Two Treaties of Fort Laramie

This page is continued from First Contact w/ Europeans.

    Below constitutes a rough draft version of this particular history section.  The heavily-upgraded textbook version will be available soon.


    The below section provides information as to what led up to the signing of “The Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc.“, signed on September 17th, 1851, & also the 1868 version of The Treaty of Fort Laramie.  There are also maps of each of the treaties, as well as additional need-to-know information regarding the text of each each of these treaties, and their relation to this particular case.

Pt. 1:  First Encounter Between U.S. Gov’t Officials & The Lakota Oyate

The Lewis & Clark Expedition:

    Great Plains tribal people did not come across a United States government spokesperson until the Lewis & Clark Expedition, called “The Corps. of Discovery“, in 1804― near the Missouri River.[1]

lewis-clark-york-sacagawea“Lewis and Clark at Three Forks” by E. S. Paxson, 1912. York is depicted second from the left.Courtesy Montana Historical Society:

    The third President of the United States― author of The Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson, commissioned the Corps. of Discovery shortly after the Louisiana Purchase (purchased from France in order to release their claim) in 1803.  

Map of The Louisiana Purchase:


    The expedition comprised a selected group of U.S. Army volunteers as well as an African American slave named York, under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis & his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark.  York was a childhood companion of Clark[2], & together their perilous journey lasted from May 1804 to September 1806.  The primary objective was to explore & map the newly-acquired territory, to find a practical riverine route across the western half of the continent to secure a western trade route, & to establish an American presence in this territory before Britain or other European powers tried to claim it.

    The campaign’s secondary objectives were scientific & economic: to study the area’s plants, animal life, & geography― & to establish trade with local tribes.  The expedition was also charged with observing & recording the whereabouts, lives, activities, & cultures of the various tribes who lived there.  They encountered many tribes along the way many of whom offered assistance providing the expedition with their knowledge of the wilderness, & also with provisions of food.  They carried with them weapons, powder, tools, & cooking utensils, & also blank leather-bound journals & ink for record-keeping purposes.  They also brought various gifts of medals, ribbons, needles, mirrors, & other artifacts intended to ease tensions when negotiating passage with the various tribal chiefs they’d encounter along the way.

    As many tribes had had friendly experiences with British and French fur traders during various isolated encounters along the Missouri & Columbia Rivers, the expedition subsequently did not encounter any hostilities with the exception of the Teton-Sioux tribe under Waglula aka “Black Buffalo” & also the Partisan tribe on September 25, 1804.  These two tribes were rivals & hoped to use the expedition to their own advantage― each demanding tribute (offering) for passage over the river at that particular juncture.  Captain Lewis made his first mistake by offering the Sioux chief gifts first, which insulted & angered the Partisan chief.  Communication was difficult since the expedition’s only Sioux interpreter, Pierre Dorion, had stayed behind with the other party for the purpose of negotiating diplomatic affairs with another tribe.  Consequently, both chiefs were offered a few gifts, but neither were satisfied.  At that point, some of the warriors from the Partisan tribe then took hold of their boat & one of the oars.  Lewis took a firm stand, ordering a display of force, presenting arms; Captain Clark, by gesture of brandishing his sword, threatened violent reprisal. Just before the situation erupted into a violent confrontation, Waglula ordered his warriors to back off.  After the ensuing diplomacy & with the aid of better gifts including a bottle of whiskey, the captains were able to negotiate their passage through without further incident.  During the next two days, the expedition made camp not far from Waglula’s tribe.  When they attempted to leave, similar incidents occurred, but they were averted with still more gifts, this time, of tobacco.[3] [4]  The expedition refrained from entering the Black Hills because they lacked governmental jurisdiction, and they feared deadly consequences of entering the sacred land― the oldest mountain range within the contiguous United States.[5]  With maps, sketches, & journals in hand, the expedition eventually returned to St. Louis to report their findings to Jefferson.[6]

Lewis & Clark’s Outbound Route Shown in Red, Inbound in Blue:

"Inside the Corps." PBS:
“Inside the Corps.” PBS:

Lesser Known Facts About The Lewis, Clark, York, & Sacagawea (Hidaltsa word for “Bird Woman”) Expedition

    The tall African American manservant York was a hit with frontier tribes, many of whom had never seen a person with dark skin.  The Arikara people of North Dakota referred to York as “Big Medicine”, & speculated that he had spiritual powers.  Though not an official member of the Corps of Discovery, York made the entire journey from St. Louis to the Pacific & back, & became a valued member of the expedition, including as a skilled hunter.

    One of the most legendary members of the Lewis & Clark expedition was Sacagawea, a Shoshone native who had been kidnapped from her tribe as an adolescent. Lewis & Clark first met her while spending the winter among the Mandan tribe along the Upper Missouri River, not far from present-day Bismarck, North Dakota. Still only a teenager, Sacagawea was the wife of a French-Canadian fur trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who had purchased her from Hidatsa kidnappers the year before. The Hidatsa had taken Sacagawea from her homeland along the Continental Divide in modern-day southwestern Montana & southeastern Idaho, where she was the daughter of a prominent Shoshone chief. Viewing such captives as little more than slaves, the Hidatsa were happy to sell her and another woman to Charbonneau.

Sacagawea & her son “Pomp”:

“Sacajawea and Pomp” by Agnes Vincens Talbot:

    That winter, Lewis & Clark hired Charbonneau as an interpreter for their projected expedition to the Pacific & back.  On February 11th, 1805, Sacagawea went into labor.  Lewis, who would often act as the expedition’s doctor in the months to come, was called on for the first & only time during the journey to assist in a delivery.  Lewis was anxious to insure his new Shoshone interpreter was in good shape for the arduous journey to come, & he later worriedly reported “her labour was tedious, & the pain violent.” Told that a small amount of the rattle of rattlesnake might speed the delivery, Lewis broke up a rattler tail & mixed it with water. “She had not taken [the mixture] more than ten minutes before she brought forth,” Lewis happily reported.

    Named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the cries of the healthy young boy announced the arrival of a new member of the Corps of Discovery. No one, it seemed, contemplated leaving Sacagawea & her infant son behind― when the party set out up the Missouri in April 1805, Sacagawea carried Jean Baptiste on her back in a traditional cradleboard

    Sacagawea served as an interpreter & occasional & invaluable guide on their journey to the Pacific. During a run-in with a band of Shoshone in the summer of 1805, she famously discovered the tribe’s chief was none other than her long lost brother, whom she had not seen since her abduction five years earlier. The tearful reunion helped facilitate peaceful relations between the explorers & the Shoshone, allowing Lewis to procure much-needed horses for his trek over the Rockies.

    During her time with the Corps of Discovery, William Clark took a shine to Sacagawea’s son (whom he nicknamed “Pomp”), & when Sacagawea left the expedition in August 1806, he offered to adopt him & “raise him as my own child.” Sacagawea initially turned down the offer, but later allowed Clark to provide for her son’s education in St. Louis. Following Sacagawea’s death in 1812, Clark became the legal guardian of both Jean Baptiste and her other child, a daughter named Lisette. Little is known about what became of Lisette, but Jean-Baptiste later traveled to Europe before returning to the American frontier to work as a trapper & wilderness guide.[7]

Pt. 2:  The U.S. Indian Agency Designed to Domesticate & Assimilate Native Americans into European Culture, 1820 – 1853

    Along with building Fort Snelling at the junction of the Mississippi & Minnesota Rivers, the U.S. government established the St. Peters Indian Agency on the military property. The agency was supervised by an Indian Agent, a civilian appointed by the President of the United States to serve as an ambassador to American Indian nations living in the region. Agents were responsible for being the eyes, ears, & mouth of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to American Indian communities.

