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Week 10 (redirected from Week 11)

Page history last edited by mwitgen@... 4 years, 9 months ago

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The Western Frontier

 

November 5: Whiteness, Indianness, and the Dakota Uprising

 

 

In the 1850s, hunger and other hardships rose among the Dakota as the US violated treaties with late or missing annuity payments. In 1862 the Dakota demanded their annuities directly from the Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith, but the traders who supplied the annuities refused to supply goods on credit. On 17 August 1862 a Dakota hunting party killed five settlers, and a council of Dakota leaders decided to mount a a coordinated attack on white settlements. The conflicts ended with the surrender of the majority of Dakota bands late in 1862. In December 1862, thirty-eight Dakota men were hanged in the largest one-day execution in American history. In April of the following year, the remaining Dakota were expelled to Nebraska and South Dakota, and the US Congress terminated their reservations. In this module we will think about the rise of "whiteness" in Minnesota politics, and reconstruct the events of the Dakota War.

 

 

Readings

 

 

The Dakota Uprising (1862)

 

 

Study Questions 

 

  1. How and why, according to Bruce White, does "whiteness" emerge as an important political category in Minnesota political history? What happened with Indian and mixed-race political power in the process?   
  2. What is Big Eagle's explanation for the causes that led up to the Dakota War of 1862? What were the deeper underlying causes, and what were the immediate triggers? 
  3. From the account of Big Eagle and the letters by Alexander Ramsay, Stephen Riggs, and Henry Sibley, what sense do you get of how the conflict with the Dakota developed?
  4. What do you think is the significance these letter-writers attach to the notion of "halfbreeds"? 

 

  

 

November 7: US-Indian Military Conflicts in the American West

 

 

In the 1860s and 1870s (following the Civil War) the US government's response to conflicts with American Indian nations became an increasingly military one. The so-called "Indian Wars" of the 1870s therefore loom large in Native American history in the second half of the nineteenth century. In this module, we will look at three famous conflicts of this period: the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, the Red River War of 1874-5, and the Battle of the Greasy Grass of 1876, also know as the Battle of Little Bighorn.

 

 

Readings

 

The Sand Creek Massacre (1864)

 

Red River War (1874-5)

  • Medicine Lodge Treaty (1867). Click the blue highlighted links to read the treaties.
  • The Red River War. Read the first three letters by clicking on them and scrolling down to the transcript.

 

Battle of the Greasy Grass (1876)

 

  

               

 

 From Garrick Mallery, Picture-Writing of the American Indians (1893). The Internet Archive

 

Study Questions 

 

  1. What was John Evans's and Edwin Stanton's involvement in the Colorado Indian conflicts? How does Evans assess the situation in Colorado, and what is his proposed solution?
  2. Who does Governor John Evans address in his proclamation? What do you imagine the effect of this proclamation was on American citizens in Colorado territory?
  3. What information do the two editorials offer about the Sand Creek massacre, and what aspects are not mentioned so much? What conclusions can you draw from these editorials about how the Rocky Mountain News portrayed the Sand Creek massacre? 
  4. On what points do John Smith's and Chivington's testimony differ most clearly? What different accounts do the two witnesses have of the number of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians who were involved in the conflict? 
  5. In the three treaties of Medicine Lodge, what are the agreements between the US and the American Indian parties involved?
  6. How do the three letters from the Red River War characterize the conflicts of 1874-75? 
  7. What impression do you get from Wooden Leg's account of how the Battle of Little Bighorn was decided, at least according to the eye witness? 
  8. To what extent was the Battle of Little Bighorn not only a US-Indian but also an Indian-Indian conflict? 

 

 

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