Great Indian Wars (1540 to 1890) –
Easy to read reference guide of conflicts from 1540 on: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-indianwartimeline.html
1540-1541 Tiguex War Fought in the winter of 1540-41 by the army of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado against the 12 pueblos of Tiwa Indians along both sides of the Rio Grande River in New Mexico. It was the first war between Europeans and Native Americans in the American West.
March 22, 1622 Jamestown Massacre Powhatan Indians kill 347 English settlers throughout the Virginia colony during the firstPowhatan War.
1622-44 Powhatan Wars Following an initial period of peaceful relations in Virginia, a twelve year conflict left many natives and colonists dead.
1636-37 Pequot War Taking place in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the death of a colonist eventually led to the destruction of 600-700 natives. The remainder were sold into slavery in Bermuda.
May 26, 1637 Mystic Massacre During the Pequot War, English colonists, with Mohegan and Narragansett allies, attack a large Pequot village on the Mystic River in what is now Connecticut, killing around 500 villagers.
1675-1676 King Philip’s War
1680-92 Pueblo Revolt In Arizona and New Mexico, Pueblo Indians led by Popé, rebelled against the Spanish and lived independently for 12 years. The Spanish re-conquered in them in 1692.
1689–1697 King William’s War The first of the French and Indian Wars, King William’s War was fought between England, France, and their respective American Indian allies in the colonies of Canada (New France), Acadia, and New England. It was also known as the Second Indian War (the first having been King Philip’s War).
1689-1763 A conflict between France and Britain for possession of North America. For various motivations, most Algonquian tribes allied with the French; the Iroquois with the British.
February 8, 1690 Schenectady Massacre French and Algonquins destroy Schenectady, New York, killing 60 settlers, including ten women and at least twelve children.
February 29, 1704 Deerfield Massacre A force comprised of Abenaki, Kanienkehaka, Wyandot and Pocumtuck Indians, led by a small contingent of French-Canadian militia, sack the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 56 civilians and taking dozens more as captives.
1711 Tuscarora War Taking place in Northern Carolina, the Tuscarora, under Chief Hancock, attacked several settlements, killing settlers and destroying farms. In 1713, James Moore and Yamasee warriors defeated the raiders.
1715-1718 Yamasee War In southern Carolina, an Indian confederation led by the Yamasee came close to exterminating a white settlement in their region.
August, 1757 Fort William Henry Massacre Following the fall of Fort William Henry, between 70 and 180 British and colonial prisoners are killed by Indian allies of the French.
1760-62 Cherokee Uprising A breakdown in relations between the British and the Cherokee leads to a general uprising in present-day Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas.
1763 Pontiac’s Rebellion In the Ohio River Valley, War Chief Pontiac and a large alliance drove out the British at every post except Detroit. After besieging the fort for five months, they withdrew to find food for the winter.
September 14, 1763 Devil’s Hole Massacre Seneca double ambush of a British supply train and soldiers.
December, 1763 Killings by the Paxton Boys
July 26, 1764 Enoch Brown School Massacre Four Delaware Indians killed a schoolmaster, 10 pupils and a pregnant woman. Amazingly two pupils who were scalped survived.
Lord Dunmore’s War
Shawnee and Mingo Indians raided a wave of traders and settlers in the southern Ohio River Valley. Governor Dunmore of Virginia, sent in 3,000 soldiers and defeated 1,000 natives.
1776-1794 Chickamauga Wars A series of conflicts that were a continuation of the Cherokee struggle against white encroachment. Led by Dragging Canoe, who was called the Chickamauga by colonials, theCherokee fought white settlers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
July 3, 1778 Wyoming Valley Massacre Following a battle with rebel defenders of Forty Fort, Iroquois allies of the Loyalist forces hunt and kill those who flee, then torture to death those who surrendered.
August 31, 1778 Stockbridge Massacre A battle of the American Revolution War that rebel propaganda portrayed as a massacre.
November 11, 1778 Cherry Valley Massacre An attack by British and Seneca Indian forces on a fort and village in eastern New Yorkduring the American Revolution War. The town was destroyed and and 16 defenders were killed.
March 8, 1782 Gnadenhutten Massacre Nearly 100 non-combatant Christian Delaware (Lenape) Indians, mostly women and children, were killed with hammer blows to the head by Pennsylvania militiamen.
1785-1795 Old Northwest War Fighting occurred in Ohio and Indiana. Following two humiliating defeats at the hands of native warriors, the Americans won a decisive victory under “Mad Anthony” Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
1794 Nickajack Expedition Cherokee Chief, Dragging Canoe, and his followers, who opposed the peace, separated from the tribe and relocated to East Tennessee, where they were joined by groups ofShawnee and Creek. Engaged in numerous raids on the white settlers for several years, they used Nickajack Cave as their stronghold. In 1894, the military attacked, leaving some 70 Indians dead.
Continued Next Page
November 6, 1811
Battle of Tippecanoe
The Prophet, brother of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, attacked Governor William Henry Harrison’s force at dawn near the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers in Indiana Territory. After hand-to-hand combat, the natives fled.
August 15, 1812
Fort Dearborn Massacre
American settlers and soldiers are killed in ambush near Fort Dearborn, at the present-day site of Chicago, Illinois.
January 22, 1813
Battle of Frenchtown
Also known as the River Raisin Massacre, it was a severe defeat for the Americans during the War of 1812, when they attempted to retake Detroit.
August 18, 1813
Three settlers killed in Miami County, Ohio.
August 30, 1813
Fort Mims Massacre
Following defeat at the Battle of Burnt Corn, a band of Red Sticks sack Fort Mims, Alabama, killing 400 civilians and taking 250 scalps. This action precipitates the Creek War.
Sept 19 – Oct 21, 1813
Armed conflict between the U. S. Army and the Potawatomi and the Kickapoo that took place in the Peoria County, Illinois area.
Militiamen under Andrew Jackson broke the power of Creek raiders in Georgia and Alabama after the Creek had attacked Fort Mims and massacred settlers. They relinquished a vast land tract.
First Seminole War
The Seminole, defending runaway slaves and their land in Florida, fought Andrew Jackson’sforce. Jackson failed to subdue them, but forced Spain to relinquish the territory.
Battle of Claremore Mound
Cherokee Indians wipe out Osage Indians led by Chief Clermont at Claremore Mound,Indian Territory.
April 22, 1818
U.S. troops attack a non-hostile village during the First Seminole War, killing an estimated 10 to 50 men, women and children.
June 2, 1823
Occurring near the Missouri River in present day South Dakota, Arikara warriors attacked a trapping expedition and the U.S. Army retaliated. It was the first military conflict between the United States and the western Native Americans.
Also referred as the Le Fèvre Indian War, this armed conflict took place in Wisconsin between the Winnebago and military forces. Losses of lives were minimal, but the war was a precedent to the much larger Black Hawk War.
Black Hawk War
Occurring in northern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin, it was the last native conflict in the area. Led by Chief Black Hawk, the Sac and Fox tribes made an unsuccessful attempt to move back to their homeland.
May 20, 1832
Indian Creek Massacre
Potawatomi Indians, kidnap two girls and kill fifteen men, women and children north of Ottawa, Illinois.
August 1, 1832
Battle of Bad Axe
Around 300 Indian men, women and children are killed in Wisconsin by white soldiers.
