The Old West: 1866 - 1899
- Indian Wars
- The Railroads and
- Immigration to Kansas
By the 1850s, the Indian reservations that had been established in the 1830s
in Kansas were coveted by white settlers and businessmen. Frequently,
the United Sates government failed to protect the land given to the Indians in
earlier treaties. In addition, white settlers and hunters decimated the
herds the Indians needed for food, clothing and shelter. The
emigrant Indian tribes began selling off parts of their land in the mid 1850s.
In 1863, Congress authorized President Lincoln to remove all Indian tribes from
Kansas and move them to Indian territory in Oklahoma. A gathering of Indian
tribes and U.S. government officials in 1867 was held at
Medicine Lodge to sign treaties and move the Indians to
reservations in Oklahoma.
|Many of the Plains Indians in western Kansas
resisted being moved from their native lands. They fought those efforts from
1863 to 1878 as
Indian Wars were waged throughout the Great Plains during these
years. Kansas army forts and their troops, including the all-black
played a major role in defending the settlers from the Plains Indians during
In 1874, a band of Cheyenne Indians killed six surveyors in
Meade County in what became known as the
Lone Tree Massacre. During that summer, Indians killed 26
settlers along the Arkansas, Saline and Smoky Rivers.
The last Indian battle in Kansas occurred in September, 1878 at
Oberlin in Decatur County between the 19th Infantry and the
Cheyenne. The Indians were fleeing from the Indian Territory in Oklahoma to
their tribal lands in the Dakotas. The 19th Infantry commander, Lt. Colonel
William Lewis, was killed. The Indians continued north and killed 19
settlers before crossing into Nebraska. They were eventually tracked down
and captured by the U.S. Army in Nebraska.
Indian Totem Pole outside the
All Indian Center in Wichita
Study Guide Questions
- What caused the conflicts between the Indians living
in Kansas and the white settlers moving to Kansas?
- What happened to the Indian tribes living in Kansas
in the 1860s?
- How did many Plains Indians react to the loss of
their native lands?
Back to Top