Federal Government Policies The government's traditional policy was to regard tribes as independent nations, until the white's demand for access to Indian Territory. A policy known as "concentration" was put into action, assigning tribes to their own designated reservation. This ultimately led to an Indian Peace Commission, which ultimately led to a plan to move all the Plains Indians into 2 large reservations.
Hunting, as well as ecological changes, led to decimation of the buffalo. The Southern herd was virtually exterminated by 1875
Decimation of the Buffalo By destroying the buffalo herds, the whites were destroying the Indians source of food and supplies.
Indian Wars The Sand Creek massacre occurred when bands of Indians attacked stagecoach lines and settlements in an effort to regain lost territory. At the end of the civil war, the Western Sioux were forced to attack the white soldiers and burn down their forts in order to protect their land.
At the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, the tribal warriors surrounded and killed all 264 of Custer's soldiers.
Indian Hunting Tracking down and killing Indians became a kind of sport for some whites. Some who didn't engage in killing offered rewards to those who did. Considerable numbers of whites were committed to the "elimination" of tribes. In California alone, civilians killed nearly 5,000 Indians within 30 years.
"Ghost Dance" A new revival emphasized the coming of a messiah(known as Wovoka), with the "ghost dance" inspiring ecstatic visions. Images included a restoration of the great buffalo herds and a retreat of whites from the plains.
Dawes Act The Dawes Severalty Act of 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, in which 40 white soldiers and over 300 Indians died. The whites also began to utilize their canons against the Indians.