Western Reservations c. 1890

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Map Code: Ax01274

After a mid-19th century influx of miners and migrants into the Great Plains and California, the resident Native American tribes resisted. Having already been pushed into reservations in the 1830 Trail of Tears (the forced movement of certain Native Americans tribes into reservations), their homelands were again under threat. After a skirmish between Plains Indians and Colorado gold miners in 1858, the US government insisted that the Indians remain on ‘areas of federal land set aside for [them]’. This meant that more Native Americans were corralled into reservations where, no longer free to hunt bison, they lost their freedom and livelihood. Many abandoned the Great Plains and moved southwest and westwards. When gold was discovered in South Dakota in 1874, the Sioux Indians were told by the US authorities to move away from the mining region, prompting war. In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre in South Dakota led to the deaths of 150–300 Lakota (Sioux) Indians.

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