    Indian agencies were created as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to control commerce (international or interstate trade) between the U.S. & “American Indian” nations. In 1806 the Federal office of the Superintendent of Indian Trade was created, specifically to monitor & control economic activity between American Indian nations & the U.S. Government. In March 1824 Secretary of War John C. Calhoun created the Bureau of Indian Affairs to replace the Indian Trade Office, officially placing responsibility for working with American Indian communities under the control of the U.S. War Department. In addition to controlling commerce, the Bureau was responsible for settling disputes between American Indians & European Americans, as well as for appropriating funds from Congress to fund efforts by the Indian agents to acculturate American Indians into European American society.

    “The Indian came into reservation life reluctantly. He was practically a prisoner, to be fed & treated as such; & what resources were left him must be controlled by the Indian Bureau through its resident agent.

– Charles A. Eastman, The Indian Today, 1915[8]

Indian Agency Council House, 1835-37.Painting by David Geister, 2012.Historic Fort Snelling collections:
Indian Agency Council House, 1835-37.Painting by David Geister, 2012.Historic Fort Snelling collections:

    Agents were ordered to report any violations of U.S. trade & laws by European or U.S. fur traders to the Bureau’s superintendents, local U.S. military personnel, & to the U.S. War Department.  Agents were also responsible for resolving disputes between American Indians & European American emigrants within their jurisdictions, or any conflicts between different American Indian nations, in order to prevent disruptions in the fur trade & ensure that U.S. interests in their jurisdictions were not jeopardized.

    During the early 1800s the U.S. government adopted policies aimed at acculturating & assimilating American Indians into European American society. Agents at the St. Peters Agency encouraged Dakota people to give up hunting as a primary method of subsistence, educate their children according to European-American standards, give up their traditional religion to become practicing Christians, & adopt European-American agricultural methods. The agents also encouraged a change in traditional Dakota gender roles; traditionally, Dakota women & children had worked the fields, gardens, & wildharvesting, but the agents wanted men to give up hunting & take over the agricultural work. Agents as well as missionaries encouraged the Dakota to adopt farming on a larger scale so it could serve as the main form of subsistence for their communities, & to utilize European-American cultivation methods (such as the use of plows drawn by draft animals) as a response to their difficulties in hunting at that time. However, most Dakota were not willing to do so, as they considered farming the way of the white men. The policy of assimilation would effectively destroy traditional cultural identities of many native people. Many historians have argued that the U.S. government believed that if American Indians did not adopt European-American culture they would become extinct as a people. This paternalistic attitude influenced interactions between American Indian nations & the U.S. government throughout the first half of the 1800s, & its effects continue to be felt today.[9]

    Throughout its more than 30 year history, the St. Peters Agency was administered by several individuals: Lawrence Taliaferro (1820-39); Amos Bruce (1840-48); Richard G. Murphy (1848-49); and Nathaniel McLean (1850-53).

How to get rid of me at this Post seems now the main object of Tom, Dick, and Harry — so that those who may come after me can the more easily be bribed or threatened into silence and acquiesce in the plans on foot to cheat & destroy the Indians.

Lawrence Taliaferro[10]

Pt. 3:  Indian Removal Act 1830 & The Trail of Tears

    Although journal entries by Lawrence Taliaferro prove he hoped the election of Andrew Jackson as the seventh President of the United States would result in improvement in affairs at the agency including a more enlightened government policy toward Native Americans (still called “Indians” at the time), quite the opposite would prove true.[11]

    On December 6, 1830, in a message to Congress, President Jackson called for the forced relocation of all eastern tribes to lands west of the Mississippi River in order to open up land for settlement by citizens of the United States.

   With the onset of westward expansion & increased contact with local tribes, President Jackson set the tone for his position on Indian affairs, which sought to justify the passing of the Indian Removal Act which had happened earlier that year on May 28.

    The Indian Removal Act was passed to open up for settlement those lands still held by natives in states east of the Mississippi River, primarily Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, & others.  Jackson declared the removal would “incalculably strengthen the southwestern frontier”. Clearing Alabama & Mississippi of their Indian populations, he said, would “enable those states to advance rapidly in population, wealth, & power.”

    Senators Daniel Webster & Henry Clay spoke out against removal.  The Reverend Samuel Worcester, missionary to the Cherokees, challenged Georgia’s attempt to extinguish Indian title to land in the state, actually winning his case before the Supreme Court. Worcester vs. Georgia (1832) and Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia (1831) are considered the two most influential legal decisions in Indian law.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Georgia in the 1831 case, but in Worcester vs. Georgia, the court affirmed Cherokee sovereignty. Jackson defied the ruling & ordered the removal anyway, an act that established the U.S. government’s precedent for the future removal of many Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.

    The U.S. government used the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 to justify the removal.  The treaty, signed by about 100 Cherokees known as the Treaty Party, relinquished all lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in Indian Territory and the promise of money, livestock, various provisions, tools & other benefits.

    When these pro-removal Cherokee leaders signed the Treaty of New Echota, they also signed their own death warrants, since the Cherokee Nation Council had earlier passed a law calling for the death of anyone agreeing to give up tribal land. The signing & removal led to bitter factionalism & ultimately to the deaths of most of the Treaty Party leaders once the Cherokee arrived in Indian Territory.

    Opposition to the removal was led by Chief John Ross, a mixed-blood of Scottish & one-eighth Cherokee descent. The Ross party & most Cherokees opposed the New Echota Treaty, but Georgia & the U.S. government prevailed & used it as justification to force almost all of the 17,000 Cherokees from their southeastern homeland.

    White inhabitants of Georgia were particularly anxious to have the Cherokees removed from the state because gold had been discovered on tribal lands. Race & religious-based violence was commonplace in Georgia, and, in all likelihood, a portion of the tribe would have been decimated if they had not been removed.

    This discovery of gold came just after the creation & passage of the original Cherokee Nation constitution and establishment of a Cherokee Supreme Court. Possessed by “gold fever” & a thirst for expansion, many white communities turned on their Cherokee neighbors. The U.S. government ultimately decided it was time for the Cherokees to be “removed”; leaving behind their farms, land, & homes.

