The West Timeline

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs

    Bureau of Indian Affairs
    Formed in 1824, this agency of the federal government handles about 55,700,000 acres of land. This land is held in trust for Native Americans in the United States, Native America tribes, and Alaskan natives.
  • The Indian Removal Act

    The Indian Removal Act
    The non-native people of the South were eager to get their hands on new territory. This land belonged to the Indians of the area and this was a threat to their ways of life. The act allowed the President, Andrew Jackson, to negotiate with the Native Americans. They were removed from their homelands and put on federal territory west of the Mississippi River.
  • Indian Appropriations Act

    Indian Appropriations Act
    Once funds were set aside to move western tribes, the idea of reservations came to life. Americans moved closer to California, leaving nowhere for the Indians to go. This act weakened the authority of tribal leaders and ended the practice of treating Native American tribes as independent nations.
  • The Homestead Act

    The Homestead Act
    To speed up the settlement of the western territory, the government granted 160 acres of land to willing citizens. In order to get this, though, they had to agree to cultivate the land.
  • Battle of Apache Pass

    Battle of Apache Pass
    One of the largest battles between the Americans and the Chiricahua in the Apache Wars.The California Column marched from California to capture Confederate Arizona and to reinforce New Mexico's Union army. Took place at Apache Pass in Arizona.
  • Little Crow's War

    Little Crow's War
    Throughtout the 1850's, the treatment of the Dakota Indians was very poor. They were being treated and traded with unfairly. The Dakota council decided to attack settlers to try to drive them off of their land. There was never an official report of how many settlers were killed but it is estimated at around 800.
  • Cheyenne Uprising

    Cheyenne Uprising
    When the Cheyenne Indians agreed to move onto the Sand Creek Reservation, they did not know how bad they would have it. This land was very poor and it was difficult to survive off of. This caused the tribes to rebel- they attacked settlers, wagon trains, and they stole food.
  • Bear River Massacre

    Bear River Massacre
    When fur trappers attracted settlers, problems with the Shoshone Indians began to arise. At Bear River and Beaver Creek in Idaho, the United States Army attacked the natives. Many men, women, and children of both sides were killed and injured- but the natives really took the biggest hit.
  • Sand Creek Massacre

    Sand Creek Massacre
    After the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, tensions began to rise between the Americans and the natives. Land between the Arkansas River and the Nebraska border was promised to the Indians- but settlers invaded. They mutilated and killed 157 people rear Sand Creek.
  • Red Cloud's War

    Red Cloud's War
    When settlers ran through their original trails, the natives needed new land to claim. The Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota Indians went into battle with the settlers over the Powder River Country- a basin in north-central Wyoming. The natives came out victorious and won the abundant natural resources of the area.
  • Fetterman Massacre

    Fetterman Massacre
    The Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians went to war with the soldiers of the United States army during the Red Cloud's War. The hardships the army faced in the great plains utimately led to an Indian victory and the withdrawl of the United States from the war.
  • Fort Laramie Treaty

    Fort Laramie Treaty
    Also known as the Sioux Treaty, the Lakota, Yanktonai Dakota, and Arapaho people signed this document to ensure rights to land ownership. This land included the Black Hills and further land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
  • Completion of the Tanscontinental Railroad

    Completion of the Tanscontinental Railroad
    For the first time in American history, the east and the west were linked. Two rail companies joined forces to build a 2,000 mile track that spanned from Sacramento to Omaha. This was an amazing accomplishment as the workers faced hard terrain- working through the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  • Camp Grant, AZ Apache Massacre

    Camp Grant, AZ Apache Massacre
    A group of Anglo-Americans, Mexican Americans, and Tohono O'odham Indians massacred more than 100 Apache men, women, and children, They had surrendered at Camp Grant near Tucson, AZ. After the massacre, many children were sold into slavery in Mexico. This event has been silenced and disregarded as a kind of "phantom history".
  • The Lakota War

    The Lakota War
    Also known as the Black Hills War, this was a series of battles and negotiations between the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians and the United States. As settlers began to move onto their land, the natives were pushed back onto reservations. This war included the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
  • Battle of Little Bighorn

