills. Since this was the only area of the reservation worth anything, the army found that the only way there would regain the Black Hills was to annihilate them.

Custer was dispatched in 1874 to begin this process and the rest is history. As violators trickled into the Black Hills in search of gold, they gained momentum and invaded the hills before the gold rush would end.

Originally, the U.S. Army attempted to keep the miners out of the area, however, the miners managed to evade the army and take over. There were a few evictions but not enough to make a major difference.

Lakota leaders refused to sign the treaty that was offered and move to present-day Oklahoma, and told them that if they thought the region was so great, they should send the white men to the region.
While the attempt was unsuccessful, the leaders didn’t join in with chief Crazy Horse to have a peaceful solution. The government attempt again failed. The army carried out many devastating attacks on the Cheyenne camps during this time.

For more information on this subject, check out the video below:

The Battle of Little Bighorn Movies and Historical Comparisons

On June 25, 1876, a joint force of Northern Cheyenne and Lakota headed the 7th Cavalry of the United States into combat nearby the Little Bighorn Waterway, then Montana Territory’s eastern edge. The conflict was regarded by a number of names, like, Custer’s Last Stand, the Little Big Horn Battle, and the Greasy Grass Battle. Conceivably the most prominent measure of the Indian Wars, it turned out to be an impressive glory for Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, Great Plains’ Sioux tribe leaders, and their men.

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull ardently opposed the 19th-century attempts of the United States government to restrain their men and women to reservations. They conquered a line of more than seven hundred troops headed by George Armstrong Custer. Five of the seven cavalries were wiped out and Custer was also slain in the encounter with his brother-in-law and two of his brothers. Recognized as the conflict that absolutely no white men survived, Little BigHorn War has influenced more than one thousand artworks, which includes about fifty films. Below are three of the best adaptations of the historical event.

  1. The American Experience: Last Stand at Little Big Horn (1992)

This documentary for the critically acclaimed “American Experience” series, Native American author James Welch and moviemaker Paul Stekler make use of oral accounts, journals, Indian ledger sketches, and archival footages to browse through the dubious battle of Little Bighorn. It is a US historical milestone that still fosters heated controversy to this day. The movie was narrated by award-winning Native American prose writer Scott Momaday.

The film greatly explores the controversial warfare from two viewpoints: the white settlers who had been heading west around the continent, and the Cheyenne, Lakota Sioux, and Crow who had resided in the Great Plains for decades. The combined artistry of Welch and Stekler produced one of the most balanced narratives about the event and earned them the coveted Emmy award.

  1. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (1970)

A 2007 adaptation of HBO by Dee Alexander Brown, the film portrays the difficulties of the Indian Wars from three perspectives: Charles Eastman, a Boston University graduate Sioux physician; Sitting Bull, who headed the merged troops at Little Bighorn and adamantly refused to submit to the policies of the US government that removed the identity, dignity, and sacred land of his people; and Senator Henry Dawes, among the men in charge of the Indian affairs policy of the government. The plot started with 1876 American Indian victory at Greasy Grass and proceeds to the shameful death of Sioux warriors at South Dakota’s Wounded Knee on December 1890.

The movie is able to do an outstanding work at giving an academic and engaging overview for future exploration.

  1. Little Big Man (1970)

The film adaptation was directed by Arthur Penn based on Thomas Berger’s historical fiction by the same title. Granted it is modified history, it conveys the imaginary and satirical account of Jack Crabb; a white boy orphan and adopted by a Cheyenne soldier, who later became the sole white survivor of the Little Bighorn Battle. The movie depicted a sympathetic treatment to the Native American that was unusual for American pictures in earlier years. Dustin Hoffman played Crabb’s character relieving his long and brilliant life story to an inquisitive historian portrayed by William Hickey.

Historically, the Little Bighorn Battle tagged to be the most critical Native American win and the most detrimental US Army destruction in the long Indian War record. The grisly fate of Custer and his troops annoyed quite a few white Americans and affirmed their impressions of the Indians as primitive and wild. At the same time, the government enhanced their efforts to defeat the tribes and within five years, nearly all of the Cheyenne and Sioux are restrained to the reservations.

History of Custer’s Last Stand

For you to understand the importance of Custer’s Last Stand we encourage you to watch this video from The History Channel. This site is dedicated to learning as much as we can about this heroic endeavor in Montana and the human spirit. This story shows the braveness of the Native American people and what is truly means to be American.