PLAINS INDIANS: Living in the Great Plains, the most widespread of the Western Indian groups, were characteexternal image The_Buffalo_Hunt.jpgrized by the diversity of their languages and tribes. Though different in many aspects(some groups were allied while others were in constant warfare, some lived as settled farmers and others lived as nomadic hunters), these people shared a common culture, one which promoted extended family and a close bond with nature. They were divided into bands of varying tribes, numbering up to 500 people, and led by a governing council which was open to participation by individuals. Internally, bands divided labor by gender, and created their own religions. The women took care of domestic roles, tended to the fields, and sometimes created artwork; Men worked as hunters and traders and watched over religious and militaristic matters. The Sioux emerged the dominant tribe by proving themselves to be fierce hunters and warriors. These people were white settlers greatest enemies but there inabilty to unite against their common foe and the decimation of their most valuable resource the buffalo would prove detrimental to their fighting efforts.

BUFFALO: The Plains Indians were economically reliant on these bison, migrating along side them, killing them only when necessary, and always respecting their nature and the envrionment. With buffalo carcases came food, skin was used for materials for clothing and blankets; bones were used as utensils, arrow tips, and knives; tendons became string; even their manure was used as fuel called "buffalo chips". Eventually white settlers killed the overwhelming majority of the buffalo, maiming Indian life.

SOUTHWESTERN HISPANIC SOCIETIES: In the 1840's when America acquired the remnants of the Spanish Empire in Mexico many Mexicans found themselves living in US territory, and for the most part they stayed. These Spanish speaking communities were strewn across the Southwest, from Texas to California. The expansion of capitalism to this area was beneficial to these people, offering them new opportunity, until most were overwhelmed by debt and forced into poverty.

CALIFORNIOS: Hispanic residents of California who were viciously put down by English-speaking immigrants, having their jobs restricted, their land siezed, and sometimes violently attacked from the hysteria that resulted from the gold rush.

external image ce_witness_2_lg.jpgCHINATOWNS: Cities in which mass numbers of Chinese immigrated to, predominantly in California. They were lead by prominent merchant organizations who protected their subsidiary inhabitants from outside threats. For the most part they occupied the low rungs of society, operating small businesses,largely laundry workers, sometimes engaging in celebratory festivals of chinese culture, and overrun by prostitution.

CHINESE IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1882: The Chinese Exclusion Act, which was passed by Congress in 1882, banned Chinese immigration into the US for ten years and prevented pre-existing immigrants from becoming naturalized. It came to be because of a growing American fear of unemployment, and as a temporary means of reducing class conflict. The racist act was renewed in 1892 and made permanent ten years later. Chinese efforts to the president and courts were of no avail, and in the end their population was reduced by 40%.

HOMESTEAD ACT OF 1862: One of the series of laws passed under the Republican Congress during the Civil War. This act settlers to buy up to 160 acres of land for a small fee if they improved and occupied said land for five years. It was made to bring new commercial posts to the west, but it did not account for the mechanization of commerce. This made 160 acres of land too small so a series of laws were passed during the 1870's to allow for greater properties.
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COMSTOCK LODE: In 1859, a large amount of silver and quartz was found by Henry Comstock in Washoe, Nevada. From 1860-1880 this rush produced 306 million dollars in bullion. Because it was in such a remote location supplies had to be shipped from outside areas, and after this surge, mines quickly died out.

BOOMTOWNS: Towns that developed around profitable mines during the late 1800's. They were characterized by a hectic and gaudy lifestyle with a high amount of speculation, a shared optimistic spirit, and a chance for wealth and opportunity. Sadly, few every really struck it rich during the mining craze.

THE CATTLE KINGDOM: An important element in the changing western economy was cattle ranching and the development of the open range. In the Great Plains existed a vast grassland of public domain where ranchers could graze their cattle for free. Western ranching techniques, particularly in Texas, were adopted from Mexican tradition. The cattle kingdom also birthed the romantic delusion of cowboys. The system inevitably collapsed due to high speculation and a series of very bad winters.

CHISHOLM TRAIL: From 1867-1871 cattlemen drove 1.5 million cattle from Chisolm to Albany. Those who engaged in this arduos journey were very lonely and had to keep up with the constant competition of new cattle centers like those in Dodge City and Wichita, these men were the real cowboys.

