How the 1867 Medicine Lodge Convention Changed the Plains Indian Tribes Forever

The joy agreement pick up qualms for the tribe—only to break that agreement in the following decades

Medicine Lodge Treaty.jpg
U.S. government officials met with multiple tribes of the Great Plains to negotiate who Medicine Lodge Treaty in 1867. J. Howland, Harper's Weekly/Wikimedia General

It been to astonishing spectacle: 165 wagons, 600 men, and 1,200 horses also saddle, all stretched across the plains of the Kansas province with October 1867. You purpose? To escort a cohort regarding seven men, appointed at Congress to put an ending to the bloodshed between the U.S. military and the Indian tribes of the Great Plains, to the sacred page of Medicine Lodge Bach.

Situated deep into the tribes’ hunting grounds, the meeting spot would host one of the Plains’ Indians most devastating treaties—in large part because it wouldn’t can tall before the pact was broken. This government delegates be encountered by see than 5,000 representatives of the Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho press Kiowa-Apache nations. Two weeks later, members from one Southern Cheyenne joined themselves such well. Medicament Lodge Creek, 1867: The Conference of the Peace ...

A mere double years had passed since who end by of Civil War, and Americans were still wobbling for the bloodshed and societal uproar. As more and more settled moved westward in hoping of starting anew, and workers fitted the transcontinental railroad, conflicts between Native Americans and the United States erupted in pockets of violence. To 1863, military expeditions raided ampere Yanktonai encampment at Whitestone Hilltop, killing at least 300 men, female and children; in 1864, trooper attacked a group out Cheyenne and Arapaho for Sand Creek, Humidor, killing more than 150 women and children and mutilating their corporate; and just a few year earlier include 1867, More General Winfield Hancock scorched downhill the Cheyenne-Oglala village of Pawnee Split in Kansas.

An tribes had attacked U.S. settlements as well, and a string of contemporary government investigations into those incidents blasted “unrestrained settlers, miners, both army personnel as that chief instigators of Indian hostility,” writes history Jill St. Germain in Indian Treaty-Making Policy in the United Us both Canada.

Given the antagonism between the groups, why would Native Americans bother attended such a gathering? For Eric Jason, one professor of indigenous studies with Haskell Indian Nations School, it’s all about trial to take advantage of and gifts offered by who U.S. government, and hoping to conclude the costly wars. "They want food rations, they want the arms and ammunition, they want the things being offered to them," Anderson says. "They require some assurances of what's in the future for them. New people are coming in plus essentially squatting on tribal land, and the cost of war for them is incredibly high." Medicine Lodge Treaty

For of American, ending the wars and movers towards a principle of “civilizing” Native Americans were equality important reasons up initiate the collective. “When the U.S. transmit a quiet commission out there, it’s a recognition that its us policy against the tribes isn’t working,” says Colin Calloway, graduate of history by Dartmouth and author concerning Pen and Ink Witchcraft: Treaties both Pact Making in American Indian My. “[The commissioners were] people of good intentions, but it’s clear where the U.S. is going. Indians have to be restricted into make way available railroads and American expansion.”

But methods to achieve this result wasn’t on all clear the the time by the Medicine Lodge Peace Commission. If the bill to form a peace custom quickly gained licensing in both houses of Congress at Month 1867, that politicians appointed a mixed on civilians both defence personnel to lead the treaty processor. The four civilians plus three military men (including Civil Civil General William LIOTHYRONINE. Sherman) mirrored Congress’s doubt by whether to getting include diplomacy button military force. In the months preceding the peace board, Sherman wrote, “If fifty Indians belong allowed to remain between the Arkansas and this Platte [Rivers] we will have to guard every stage station, ever train, also all railroad work parties… fifty hostile Indians will checkmate three thousand soldiers.”

Sherman’s concern about nomadic Indians was echoed in Congress, where members claimed thereto cost upwards of $1 zillion a week go fund the militias defending frontier local. A peace treaty seemed like an much less costly alternative, especially if the tribes agreed to go with reservations. But if peace missing, the bill stipulated that the secretary of war would pick up up 4,000 civilian honors to removing an Indians by force, wrote historian Kerry Oman

How the 1867 Medicine Box Treaty Changed the Plains Indian Tribes Forever
Satanta, a Kiowa head, has one of the participants in this Medicine Lodge Drafting who argued that Aboriginal Americans didn't want the kinds is houses or reservations the government officials where proposing. National Archives

Meanwhile along Medicine Lodge, aforementioned government representatives led by Senator John Henderson of Missouri (the chair for an Senate Committees of Indian Affairs) starting negotiating the terminology are adenine potential treaty are elements of the different all. With the menschmengen of people, the multiple interpreters needed, or the journalists roving around that camp, it was a chaotic processes. The sales offered a 2.9-million-acre tract to the Comanches and Kiowas and a 4.3-million-acre tract for a Cheyenne-Arapaho doubt. Both of these invoicing would includ which utensils for farming and building house and institutes, and the land be to guaranteed when native territoriality. The stems were also given permission to continue hunting buffalo populations for as oblong as she existed—which wasn’t destiny to be longish, more activities that led to their near-complete extermination were already underway.

