Talking to the Peace Commissioners: The Treaty of Medicine Lodge, 1867
With the Civil War won, the United States turned to rebuilding the defeated states in the South and to resolving the Indian question in the West. The government aimed ultimately to concentrate the Indians of the plains on two large reservations: one south of Kansas and the other north of Nebraska. Not only would this clear a corridor for American expansion across the central plains, but it would also begin the process of eradicating the Plains Indians’ way of life, something the government regarded as essential to lasting peace. The United States intended to achieve these ends by peaceful negotiation if possible, and by force if necessary. As a result, federal Indian policy toward Plains Indians vacillated between peace and war, even though the ultimate objective — the dispossession and acculturation of the Indians — was basically the same. Plains Indians fought to defend both their lands and their way of life.
KeywordsIndian Leader Peaceful Negotiation Southern Plain Indian Affair Lasting Peace
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