RANGE WARS: Competing groups of sheepmen and cattlemen, ranchers and farmers fought eachother for land in what became known as the "range wars". They ocurred in places like California and Oregon when people began to fence their claims, which blocked trails and ended the open range. The result of these conflicts was a high body count, a great deal of property damage, and discontent throughout.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SCHOOL: American painters like Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran who romanticized and idealized the west with their landscapes on large canvases. Their paintings emphasized the the diverse ruggedness of the west, some of which toured the east whos inhabitants were eager to catch a glimpse of the dream. The school was similar to the one which developed in the Hudson River Valley years earlier.

external image buffalobillwildwest-lrg.jpgWILD WEST SHOWS: Traveling vaudeville performance that further romanticized the west, the most famous of which was created by William F. Cody, or as he was better known, Buffalo Bill. They introduced the East to western personalities and performers and furthered the delusion of the limitless potential of the west. Buffalo Bill always appeared in these shows alongside such celebrities as Annie Oakley. The performances consisted elaborate tricks, fancy shooting, and importantly Native Indians and their lifestyles.

COWBOY CULTURE: The lonely, unsatisfying, low-paying, tedious reality of cowboy life was hidden to most. The majority of the population lived under the assumption that cowboys were rugged free spirits, which easterners loved because of the sharp contrast to their stable world. Such misconceptions were perpetuated in culture through famous books like Owen Wister's classic The Virginian, boy's magazines, thater, pulp novels, and Wild West Shows.

FREDERICK JACKSON TURNER'S FRONTEIR THESIS: University of Wisconsin hitorian Frederick Jackson Turner wrote an essay in 1893 which expressed the deep cultural impact
of fronteir America and suggested that the end of the frontier marked the end of one America's most important democratizinf forces. He was incaccurate in some of his assumptions but correct in his suggestion that the best lands for farming and grazing were gone and this historic phase was coming to an end.

CONCENTRATION POLICY: 1851 tribes were addigned their own defined reservations that were forced by the Americans and unfair to the Natives. In doing this, the US divided the tribes, thus making them easier to control, and it allowed them to pawn Indians off on the worst lands. .

RESERVATIONS: In 1867, the Indian Peace Comission ended the Concentartion Policy and moved the Natives to the the two new Indian Territory, which are located in what what is now Oklahoma, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Those who administered the policies and arranged the treaties with the Iexternal image sitting_bull-1.jpgndians did so in a very corrupt, greedy, ill-prepared, dishonest manner, swindling the Natives who had little understanding of the situation that was unfolding.

INDIAN WARS: From the 1850's-1880's Indians fought for their society against the white settlers. Indian raiding parties eventually warranted US troops, which after a series of blunders ignited the Indian Wars. The most moments and members of the war were as follows: the beginning which was marked by the Sand Creek Massacre, the efforts of the Sioux and the Battle of Little Big Horn, Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce's march to the border, Geronimo's attacks and leadership, the Ghost Dance Movement, and the tragic ending battle at Wounded Knee. After the conflict an attempt at assimilation was made with the Dawes Severalty Act.

SAND CREEK MASSACRE: In eastern Colorado, groups of Arapho and Cheyenne Indians, commanded by Black Kettle, attacked mining settlements and stagecoaches. In response, a large territorial militia under the order Colonel J.M. Chivington, went to Fort Lyon where the Natives were camping and proceded to kill 133 Natives 105 of whom were women and children. Black Kettle and a few others escaped only to be killed by Colonel Custer at Washita River, Texas.

external image GhostDancePaiute.jpgBATTLE OF LITTLE BIG HORN: In Southern Montana 1876, George A. Custer led a group of 264 soldiers in an effort to force the Sioux back on their reservation. Under Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull the Sioux launched a 2,500 man ambush and killed Custer and all of his men. After the victory the troops failed to stay united, and the army returned most to the reservation. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were killed by reservation police after being tricked into showing resistance.

GHOST DANCE: A sweeping Native religious movement in which they gathered in a mass and performed an emotional "Ghost Dance", where they envisoned white retreat and the restoration of the buffalo. Whites watched in awe, fearing that this act might be a preparation for some sort of hostile attack.

