The American West

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs

    Bureau of Indian Affairs
    The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was an agency that managed and administrated the land that was for the American Indians. It was once responsible for providing health care to the Natives, but that responsibility was handed over to the Department of Health. The Bureau had an impact on the government's decision to educate the Natives, not allowing them to use their native language or be a part of their old culture.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    Congress passed a law that gave the president the right to negotiate with the Indians living in the south and relocate them to lands west of the Mississippi in return for the land they were on. It also allowed the Natives that had adopted an agricultural way of life to stay living on lands east of the Mississippi. Though Jackson saw it as a good thing, it became controversial and many people opposed it.
  • Indian Appropriations Act

    Indian Appropriations Act
    This was a series of Acts passed by Congress for the American Indians. The most known Acts are the Acts of 1851 and 1871. The Act of 1851 said that money would be dispensed for the relocation of American Indians to reservations in order to protect them from the whites moving into the western territory. This set the standards for today's Indian reservations. The Act of 1871 stated that the U.S. Government wouldn't recognize any group of Native Americans as an independent nation.
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    The West

  • Homestead Act

    Homestead Act
    Similar to the Desert Land Act, this act offered anyone who wanted to settle in the west 160 acres. The people that received the land had to build a home and farm the land in order to live there under this act. This provided opportunity for people to try out western living.
  • Little Crow's War

    Little Crow's War
    This war was started with the revolt of the Sioux Indians against the reservations. They didn't like that they were forced to move onto land where they could not grow crops. They were also angry that the money the government had promised them hadn't been paid. Little Crow led the revolt and for three months, attacked the government Agency, but were defeated.
  • Cheyenne Uprising

    Cheyenne Uprising
    They Cheyenne Indians had agreed to move to the Sand Creek Reservation, but discovered that the land was not suitable for living and their crops wouldn't grow. Failed crops led to starvation, and the Indians began to attack wagons in order to get food.
  • Sand Creek Massacre

    Sand Creek Massacre
    After the attacks by the Indians on the wagons, a group of armed men led by Colonel Chivington attacked the Cheyenne at Sand Creek. Over 450 Natives, including women and children, were killed during this attack. Many chiefs were lost during this battle and the native tribes had to deal with the mess left behind.
  • Cattle Drives

    Cattle Drives
    Cattle drives are the moving of cattle from one place to another. They're usually led by cowboys on horses. This was a major activity in the American west, and the drive of a herd from Texas to Kansas became well known.
  • Fetterman Massacre

    Fetterman Massacre
    William J. Fettermen led 80 men to fight the Arapaho, Lakota, and Cheyenne Indians, although he had no experience fighting them. When the natives killed all of the men led by Fetterman, it became one of the worst loses of the U.S. Military. The victory of the Indians led to the retreat of U.S. forces from the war.
  • Red Cloud's War

    Red Cloud's War
    As white settlers began to pass through the Sioux hunting grounds on the Bozeman Trail, the natives attacked. Red Cloud, the leader, was extremely angry when actions were being taken to protect the travellers. The government was forced to withdraw in the Spring of 1868.
  • Treaty of Fort Laramie

    Treaty of Fort Laramie
    This treaty, signed at Fort Laramine, Wyoming, gave the Lakota tribe ownership of the Black Hills and later, land and hunting rights in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana. This treaty also ensured the citizenship of the Lakota, provided financial incentives that allowed them to farm land and compete, and stated that minors receive an English education. When gold prospectors crossed the reservation lines and the Natives attacked, war followed.
  • Completion of Trans-Continental Railroad

    Completion of Trans-Continental Railroad
    Since there were many railroads in the East, but few in the West, when the golden spike was driven in at Promontery, Utah, it signaled a huge achievement. This achievement was the completion of the first trans-continental railroad, allowing people to travel all the way from the east into the west.
  • Camp Grant Massacre

    Camp Grant Massacre
    The United States attacked the Apache Indians at Camp Grant in Arizona. Eventually, the Apache surrendered along the San Pedro River. Under the order of President Grant, the attackers were put on trial because the event was conisdered a massacre.
  • Black Hills War (Lakota War)

    Black Hills War (Lakota War)
    When gold was found in the Black Hills, white people began flooding the Indian territories. Like most disputes between the United States and the Indians, this series of battles was started because of the white people coming onto the reservations. Due to the abundance of resources of the U.S., they eventually forced the Natives to surrender.
  • Battle of Little Bighorn