Cutthroat Gap Massacre
Osage Indians wiped out a Kiowa Indian village in Indian Territory.
Second Seminole War
Under Chief Osceola, the Seminole resumed fighting for their land in the Florida Everglades. Osceola was captured and they were nearly eliminated.
On the southern plains, primarily in the Texas Republic. The U.S. Military instituted official campaigns against the Comanche in 1867
Creek War of 1836
Though most Creeks ad been forced to Indian Territory, those that remained rebelled when the state moved to abolish tribal governments and extend state laws over the Creeks.
May 19, 1836
Fort Parker Massacre
Six men killed by a mixed Indian group in Limestone County, Texas.
Osage Indian War
A number of skirmishes with the Osage Indians in Missouri.
November 10, 1837
Battle of Stone Houses
A Texas Ranger Company pursued a band of raiding Kichai Indians up the Brazos River, where they battled near the present day city of Windthorst, Texas.
October 5, 1838
Indians massacre eighteen members and relatives of the Killough family in Texas.
This war was a culmination of friction between the Cherokee, Kickapoo, and ShawneeIndians and the white settlers in Northeast Texas.
Battle of the Neches
The principal engagement of the Cherokee War, the battle culminated after the Cherokeerefused to leave Texas.
Great Raid of 1840
The largest raid ever mounted by Native Americans on white cities. Following the Council House Fight, Comanche War Chief Buffalo Hump raised a huge war party and raided deep into white-settled areas of Southeast Texas.
March 19, 1840
Council House Fight
A conflict between Republic of Texas officials and a Comanche peace delegation in San Antonio, Texas. When terms could not be agreed on, a conflict erupted resulting in the death of 30 Comanche leaders who had come to San Antonio under a flag of truce.
August 11, 1840
Battle of Plum Creek
The Penateka Comanche were so angry after the Council House Fight, they retaliated in the summer of 1840 by conducting multiple raids in the Guadalupe Valley. The raids culminated in a battle between the Indians and the Texas volunteer army along with the Texas Rangersnear the present day city of Lockhart, Texas. For two days they battled and the Comanchewere defeated.
November 29, 1847
The murder of missionaries Dr Marcus Whitman, Mrs Narcissa Whitman and twelve others at Walla Walla, Washington by Cayuse and Umatilla Indians, triggering the Cayuse War.
June 17, 1848
Battle of Coon Creek
When a company of about 140 soldiers were on their way to left join the Santa Fe battalion in Chihuahua, Mexico, they were attacked near the present town of Kinsley, Kansas by some 200 Comanche and Apache Indians.
Occurring in Oregon Territory and Washington Territory, the conflict between the Cayuse and white settlers was caused in part by the influx of disease, and resulting in the Whitman Massacre and the Cayuse War.
Persistent fighting between the Navajo and the U.S. Army in Arizona and New Mexico led to their expulsion and incarceration on an inhospitable reservation far from their homelands.
Spawned by the flood of miners rushing onto their lands after the California Gold Rush, some tribes fought back including the Paiute and the Yokut.
Bloody Island Massacre
The murder of up to 200 Pomo people on an island near Upper Lake, California by Nathaniel Lyon and his
Snake River War
Fighting occurred at the junction of the Tucannon River and the Snake River in WashingtonTerritory.
This conflict occurred between the Klickitat and Cascade Indians against white settlers along the Columbia River in central Washington. When intimidation and force failed to get theIndians to cede their lands, battles erupted resulting in the Indians being removed from their lands.
Third Seminole War
Under Chief Billy Bowlegs, the Seminole mounted their final stand against the U.S. in the Florida Everglades. When Bowlegs surrendered; he and others were deported to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
Rogue River Wars
In the Rogue River Valley area southern Oregon, conflict between the area Indians and white settlers increased eventually breaking into open warfare.
A conflict of land rights in Washington state, involving the Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat tribes in the state of Washington. The central figure of the war, Nisqually Chief Leschi, was executed.
Klamath and Salmon Indian Wars
Klamath and Salmon River War, aka Klamath War, or Red Cap War, occurred in Klamath County, California after local miners wanted Indians disarmed due to rumors of an uprising. Some of the Native American’s of the Yurok and Karok tribes refused, leading to hostilities resulting in state militia and U.S. Army involvement. (source)
August 17, 1855
Twenty-nine U.S. soldiers killed by Brulé Lakota Sioux Indians in Nebraska Territory.
January 26, 1856
Native Americans attacked Seattle, Washington, as part of the Yakima War. The attackers are driven off by artillery fire and by Marines from the U.S. Navy.
A short series of skirmishes occurring in Tintic and Cedar Valleys of Utah, after the conclusion of the Walker War.
Antelope Hills Expedition
A campaign by Texas Rangers and members of allied tribes against the Comanche andKiowa in Texas and Oklahoma.
Coeur d’Alene War
Also known as the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War, this second phase of the Yakima War was a series of encounters between the Coeur d’Alenes, Spokanes, Palouses and Northern Paiute tribes and U.S. forces in the Washington and Idaho areas.
September 1, 1858
Battle of Four Lakes
Also known as the Battle of Spokane Plains, the conflict was part of the Coeur d’Alene War. A force of 600 military men were sent to subdue the tribes, defeating the Indians.
A conflict between settlers and Native Americans in California that took place in 1859. Several hundred Indians were killed.
Also known as Pyramid Lake War, the war was fought between Northern Paiutes, along with some Shoshone and Bannock, and white settlers in present-day Nevada. The war culminated in two pitched battles in which approximately 80 whites were killed. Smaller raids and skirmishes continued until a cease-fire was agreed to in August, 1860.
February 26, 1860
Gunther Island Massacre
Also known as the Humboldt Bay Massacre, local white settlers, without any apparent provocation, attack four Indian villages, slaying 188 Wiyot Indians, mostly women and children in Humboldt County, California.
December 18, 1860
Battle of Pease River
Battle between Comanche Indians under Peta Nocona and a detachment of Texas Rangers, resulting in the slaughter of the Indians, including women, when the Rangers caught the camp totally by surprise.
California Indian Wars
Numerous battles and skirmishes against Hupa, Wiyot, Yurok, Tolowa, Nomlaki, Chimariko, Tsnungwe, Whilkut, Karuk, Wintun and others.
Occurring in Arizona and New Mexico Territories, it ended with the Long Walk of the Navajo.
In New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, numerous Apache bands rejected reservation life, and under Geronimo, Cochise and others, staged hundreds of attacks on outposts. Geronimofinally surrendered in 1886; others fought on until 1900.
Sioux War of 1862
Skirmishes in the southwestern quadrant of Minnesota resulted in the deaths of several hundred white settlers. In the largest mass execution in U.S. history, 38 Dakota were hanged. About 1,600 others were sent to a reservation in present-day South Dakota.
Battle of Apache Pass
Battle fought in Arizona between Apache warriors and the California Column as it marched from California to New Mexico.
October 24, 1862
Accompanied by Caddo allies, a detachment of irregular Union Indians, mainly Kickapoo,Delaware and Shawnee, attempt to destroy the Tonkawa tribe in Indian Territory. One hundred and fifty of 390 Tonkawa survive.
January 29, 1863
Bear River Massacre
Colonel Patrick Connor leads a regiment killing at least 200 Indian men, women and children near Preston, Idaho.
April 19, 1863
White settlers kill 35 Tehachapi men in Kern County, California.