    Jackson’s military command, & almost certainly his life, were saved thanks to the aid of 500 Cherokee allies at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. It therefore came as a complete shock & betrayal to the Cherokee people when Jackson authorized the Indian Removal Act following the recommendation of President James Monroe in his final address to Congress in 1825. Jackson, as president, sanctioned an attitude that had persisted for many years among many white immigrants.[12]

    Removal of the tribes continued beyond Jackson’s tenure as President. The most infamous of the removals took place in 1838, two years after the end of Jackson’s final term, when the Cherokee people were forcibly removed by the military & marched men, women, & children from the mountains of North Carolina & surrounding states to the plains of Oklahoma, into foreign ecosystems, & onto “Indian reservations” where they would no longer be able to access many of the plants they had traditionally used for survival, but instead would become dependent upon commerce & what many elders would call “white man ways” in order to survive. Their journey west became known as the “Trail of Tears” because of the thousands of deaths which occurred along the way.[13]

Back At The Indian Agency, Lawrence Taliaferro, 1837 Treaty

    At the St. Peters Agency, agent Lawrence Taliaferro worked frequently with both Dakota and Ojibwe communities to prevent conflicts & maintain peace in the region.  Chief Little Crow of the Mdewakanton Dakota named Taliaferro “No-Sugar-in-Your-Mouth” for his ability to deal candidly & for his record of not making promises that he could not keep.  Taliaferro built a council house just west of the fort in 1823, where he received Native American visitors & mediated in the affairs of the area.  Both the Dakota and the Ojibwa would travel along the Minnesota & Mississippi Rivers to the fort to seek advice & to ask for charity & favors.  Taliaferro was able to exert his influence by carefully distributing supplies such as food, gunpowder, tobacco, & whiskey.  The agency’s blacksmith also was on hand to repair native peoples’ guns & traps.  Since they relied on these supplies & services, & since those services could be stopped at any time, this promoted peaceful relations between all parties involved.

    Taliaferro presided over the drafting of a treaty in 1837. He brought Dakota leaders to Washington, D.C., & negotiated what he thought were fair terms for Dakota lands east of the Mississippi River..[14]  [15]

Minnesota Historical Society, painting of Lawrence Taliaferro :

    Articles of a treaty, made at the City of Washington, between Joel R.Poinsett, thereto specially authorized by the President of the United States, & certain chiefs and braves of the Sioux nation of Indians.


    “The chiefs & braves representing the parties having an interest therein, cede to the United States all their land east of the Mississippi river, & all their islands in the said river.


    In consideration of the cession contained in the preceding article, the United States agree to the following stipulations on their part:

First.  To invest the sum of $300,000 in such safe & profitable State stocks as the President may direct, & to pay to the chiefs & braves as aforesaid, annually, forever, an income of not less than five per cent. thereon; a portion of said interest, not exceeding one third, to be applied in such manner as the President may direct, & the residue to be paid in specie, or in such other manner, & for such objects, as the proper authorities of the tribe may designate.

Second.  To pay to the relatives & friends of the chiefs & braves, as aforesaid, having not less than one quarter of Sioux blood, $110,000 to be distributed by the proper authorities of the tribe, upon principles to be determined by the chiefs and braves signing this treaty, & the War Department.

Third. To apply the sum of $90,000 to the payment of just debts of the Sioux Indians, interested in the lands herewith ceded.

Fourth. To pay to the chiefs and braves as aforesaid an annuity for twenty years of $10,000 in goods, to be purchased under the direction of the President, and delivered at the expense of the United States.

Fifth. To expend annually for twenty years, for the benefit of Sioux Indians, parties to this treaty, the sum of $8,250 in the purchase of medicines, agricultural implements and stock, and for the support of a physician, farmers, and blacksmiths, and for other beneficial objects.

Sixth. In order to enable the Indians aforesaid to break up and improve their lands, the United States will supply, as soon as practicable, after the ratification of this treaty, agricultural implements, mechanics’ tools, cattle, and such other articles as may be useful to them, to an amount not exceeding $10,000.

Seventh. To expend annually, for twenty years, the sum of $5,500 in the purchase of provisions, to be delivered at the expense of the United States.

Eighth. To deliver to the chiefs and braves signing this treaty, upon their arrival at St. Louis, $6,000 in goods.

ARTICLE 3. [Stricken out by Senate.]


    This treaty shall be binding on the contracting parties as soon as it shall be ratified by the United States.[16]


    The United States government did not keep up its end of the bargain.  The native people ended up debt-ridden & desperate for their means of survival, & Taliaferro became increasingly critical of the United States’ inability to make good on their promises. In poor health, he resigned his position & left the Army.[17]  [18]  It is also worthy to note, that:

WHEREAS Mr. Taliaferro did not have any of the money that was being promised to tribes & tribal members- to be paid to them “forever”, as promised under the “first” section of this treaty, he thereby promised “the money of taxpayers”, and as there was no vote by the people for such tax to take place, his Authorization of such Terms & Conditions were both unconstitutional and were indeed acts of EXTORTION:


    By today’s standards, Mr. Taliaferro would have violated the following statute found within the United States Code:

Title 18 U.S.Code

Whoever, being an officer, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, or representing himself to be or assuming to act as such, under color or pretense of office or employment commits or attempts an act of extortion, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; but if the amount so extorted or demanded does not exceed $1,000, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 740; Oct. 31, 1951, ch. 655, §24(b), 65 Stat. 720; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(G), (K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147; Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, §606(a), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3511.)

In 1849, The Discovery of Gold in The West Created Demand for U.S. Officials to Negotiate Passage Through The Black Hills

    The young U.S. government considered the west a “permanent Indian frontier”— an inhospitable land with little economic value, as it was inhabited by “Indians” who were known for raiding trespassing settlers.  

1850s photo of a “Covered Wagon Train”:


    The discovery of gold in California in 1849, however, created a high demand for settlers to travel west.  In the early 1850s, overland travelers en route to gold fields began to cross through Lakota territory.  This in turn set off a series of confrontations between European setters & native tribes concerned about the new masses encroaching on their already pushed-back homelands.[19]

Frederic Remington’s painting called “The Emigrants”:

    Fortune seekers moving along the Platte River Road trespassed right through Lakota territory, & although generally left alone, Europeans immigrants were frightened by the turmoil & commotion caused by tribal raids, & thereby demanded government protection.

1934Re-Enactment of “Government Intervention” to Covered Wagon Attacks:

    As a result, in 1851 the federal government brought many of the Plains tribes together at Fort Laramie, including Lakota & Dakota bands, in order to establish not only peace between the interwarring tribes, but also between the tribes & the U.S. Government & thus the settlers so that they they would no longer have to fear for their safety including being robbed.  The government solution was to assign each tribe a defined territory where they were to remain.  Government negotiators had the various tribal nations appoint head chiefs so they could deal with a small group of men rather than entire nations.  This sort of negotiation was meaningless to the Lakota, Dakota, & other tribes, however, as traditional decision-making was based on participation of all until consensus was reached, & in this form of democracy a few men could not speak for all or bind all people to treaty promises. Nonetheless, the government insisted on negotiating with appointed chiefs, & through the treaty process sought to define its relationship with the various tribes.  The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty defined territory for each tribal group in order to end intertribal rivalry. and it permitted travelers & railroad workers to traverse & work along the Platte River Road.  The Yanktonai, covered by an earlier 1825 treaty, were omitted from the treaty because their traditional areas were far removed from the overland route to the Pacific Coast which the treaty aimed to safeguard.  Fort Laramie was located in present day Wyoming.[20]

Old Fort Laramie, circa 1840:

TRIPS INTO HISTORY/ Historic Sites Historic Stories and Travel Ideas, "The Grattan Memorial":
Historic Stories and Travel Ideas, “The Grattan Memorial”:

Note:  The below treaty was much more fairly & lawfully written than the aforementioned treaty authorized by Lawrence Tell

Excerpted Articles from The Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851:

    Excerpted articles of the treaty made & concluded at Fort Laramie, on tribal grounds, between D. D. Mitchell, superintendent of Indian affairs, & Thomas Fitzpatrick, Indian agent, commissioners specially appointed & authorized by the 13th President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, & the chiefs, headmen, & braves of the following Indian nations, residing south of the Missouri River, east of the Rocky Mountains, & north of the lines of Texas & New Mexico: the Sioux or Dahcotahs, Cheyennes, Arrapahoes, Crows. Assinaboines, Gros-Ventre Mandans, & Arrickaras, on September 17th, 1851.


