People's Rights

Sitting Bull
[audio] People's Rights Problems of Native Americans

  • Lewis Cass, U.S. Secretary of War in the early 1800's, promised the Native Americans that the government would not take their land. However, many settlers did move into their land, sometimes taking it by force. Consequently, the Native Americans distrusted the whites.


  • When they were placed on reservations, Native Americans sometimes received annuities of food, such as corn, flour, beef, sugar, and beans.
  • The Indian Peace Commission thought that if Native American tribes were disbanded and assimilated into the white culture, then mistreatment might be able to be solved.

Native American responses to federal government

  • Native Americans reacted to the loss of their land by forming treaties or fighting the white men.


  • The Navajo fought to defend their land from the settlers moving into New Mexico and Arizona. Eventually, they agreed to go to a reservation and the government gave them a large amount of land, where they continued their customs.

[audio] Apache

  • Geronimo and his followers kept fighting for their land. They thought the Apache treaty would prevent them from keeping their traditions. Eventually they were imprisoned in Florida, where many of them died because of the foreign climate.


  • The Colorado militia massacred many Cheyenne people and Black Kettle. When gold was found, whites became more eager to take their land.

Santee Sioux

  • The Santee signed a treaty, which stated that the Federal government would give them annuity payments. After the Civil War, the government was slow in paying the promised money. Santee people were starving, and they could not hunt on what used to be their land, so in 1862, they raided nearby farms and killed settlers. Eventually, the Santee were made to leave Minnesota.

[audio] Olglala Sioux

  • Gold was found on the Oglala Sioux land, and they fought to save their land and preserve their people and traditions.
  • At Custer's Last Stand, Crazy Horse and the Sioux fighters killed Custer and his men.
  • The Sioux lost to the U.S. Army, and Crazy Horse was killed. Sitting Bull escaped to Canada, but eventually returned to the reservation.

The Ghost Dance

  • Some Native Americans thought the Ghost Dance would accomplish three goals:
    1) send the white people back to their own land,
    2) bring ancestors to life, and
    3) make the Buffalo come back.

Wounded Knee

  • The U.S. Army arrested Sitting Bull for spreading the Ghost Dance. They killed him when the people rose to stop them.
  • The massacre at Wounded Knee is important - it was the last time the Native Americans on the Great Plains resisted the government.


[audio]Government Policy Toward Native Americans

  • The army decided the treatment of the Native Americans during the Civil War.
  • After the war, missionaries had increasing influence on their treatment.

Education of Native Americans

  • The missionary run schools taught Native American children white culture and religion.

Land Reform

  • The government used the Dawes Act to try to make Native Americans view land as something to own.
  • They wanted people to be independent of their tribes, possessing individual pieces of land.
  • The tribes would not have land, government recognition, or control over their people.

The last of the buffalo

  • Native Americans got clothing, food, housing, fuel, medicine, and tools from the Buffalo.
  • The Native Americans went to the reservations largely because they didn't have enough food, especially Buffalo.


[audio]Mexican American Problems

  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo promised to protect Mexican land and grant citizenship.

New Mexico

  • The White Cappers cut the fences put up by white farmers on the open land.

El Paso

  • Smelters were plants that made metals such as gold and lead usable.
  • The barrios were the areas where Mexicans lived after coming to El Paso to work on the railroad or in the smelters.

South Texas

  • In San Antonio, many Mexican-Americans worked on the railroads or in factories, especially in meat packing, food processing, or clothes making.

[audio] Battles between U.S. government and Native Americans


1864 1876 1890

Santee raided nearby farms, fought the U.S. army.
Santee forced to leave Minnesota.

Little Crow is killed.

Massacre of Cheyenne by the Colorado Militia.

Black Kettle killed.

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull gather many warriors, fight in Battle of Little Big Horn, or Custer's Last Stand.

Custer is killed, Crazy Horse killed, Sitting Bull escapes to Canada, surrenders years later.

Massacre at Wounded Knee - Last Native American resistance on the Great Plains.

Sitting Bull killed.