Battle of Canyon de Chelly
This Navajo citadel was the scene of climatic events in the conquest of the Navajo Indiansby the U.S. Army Colonel Christopher C. “Kit” Carson’s.
Cheyenne War of 1864
In the early 1860’s, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were suffering terrible conditions on their reservation and in the summer of 1864 began to retaliate by attacking stagecoaches and settlements along the Oregon Trail.
November 29, 1864
Sand Creek Massacre
Militiamen kill at least 160 Cheyenne Indians at Sand Creek, Colorado.
Clashes centered on the Colorado Eastern Plains between the U.S. Army and an alliance consisting largely of the Cheyenne and Arapaho.
Fought between U.S. military and the Northern Paiute and Shoshoni (called the Snakes by white settlers) in Oregon, Idaho, and California. The conflict began with the influx of new mines in Idaho and the Indians rebelled to white encroachment on their lands.
When the Mescelero Apaches were placed on a reservation with Navajos at Fort Sumner,New Mexico, the war began and continued until 1886, when Geronimo surrendered.
July 28, 1864
Battle of Killdeer Mountain
Fought in western North Dakota, this battle was an outgrowth to the 1862 Sioux discontent in Minnesota. Leading more than 3,000 volunteers, Brigadier General Alfred Sully confronted more than 1,600 Sioux in the North Dakota badlands, representing one of the largest pitched battles in the history of Plains warfare.
Cheyenne War of 1864
In the early 1860’s, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were suffering terrible conditions on their reservation and in August, 1864 began to retaliate by attacking stagecoaches and settlements along the Oregon Trail.
February 4-6, 1865
General Patrick Conner organizes 3 columns of soldiers to begin an invasion of the Powder River Basin, from the Black Hills, Paha Sapa, to the Big Horn Mountains. They had one order: “Attack and kill every male Indian over twelve years of age.” Conner builds a fort on the Powder River. Wagon trains begin to cross the Powder River Basin on their way to the Montana gold fields.
Spotted Tail, Roman Nose, Old Man Afraid of His Horses, Lone Horn, Whistling Elk, Pipe and unknown
Spotted Tail, Roman Nose, Old Man Afraid of His Horses, Lone Horn, Whistling Elk, Pipe and an unknownIndian at Fort Laramie, Wyoming in 1868.
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Chief Red Cloud
Chief Red Cloud, Lakota Sioux Chief
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“I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.” – Chief Red Cloud (Makhipiya-Luta) SiouxChief
Sioux Maiden, 1908.
Sioux Maiden, 1908.
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“When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.” – Geronimo [Goyathlay], Chiracahua Apache
Zuni Pueblo, 1873
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Sioux Tipis, 1902.
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Mandan Man making an offer of the buffalo skull
Mandan Man making an offer of the buffaloskull, 1908.
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“Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be alike–brothers of one father and one another, with one sky above us and one country around us, and one governmnet for all.” – Chief Joseph, Nez Perce
Mandan Indian atop the bluffs of the Missouri River
Mandan Indian atop the bluffs of the Missouri River, 1908.
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“We are now about to take our leave and kind farewell to our native land, the country the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving that country that gave us birth, it is with sorrow we are forced by the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood…we bid farewell to it and all we hold dear.” – Charles Hicks, Tsalagi (Cherokee) Vice Chief speaking of The Trail of Tears, November 4, 1838
July 24-26, 1865
Battle of Platte Bridge – The Cheyenne and Lakota besiege the most northerly outpost of the U.S. army and succeed in killing all members of a platoon of cavalrymen sent out to meet a wagon train as well as the wagon drivers and their escorts.
Late August, 1865
Battle of Tongue River – Connor’s column destroys an Arapaho village, including all the winter’s food supply, tents and clothes. They kill over 50 of the Arapaho villagers.
Late September, 1865
Roman Nose’s Fight – The Cheyenne Chief, Roman Nose, in revenge for the Sand Creek Massacre, led several hundred Cheyenne warriors in a siege of the Cole and Walker columns of exhausted and starvingsoldiers who were attempting to return to Fort Laramie. Because they were armed only with bows, lances and a few old trade guns, they were unable to overrun the soldiers, but they harasses them for several days, until Connor’s returning column rescued them.
October 14, 1865
The Southern Cheyenne chiefs sign a treaty agreeing to cede all the land they formerly claimed as their own, most of Colorado Territory, to the U.S. government. This was the desired end of the Sand Creek Massacre.
Connor returns to Fort Laramie leaving two companies of soldiers at the fort they had constructed at the fork of the Crazy Woman Creek and the Powder River. Red Cloud and his warriors kept these men isolated and without supplies all winter. Many died of scurvy, malnutrition and pneumonia before winter’s end. They were not relieved until June 28th by Colonel Carrington’s company.
Late Fall, 1865
Nine treaties signed with the Sioux including the Brulé, Hunkpapa, Oglala and Minneconjou. These were widely advertised as signifying the end of the Plains wars although none of the war chiefs had signed any of these treaties.
December 21, 1865
An illegal Executive Order removed lands from the Oregon CoastIndian Reservation, cutting the territory in half.
The Sioux Nations are angered as the US Army begins building forts along the Bozeman Trail, an important route to the gold fields of Virginia City; Captain Fetterman and 80 soldiers are killed.
April 1, 1866
Congress overrides President Johnson’s veto of the Civil Rights Bill, giving equal rights to all persons born in the U.S. (except Indians). The President is empowered to use the Army to enforce the law.
Late Spring 1866
War chiefs Red Cloud, Spotted Tail, Standing Elk, Dull Knife and others come to Fort Laramie to negotiate a treaty concerning access to the Powder River Basin. Shortly after the beginning of the talks, on June 13, Colonel Henry Carrington and several hundred infantry men reached Fort Laramie to build forts along the Bozeman Trail. It was clear to the chiefs that the treaty was a mere formality; the road would be opened whether they agreed or not. This was the beginning Red Cloud’s War.
July 13, 1866
Colonel Carrington begins building Fort Phil Kearny He halts his column between the forks of the Little Piney and the Big Piney Creeks, in the best hunting grounds of the Plains Indians, and pitches camp. TheCheyenne visit and decide that the camp is too strong for them to attack directly and begin plans for harassing the soldiers who leave the camp and for drawing out soldiers by using decoys. All summer they harasses the soldiers and make alliances with other Plains groups, forming a coalition of Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho and Crow groups.
December 21, 1866
The Fetterman Massacre was fought near Fort Phil Kearny, WyomingTerritory on December 21, 1866. Angered at white interlopers traveling through their country, Sioux and Cheyenne forces continually harassed the soldiers at Fort Phil Kearny, constructed to provide emigrant protection along the newly opened Bozeman Trail. Out maneuvering the soldiers, the Indians killed all 80 of them.
1866 to 1867
Red Cloud’s fight to close off the Bozeman Trail – The Oglala SiouxChief Red Cloud successfully fought the US army in an effort to protectSioux lands against American construction of the Bozeman Trail which was to run from Fort Laramie to the Montana gold fields.
Treaty of Medicine Lodge – After Congress passed a law to confine the Plains tribes to small reservations where they could be supervised and “civilized,” US representatives organized the largest treaty-making gathering in US history. Over 6,000 members from the Arapaho,Cheyenne, Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa met at Medicine Lodge inKansas. The Grand Council of tribes was attended by Crazy Horse,Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull, among other great leaders, and pledged to end further encroachment by the whites. The treaty ensured that alltribes would move onto reservation lands. Thereafter, the army was instructed to punish Indian raids and to “bring in” any tribes that refused to live on reservations.
