Talking to the Peace Commissioners: The Treaty of Medicine Lodge, 1867

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


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.


Indian Leader Peaceful Negotiation Southern Plain Indian Affair Lasting Peace 
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    Francis Paul Prucha, ed., Documents of United States Indian Policy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975), 105.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Douglas C. Jones, The Treaty of Medicine Lodge: The Story of the Great Treaty Council as Told by Eyewitnesses (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Henry M. Stanley, My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia. 2 vols. (London: Sampson, Low, Marston and Co., 1895), 1:254–55.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Charles J. Kappler, ed., Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. 2 vols. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1904), 2:977–84.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Donald Worcester, “Satanta,” in R. David Edmunds, ed., American Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980), 128–29.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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