    The aforesaid nations, parties to this treaty. having assembled for the purpose of establishing & confirming peaceful relations amongst themselves, do hereby covenant & agree to abstain in future from all hostilities whatever against each other, to maintain good faith & friendship in all their mutual intercourse (international or interstate trade aka “commerce”), & to make an effective & lasting peace.


    The aforesaid nations do hereby recognize the right of the United States Government to establish roads, military, & other posts, within their respective territories.


    In consideration of the rights & privileges acknowledged in the preceding article, the United States bind themselves to protect the aforesaid Indian nations against the commission of all depredations by the people of the said United States, after the ratification of this treaty.


    The aforesaid Indian nations do hereby agree & bind themselves to make restitution or satisfaction for any wrongs committed, after the ratification of this treaty, by any band or individual of their people, on the people of the United States, whilst lawfully residing in or passing through their respective territories.

ARTICLE 5. (description of agreed boundaries)

   The aforesaid Indian nations do hereby recognize & acknowledge the following tracts of country, included within the metes & boundaries hereinafter designated, as their respective territories:
    The territory of the Sioux or Dahcotah Nation, commencing the mouth of the White Earth River, on the Missouri River: thence in a southwesterly direction to the forks of the Platte River: thence up the north fork of the Platte River to a point known as the Red Butte, or where the road leaves the river; thence along the range of mountains known as the Black Hills, to the head-waters of Heart River; thence down Heart River to its mouth; & thence down the Missouri River to the place of beginning.
  The territory of the Gros Ventre, Mandans, & Arrickaras Nations, commencing at the mouth of Heart River; thence up the Missouri River to the mouth of the Yellowstone River; thence up the Yellowstone River to the mouth of Powder River in a southeasterly direction, to the head-waters of the Little Missouri River; thence along the Black Hills to the head of Heart River, and thence down Heart River to the place of beginning.
The territory of the Assinaboin Nation, commencing at the mouth of Yellowstone River; thence up the Missouri River to the mouth of the Muscle-shell River; thence from the mouth of the Muscle-shell River in a southeasterly direction until it strikes the head-waters of Big Dry Creek; thence down that creek to where it empties into the Yellowstone River, nearly opposite the mouth of Powder River, and thence down the Yellowstone River to the place of beginning.
The territory of the Blackfoot Nation, commencing at the mouth of Muscle-shell River; thence up the Missouri River to its source; thence along the main range of the Rocky Mountains, in a southerly direction, to the head-waters of the northern source of the Yellowstone River; thence down the Yellowstone River to the mouth of Twenty-five Yard Creek; thence across to the head-waters of the Muscle-shell River, and thence down the Muscle-shell River to the place of beginning.
The territory of the Crow Nation, commencing at the mouth of Powder River on the Yellowstone; thence up Powder River to its source; thence along the main range of the Black Hills and Wind River Mountains to the head-waters of the Yellowstone River; thence down the Yellowstone River to the mouth of Twenty-five Yard Creek; thence to the head waters of the Muscle-shell River; thence down the Muscle-shell River to its mouth; thence to the head-waters of Big Dry Creek, and thence to its mouth.
The territory of the Cheyennes and Arrapahoes, commencing at the Red Bute, or the place where the road leaves the north fork of the Platte River; thence up the north fork of the Platte River to its source; thence along the main range of the Rocky Mountains to the head-waters of the Arkansas River; thence down the Arkansas River to the crossing of the Santa Fé road; thence in a northwesterly direction to the forks of the Platte River, and thence up the Platte River to the place of beginning. 

    It is, however, understood that, in making this recognition and acknowledgement, the aforesaid Indian nations do not hereby abandon or prejudice any rights or claims they may have to other lands; & further, that they do not surrender the privilege of hunting, fishing, or passing over any of the tracts of country heretofore described.[20]

Map of 1851 Agreed Treaty Boundaries

From “The History and Culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish” from Official Portal of The north Dakota State Government website:

Complications Enforcing The Treaty Occurred from All “Sides”

Ultimately, many Lakota & Dakota never knew of the existence of the 1851 Treaty, & continued their intertribal raiding.  The U.S. regarded this as a breach of treaty, however, even though the young government was also unable to compel its own countrymen to respect the treaty boundaries. Travelers continuously passed through defined native territories & ignored the treaty, though no major incidents occurred until the numbers of travelers increased.

Treaty Violation #1:

“The Grattan Massacre”, 1854

    “The Grattan Massacre as it became to be known was the opening engagement of what later would become publicized as the First Sioux War.  The massacre occurred east of Fort Laramie in the newly-formed incorporated territory founded on May 30, 1854 formed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, called the Nebraska Territory; the location of the infamous “first treaty violation against the Sioux” occurred in present-day Goshen CountyWyoming on August 19, 1854.

KANSAS-NEBRASKA MAP, 1854. The Kansas and Nebraska territories as they appeared in an 1854 American map.
SOURCE: “Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: War, 2008; U.S. History in Context”, Oak Park & River Forest High School’s website:

Scenario:  A small detachment of soldiers entered a large Sioux encampment to arrest a man accused of taking a migrant’s cow, although such matters by treaty were supposed to be handled by the US Indian Agent.  This treaty violation occurred under the 14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce, a northern Democrat who saw the abolitionist (anti-slavery) movement as a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation; yep- you guessed it- a confederate.  

Inaugural Address of Franklin Pierce FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 1853
QUOTE SOURCE: Inaugural Address of Franklin Pierce, FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 1853: GRAPHIC SOURCE:

    After one of the soldiers shot & killed Chief Conquering Bear, the Brulé Lakotas returned fire & killed a total of 29 soldiers: Lieutenant John Grattan, & also a civilian interpreter.  The “massacre” as it was slandered by local presses, is considered an early, significant event in what became later glorified as the “Plains Indian Wars”.

    In the late summer of 1854, about 4,000 Brulé &  Oglala were camped near Fort Laramie in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of 1851.  On August 17, a cow belonging to a Mormon traveling on the nearby Oregon Trail strayed & was killed by a visiting Miniconjou named High Forehead.  Lt. Hugh Fleming, the senior officer of the small garrison, consulted with the chief, Conquering Bear, to discuss the loss of livestock.  Lt. Fleming was evidently unaware, or chose to ignore, that such matters were, by the terms of the Treaty of 1851, to be handled by the local Indian Agent, in this case John Whitfield, who was due to arrive within days with annuities with which restitution could be made.

    Aware that the matter did not really concern the military, Conquering Bear attempted to negotiate, offering a horse from his personal herd.  Grattan said that the Sioux should arrest the guilty party & turn him over.  Conquering Bear refused, & shortly after Grattan began walking back to his column, a soldier fired his gun, shooting a Sioux warrior.

    A commander at Laramie later recalled, “There is no doubt that Lt. Grattan left this post with a desire to have a fight with the Indians, & that he had determined to take the man at all hazards.[21] The Lakota warriors started shooting arrows while leaders tried to take control.  Conquering Bear was mortally wounded & died nine days later near the Niobrara River.