Nez Perce Treaty – This was the last Indian treaty ratified by the US government.
Second Treaty of Fort Laramie – This treaty guaranteed the SiouxIndians’ rights to the Black Hills of Dakota and gave the Sioux hunting permission beyond reservation boundaries. The treaty also creates the Great Sioux Reservation and agrees that the Sioux do not cede their hunting grounds in Montana and Wyoming territories. The Army agrees to abandon the forts on the Bozeman Trail and the Indians agree to become “civilized.”
George Armstrong Custer established himself as a great Indian fighter by leading the Massacre on the Washita in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in which Black Kettle is killed. The entire village was destroyed and all of its inhabitants were killed.
In June, Navajos signed a treaty after the Long Walk when Kit Carson rounded up 8,000 Navajos and forced them to walk more than 300 miles to the Bosque Redondo reservation in southern New Mexico . English officials called it a reservation, but to the conquered and exiledNavajos it was a prison camp.
First Sioux War ends with the Treaty of Fort Laramie; the US agrees to abandon Forts Smith, Kearney, and Reno.
Board of Indian Commissioners – Congress created the Board to investigate and report alleged BIA mismanagement and conditions on reservations where corruption was widespread. The Board continued to operate as an investigative and oversight commission that also helped shape and direct American Indian policy.
Federally-sponsored Sac and Fox and Iowa tribes in Nebraska.
Buffalo herds are diminished to a crisis point for Plains Indians.
On January 20, Buffalo Soldiers, under the command of Captain Francis Dodge, came upon a settlement of Mescalero Apaches in the most remote region of New Mexico’s Guadalupe Mountains and attacked them, killing ten Mescalero Apaches and taking 25 ponies.
On January 23, in the Massacre on the Marias, 173 Blackfoot men, women and children were slaughtered by U.S. soldiers on the Marias River in Montana in response for the killing of Malcolm Clarke and the wounding of his son by a small party of young Blackfoot men.
On March 30, the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified. It finally recognized the natural right 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. (From 1607 to 1776, at least 175 treaties had been signed with the British and colonial governments, and from 1778 to 1868, 371 treaties were ratified the US government.) All future Indian policies would not negotiated with Indiantribes 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.
April 30, 1871
One Hundred Forty-Four Apaches, most of them women and children, were murdered outside Camp Grant, Arizona, where they had been given asylum, when members of the Tucson Committee of Public Safety arrived with a force of Papago Indians, the Apaches’ long-time enemies. All but 8 of the 144 dead were women and children. They were clubbed to death, hacked to pieces or brained by rocks. The committee members claimed they acted in retaliation for raids by various Apache bands at distant points across the region, but public opinion, particularly in the East, linked the event to the recently investigated Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 as further evidence of Westerners’ deep-seated hatred for Indians.
May 17, 1871
Kiowa war leaders Satanta, Big Tree and Satank lead an attack on a freight train known as Warren Wagon Train Raid in Texas, in which 7 white men lost their lives.
July 5, 1871
Kiowa warriors, Satanta, Big Tree and Satank for the Warren Wagon Train Raid in Texas. Satank is killed while trying to escape. After three days of testimony they are found guilty. Satanta tells the court, “If you let me go, I will withdrawn my warriors from Tehanna, but if you kill me, it will be a spark on the prairie. Make big fire-burn heap.” Although sentenced to be hanged, the Texas Governor, fearing a Kiowa uprising, decides to commute the sentences to life in a Texas prison. Eventually,Big Tree and Satanta are freed.
The Mining Act of 1872 was passed by the U.S. Congress. Alaskan natives were excluded from claiming ownership to their own land. During this period of history natives were not accepted as citizens of the nation and had no land or load claim rights, something that took many years to change.
Custer and the Seventh Cavalry come to the northern plains to guard the surveyers for the Northern Pacifi
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Nez Perce WarNez Perce War – This war occurred when the US army responded to some American deaths along the Salmon River, said to have been committed by theNez Perce. To avoid a battle that would have resulted in being forced onto a reservation, about 800 Nez Perce fled 1,500 miles. They were caught 30 miles south of the Canadian border. Survivors were sent to Indian Territory inOklahoma, despite the promise of the US government to allow them to return to their homeland.
January 15, 1877
Standing Bear, a Ponca chief, refused to move to a reservation because it was within lands already given to the Lakota.
February 28, 1877
The U.S. Government seized the Black Hills from Lakota Sioux in violation of a treaty.
March 23, 1877
John D. Lee was brought to trial for his part in the Fancher Party Massacre of 1857. He was convicted by an all Mormon jury. On March 23 he was executed by firing squad at the site of the massacre, after denouncing Brigham Young for abandoning him. His last words are for his executioners: “Center my heart, boys. Don’t mangle my body.”
Early May -1877
Sitting Bull escapes to Canada with about 300 followers.
May 6, 1877
Crazy Horse finally surrendered to General George Crook at Fort Robinson, Nebraska on May 6, having received assurances that he and his followers will be permitted to settle in the Powder River country ofMontana. Defiant even in defeat, Crazy Horse arrived with a band of 800 warriors, all brandishing weapons and chanting songs of war.
May 7, 1877
A small band of Minneconjou Sioux is defeated by General Nelson A. Miles, thus ending the Great SiouxWars.
The Ponca arrived at the Otto reservation. They were forcibly marched from their old reservation to Indian Territory. The Otto took pity on the Ponca and gave them some horses to help carry their people.
September 6, 1877
By late summer, there were rumors that Crazy Horse was planning a return to battle, and on September 5 he was arrested and brought back to Fort Robinson, where, when he resisted being jailed, he was held by an Indian guard and killed by a bayonet thrust from a soldier on September 6. He was 36.
Congress passed the Manypenny Agreement, a law taking the Black Hills and ending Sioux rights outside the Great Sioux Reservation. The Sioux land – 134 million acres guaranteed by treaty in 1868 was reduced to less than 15 million acres.
October 5, 1877
Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph surrendered his rifle at Eagle Creek in the Bear Paw Mountains inMontana after months in which his starving band eluded pursuing federal troops: “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
Buffalo have disappeared and Lakota now live on handouts from the Federal Government.
The Northern Cheyenne escape from their reservation in Oklahoma in an attempt to reach their lands inMontana Territory.
A Commission finds the Indian Bureau permeated with “cupidity, inefficiency, and the most barefaced dishonesty.” The department’s affairs were “a reproach to the whole nation.” Carl Schurz had already dismissed the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Q. Smith on September 27, 1877. He now discharged many more Bureau employees and began a reorganization of the Indian agents.
Chief JosephThe first students, a group of 84 Lakota children, arrived at the newly established United States Indian Training and Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a boarding school founded by former Indian-fighter Captain Richard Henry Pratt to remove young Indians from their native culture and refashion them as members of mainstream American society. Over the next two decades, twenty-four more schools on the Carlisle model will be established outside the reservations, along with 81 boarding schools and nearly 150 day schools on the Indians’ own land.
On January 14, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe addressed Congress about tribal lands stolen through treaties. He gave the analogy that it was like having horses that he doesn’t want to sell being sold by his neighbor, with the neighbor then letting the buyer take the horses.
