Buffalo And Small Pox In The American West 1860's

1742 words - 7 pages

Jeffrey Ross Prof. Green February 7, 2002 Paper I From 1000 A.D. to about 1860, the area west of the Mississippi River in North America, had been that off collisions between people, animals, and the environment. Many of these contacts led to a drastic change in the way animals and indigenous people lived. There are four aspects related to this time period and the conflicts involved. The first would be the major areas and points of conflict between the indigenous peoples of this region. Another would be a follow up and it will cover the causes and consequences of these interactions. Similar to the fist aspect, the points of conflict will be identified again but on the terms of discussing the long and short-term resolutions of the contact between the Europeans and the Native Americans. The third aspect that will be discussed is that of the interaction between the humans of North America and the animals. The final aspect that will be talked about will be towards the animals and how their relationship was with their human contact. The areas of which conflict occurred between the Europeans and the Native Americans were all over the country. The "New World" as the Europeans called it was not a new world for the Native Americans and because of this, they had many problematic encounters. One major area of contact with the indigenous peoples and the Europeans was with the Sioux Indians in what is now known as the state of Wyoming. "In the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, the United States government granted the Indians the right to continue hunting on certain lands "˜so long as the buffalo may range thereon in such numbers as to justify the chase.'" There were a number of buffalo that once inhabited virtually all of North America mostly in that of the Trans-Mississippi West. The cause of this terrible interaction was because the United States knew that the buffalo were a big part in the way of life with the Sioux. They had great spiritual background as well a having a dependency on the life of the indigenous peoples. Their theory was if they eliminated the buffalo, they would eliminate the Sioux. The Sioux were a vicious tribe and were fairly unbeatable in a war with the Europeans. The government thought, "Since the United States Army was unable to defeat the elusive equestrian Indian enemies in a pitched battle, they would wage war on the animals on which the Indians depended" (Calloway 121). There were many consequences that the Sioux had to overcome with the slaughtering of the buffalo. "Buffalo provided the Plains Indians with just about everything they needed: food; tepee skins, robes and clothing; weapons, tools, utensils, and glue made from horns, bones and hooves; bags and buckets made from beef paunches or the membranes around the heart; bowstrings made from buffalo gut" (Calloway 121). As you can see the dependence of buffalo for the Sioux, and the Plains Indians as well, was very...

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