Chief Conquering Bear, 1899, SOURCE: RootsWeb, An Community, “Tiyospaye, Person Page 83”, originally sourced from Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library. :

     The warriors also killed Grattan, 11 of his men, & the interpreter.  A group of some 18 soldiers retreated on foot trying to reach some rocks for defense, but they were cut off and killed by warriors led by Red Cloud who was then a rising War chief within the Lakota.  One soldier survived the massacre but later died of his wounds.  The 28 killed soldiers are buried at Fort McPherson, Nebraska, while Lt. Grattan is buried in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

    The enraged warriors “rampaged throughout the night, swearing to attack other whites.”[22] They rode against Fort Laramie the next morning but withdrew, instead looting the trading post. On the third day after the US attack, the Brule & Oglala abandoned the camp on the North Platte River & returned to their hunting grounds.


    The local media called the event the “Grattan Massacre.”  Accounts generally ignored the US soldiers’ instigation of the event by shooting Conquering Bear in the back, & Grattan’s violation of the treaty provisions.  When news of the fight reached the War Department, officials started planning retaliation to punish the Sioux.  Secretary of War Jefferson Davis characterized the incident as “the result of a deliberately formed plan.”

    That same year that under President Franklin Pierce, the aforementioned detachment of soldiers illegally invaded promised-Lakota territory which led up to the needless & horrific battles & rising racial tensions which followed, Chief Seattle of the Nez Pierce tribe, would assert one of the most famous & compelling speeches ever presented, which began to “open the eyes of the world” as to who the Native Americans truly are as a people, as followed:

    Col. William S. Harney was recalled from Paris in April 1855 & sent to Fort Kearny, where he assembled a command of 600 troops, who set out on August 24, 1855 to find & exact retribution on the Sioux. Harney was quoted as saying, “By God, I’m for battle—no peace.

Maj. Gen. William Selby Harney:
Maj. Gen. William Selby Harney:


    Harney engaged them in the Battle of Ash Hollow (also known as the Battle of Bluewater Creek) on September 3, 1855, in which U.S. soldiers killed a number of Brulé Lakota in present-day Garden CountyNebraska.  The village of 230 persons was caught between an assault by the infantry & a blocking force by the cavalry.

    Harney returned to Fort Laramie with 70 prisoners. Harney ordered the tribes to send representatives to a treaty council at Fort Pierre in March 1856, where a treaty was signed on terms dictated by the War Department.  However Twiss tried to undermine the treaty & Harney had him removed from office without possessing the legal authority to do so. Commissioner of Indian Affairs George W. Manypenny then successfully lobbied the Senate to reject the treaty & Twiss was reinstated. Nevertheless, the specter Harney left remained. A number of events which occurred in 1861 directly impacted both the Dakota and Lakota who would later to become part of what is today known as the Standing Rock Reservation.  In 1861 when Dakota Territory was established, the Yanktonai & Hunkpatina occupied much of the area east of the Missouri River, & in 1861, when gold was discovered at the headwater of the Missouri River, this had an immediate impact on the Lakota living on the west side of the river bank.[23]

U.S.-Dakota War, 1862, aka “The Minnesota Indian War”

    Between 1805 & 1858, treaties made between the U.S. government & the Dakota nation reduced Dakota lands, & significantly altered Minnesota’s physical, cultural, & political landscape. These treaties had significant impact on the lives of the Dakota people and European-Americans flooding into Minnesota during the first half of the 1800s; many historians agree that major factors in the lead-up to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 lie in those treaties.  In 1851 the treaties of Traverse des Sioux & Mendota (in which the largest amount of land was ceded by the Dakota) established that the Dakota would be paid by the U.S. government for the land they ceded in yearly installments called “annuities.” Provisions in the treaties stated that portions of the money paid to the Dakota would go to fund trade shops (such as blacksmiths), purchase agricultural tools & supplies, as well as to pay off debts claimed by traders. Many Dakota claimed these debts had been inflated or were falsified, & were opposed to the traders being paid directly by the U.S. government. As a result resentment grew within many Dakota communities towards the traders and the U.S. government.

    In addition, U.S. government policies toward the acculturation of native people helped create divisions within the Dakota community at large. Dakota individuals who cut their hair & adopted European American agricultural methods received supplies, tools, & housing at the expense of the U.S. Government.  Many Dakota who maintained their traditional life-ways resented what was perceived as preferential treatment of one group over another by the U.S. Government.

    The Santee, located on an ever-shrinking homeland in Minnesota, were dissatisfied with federal policies, & when they received no redress of their grievances, some men precipitated a confrontation in 1862; they raided settlements, attacked a military installation, & ultimately caused 40,000 settlers to flee. Federal response to the trouble was quick, & all “Indians” in the area were considered potentially dangerous, so many who had no connection to the troubles were then punished under President Abraham Lincoln. Fearful of retribution, many Santees fled into Dakota Territory & Canada. Settlers on the Dakota frontier, fearful of trouble, demanded government protection. Generals Henry Sibley & Alfred Sully were assigned to round up “hostiles” in the Dakotas. Though they found no “hostiles”, they instead found several hunting bands. Despite the apparent peace in the Dakotas, wild rumors of dangerous Indians continued, & the military became under great political pressure to keep up its campaign.[24]

    By the summer of 1862 the situation for many Dakota families had become desperate; annuity payments were late due to the U.S. government’s priority in financing the Civil War. Some traders & officials at the Indian Agencies refused to extend credit for food & supplies until the Dakota had cash to pay their debts, & crop failures & poor hunting had left many Dakota families hungry.  Due to these & other factors, tensions within Minnesota’s Dakota community reached a breaking point.

    On Aug. 17, 1862 four Dakota men killed five people living at the farms of Robinson Jones & Howard Baker in Acton Township.  When word of the killings spread to the Lower Sioux Reservation, a group of Dakota men argued that it was time to go to war with Minnesota’s European-American population to reclaim their ancestral land.  Without consensus from the Dakota community at large, these men went directly to Taoyateduta, “His Scarlet Nation” (Little Crow), an influential Dakota leader, to convince him to lead a military effort.  After intense debate, Taoyateduta reluctantly agreed, even though he feared the war would end disastrously for their nation. “You will die like rabbits when the hungry wolves hunt them in the Hard Moon,” he is quoted as having said, but added “Taoyateduta is not a coward: he will die with you.

    The following day a group of Dakota under the command of Taoyateduta attacked the Lower Sioux Agency, killing many of civilians.  Over the next several weeks, groups of Dakota soldiers attacked European American communities throughout the Minnesota River Valley, including New Ulm, as well as launching attacks on U.S. military posts. The war lasted nearly six weeks, during which more than 600 civilians & U.S. soldiers, as well as an estimated 75-100 Dakota, lost their lives.

    The war fractured Minnesota’s Dakota community. It was fought primarily by a relatively small group of Dakota, & there was not universal support for the war within the Dakota community at large. Throughout the war, many Dakota as well as individuals of both Dakota & European ancestry (often referred to as “mixed-bloods” during that period) protected prisoners & worked to secure their release to U.S. soldiers.  For a tense period of time it seemed as though a civil war might erupt between the Dakota on both reservations over the war.

