The Devastating Yakima Wars Essay

1285 words - 5 pages

Had refusing the treaty that America tried to force on them hurt the Plateau Indians severely? Did retaliation cause them to almost come to complete annihilation? My position is that yes, the Plateau Indians made a bad decision when they refused the treaty by the United States, and that more of the Indians would have survived if they’d just moved on to the reservation like they were asked. None of the Yakima Wars would have happened if the Indians would’ve just extinguished their pride, and went peacefully onto a reservation where their people did not have to worry about fighting the whites. The main cause of this conflict was the desire of the United States citizens to move west. If they hadn’t believed in Manifest Destiny, and had the pioneers and government not wanted Indian territory, the treaty would have never been made and the Indians wouldn’t have retaliated the way they did.
The official conflict is that that the citizens and government of the U.S. had almost completely wiped out the Plateau Indians. The Yakima Wars consisted of many people and groups or tribes such as; Gov. Stevens, Kamaikin (Yakima chief), Owhi, Skloom, Showaway, Andrew J. Bolon, Peupeumoxmox (Walla Walla chief), H.W.A. Slaughter, Qualchan, Major Rains, General Wool, Colonel Steptoe, and all of the plateau Indians including the Yakima, the Shoshone, the pauites, the Walla Walla, etc. the Yakima Wars took place during the mid 1850’s until 1858 (Lambert, 150). The Yakima wars took place in eastern Washington at many places and or sites, like Four lakes, the Spokane Plains, the Cascade Mountains, Yakima, Fort Benton, Fort Simcoe, Fort Walla Walla, Walla Walla valley, Union Gap, in addition to a few others. (Schuster, 56)

There were many causes for the Yakima wars. One of them was in fact the making and signing of a treaty stating that the Indians were to cede millions of acres of land to the settlers, and that they were to be moved to a reservation. The making of the treaty was a problem and a conflict for several reasons. One is that the Indians didn’t like it. They were very afraid of being moved onto a reservation. They hated being on reservations because they knew that the Americans were going to put them on the same reservation as 40 other tribes. Plus they didn’t want to move onto the same place with an enemy tribe!(Schuster 65) Neither would I. They would probably get into a fight or an all out war actually! Furthermore there were hardly any resources for one tribe, so how were they going to feed several? Especially when there were hundreds in each tribe! (Lambert, 150) Another reason the Indians didn’t like the treaty was because they couldn’t tell if the Americans were telling the truth, America had broken promises and ripped up treaties with other nations and tribes before, why not this one? Then there was the reason about not wanting to cede their land. It was theirs to keep. They had rightfully claimed that land and who were the settlers to take it? They...

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