Native Son--The American Indian Story

    This multi-media production tells the story of the Native American Indian from pre-Columbus to modern time. It details the plight of the American Indian as they were forcibly removed from their land as white settlers continued to move across the plains. Treaty after treaty led to a trail of broken promises and to a trail of tears as the United States government continually went back on their word. 


(under construction)

I.  Summary: Indian Resistance

     A. There was almost incessant fight between whites and Indians from the 1850s to the 1880s
     B. Raids by small (30-40 man parties) of Indian groups regularly attacked wagon
          trains, stage coaches and isolated ranches. Often the described raids were in retaliation for an 
          earlier white abuse.

     C. At times the fighting escalated into what could be described as small scale war!

II.  Sioux Resistance During the Civil War

     A. Summary: due to corrupt government agents and small reservations many NA
          tribes, like the Sioux, will rebel during the 1850-1890s.
     B. Situation:

          1. Sioux were cramped on an inadequate Reservation.
          2. They were exploited by corrupt white agents whose job it "was" to "protect them.
          3. They revolt

                    -Lead by Little Crow
                    -killed more than 700 whites before beginning
                    -subdues by regulars and militiamen

     C. Result of revolt/significance

          1. 38 Indians were hung
          2. The tribe was exiled to the Dakotas
          3. This was just one example of the White/NA conflicts during the
          4. War Between the States
          5. After the war the US Government will have more money, time
              and energy: consequently they will step up the fight against the NAs

III. Montana Conflict

     A. Summary: One of the longest sustained conflicts between the NAs and the US
         Goverment- lulls in a tentative peace!
     B. Situation:

          1. The army was attempting to build a road, the Bozeman Trail, through Montana
          2. The western Sioux resented this intrusion into the heart of their buffalo range.
          3. Red Cloud- a great chief- continually harassed the soldiers and their
              construction crew

                    -They burned the forts that were supposed to guard the road
                    -They destroyed supply routes

          4. The Road could not be used.
          5. Treaties halted the conflict until....
          6. More settlers (miners mainly) moved into the area guaranteed to tribes.

     C. Result:

          1. A peace is established
          2. It only holds until more settlers move into the area...then the
              government takes new action!

IV. The US Government deals with the Montana Conflict

     A.  Summary: US government has to find new ways to handle the "Indian
          Situation" - the best method is to destroy their tribal structure!
     B. Situation:

          1.  Government decides it will no longer negotiate with Chiefs-Indian
               tribes will not be viewed as separate entities.
          2. White reformers think this is great - it will encourage assimilation!
          3. NA resistance flares anew!- this move will help to destroy the
              tribal structure.

IV. The Black Hills are encroached upon/Custer's Last Stand

     A. Summary: The Black hills were given to northern plains NAs as reservation
          land- gold is found there-miners move onto the land-a violent conflict occurs.
     B. Situation:

          1. Miners move onto to NA land
          2. NAs are angered at the encroachment onto their lands and the
              corruption of white officials.
          3. In 1875 they leave the reservations and unite under two great leaders

               Crazy Horse
               Sitting Bull

          4. The army send three columns of men to go find them and force
               them back to the reservations.

               Leader of the armed forces is General George A Custer
               Custer--yellow hair- adventure seeker!

          5. Tribal warriors suprise and surround Custer.

               -2,500-4,000 NAs involved
               -Perhaps the largest NA army every sent against the US Government

          6. Custer is defeated

     C. Significance/Results

          1. The battle is immortalized in the legend of the West
          2. The NAs do not have the political organization of supplies to
               keep such a large band together
          3. The NA drift apart into small bands.
          4. The power of the Sioux was soon broken.
          5. Both leaders return to the reservation and years later are both
              killed in shady circumstances.

V. The Nez Perce and Chief Joseph

     A. Summary: One of the most dramatic episodes in NA history occurred when
          this small tribe attempted to escape to Canada rather then submit to white regulations.
     B. Situation

          1. The year is 1877
          2. The Nez Perce are a small and peaceful tribe.
          3. The refuse to move to a smaller reservation
          4. Most of the band moved west to Washington state
          5. The rest followed Joseph on a wild race to escape the borders of
               the US and head toward Canada.
          6. 200 men and 350 women followed Joseph
          7. Four columns of US soldiers track the group.
          8. They cover 1321 miles in 75 days
          9. They were caught just shy of the Canadian border and shipped to

VI The Dawes and Burke Act

     A.  Summary: These acts- pushed by the spirit of reform and greed- helped to
           destroy the tribal structure of many NA groups.
     B. Dawes Act

          1. Gave land to individual Native American's as opposed to a group of people
          2. Sent the children to boarding schools to learn "civilized ways"

     C. Burke Act

          1. passes in 1906
          2. Attempted to speed the transfer of land to individual NAs- was

     D. Bureau of Indian Affairs

          1. Its purpose was to support the Native Americans.
          2. In reality, it was a very corrupt organization that did more harm
              than good.