    Fort Snelling played an important role in the war. Soldiers were organized at the fort under Col. Henry H. Sibley for a military response to the Dakota. After the Battle of Wood Lake (Sept. 23), the last major battle of the war in Minnesota, many Dakota left the state, while others surrendered to U.S. military forces at Camp Release (near present-day Montevideo). Col. Sibley established a military commission to try Dakota men suspected of killing or assaulting civilians, & by the end of the process 303 men were convicted & sentenced to death. However, upon further review of the evidence, the number was reduced to 39 by President Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to distinguish between Dakota men who had only fought in battles, & those accused of killing & assaulting civilians.  Just prior to the execution, a man named Tatemina (Round Wind) was reprieved (canceled or postponed) because his conviction had been based on questionable testimony.  The remaining 38 men were hanged simultaneously in Mankato on Dec. 26 in the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

    The rest of the approximately 1,600 Dakota & “mixed-bloods” who surrendered at Camp Release (mostly women, children & the elderly) were removed to Fort Snelling where they spent the winter of 1862-63 in a stockaded concentration camp, below the fort (located in the present-day Fort Snelling State Park) to await their exile to western reservations.  According to reports in local newspapers & Dakota oral histories, some of the prisoners endured assaults & violence at the hands of soldiers & local civilians. “Amid all this sickness & these great tribulations,” remembered Tiwakan (Gabriel Renville), a “mixed-blood” man who was held in the stockade along with his family, “it seemed doubtful at night whether a person would be alive in the morning.

    Many detainees sold personal possessions in order to purchase food to supplement the military-issue rations they were given. Some of the “mixed-blood” families owned land vouchers (called scrip) that had been granted them in treaties with the U.S. government. These vouchers granted each head-of-household up to 640 acres of any unsurveyed, non-federal land in exchange for giving up claim to land in Minnesota. Many sold these vouchers to local businessmen at deflated prices in order to have cash in hand to provide for their families while in the stockade. Businessmen, such as Franklin Steele, profited by purchasing these vouchers & later selling them to land developers for large profits.

    It is estimated that 130 – 300 people died within the camp over that winter, mostly due to disease.  Those remaining were taken by steamboat to the Crow Creek reservation in May 1863.  By summer of 1863 the vast majority of Dakota had left Minnesota, heading into the western territories, or north into Canada.  As a result of the war, approximately 6,000 Dakota & “mixed-blood” people were displaced from their Minnesota homes. Today, Dakota communities remain spread throughout Minnesota, Nebraska, North & South Dakota, Montana, & Canada.

After the war, many Dakota were captured & imprisoned by the U.S. military, among them Sakpedan (Little Six) & Wakanozhanzhan (Medicine Bottle). The two men fled to Canada after the war, but were kidnapped & delivered to U.S. authorities by British agents in Jan. 1864. Both men were subsequently imprisoned at Fort Snelling. They were charged & convicted by a military commission for their participation in the war, & were sentenced to death. Their execution took place at Fort Snelling on Nov. 11, 1865 in the presence of the fort’s garrison & numerous civilians.  A local newspaper reported that as they climbed the scaffold, a steam train whistle blew in the distance, prompting Sakpedan to say, “As the white man comes in, the Indian goes out.

Little Six & Medicine Bottle, photo source:
Little Six & Medicine Bottle, photo source:


The Battle of Whitestone Hill, 1863

    Two military expeditions entered Dakota Territory during the summer of 1863. One column of soldiers from Minnesota was led by General Henry H. Sibley. The other expedition, commanded by General Alfred Sully, followed the Missouri River north from Iowa. Sully’s campaign culminated in the Battle of Whitestone Hill.

    In early September 1863, General Sully discovered a large hunting camp of Yanktonai at Whitestone Hill. These people had nothing to do with the Minnesota problems & were not posing a threat to homesteaders in Dakota Territory (for one they knew there would be retribution if they tried to defend themselves against encroachment). The Yanktonai people at Whitestone Hill were preparing food for the winter months ahead. Sully’s troops never determined who these people were, & on September 3, 1863, 650 soldiers attacked the Yanktonai, killing at least 300, including many women & children Twenty soldiers were killed, many caught in army crossfire.  The Yanktonai who were able fled the area, abandoning all their household goods & stores of food.  The scene of the battlefield & Indian camp the next day was recorded by F.E. Caldwell, a soldier with the Second Nebraska Cavalry:

    “Tepees, some standing, some torn down, some
squaws that were dead, some that were wounded
& still alive, young children of all ages from
young infants to eight or ten years old, who had
lost their parents, dead soldiers, dead Indians,
dead horses, hundreds of dogs howling for their
masters. Some of the dogs were packed with small
poles fastened to a collar & dragging behind them.
On the poles was a platform
(travois) on which all
kinds of articles were fastened on— in one instance
a young baby.

    Sully ordered all the property destroyed, tepees,
buffalo skins, & all their things, including tons &
tons of dried buffalo meat & tallow.
It was gathered
in wagons, piled in a hollow & burned, & the melted
tallow ran down the valley into a stream. Hatchets,
camp kettles, & all things that would sink were thrown into a small lake.

Photo source link:

    Sully’s men were congratulated by the U.S. for their distinguished conduct, & the native peoples’ side of the story never came out publicly except by their own poeple. In November 1863, Sam Brown, a 19-year-old interpreter at Crow Creek, presented the Indian side of Sully’s battle at Whitestone Hill in a letter to his father:

    “I hope you will not believe all that is said of
‘Sully’s Successful Expedition’ against the Sioux. I don’t think he aught to brag of it at all, because it
was, what no decent man would have done. He pitched into their camp & just
slaughtered them, worse a great deal than what the Indians did in 1862. He killed very few men & no hostile ones prisoners…
& now he returns saying that we need fear no more,
for he has ‘wiped out all hostile Indians from Dakota.’
If he had killed men instead of women & children, then it would have been a success, & the worse of it, they had no hostile intention whatever. The
Nebraska Second pitched into them without orders, while the Iowa Sixth were shaking hands with them on the other side.  They even shot their own men.

I believe I can safely say I gave them one of the most severe punishments that the Indians have ever received.

– General Aflred Sully, war criminal[25]


Note: General Sully’s indiscriminate, premeditated massacres are considered international war crimes by today’s standards under

Australia, Military Court at Rabaul, Ohashi case (cited in Vol. II, Ch. 32, § 2957); United States, Military Commission at Shanghai, Sawada case (ibid., § 2961); United States, Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Altstötter (The Justice Trial) case (ibid., § 2964); see also ICC Statute, Article 8(2)(a)(vi) and (c)(iv).

    Sully’s actions violated the “right to fair trial” (5th Amendment) of all victims, targeting entire populations instead of seeking justice against individuals.


The Founding of Fort Rice by General Alfred Sully, July 7, 1864

    Fort Rice was established on July 7, 1864, by General Alfred H. Sully as a field base during his 1864 expedition. The fort was named for Brigadier General James Clay Rice of Massachusetts who was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness during the Civil War. Fort Rice was the first of a chain of forts intended to guard northern plains transportation routes, evidence of the United States government’s changing policy toward these western lands, encouraging their settlement and providing protection for Euro-American settlers. Fort Rice became one of the most important military posts on the Upper Missouri River. It is located approximately thirty miles south of Mandan, Morton County.

