North-South-East-West: American Indians and the Natural World

Winter Count: 1868–1875

1868 1868–1869: Touched-the-Pen Winter

The Great Sioux Reservation was created with the signing of the Treaty of 1868. In exchange for some of our land, the Congress promised our people protection, annuities, education, and health care.

1869 1869–1870: Lakota-in-the-Middle Winter

The Lakota found themselves in the middle of two U.S. government policies toward Indians: (1) send in the military and (2) open the reservation to missionaries.

1870 1870–1871: Begins-to-Move-His-Agency Winter

Chief Spotted Tail moved his people frequently to keep them away from alcohol and to retain their independence from the U.S. Government agencies.

1871 1871–1872: Big-House-Agrees Winter

The House of Representatives passed an Indian Appropriation Bill that abolished the making of future treaties with Indian tribes. However, it did not cancel preexisting treaties.

1872 1872–1873: Metal-Horse-Attack Winter

The building of the railroad through Indian hunting grounds coupled with the flood of non-Indians onto Indian lands led to Indian retaliation.

1873 1873–1874: Fight-Pawnee Winter

The Lakota of Spotted Tail Agency engaged in a battle with their traditional enemies, the Pawnee. This aroused a negative public opinion in the East.

1874 1874–1875: Yellow-Metal-Crazy Winter

General Philip Sheridan sent George Custer to the Black Hills to scout for a future fort site in spite of the 1868 treaty agreement. Custer reported that he had found gold.

1875 1875–1876: Winter They Came like the Grasshoppers

Gold diggers flocked to the Black Hills even though the hills belonged to the Lakota. The U.S. Army did not enforce its treaty promise to protect Lakota property rights.

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