In January, the U.S. Army rounded up 540 Paiute in Oregon and, in what’s known as the Paiute Trail of Tears, forcibly took them to the Yakima Reservation in Washington. On February 2, they arrived at the reservation after a forced march through winter snows.
Civilization Regulations – Congress set up a series of offenses that only Indians could commit. These regulations outlawed Indian religions, the practices of “so-called” medicine men, ceremonies like the Sun Dance, and leaving the reservation without permission. These regulations were in place until 1936.
A Century of Dishonor publication. – Helen Hunt Jackson released her book detailing the plight ofAmerican Indians and criticizing the US government’s treatment of Indians.
January 18, 1881
The Spokan Indian Reservation was established.
July 19, 1881
Sitting Bull and 186 of his remaining followers surrender at Fort Buford, North Dakota. He is sent to Fort Randall,
Late Summer, 1881
Spotted Tail, is assassinated by Crow Dog – White officials dismiss the killing as a simple quarrel, but theSioux feel that it was the result of a plot to wrest control from a strong Indian leader.
Congressional Act – Congress provided funds for the mandatory education of 100 Indian pupils in industrial schools and for the appointment of an Inspector or Superintendent of Indian schools.
Indian Rights Association – This organization was created to protect the interests and rights of Indians. The association was composed of white reformers who wanted to help Indians abandon their cultural and spiritual beliefs and assimilate into American society.
On October 24, a federal Grand Jury in Arizona charged civil authorities with mismanagement of IndianAffairs on the San Carlos Reservation.
Ex Parte Crow Dog Supreme Court decision. – Crow Dog, a Sioux Indian who shot an killed an Indian on the Rosebud Reservation, was prosecuted in federal court, found guilty, and sentenced to death. On appeal it was argued that the federal government’s prosecution had infringed upon tribal sovereignty. The Court ruled that the US did not have jurisdiction and that Crow Dog must be released. The decision was a reaffirmation of tribal sovereignty and led to the passage of the 1885 Major Crimes Act which identified seven major crimes, that if committed by an Indian on Indian land, were placed within federal jurisdiction.
A group of clergymen, government officials and social reformers calling itself “The Friends of the Indian” met in upstate New York to develop a strategy for bringing Native Americans into the mainstream of American life. Their decisions set the course for U.S. policy toward Native Americans over the next generation and resulted in the near destruction of native American cultures.
Courts of Indian Offenses – The Secretary of the Interior established these courts to uphold the 1880 Civilization Regulations to eliminate “heathenish practices” among the Indians. The rules of the courts forbade the practice of all public and private religious activities by Indians on their reservations, including ceremonial dances, like the Sun Dance, and the practices of “so-called medicine men.”
Chief Sitting BullIn May, Lakota Chief Sitting Bull was released from prison. He rejoined his tribe in Standing Rock where he was forced to work the fields. He spoke forcefully against plans to open part of the reservation to White settlers. Despite the old chief’s objections, the land transfer proceeded as planned. He lived the rest of his life across the Grand River from his birthplace.
On September 8, Sitting Bull delivered a speech, at the celebration of the driving of the last spike in the transcontinental railroad system, to great applause. He delivered the speech in his Sioux language, departing from a speech originally prepared by an army translator. Denouncing the U.S. government, settlers, and army, the listeners thought he was welcoming and praising them. While giving the speech, Sitting Bull paused for applause periodically, bowed, smiled, and continued insulting his audience as the translator delivered the original address.
On November 3, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an Indian is by birth “an alien and a dependent.”
Sitting Bull tours with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
Major Crimes Act – This Congressional Act gave federal courts jurisdiction over Indians accused of rape, manslaughter, murder, assault with intent to kill, arson, or larceny against another Indian on a reservation. The list was eventually expanded to include 14 crimes.
When U.S. troops pursued a band of Apache near Pleasanton, New Mexico, the Indians caught thesoldiers in a triple cross-fire trap and killed them all.
United States v. Kagama Supreme Court decision. Two Indians on the Hoopa Valley Reservation in northern California killed another Indian on the reservation. They were prosecuted and found guilty by the federal government. The Indians argued that Congress did not have constitutional authority to pass the Major Crimes Act (1885). The Court, however, upheld the full and absolute (plenary) power of the Congress to pass the Major Crimes Act and of the federal government – not state governments – exclusively to deal with Indian tribes. “These Indian tribes are the wards of the nation. They are communities dependent on the United States – dependent largely for their daily food; dependent for their political rights. They owe no allegiance to the states, and receive from them no protection. Because of the local ill feeling, the people of the states where they are found are often their deadliest enemies. From their very weakness and helplessness, so largely due to the course of dealing of the federal government Geronimo, 1886with them, and the treaties in which it has been promised, there arises the duty of protection, and with it the power.” Thus, the case challenged the major crime act and its ruling upheld it by implying that because Indian tribes were wards of the US, Congress had the power to regulate tribes, even if it interfered with their sovereign power to deal with criminal offenders on tribal lands.
Geronimo, described by one follower as “the most intelligent and resourceful . . most vigorous and farsighted” of the Apache leaders, surrendered to General Nelson A. Milesin Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, after more than a decade of guerilla warfare against American and Mexican settlers in the Southwest. The terms of surrender requiredGeronimo and his tribe to settle in Florida, where the Army hoped he could be contained.
The Dawes Severalty Act, otherwise known as the General Allotment Act, gives the President power to reduce the landholdings of the Indian nations across the country by allotting 160 acres to the heads ofIndian families and 80 acres to individuals. The “surplus lands” on the reservations were opened up to settlement.
On July 16, J. D. C. Atkins, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, wrote in his annual report that English would be the exclusive language used at all Indian schools. He argued that native languages were not only of no use, but were detrimental to the education and civilization of Indians.
Oglala Lakota move to Pine Ridge Agency on South Dakota /Nebraska border.
The Sioux Act – This Congressional Act divided the Great Sioux Reservation into six separate reservations in an effort to dilute their power and make much of their land available for non-Indian settlement.
The Sioux sign an agreement with the U.S. government breaking up the great Sioux Reservation. TheSioux will get six separate small reservations. The major part of their land was thrown open to settlers.
Oklahoma Organic Act – This Congressional Act divided Indian land into two territories in what is currently the state of Oklahoma : the Territory of Oklahoma in western Oklahoma was opened up to non-Indiansettlement; and the Indian Territory in eastern Oklahoma was retained for continued Indian settlement.
Two Zuni Indians were hanged over the wall of a Spanish church in Arizona on the charge of using witchcraft to chase away rain clouds.
January 1, 1889
A Paiute rancher named Wovoka announced that he had dreamed a vision of a new world set aside for native people and that white people would vanish en masse. It was the birth of the short-lived Ghost Dance religion.
February 19, 1889
The Quileut Indian reservation at La Push, Washington was established.
April 22, 1889
Oklahoma Land RunIn the first ” Oklahoma Land Rush,” the U.S. government bows to pressure and opens for settlement land that it had previously promised would be a permanent refuge for Native Americans moved from their eastern territories.Native American tribes are paid about $4 million for the parcel of land. The starting gun sounds at noon, and an estimated 50,000 settlers race across the land; by sunset, all 1.92 million acres have been claimed.
Congress established the Oklahoma Territory on unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory , breaking a 60-year-old pledge to preserve this area exclusively for Native Americans forced from their lands in the east.