    Battle of Little Bighorn
    George Armstrong Custer led one of the three forces planning to attack the Indians in the valley of the Little Bighorn. Because he led his forces before the others were ready to go, he surrounded the Indians with just his troop. Custer and all of his men ended up dead.
  • Desert Land Act

    Desert Land Act
    This act encouraged development in the areas of the West that didn't get enough rain. People signed up to get land, and the land they were given was to be irrigated and cultivated. Because the people that were improving the land didn't have to live there, this led to a lot of fraud.
  • Capture of Nez Perce

    Capture of Nez Perce
    The Nez Perce Indians were removed from their native lands in the Wallowa Valley. A series of events led to the resistence of the Indians. News of the new war spread, and Chief Joseph was recognized as a peacemaker. Though he showed great leadership and fighting skills, the 5 day battle in the cold lead to the surrender of Chief Joseph. "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
  • Battle of Lincoln

    Battle of Lincoln
    This was a five say battle in Lincoln, New Mexico. Men who called themselves "the Regulators" fought because the Sheriff of Lincoln Country had done nothing about the murder of John Tunstall. After the battle, most of the men involved were granted amnesty and not much else was done.
  • Pratt Boarding School

    Pratt Boarding School
    These were schools founded by Richard Pratt to Americanize the Indians. He believed that to be american citizens, they had to give up their previous way of life. These schools in Pennsylvania were later found out to be the site for kidnappings, disease, sexual abuse, and suicide.
  • A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson

    A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson
    This was a book written to shed light on how the government mistreated the American Indians. It also brought attention to the differences between tribes, since most Americans viewed them as all the same. The author met with Natives and learned about how they had been mistreated, and she spoke out against it in A Century of Dishonor.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act

    Chinese Exclusion Act
    This act prohibited free immigration, and prohibited the immigration on all Chinese laborers, The Chinese flooded into America when gold was found in California, but once it bacame harder to find gold, people started being hostile towards the Chinese, and eventually prohibited Chinese immigration. This act was repealed on December 17, 1943.
  • Bill Cody's "Wild West Show"

    Bill Cody's "Wild West Show"
    These travelling shows made by Buffalo Bill started in 1883 and lasted until 1913. Western actors and personalities performed an exaggerated version of the Old West. They made the history of the West adventurous and exciting with cowboys, Indians, wild animals, outlaws, and stagecoaches.
  • Dead Man's Hand

    Dead Man's Hand
    This was the hand that Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was murdered. This hand included two black aces and two black eights. When the hand was first referenced, it referred to a full house, which was three jacks and two tens.
  • The Capture of Geronimo

    The Capture of Geronimo
    After surrendering in 1883, Geronimo agreed to live on the San Carlos Reservation with his band. In 1885, he and other Apaches fled to the Sierra Madre Mountains to continue their lifestyle of raiding Mexican towns. After a long persue and a couple almost-surrenders, he finally gave up in 1886.
  • Dawes Act

    Dawes Act
    The Dawes Act, named after the senator of Massachusettes, gave the president permission to survey American Indian land and divide it into sections for individual Indians. The ones who accepted their land were granted citizenship. The purpose of this act was to introduce the Native Americans into American society.
  • Edmunds-Tucker Act

    Edmunds-Tucker Act
    This act prohibited polygamy, or having multiple spouses, and punished it with a fine of $500 to $800. You could also go to prison for up to five years. The act was repealed in 1978.
  • Yosemite National Park

    Yosemite National Park
    This park is recognized for its cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia trees, and the variety of wildlife found there. It became a World Heritage Site in 1984. Archeoligical discoveries show that people have lived in this area for over 3000 years, long before European settlers. These people included the Paiute, Sierra Miwok, and Ahwahneechee.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    Wounded Knee Massacre
    Near the Wounded Knee Creek, Samuel M. Whitside led part of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment into the path of Spotted Elk's band. The Natives were escorted to Wounded Knee Creek where they set up camp. The next morning, the rest of the Regiment arrived and surrounded them. Because of a dispute over a rifle, shots were fired and over 150 people were killed.
  • Forest Reserve Act

    Forest Reserve Act
    This act allowed the President to set aside forest land. This act was put in place to preserve the country's supply of timber used to build houses. Although these reserves were set aside, there were no set rules or authority over them until 1897.
  • Turner Thesis

    Turner Thesis
    Frederick Jackson Turner was a historian who presented the "frontier thesis". He said that expansion was the most important factory in the history of America. He said that we should take advantage of the unclaimed land, but according to the Census Bureau, that land was claimed and that it was not a frontier. Turner wondered how America would ever develop its culture and history, because the possibility had gone along with the frontier.