The Lakota Tribes: The Battle Of The Little Bighorn

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The Battle of the Little Bighorn fought among the ridges, steep bluffs, and ravines of the Little Bighorn River, in south central Montana on June 25-26, 1876. The tribes were the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, battling men of the 7th Regiment of the U.S. Cavalry. In 1868, many Lakota leaders agreed to a treaty that created a large reservation in the western half of present day South Dakota. . Lakota leaders such as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse rejected the reservation system. Roving bands who did not want to give up their nomadic ways and hunting grounds did not honor this treaty, and moved about the areas outside of the reservation this put them in contact with settlers and enemy tribes outside the treaty boundaries.
Tension between the U.S. and the Lakota escalated in 1874, when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was ordered to make an exploration of the Black Hills inside the boundary of the Great Sioux Reservation. This exploration was to locate future sites for military posts, natural resources and map the area. Geologists discovered deposits of gold during this time and word of this brought an invasion of miners and entrepreneurs to the Black Hills in direct violation of the Treaty of 1868. The U.S. negotiated with the Lakota on a purchase price for the Black Hill’s but was rejected. The winter of 1875 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs issued an ultimatum requiring all Sioux to report to a reservation by January 31, 1876. This ultimatum was ignored by the tribes, at this moment it was turned over to be handled by the military. It was the militaries assumption that the Indians would flee to the reservations and the few Indians who were encountered would be dealt with swiftly by a superior force.

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...“hostiles” from various tribes surrendered and the Black Hill’s were taken by the U.S. government with no compensation to any tribes. Indians would be forced on reservations once able to provide for themselves, now they were dependent on the government. Long term effects were a hatred of the Indians that was fueled by the government.
Key to the victory by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse was brought about by a failure of the military. Orders were not obeyed, during an investigation of the battle distortions and untruths told by Reno and Benteen about the Battle of the Little Bighorn are so many and so obvious that almost everything they said about it becomes suspect. Custer’s mistake was dividing his forces in the face of a numerically superior Indian force. Reasoning for this was stopping the Indians from fleeing; this could not have been farther from the truth.
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