May 29, 1890
Charles L. Hyde, a Pierre, South Dakota citizen, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Interior saying theGhost Dance was leading to a possible uprising by the Sioux. Prior to the letter, federal agents were not concerned about the Ghost Dance, but soon after, they feared the ceremony.
October 16, 1890
Reservation Police forcibly removed Kicking Bear from Standing Rock Agency, South Dakota , for teaching the Ghost Dance, a visionary ceremony foretelling the disappearance of white people.
December 15, 1890
When Federal troops tried to arrest Sioux Indians in Little Eagle, South Dakota on December 15, Chief Sitting Bull ordered his warriors to resist and he was shot in the back of the head and killed. The aftermath of his death led to the massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee.
December 29, 1890
Big Foot’s band of Minneconjous try to reach Pine Ridge and the protection of Red Cloud after hearing ofSitting Bull’s death. Also present were members of the Sioux band led by Chief Spotted Elk. Hungry and exhausted, they had assembled under armed guard as requested to receive the protection of the Government of the United States of America, surrendering their arms and submitting to a forced search of tents and teepees that yielded but two remaining rifles. Marched to Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, they were disarmed by the U.S. Army. A group of 120 men and 230 women and children were counted by Major Samuel Whitside at sundown on December 28, 1890. The next day an unidentified shot rang out and the well-armed 487 U.S. soldiers ringing the defenseless people opened fire. Afterwards, 256 Siouxlay dead and were buried in mass graves. Twenty (20) Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded thesoldiers.
Indian Education – A Congressional Act authorized the Commissioner of Indian Affairs “to make and enforce by proper means” rules and regulations to ensure that Indian children attended schools designed and administered by non-Indians.
Amendment to the Dawes Act – This amendment modified the amount of land to be allotted and set conditions for leasing allotments.
Indian Education – This Congressional Act made school attendance for Indian children compulsory and authorized the BIA to withhold rations and government annuities to parents who did not send their children to school.
Experts estimated that fewer that 2,000 buffalo remained of the more than 20 million that once roamed the Western plains.
More than 100,000 white settlers rushed into Oklahoma’s Cherokee Outlet to claim six million acres of former Cherokee land.
On February 10, the Campo Indian Reservation near San Diego was established for the Campo band of Kumeyaay Indians. The tribe that had dwindled down to 200 members, from 2000 forty years earlier, was given one acre of land.
On January 8, the Yakama signed away 23,000 acres of timberland formerly inhabited by the Wenatchee tribe to the U.S. for $20,000.
Chief Lomahongyoma and eighteen other Hopi Indians were placed in Alcatraz for their resistance to government attempts to erase the Hopi culture. The nineteen Hopi were jailed for their resistance to farm on individual plots away from the mesas and for refusing to send their children to government boarding schools.
Curtis Act – This Congressional Act ended tribal governments practice of refusing allotments and mandated the allotment of tribal lands in Indian Territory – including the lands of the Cherokee, Creek,Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations.
On March 2, Congress allowed railroad companies blanket approval for rights-of-way through Indianlands.
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Lone Wolf vs. Hickcock Supreme Court decision – The Kiowa and Comanche sued the Secretary of the Interior to stop the transfer of their lands without consent of tribal members which violated the promises made in the 1867 Treaty of Medicine Lodge. The Court ruled that the trust relationship served as a source of power for Congress to take action on tribal land held under the terms of a treaty. Thus, Congress could, by statute, abrogate the provisions of an Indian treaty. Further, Congress had a plenary – or absolute – power over tribal relations.
Indian “burial”Antiquities Act – This Congressional Act declared that Indian bones and objects found on federal land were the property of the United States.
Burke Act – This act amended the Dawes Act to give the secretary of the interior the power to remove allotments from trust before the time set by the Dawes Act, by declaring that the holders had “adopted the habits of civilized life.” This act also changed the point at which the government would award citizenship from the granting of the allotment to the granting of the title.
State of Oklahoma – Congress established the State of Oklahoma by merging Oklahoma Territory andIndian Territory. The former Indian Territory was opened to additional non-Indian settlement.
Winters v. United States Supreme Court decision. Indians from the Fort Belknap reservation in Montanasued to prevent a white settler from damming the Milk River and diverting water from their reservation. The Court found that when Congress created reservations, it did so with the implicit intention that Indiansshould have enough water to live. Thus, Indians had federally reserved and protected water rights.
Act to Provide for Determining the Heirs of Deceased Indians (“and other purposes”). This act altered the Dawes Act by dealing with inheritance and leasing of allotments and with the allotment of land that could be used for irrigated farming, among many other things.
Society of American Indians – The Society was the first step in the direction of pan-Indian unity – was established and managed exclusively by American Indians, most of whom were well-known in non-Indiansociety and well-educated. Although members favored assimilation, they also lobbied for many reform issues, especially improved health care on reservations, citizenship, and a special court of claims forIndians.
US v. Sandoval Supreme Court decision. The Court upheld the application of a federal liquor-control law to the New Mexico Pueblos, even though Pueblo lands had never been designated by the federal government as reservation land. The Court ruled that an unbroken line of federal legislative, executive, and judicial actions had “…attributed to the United States as a superior and civilized nation the power and duty of exercising a fostering care and protection over all dependent Indian communities within its borders…” Thus, once Congress had begun to act in a guardian role toward the tribes, it was up to Congress, not the courts, to determine when the state of wardship should end.
World War I – When the US entered the war, about 17,000 Indians served in the armed forces. SomeIndians, however, specifically resisted the draft because they were not citizens and could not vote or because they felt it would be an infringement of their tribal sovereignty. In 1919, Indian veterans of the war were granted citizenship.
Native American Church – This Indian church was organized in Oklahoma to combine an ancient Indianpractice – the use of peyote – with Christian beliefs of morality and self-respect. The Church prohibits alcohol, requires monogamy and family responsibility, and promotes hard work. By 1923, 14 states had outlawed the use of peyote and in 1940, the Navajo tribal council banned it from the reservation. In1944, the Native American Church of the United States was incorporated. Today, the Church continues to play an important role in the lives of many Indian people.
Indian Citizenship Act – This Congressional Act extended citizenship and voting rights to all American Indians. Some Indians, however, did not want to become US citizens, preferring to maintain only their tribal membership.
Indian Health Division – Congress established the Division to operate under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Meriam Report “The Problem of Indian Administration.” – The report, commissioned by the Department of Interior in 1926, focused on the poverty, ill health, and despair that characterized many Indian communities. It recommended reforms that would increase the BIA’s efficiency, and promote the social and economic advancement of Indians: the termination of allotment and the phasing out of Indianboarding schools.
The Indian New Deal – The brainchild of BIA director John Collier, the New Deal was an attempt to promote the revitalization of Indian cultural, lingual, governmental, and spiritual traditions. This blueprint for reform was written by non-Indians who felt they knew how to champion Indian rights.
Johnson-O’Malley Act – This Congressional Act stipulated that the federal government was to pay states between 35 and 50 cents per day for Indian children enrolled in schools.
Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) – The IRA was the centerpiece of the Indian New Deal. It encouragedIndians to “recover” their cultural heritage, prohibited new allotments and extended the trust period for existing allotments, and sought to promote tribal self-government by encouraging tribes to adopt constitutions and form federally-chartered corporations. In order to take advantage of IRA funding, tribeswere required to adopt a U.S. style constitution. Tribes were given two years to accept or reject the IRA.Tribes who accepted it could then elect a tribal council. 174 tribes accepted it, 135 which drafted tribal constitutions. However, 78 tribes rejected the IRA, most fearing the consequences of even further federal direction.
