One [infantry] battalion...left
Fort Lyon [Colorado] on the night of the 28th of November, 1864;
about daybreak on the morning of the 29th of November we came
in sight of the camp of friendly [Cheyenne and Arapaho] Indians...and
were ordered by Colonel [J.M.] Chivington to attack the same,
which was accordingly done....Going over the battle ground the
next day I did not see a body of man, woman, or child but was
scalped, and in many instances their bodies were mutilated in
the most horrible manner--men, women, and children's privates
cut out etc.; I heard one man say that he had cut out a woman's
private parts and had them for exhibition on a stick; I heard
another man say that he had cut fingers off an Indian to get
the rings on the hand....
Sand Creek massacre, 1864
Whatever you wanted of me I
have obeyed. The Great Father sent me word that whatever he
had against me in the past had been forgiven and thrown aside,
and I have accepted his promises and came in. And he told me
not to step aside from the white man's path, and I am doing
my best to travel in that path. I sit here and look around me
now, and I see my people starving. We want cattle to butcher.
That is the way you live, and we want to live the same way.
Sitting Bull, 1883
It was natural, at a time when
the national territory seemed almost illimitable and contained
many millions of acres far outside the bounds of civilized settlements,
that a policy should have been initiated which more than aught
else has been the fruitful source of our Indian complications.
I refer, of course, to the policy of dealing with the various
Indian tribes as separate nationalities, of relegating them
by treaty stipulations to the occupancy of immense reservations
in the West, and of encouraging them to live a savage life,
undisturbed by any earnest and well directed efforts to bring
them under the influences of civilization.
The unsatisfactory results which
have sprung from this policy are becoming apparent to all. As
the white settlements have crowded the borders of the reservations,
the Indians, sometimes contentedly and sometimes against their
will, have been transferred to other hunting grounds, from which
they have again been dislodged whenever their new-found homes
have been desired by the adventurous settlers. These removals
and the frontier collisions by which they have often been preceded
have led to frequent and disastrous conflicts between the races....
The government has of late been
cautiously but steadily feeling its way to the adoption of a
policy...to introduce among the Indians the customs and pursuits
of civilized life and gradually to absorb them into the mass
of our citizens, sharing their rights and holden to their responsibilities....
President Chester Arthur defending
the Dawes Plan, 1881
The President of the United
States be...authorized...to allot; the lands in said reservation
in severalty to any Indian located thereon in quantities as
To each head of a family, one-quarter of a section;
To each single person over eighteen years of age, one-eighth
of a section;
To each orphan child under eighteen years of age, one-eighth
of a section....
Sec. 6. That upon the completion of said allotments and the
patenting of the lands to said allottees, each and every member
of the respective band or tribes of Indians...shall...be subject
to the laws, both civil and criminal, of the State or Territory
in which they may reside.
Dawes Severalty Act of l887