    During the summer of 1864, Sioux in Dakota Territory were angered by the military expeditions that had attacked Dakota, Lakota, and Yanktonai bands the previous year. In response, the Indians increased their attacks on northern plains transportation routes, including steamboats traveling on the Upper Missouri.

    The first structures were built by several companies of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry under Colonel Daniel J. Dill. Cottonwood logs, cut from the wooded banks of the Missouri River, formed the stockade, 510 feet by 500 feet. Two log blockhouses, each twenty feet square, guarded the northeast and the southwest corners of the stockade. The fort buildings inside the stockade were built with cottonwood logs and had sod roofs.

    In the autumn of 1864, six companies of the 1st US Volunteer Infantry arrived to replace the Wisconsin infantry. The “volunteers” were primarily Confederate prisoners of war, or so-called Galvanized Yankees. These prisoners enlisted in the Union Army to protect the western frontier rather than wait to be paroled or exchanged for Yankee prisoners of war or be sent north to work on government fortifications.

The Battle of Killdeer Mountains, 1864

    In 1864 Sibley remained in Minnesota while a second expedition was launched.  Sully commanded the operation & defeated a large, combined group of Dakota, Lakota & Yanktonai at the Battle of Tahchakuty, or Killdeer Mountain (July 28). Eventually, the U.S. military forcibly removed many Dakota to reservations in North & South Dakota.

    Sully & his troops wintered in the newly constructed Fort Rice while plans were being launched to force the natives to cede large areas of their territory.  In July 1864, Sully set out for the Killdeer Mountains where Yanktonai, Sihasapa, Hunkpapa, & other Dakota were in a large hunting camp. On July 23, 1864, Sully’s troops, aided by artillery, killed about 100 native people at their camp & forced them to abandon all their food & household goods. Again, all their property was destroyed.   This is known as the Battle of Killdeer Mountains. Sully chased down some of the stragglers from the battle along the Yellowstone River in the Badlands, & in August 1864, soldiers attacked some of the survivors of the Killdeer Mountains.  By fall, 1864, the commander at Fort Sully assessed the situation of the Yanktonai, Hunkpatina, & others,

Their severe punishment in life & property  for the last two years is an excellent groundwork for  a peace I believe would be lasting…[26]


Civil Legal Analysis

    With little other recourse, under coercion, the Yanktonai signed a treaty with the U.S. government at Fort Sully in October 1865. The tribes agreed to be at peace with the U.S. & other tribes, withdraw from overland routes through their territory, & in return for these concessions the U.S. provided monetary reparation & agricultural implements.

Be It Hereby Recognized:

The 1865 Treaty signed by tribes was signed as a direct result of the unconstitutional slaughter, war crimes, & civil rights violations by U.S. Government Official General Alfred Sully, whose actions came following several cases of trespassing upon Native American lands; though no civil action was filed at the time in regards to such treaty being signed under coercion & duress, officials acting on behalf of The Untied States Government violated U.S.C. Title 15 §6307b.


    In 1861 the Union was desperate for gold & silver to fund the Civil War effort. “Indian rights” were not a consideration when the destiny of the Union was at stake, so when gold was discovered in Montana, little was done to hold back the flood of fortune-seekers who overran Sioux treaty lands along the Bozeman Trail.

    Continued traffic through Sioux lands (trespassing) caused disruption in the lifeways of the people & cut through the heart of the Sioux buffalo ranges in the Powder River area. The Sioux repeatedly objected to intrusions in their territory & demanded government recognition of the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty. Ultimately their protests fell on deaf ears. With no peaceful solution in sight the Sioux began to retaliate against trespass in their country. The government’s need for gold coupled with demands for protection by travelers along the Bozeman Trail increased, so the army moved in to protect non-Indian people, property, & rights-of-way through Dakota-Lakota territory.  Thus began the era commonly referred to as the Plains or Sioux Wars of 1865–1876.

The Bozeman Trail and its Forts, 1866–1868. (Map by Cassie Theurer, adapted from Prucha, Atlas of American Indian Affairs, 1990, page 128)
The Bozeman Trail and its Forts, 1866–1868. (Map by Cassie Theurer, adapted from Prucha, Atlas of American Indian Affairs, 1990, page 128)

The Re-Negotiated Treaty of Fort Laramie, 1868

    During the 1860s the American frontier was filled with wars between trespassing settlers & American Indians defending their land rights. On December 21, 1866 a supply train traveling on Bozeman Trail was attacked by Sioux natives who were exhausted & infuriated by continued treaty abuses. Soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Fetterman at Fort Kearny then retaliated but were all killed by a small Sioux army led by Red Cloud.[27] In 1867, a newly-formed congressional committee drafted a Report on the Condition of the Indian Tribes, which led to the establishment of an Indian Peace Commission, who sought to re-negotiate the original treaty & establish peace between settlers & native people.

    In the spring of 1868 a conference was held at Fort Laramie resulting a second Treaty of Fort Laramie, wherein the U.S. recognized the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, to be set aside for their exclusive use— this treaty also reduced the original treaty boundaries from the 1851 version.  Native leaders conceded, hoping this time the government would honor the contract & secure the borders.[28]  This second version of the treaty was signed by Lieutenant General Sherman, General William S. Harney, General Alfred H. Terry, General O. O. Augur, J. B. Henderson, Nathaniel G. Taylor, John G. Sanborn, & Samuel F. Tappan on behalf of the United States, & by many chiefs & headmen of the Sioux.

From Letter to James E. Yeatman of St. Louis, Vice-President of the Western Sanitary Commission (21 May 1865). As quoted on p. 358, & footnoted on p. 562, in Sherman: A Soldier's Passion For Order (2007), John F. Marszalek, Southern Illinois University Press, Chapter 15 ('Fame Tarnished'). Graphic source link:
From Letter to James E. Yeatman of St. Louis, Vice-President of the Western Sanitary Commission (21 May 1865). As quoted on p. 358, & footnoted on p. 562, in Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion For Order (2007), John F. Marszalek, Southern Illinois University Press, Chapter 15 (‘Fame Tarnished’). Graphic source link:

Excerpts from Treaty of Fort Laramie, 1868


    From this day forward all war between the parties to this agreement shall for ever cease.  The government of the United States desires peace, & its honor is hereby pledged to keep it. The Indians desire peace, and they now pledge their honor to maintain it.

    If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will, upon proof made to the agent, & forwarded to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington city, proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested & punished according to the laws of the United States, & also reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained.


    The United States agrees that the following district of country… [location described]… shall be set apart for the absolute & undisturbed use & occupation of the Indians herein named, & for such other friendly tribes or individual Indians as from time to time they may be willing, with the consent of the United States, to admit amongst them; & the United States now solemnly agrees that no persons, except those herein designated & authorized so to do, & except such officers, agents, & employees of the government as may be authorized to enter upon Indian reservations in discharge of duties enjoined by law, shall ever be permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in the territory described in this article, or in such territory as may be added to this reservation for the use of said Indians, & henceforth they will & do hereby relinquish all claims or right in & to any portion of the United States or Territories, except such as is embraced within the limits aforesaid, & except as hereinafter provided.


