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The development of the transcontinental railroad was the most devastating technological development that affected the Plains Indians. Although the railroad was powerful and helpful to the white man, it was not for the Plains Indians. The transcontinental railroad was the reason why the westward movement of the white man happened so quickly. With the white man moving westward they found valuable land for agricultural, which to be the Plains Indians land, and they found a lot of gold mines. During the time of the building of the transcontinental railroad a lot of white man killed the buffalo. They found that as a sport, and even to use it to harm the Plains Indians. At that time the buffalo was a main source of food, fur, and a hunting lifestyle for the Plains Indians and by the white man killing it off it effectively hurt them. The white man killed the buffalo in large amount of numbers that they almost made them go instinct, and they hurt the Plains Indians huge. Although the Plains Indians did kill the buffalo for their food and furs, their hunting did not have a large impact on the buffalo population. Also, the transcontinental railroad went through the land that the Plains Indians lived on. They were forced to move into smaller areas that were designated by the government. A lot of wars happened over this issue, and over the issue of gold being on their land.
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As a result of the white man's expansion, the Plains Indians were force to alter their hunting lifestyle to an agricultural lifestyle. The white man destruction of the buffalo left a few buffalo's by the 1870's, so hunting was no longer an option for the Plains Indians. The government was successfully able to turn the Plains Indians to agricultural based, thus, they begun assimilating the Plains Indians into their culture. Congress enforced the Dawes Severalty Act in 1887, which divided the Plains Indians reservations into small farms. Thus, they forced the agricultural upon the Plains Indians. Also, with the invasion of the white culture into the Plains Indians culture, the social lives of the Plains Indians were inevitably changed. One of the changes in their social lives was the weakening of tribal unity. The federal government banned many of the rituals that helped to hold the tribal community together. For example, the Ghost Dance was banned in the 1884, or the deterioration of the Fraternities, which connected the men of a tribe together with rituals and activities. Another change was the bringing of education to the Plains Indians. The government started making the Plains Indians children go to school, thus, they were assimilating the Plains Indians into the white man culture. Although it did prove beneficial to the Plains Indians to go to public schools and learn math, reading, writing, and much more correctly. Therefore, the white man's expansion caused the Plains Indians to alter their hunting lifestyle to an agricultural lifestyle; the invasion of the white culture into the Plains Indians culture changed the social lives of the Plains Indians.
The white man was successful in destroying the Plains Indians lifestyle and culture by creating a transcontinental railroad, altering their hunting lifestyle, damaging their social and cultural lives, and making the Indians to Americanized, but deep down inside the Plains Indians did not want to accept this domination by the white man. Thus, the lives of the Plains Indians in the second half of the nineteenth century were greatly affected by the technological development and the government actions. The second half of the nineteenth century was only the beginning of the Plains Indians lifestyle transitioning to the white man's lifestyle. Over time, the white man influence would greatly increase, thus, making the Plains Indians more Americanized, but never completely. They will continue to hold on to their traditions for many generations because their forefathers did. This example of the white men's behavior will continue to linger for many years even for different nationalities.