The Plains Indians. With America now expanding West, the Plains Indians had to fight with limited technology against the armies of America.

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The Plains Indians

In the year 1860, Native Americans were thriving in the West; about 360,000 Indians were settled there. These were called the Plains Indians, who specialized in horses and became nomadic and more warlike people. The Plains Indians ruled the West for some time, but when the Civil War ended things began to change. The government began to take control and move Indians into reserved settlements, but the Indians became furious and fighting commenced.

When the Civil War ended, whites began to move to the West in search of land, and gold. The problem was that the Indians had settled in scattered parts of the West already. As a result, the government started the reservation system, which forced tribes of Indians onto designated pieces of land considerably smaller than that of which they were currently on. With the signings of the treaties at Fort Laramie and Fort Atkinson the government successfully separated the Indians into two great colonies.

In the 1860's the Indians were forced into even smaller reservations. The major reservations were the Great Sioux reservation, Dakota and Indian Territory, and Oklahoma. They were promised to be left alone and provided with food, clothing, and other supplies. However, many of the Indian agents were corrupt and intent on making money off of the Indians misfortunes. Despite the government restrictions, many whites captured Indian land openly, and they even slaughtered their game. The white people of that time were very prejudiced against Indians.

From 1868 to 1890 there was war between the Indians and whites. The whites were predominantly made up of Civil War veterans, immigrants who left Europe to avoid military service, and about one fifth were blacks. They used clumsy muzzle-loader guns opposed to the Indians who used repeating rifles, which they got by trading fur.