    In consideration of the advantages & benefits conferred by this treaty & the many pledges of friendship by the United States, the tribes who are parties to this agreement hereby stipulate that they will relinquish all right to occupy permanently the territory outside their reservations as herein defined, but yet reserve the right to hunt on any lands north of North Platte, & on the Republican Fork of the Smoky Hill river, so long as the buffalo may range thereon in such numbers as to justify the chase.


And they, the said Indians, further expressly agree:

1st. That they will withdraw all opposition to the construction of the railroads now being built on the plains.

2nd. That they will permit the peaceful construction of any railroad not passing over their reservation as herein defined.

3rd. That they will not attack any persons at home, or traveling, nor molest or disturb any wagon trains, coaches, mules, or cattle belonging to the people of the United States, or to persons friendly therewith.

4th. They will never capture, or carry off from the settlements, white women or children.

5th. They will never kill or scalp white men, nor attempt to do them harm.

6th. They withdraw all pretense of opposition to the construction of the railroad now being built along the Platte river & westward to the Pacific ocean, & they will not in future object to the construction of railroads, wagon roads, mail stations, or other works of utility or necessity, which may be ordered or permitted by the laws of the United States. But should such roads or other works be constructed on the lands of their reservation, the government will pay the tribe whatever amount of damage may be assessed by three disinterested commissioners to be appointed by the President for that purpose, one of the said commissioners to be a chief or headman of the tribe.

7th. They agree to withdraw all opposition to the military posts or roads now established south of the North Platte river, or that may be established, not in violation of treaties heretofore made or hereafter to be made with any of the Indian tribes.


    No treaty for the cession of any portion or part of the reservation herein described which may be held in common, shall be of any validity or force as against the said Indians unless executed & signed by at least three-fourths of all the adult male Indians occupying or interested in the same, and no cession by the tribe shall be understood or construed in such manner as to deprive, without his consent, any individual member of the tribe of his rights to any tract of land selected by him as provided in Article VI of this treaty.[29]

United States Code



§6307b. Protection from coercive contracts

Note:  Whereas The 14th Amendment guarantees “equal protection of the laws” to all persons, though the below statute references “boxers”, it must therefore also provide “equal protection” to  Native American Tribes.

(a) General rule

(1)(A) A contract provision shall be considered to be in restraint of trade, contrary to public policy, & unenforceable against any boxer to the extent that it—

(i) is a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B) and is for a period greater than 12 months; or

(ii) is a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B) & the other boxer under contract to the promoter came under that contract pursuant to a coercive provision described in subparagraph (B).

(B) A coercive provision described in this subparagraph is a contract provision that grants any rights between a boxer & a promoter, or between promoters with respect to a boxer, if the boxer is required to grant such rights, or a boxer’s promoter is required to grant such rights with respect to a boxer to another promoter, as a condition precedent to the boxer’s participation in a professional boxing match against another boxer who is under contract to the promoter.

(2) This subsection shall only apply to contracts entered into after May 26, 2000.

(3) No subsequent contract provision extending any rights or compensation covered in paragraph (1) shall be enforceable against a boxer if the effective date of the contract containing such provision is earlier than 3 months before the expiration of the relevant time period set forth in paragraph (1).

(b) Promotional rights under mandatory bout contracts

No boxing service provider may require a boxer to grant any future promotional rights as a requirement of competing in a professional boxing match that is a mandatory bout under the rules of a sanctioning organization.

(c) Protection from coercive contracts with broadcasters

Subsection (a) of this section applies to any contract between a commercial broadcaster and a boxer, or granting any rights with respect to that boxer, involving a broadcast in or affecting interstate commerce, regardless of the broadcast medium.  For the purpose of this subsection, any reference in subsection (a)(1)(B) of this section to “promoter” shall be considered a reference to “commercial broadcaster”.[30]

In regards to Article 1 of The Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868, the Bureau of Indian Affairs can be reached at:

Mailing Address: 
Bureau of Indian Affairs 
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

Telephone: (202) 208-5116 or (800) 246-8101 

Telefax: (202) 208-6334

Mission Statement:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ mission is to enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.[31]

Next Section: All Major Treaty Violations


[1]:  Linea Sundstrom, “Cross-Cultural Transference of the Sacred Geography of the Black Hills,” World Archaeology 28, no. 2 (Oct. 1996): 177.

[2]:  Nebraska Studies, The Louisiana Purchase “Opens” the West, “The Voyage of Discovery:An African American in the Corps”:

[3]:  Allen, Paul; Clark, William; Lewis, Meriwether (1916). Meriwether Lewis and William Clarke, Volume 1. Elliott-Madison Company. p. 366.

[4]:  Woodger, Elin; Toropov, Brandon (2009). Encyclopedia of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Infobase Publishing. p. 438. ISBN 0-8160-4781-2.

[5]:  Linea Sundstrom, “Cross-Cultural Transference of the Sacred Geography of the Black Hills,” World Archaeology 28, no. 2 (Oct. 1996): 177.

[6]:  Ambrose, Stephen E. (1996). Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Simon and Schuster, New York. p. 511.ISBN 9780684811079.

[7]:  “10 Little-Known Facts About the Lewis and Clark Expedition”:

[8]:  Minnesota Historical Society: The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, “Indian Agencies”:

[9]:  Minnesota Historical Society, “Historic Fort Snelling; The U.S. Indian Agency 1820-1853”:

[10]:  Gilman, Rhoda R. (1991). The Story of Minnesota’s Past. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society.

[11]:  LAWRENCE TALIAFERRO: An Inventory of His Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society:

[12]:  Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center, “A Brief History of The Trail of Tears”, Cherokee Nation official website:

[13]:  President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress ‘On Indian Removal’ (1830):

[14]:  Gilman, Rhoda R. (1991). The Story of Minnesota’s Past. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society.

[15]:  Hall, Steve (1987). Fort Snelling: Colossus of the Wilderness. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press.

[16]:  Produced by the Oklahoma State University Library:

[17]:  Gilman, Rhoda R. (1991). The Story of Minnesota’s Past. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society.

[18]:  Hall, Steve (1987). Fort Snelling: Colossus of the Wilderness. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press.

[19]:  Official Portal for North Dakota State Government, The History & Culture of The Standing Rock Oyate:

[20]:  “The Treaty of Fort Laramie With Sioux, etc. 1851: Revisiting The Document Found in Kappler’s Indian Affairs: Laws & Treaties”:

[21]:  George Emory Fay, Military Engagements Between United States Troops and Plains Indians: Report of the Secretary of War on the inquiry into the Sand Creek Massacre, Museum of Anthropology, University of Northern Colorado, 1980, pp. 20, 43, 45

[22]:  Griske, Michael (2005). The Diaries of John Hunton. Heritage Books. pp. 62, 63. ISBN 0-7884-3804-2.

[23]:  Jacobson, Clair. 1991. The UnCivil War at Whitestone Hill. LaCrosse, WI: Pine Tree Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-0578018065

[24]:  Jacobson, Clair. 1991. The UnCivil War at Whitestone Hill. LaCrosse, WI: Pine Tree Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-0578018065

[25]:  Minnesota Historical Society, General Alfred Sully:

[26]:  Jacobson, Clair. 1991. The UnCivil War at Whitestone Hill, pages 99-111, LaCrosse, WI: Pine Tree Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-0578018065

[27]:  Lazarus, Edward. Black Hills/White Justice: The Sioux Nation versus the United States, 1775 to the Present. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. ISBN 978-0-8032-7987-2, page 38

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