Native Americans
The Sioux Wars

The Sioux Wars
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.32

     challenging words:    willfulness, wounding, determined, tribal, ignorance, satellite, destruction, federal, starvation, command, cavalry, reservation, refused, stalemate, heading, victory
     content words:    First Treaty, Fort Laramie, Civil War, Fetterman Massacre, Missouri River, Black Hills, South Dakota, Lakota Sioux, Chief Sitting Bull, General George Crook

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The Sioux Wars
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     The Sioux were the largest, most powerful tribe on the prairie. In the 1850's settlers began pushing themselves into Sioux territory. The First Treaty of Fort Laramie was supposed to mark the territory of all the tribes. The settlers, through ignorance or willfulness, ignored those borders. They slowly ate away at the tribal lands, turning them into farms and destroying the bison herds.
2     The government encouraged the destruction of the herds by commercial hunters, who killed as many as they could. Without that meat, the native people would have to stay on the reservations and wait for government handouts.
3     During the Civil War, the government was slow sending money to pay for the food and other necessities for the Sioux. The crops failed that year, and the people were near starvation. Traders had the food but refused to release it without payment.
4     In 1862, the Sioux broke in and took the food, but only that which they should have received. Others began an uprising that killed more than 500 German immigrants. More than 300 Sioux warriors were tried for the crimes, but only 38 were executed. Many of the Sioux there in Minnesota fled west to other relatives and reservations.
5     Then, in 1865, the federal government attempted to build a road through the western Sioux hunting grounds, but the people resisted. A band of Sioux warriors attacked and killed 80 soldiers in the December 1866 Fetterman Massacre. At that time the government promised that all the land west of the Missouri River would be kept for the Sioux people.

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