BATTLE OF WOUNDED KNEE: December 29, 1890, in Wounded Knee, South Carolina the Seventh Cavalry attempted to gather a 350 member group of cold and starving Sioux and prevent them from continuing their Ghost Dance. This action resulted in the deaths of about 40 white soldiers, and over 200 Indians (including women and children). The cause of this conflict is disputed, an Indian may have initiated conflict, but in the end, the fight quickly turned into a one sided massacre in which the soldiers unveiled their new machine guns and mowed down innocent Natives in the cold snow.

VIGILANTES: Indians who attempted to take justice into their own hands by resisting white militany efforts to force them on reservations and mistreat them. Groups of vigilantes would often gather together and ransack settlement in attempts at defiance, and as a measure to prevent subserviance and assimilation.

DAWES SEVERALTY ACT OF 1887: Attempted to assimilate Indians into white society by equalizing all times and gradually eliminating tribal ownership. They tried to move Indian families onto their own plots of land and give citizenship to a few, but they could not own the title to their land until they lived there for 25 years. Its two main objectives were to assimilate Natives by forcing lands on them and breaking apart families, and second, sending children off to boarding school to be taught American customs.
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(see Dawes Act above) American attempt to integrate Indians into white society. The Natives did not appreciate the crude attempt at adaptation, especially because it implied a loss of their children, a division of tribes, and a reduction of their culture. The administration that attempted to assimilate was so corrupt that the government abandonned it, leaving a great deal of reservation land undistributed.

BOARDING SCHOOLS: In addition to forcibly moving Indians onto unwanted tracts of land, the whites took Indian children away from their families and placed them in "boarding schools". These schools were run by whites, and they attempted eliminate to educate and thereby eliminate children's tribal ways, all the time imposing Chrisianity on their students.
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Passage from The Virginian

Author: Owen Wister, the father of western fiction

Place and Time: The original copyright was in 1902, but the story takes place in Wyoming during the fictionalized version of the Johnson County War.

Prior Knowledge: Already, I know that in the time in which this novel was written the idealization of western life was taking hold thanks to the literature of the time and also Wild West Shows. Upon reading the chapter I learned that this book was the most famous of the romantic western genre and was Owen Wister's defining achievement. With this knowledge I can infer that the views expressed in the reading are inaccurate and meant more for entertainment purposes, now enlightnement.

Audience: Written primarily for easterners who enjoyes the romantic tales of a different life, one which greatly contrasted there own.

Reason: Wister most likely wrote this book to share his views on western society, as well as to turn an easy profit from the craze involving western expansion and the open range lifestyle.

The Main Idea: Themes of the love filled life in the wilderness, and the advocation of large open range farming fictionalized the reality of western and cowboy life.

Significance: One of the most famous and enduring pieces of romantic literature which contributed to the flawed outlooks of the people and the potential of the American West, This story also played an integral in western culture, specifically in the creation of eastern misconceptions of cowboy life, and in laying the foundation for countless other authors to exploit the misconcieved stereotype of the cowboys. This article would support the advocation of the false ideas of western society floating around US during the time of western expansion.

Wartime quotations from Native leader Sitting Bull
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Author: Native American chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux. Led the historic attack of Little Big Horn, a major turning point in the war.

Place and Time: 1876-1877 Black Hills, South Dakota, during the Sioux combat against American troops and settlers at the time of the Indian Wars.

Prior Knowledge: I am aware that chief Sitting Bull led the Sioux in a succesful 2500 man ambush on the arrogant Colonel Custer at the battle of Little BIg Horn. I also know that this was the pinnacle
of Indian resistance during the time of the war. In addition to this I am aware that the whites out-weaponed and outnumbered the Natives, and they used these advantages to exploit the noble people.

Audience: These quatations were intended for the Native Americans who were under the command of chief Sitting Bull at the time he was speaking them.

Reason: Sitting Bull said these things to encourage his people and emphasize the detrimental effects of white injustices.

The Main Idea: Together, we can fight to protect what we stand for, and prove are capability to the invading peoples.

Significance: At the time in which Sitting Bull said these things, he would soon defeat General Custer which in turn would give the US populous the chance to put a face on what they viewed as the uneducated radicalism of the Indian people. These sayings reflect the pride and powere of the Natives, the strenght in leadership of Sitting Bull, and the consequences of Custer's Last Stand. This article is meant to be used to describe the Indian efforts during the Indian Wars, and it could also be used to comment on the American reaction to said efforts.