    Battle of Little Bighorn
    Commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, this was an armed battle between the U.S. Army and the Cheyenne and Lakota warriors. When a tribe of natives missed a deadline to move onto a reservation, Custer and his Calvary were sent to confront them. At Little Bighorn River, the Calvary was overwhelmed and was quickly defeated.
  • Desert Land Act

    Desert Land Act
    Americans moved west and found that there was quite a bit of undesirable land to be discovered. The United States Congress passed this act to promote the development of this land. Once settlers promised to build this area up, they were allowed 640 acres of land at a cost of 25 cents per acre.
  • Capture of Nez Perce

    Capture of Nez Perce
    "Non-Treaty Indians", known as the Nez Perce, refused to evacuate their ancestrial lands. An armed war between the Nez Perce and the US Army broke out when the 1855 Treaty of Walla Walla was broken.
  • Battle of Lincoln

    Battle of Lincoln
    A five-day long battle fought in Lincoln, New Mexico. This was the biggest armed battle in the Lincoln County War. Two different factions had begun to argue over the trade of dry goods in the county and it escalated into a war.
  • Pratt Boarding School

    Pratt Boarding School
    "Kill the Indian and save the man". The federal government tried to "Americanize" the natives by educating their youth at reservational boarding schools. These were meant to strip them of their tribal cultures and make them more like the settlers. They stripped the Indians of their tribal names, made them cut their hair, and forbid them from speaking their native languages.
  • A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson

    A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson
    After the Indian Appropriations Act, the mistreatment of the natives began to draw the attention of the public. Jackson wrote this fictional book to show the injustices of the Indians at the time. She sent a copy to each member of congress, hoping to open their eyes to the greed of white settlers.
  • Gunfight at O.K. Corral

    Gunfight at O.K. Corral
    Often referred to as being the most famous gunfight in the history of the American Old West. The fight was believed to be the result of revenge for a series of malicious attacks and insults. This 30-second encounter between the Earp brothers and the cowboys killed three men and left three more wounded.
  • Bill Cody's "Wild West Show"

    Bill Cody's "Wild West Show"
    Show performed by "Buffalo Bill". this show featured real wildlife such as buffalo, elk, and cattle. He was especially kind and supportive of the Native Americans. He was against what was being done to them across the country.
  • Capture of Geronimo

    Capture of Geronimo
    Geronimo and his band of Apache Indians had a habit of raiding Mexican towns and ranches. They were followed for a long time by General Miles and his cavalry. Finally, the natives surrendered at Skeleton Canyon. From there, they went to Fort Bowie and then down to Florida. Geronimo became a public figure and a national celebrity.
  • Dawes Act

    Dawes Act
    The Dawes General Allotment Act changed the life of Native Americans drastically. Reservation land was divided into individually owned areas. This was supposed to supply "surplus" land for the development of the country which ultimately hurt the natives.
  • Edmunds-Tucker Act

    Edmunds-Tucker Act
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) was found to be supporting the idea of polygamy. Senator Edmunds and Congressman Tucker put an end to this by passing this act. It banned the practice of a marrige consisting of more than two partners.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    Wounded Knee Massacre
    Major Samuel M. Whitslide and his regiment captured and escorted Lakota people to Wounded Knee Creek. When troops were denied weapons when trying to disarm the natives, shots were fired. 150 men, women, and children were killed.
  • The Forest Reserve Act

    The Forest Reserve Act
    By the 1890's the country had noticed the importance of preserving our natural resources. To do so, they opened the first forest reserves in Washington state. These National Forests protected the water sources until they could be opened for settlement.
  • Turner Thesis

    Turner Thesis
    Also known as the Frontier Thesis, Frederick Jackson Turner brought about an arguement that suggested that the American democracy was formed by the American Frontier. He proposed that the moving of the frontier line had a larger impact on the pioneers than originally thought.
  • Carey Act

    Carey Act
    In the hopes of attacting more settlers to the area, the government decided to allow private companies to erect irrigation systems in the dry states- and to make a profit out of it. The task was too large for individul famers and water was no longer an inconvenience to people.