Federal Government PoliciesThe government's conventional policy was to regard tribes as independent nations until the whites demanded for access to Indian Territory. The government then enacted the "Concentration Policy" in 1851 to make Indians easier to control and to give whites more land. This plan failed, which led to the Indian Peace Commission (1867) that intended to move all Indians to 2 large reservations; Dakotas and Oklahoma.
Let's control these Indians!
Decimation of the BuffaloIn the 1850s, whites had been killing buffalo at an exponential rate, removing many Indians' source of food and supplies. Hunting, as well as ecological changes led to the decimation of the buffalo. The Southern herd was virtually exterminated by 1875.
Indian Wars At the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, 2,500 tribal warriors surrounded and killed 264 of Custer's soldiers, only to be dispersed and defeated. The Sand Creek Massacre (1864) involved "Black Kettle" and his men by an Indian safe camp, being attacked by drunken men where 133 were killed.
Indian Hunting Many whites tracked and killed Indians. Some who didn't engage in killing offered rewards to those who did. Numerous whites were committed to the "elimination" of tribes. In California alone, 5,000 Indians were killed by civilians in just 30 years.
Ghost Dance The Ghost Dance was associated with Wovoka's prophecy of an end to white expansion while preaching goals of clean living, an honest life, and cross-cultural cooperation by Indians. Ghost Dance also inspired ecstatic visions such as a retreat of whites from the plains and restoration of the great buffalo herds.
Dawes Act(1887) provided for the gradual elimination of tribal ownership of land and the allotment of tracts to individual owners. 160 acres to the head of the family, 80 to a single adult, and 40 to each dependent child
Wounded Knee Fighting broke out between the seventh Cavalry, where 40 white soldiers and over 300 Indians died. During this time, whites also began to utilize their canons against the Indians.