The End of Freedom

  • Colin G. Calloway
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


As the United States Army defeated the Plains Indians in battle, the United States government endeavored to eradicate their way of life. Plains Indian people were confined to reservations where they were subjected to policies of acculturation by coercion and where their lives were controlled by government laws and agents (Figure 21). Divisions grew between traditionalists and those people who accepted many of the new ways. Indian people experienced poverty, powerlessness, dependency, and despair. “You see this barren waste,” Red Cloud told a white visitor to Pine Ridge. “Think of it! I, who used to own rich soil in a well-watered country so extensive that I could not ride through it in a week on my fastest pony, am put down here…. Now I, who used to control five thousand warriors, must tell Washington when I am hungry. I must beg for that which I own. If I beg hard, they put me in the guardhouse. We have trouble. Our girls are getting bad. Coughing sickness every winter carries away our best people. My heart is heavy….”1


White People Indian People United States Government Buffalo Meat Pine Ridge 
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  1. 1.
    Red Cloud to anthropologist Warren Moorehead, quoted in James C. Olson, Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), 336–37.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988 ed.), 213–14.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Frank B. Linderman, Plenty Coups, Chief of the Crows (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1962), 311.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Peter Nabokov, Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1967), 197.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Charles Eastman, From the Deep Woods to Civilization: Chapters in the Autobiography of an Indian (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977 ed.), 165.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Frank B. Linderman, Pretty-shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1972 ed.), 86, 252–53.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    William T. Hagan, Quanah Parker, Comanche Chief (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993), 40–49.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© BEDFORD BOOKS of St. Martin’s Press 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin G. Calloway
    • 1
  1. 1.Dartmouth CollegeUSA

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