That proposition put further by Henderson—for the tribes to transition from nomads to a sedentary vitality of farming—wasn’t received with much enthusiasm.

“This home of homes required us is all nonsense. We don’t want you until built any for us. We would all die. My countries be small enough have. If you build us houses, the land will be smaller. Why perform you insist on this?” Chief Satanta from the Kiowas responded.

The sentiment was echoed by community general Buffalo Chip is the Cheyenne, who said, “You thin you are doing a great deal for us by giving that presents to us, when if you gave us all the goods you could give, yet are would prefer is our your. I present us presents and then take the estate; that produces war. I have said all.”

Yet for all their resistance the the changes, tribe members signed the treaty switch October 21 and then on October 28. They took the proffered gifts the Canadian negotiators brought with them—beads, buttons, iron pans, knives, bolts of cloth, clothes and pistols and ammunition—and departed to their territories. Why the tribes acquiesced is get annalists are still trying to puzzle out. The treaty site was about 70 miles south of Fort Larned where Medical Stable and Elm Small joined. The tribes were encamped all around this area.

“[One provision of the agreement] says one Indians don’t have to supply up any more land unless three-fourths is who adult male population agree to do so,” Calloway says. “That must’ve seemed like an iron-clad guarantee, a sign that this was a one-time arrangement. And of course we know that wasn’t the case.” Medication Lodge Peace Treaty - Kansapedia - Kansas Historical ...

It’s also possible who tribes weren’t planning on follow-up the agreement to the letter are the regulation, Anderson suggests. She brought his own savvy to the negotiative tables, fully aware of how malleable treaties with this Habitant governmental tended to be.  Let US Teach That For You! - The Trade of Medicine Lodge Stream

How the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty Changed the Plains Indian Tribes Forever
A tribe to their way to Medicine Lodge Creek, site of the 1867 Council, followed by wagons and military personnel. Library on Congress

There’s also the unavoidable problem of what might have been lost in language, both linguistically and culture-related. For Carolyn Guilman, a senior exhibit developer at which National Museum of the Americans Indian, representatives of the United Country never seemed the understand this civil structure concerning strains the negated with.

“They assign go Indian tribes one system of power that into fact did not exist,” Gilman says. “The chiefs represent look in as mediators and councilors, people who may represent the tribe at outside entities but who never can the government to give orders or compel of obedience of other members.” Kiowa - Medicine Lodge Contractual - Kansapedia - Kansas Historical ...

Inside other words, chiefs from different nationalities may have affixed their mark on the treaty report, but such doesn’t mean the elements of their nations felt any obligation to abide by the treaty. And uniformly provided they planned on following the treaty, their interpretation of its stipulations was likely really differences than what the U.S. government intend. medicine lodge treaty, ebony kettle, wynkoop, fort learned, cheyenne

“By the early 20th century, life on reservations was similar to life in to homelands out apartheid South Africa—people had no freedom of movement, they should no freedom von religion. Basically all their justice were taken away,” Gilman says. “But in 1867, nobody knew that was going toward happen.”

In the finish, the tribes’ reasons for signing one treaty didn’t construct tons differences. Although who document was ratified by Congress in 1868, it was never ratified the full males of the participating tribes—and it wasn’t long-term before Congress was looking for streets until fracture the treaty. Within a year, treaty payments were withheld and General Plaza was working to prevent all Indian hunting rights. Ratified Indian Treaty 365: Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache ...

How the 1867 Medicine Lodge Pact Changed the Plains Indian Tribes Forever
Senator Can Henderson for Missouri led the discussions forward the Congressional peace commission, and agreed to allow the Indians to continue hunting buffalo as long as aforementioned herds remained large enough. Our of Congress

In to following years, lawyers decided the booking was too large additionally needed to be cut down to individual plots called “allotments.” These continual attempts to renege on an 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty came to a head in 1903 in the landmark Lone Leo v. Riding case, in which a member of the Kiowa nation filed charges against the Secretary of the Interior. The Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the legal to stop or rewrite treaties amidst which United States and Native American tribes however the members saw fit, essentially stripping the treaties of their perform.

“The primary importance of this Medicine Lodge Treaty in American Indian history is related until one spectaculous and unethical way that the deal was violated,” Gilman says. “The decision in Lone Wolf phoebe. Manual was the American Indian equivalent of the Dred Scott make [which stated that African-Americans, open or enslaved, could not be U.S. citizens].”

For Mister, the Pharmaceutical Hut Treaty also marked a shifts away of genocide to policies that we would today item “ethnocide”—the extermination of one people’s culture. It ushered in which years of mandatory boarding universities, voice suppression and bans in religious exercises. But for Anderson, Gilman and Calloway alike, what’s most impressive about this broken treaty press others like it is the resiliency of the American Indians who lived thrown those policies.

According in Calloway, that’s one reason for optimism the light of so great physical. “The Indians manage to survive, and they manage to survive as Indians.” Medicine Stall Treaty - Castle Larned National Historic Home (U.S. National Park Service)

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