World War II – During the course of the war, about 25,000 American Indians served in the armed forces; another 40,000 Indian men and women were employed in wartime industries. Key among the American Indians participating in WWII were the Navajo and Comanche Code Talkers.
Freedom’s Warrior – American Indian, by Charles Wilson, about 1942On January 9, a U.S. government press release said 40 percent more Native Americans have enlisted to fight in WWII than have been drafted. Altogether, 25,000 Indians served in the U.S. armed forces, including 800 women. In the Philippines, a Choctaw scout escaped from the Japanese at the battle of Corregidor, and led underground guerrilla forces until the war ended. The Oneida, Chippewa, and Comanche blocked Japanese decoding of military information by dispatching messages in their tribal languages. Navajo Code Talkers were instrumental in the landing at Guadalcanal, where they sent and received reports from field commanders.
Seminole Nation v. United States. The Court held officials of the United States were to be held to the “most exacting fiduciary standards” in performing their duties toward American Indians. Thus, it “has charged itself with moral obligations of the highest responsibility and trust” towards American IndianNations; i.e., upholding the trust responsibility.
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) – About 100 Indian People met to create the nation’s first large-scale national organization designed to monitor federal policies. Today, over 250 member tribesthroughout the US work to secure for Indian People and their descendants the rights and benefits to which they are entitled; to enlighten the public toward the better understanding of Indian people; to preserve rights under Indian treaties or agreements with the United States; and to promote the common welfare of the American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Indian Claims Commission Act – The Commission was created to do away with tribal grievances over treaty enforcement, resource management, and disputes between tribes and the US government. Tribeswere given five years to file a claim, during which them they had to prove aboriginal title to the lands in question and then bring suit for settlement. The Commission would then review the case and assess the amount, if any, that was to be paid in compensation. Until the Commission ended operations in 1978, it settled 285 cases and paid more than $800 million in settlements.
Trujillo v. Garley Supreme Court decision – In response to the allegation that many states had successfully prohibited Indians from voting, the Court ruled that states were required to grant Native Americans the right to vote.
Termination – Under House Concurrent Resolution 108, the trust relationship with many Indian tribes was terminated. Terminated tribes were then subject to state laws and their lands were sold to non-Indians. Eventually, Congress terminated over 100 tribes, most of which were small and consisted of a few hundred members as most. The Menominee of Wisconsin and the Klamath of Oregon were exceptions with 3,270 and 2,133 members respectively.
Public Law 280 – This Congressional law transferred jurisdiction over most tribal lands to state governments in California, Oregon , Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Alaska was added in 1958. Additionally, it provided that any other state could assume such jurisdiction by passing a law or amending the state’s constitution.
Relocation – In order to deal with increasing unemployment among American Indians, the BIA enacted a new policy to persuade large numbers of Indians to relocate into urban areas. Using the lure of job training and housing, brochures depicting Indian families leading a middle-class life were distributed by the BIA. While the initial response was enthusiastic, within five years the relocation program was counted a failure, with 50 percent of the participants returning to their reservations. This was the first of many late 20th Century failures to “mainstream” the Indian population.
Public Law 83-568 – This Congressional law transferred responsibility for American Indians and Alaskan Natives’ health care from the BIA in the Department of Interior, to the Public Health Services within the Department of Health and Human Services.
National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) – This organization sought, and still seeks, to resurrect a sense of national pride among young Indian people and to instill an activist message – Indians were no longer to bow their heads in humble obedience to the BIA and other institutions of white society. Instead, they were to look back to their own great cultural traditions and make decisions about their lives based upon such traditions.
Vietnam War – At least 43,000 American Indians fought in the Vietnam War.
Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) – This Congressional Act revised Public Law 280 by requiring states to obtain tribal consent prior to extend any legal jurisdiction over an Indian reservation. It also gave most protections of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment to tribal members in dealings with their tribal governments. ICRA also amended the Major Crimes Act to include assault resulting in serious bodily harm.
American Indian Movement (AIM) – Shortly after the Minneapolis Anishinaabeg formed an “Indian Patrol” to monitor police activities in Indian neighborhoods, AIM was co-founded by Dennis Banks. The new organization was comprised primarily of young urban Indians who believed that direct and militant confrontation with the US government was the only way to redress historical grievances and to gain contemporary civil rights; and that the tribal governments organized under the IRA (1934) were not truly legitimate or grounded in traditional Indian ways. By the 1990s, AIM was still active in Indian affairs, but was less involved in militant confrontation
“Indians of All Tribes” occupation of Alcatraz – A group of young Indians seized the abandoned AlcatrazIsland in the San Francisco harbor. They issued a “Proclamation to the Great White Father” in which they stated their claim that Alcatraz was suitable as an Indian Reservation and thus, should be converted into an Indian educational and cultural center. The Indians of All Tribes continued to occupy AAlcatraz until June, 1971.
Nixon’s “Special Message on Indian Affairs” – President Nixon delivered a speech to Congress which denounced past federal policies, formally ended the termination policy, and called for a new era of self-determination for Indian peoples.
Trail of Broken Treaties – Over 500 Indian activists traveled across the United States to Washington, DC where they planned to meet with BIA officials and to deliver a 20-point proposal for revamping the BIA and establishing a government commission to review treaty violations. When guards at the BIA informed the tribal members that Bureau officials would not meet with them and threatened forcible removal from the premises, the activists began a week-long siege of the BIA building. The BIA finally agreed to review the 20 demands and to provide funds to transport the activists back to their home. Shortly thereafter, the FBI classified AIM as “an extremist organization” and added the names of its leaders to the list of “key extremists” in the US.
Indian Education Act – This Congressional Act established funding for special bilingual and bicultural programs, culturally relevant teaching materials, and appropriate training and hiring of counselors. It also created an Office of Indian Education in the US Department of Education.
Native American Civil RightsWounded Knee Occupation – At the Pine Ridge Reservation of the OglalaSioux in South Dakota, trouble had been brewing between the Indian activists that supported AIM, and tribal leaders who had the support of the BIA. After a violent confrontation in 1972, tribal chair Richard Wilson condemned AIM and banned it from the reservation. In February 1973, AIM leaders led by Russell Means and about 200 activists who were supported by some Oglala traditional leaders took over the village of Wounded Knee, announced the creation of the Oglala Sioux Nation, declared themselves independent from the United States, and defined their national boundaries as those determined by the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. The siege lasted 71 days, during which time federal marshals, FBI agents, and armored vehicles surrounded the village. AIM members finally agreed to end their occupation under one condition – that the government convene a full investigation into their demands and grievances.
Pine Ridge Reservation Shootout – In June, two FBI agents entered the Pine Ridge Reservation ostensibly looking for a tribal member on theft and assault charges. Shots were fired under confusing circumstances, resulting in the death of the two agents and one AIM member. The violence that ensued was coupled with the criminalization of the AIM movement, the result of which was an undermining of the Indian movement for self-determination.
Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act – This Congressional Act recognized the obligation of the US to provide for maximum participation by American Indians in Federal services to and programs in Indian communities. It also established a goal to provide education and services to permitIndian children to achieve, and declared a commitment to maintain the Federal government’s continuing trust relationship, and responsibility to, individual Indians and tribes.
Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) – Leaders from over 20 tribes created CERT to help Indianssecure better terms from corporations that sought to exploit valuable mineral resources on reservations.
Leonard Peltier Arrest – Two years after the siege at Wounded Knee, conditions at the Pine Ridge Reservation had deteriorated. AIM activists and supporters continued to clash directly with tribal Chairman Wilson and his men. In 1975, two FBI agents were killed and AIM activist Leonard Peltier was arrested, tried, and convicted for the deaths. Sentenced to double life imprisonment, Peltier’s arrest and conviction are still the subject of heated controversy among many American political activists.
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) – This Senate resolution re-established the SCIA. The Committee was originally created in the early nineteenth century, but disbanded in 1946 when Indianaffairs legislative and oversight jurisdiction was vested in subcommittees of the Interior and Insular Affairs Commission of the House and Senate. The Committee became permanent in 1984. Its jurisdiction includes studying the unique issues related to Indian and Hawaiian peoples and proposing legislation to deal with such issues – issues which include but are not limited to Indian education, economic development, trust responsibilities, land management, health care, and claims against the US. government.
Report of the American Indian Policy Review Commission – The Commission, established in 1975, issued its report in which it called for a firm rejection of assimilationist policies, increased financial assistance to the tribes, and a reaffirmation of the tribes’ status as permanent, self-governing institutions.
Indian Child Welfare Act – This Congressional Act addressed the widespread practice of transferring the care and custody of Indian children to non-Indians. It recognized the authority of tribal courts to hear the adoption and guardianship cases of Indian children and established a strict set of statutory guidelines for those cases heard in state court.
American Indian Religious Freedom Act – This Congressional Act promised to “protect and preserve forAmerican Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise” traditional religions, “including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rites.” Although the enactment seemed to recognize the importance of traditional Indian religious practices, it contained no enforcement provisions.
Santa Clara v. Martinez Supreme Court Decision – When a Santa Clara woman married a Navajo, the tribal council denied her children membership in the Santa Clara Pueblo based upon a 1939 tribal ordinance that denied membership to children of women who married outside the tribe. The woman sued to grant membership to her children. The Court held that Indian tribes are “distinct, independent political communities retaining their original natural rights in matters of self-government.” In short, the Court held that the Court itself did not have the right to interfere in tribal self-government issues such as tribal membership.
US v. Wheeler Supreme Court Decision – The Court considered the question of whether the power to punish tribal offenders is “part of inherent tribal sovereignty, or an aspect of the sovereignty of the Federal Government which has been delegated to the tribes by Congress.” He concluded: “The sovereignty that the Indian tribes retain is of a unique and limited character. It exists only at the sufferance of Congress and is subject to complete defeasance. But until Congress acts, the tribes retain their existing sovereign powers. In sum, Indian tribes still possess those aspects of sovereignty not withdrawn by treaty or statute, or by implication as a necessary result of their dependent status.” In short, Indian nations were sovereign, but such sovereignty was limited and subject to Congressional whim.
Federal Acknowledgment Project – This Congressional Act established the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research within the BIA to evaluate the claims of non-recognized Indian tribes for Federal acknowledgement. The project created a uniform process for reviewing acknowledgement claimants with widelly varying backgrounds and histories. In 1994, the Project regulations were amended.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gaming – The Seminole were the first tribe to enter into the bingo gaming industry. Their endeavors encouraged other tribes to begin gaming enterprises on reservations as a step towards greater economic self-sufficiency.
United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians – U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Sioux Indians were entitled to an award of $17.5 million, plus 5% interest per year since 1877, totaling about $106 million in compensation for the unjust taking of the Black Hills and in direct contravention of the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The Sioux have refused to take the money and sits in a trust fund in Washington, collecting interest.
July 9, 1981
The Lakota Times is first published.
Indian Mineral Development Act. This Congressional Act encouraged Indian tribes to mine their lands in a manner that would help them become economically self-sufficient.
Seminole Tribe v. Butterworth Supreme Court Decision – The Court ruled that tribes have the right to create gambling enterprises on their land, even if such facilities are prohibited by the civil statutes of the state. The ruling enabled reservations to establish casinos, as well as gave reservations greater authority for tribal governments to levy taxes, own assets, and create judiciaries.
California v. Cabazon Supreme Court Decision – The Cabazon tribe in Southern California operated a high stakes bingo game and card club on reservation lands. The State claimed that it had the legal authority to prohibit such activities on Indian lands located within California if such activities were prohibited elsewhere in the State. The Court found that states which permitted any form of gambling could not prohibit Indiansfrom operating gambling facilities.
Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Association Supreme Court Decision – The Yurok Indians and several other Northern California tribes argued that the construction of a 6-mile, two-lane paved road between the towns of Gasquet and Orleans (the G-O Road) and the implementation of a timber management plan would interfere with traditional tribal religions. The Court held that construction of the road did note violate their freedom of religion. Thus far, the road has not been built due to an administrative decision.
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) – This Congressional Act affirmed the right of tribes to conduct gaming on Indian lands, but made it subject to tribal/state compact negotiations for certain types of gaming.
Native American Languages Act – This Congressional Act made it US policy to “preserve, protect, and promote the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop Native Americanlanguages.” Consequently, the federal government encourages and supports of the use of native languages as a medium of instruction in schools; recognizes the right of Indian tribes to give official status to their languages for conducting their own business; supports proficiency in native languages by granting the same academic credit as for comparable proficiency in a foreign language; and encourages schools to include native languages in the curriculum in the same way as foreign languages. Today, many American Indian languages have been lost; less than 100 languages currently are spoken by Indians.
Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) – The Congressional Act is intended to promote Indian artwork and handicraft businesses, reduce foreign an counterfeit product competition, and stop deceptive marketing practices.
Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act – This Congressional Act required all institutions that receive federal funds to inventory their collections of Indian human remains and artifacts, make their lists available to Indian tribes, and return any items requested by the tribes.
Indian Law Enforcement Act – This Congressional Act created a unified approach to the BIA’s provision of law enforcement service on reservations.
Foxwoods Casino of Connecticut – The Mashantucket Pequots opened the first large casino in the United States
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – This Congressional Act stated that state governments “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” except if such exercise of religion conflicts with “a compelling government interest.” On June 25, 1997, the US Supreme Court declared RFRA unconstitutional as it applied to the states.
American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Amendments – This Congressional Act protected the rights ofAmerican Indians to use peyote in traditional religious ceremonies.
President Clinton’s Executive Memorandum, April 29th – The president sought ìto clarify our responsibility to ensure that the Federal Government operates within a government-to-government relationship with federally recognized Native American tribes. I am strongly committed to building a more effective day-to-day working relationship reflecting respect for the rights of self- government due the sovereign tribal governments.
National American Indian Heritage Month – President Clinton declared November of each year to be National American Indian Heritage Month.
Executive Order, October 21 on Tribal Colleges and Universities – President Clinton authorized a White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities within the US Department of Education to continue the support and development of tribal colleges into the 21st Century.
Shannon County, South Dakota, home of the Oglala Lakota on Pine Ridge Reservation is identified as the poorest place in the country.
Great Indian Wars (1540 to 1890) –
Easy to read reference guide of conflicts from 1540 on: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-indianwartimeline.html