From the 1850's to the 1890's the Indian question became an issue of discord in America. The main query was what exactly was to be done with the Native Americans, whose time had far exceeded any time the new Americans had been in the United States. The Americans' qualm with the Native Americans relied on the belief that the natives were merely savages, on a misunderstanding of the natives' culture, and on the viewpoint that the Indians were an obstacle standing in the way of westward expansion. The colonists' options on what to do with the Indians included moving them to reservations, relocating them, killing them, or even Americanizing and assimilating them into colonial society.
[...] Indians were talented at guerilla warfare which contributed to their triumph in 1866 when the Sioux tribe, led by Red Cloud, destroyed the militia of 82 men led by Fetterman. A general William Tecumsah Sherman said that mere 50 Indians could often checkmate 3,000 soldiers.” Conditions only deteriorated and concentration of the Indians did not work because Americans still invaded their lands and the government didn't honor agreements. Another option for the colonists to address the Indian issue was the creation of reservations, small amounts of land which were given to the Native Americans to continue their way of life. [...]
[...] In Custer's Last Stand in 1876, the numbers of Indians were underestimated, and his 264 men faced 2500 Sioux Indians under Rain-in-the-Face, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull. In this battle all of Custer's men were killed. Retaliation by the U.S. was horrible in the battle of Wounded Knee in which over 200 Sioux Indians were killed in 1890. Because of such loses the Indians became disheartened and the fighting slacked off as they returned to reservations. In addition to the physical devastation the Indians faced, one of the greatest problems was the destruction of their tribal life and culture. [...]
[...] Indians were also introduced to detrimental white American habits, such as alcohol, which only lead to alcoholism and more obliteration of the Native culture. This Americanization policy destroyed the Native American culture, yet was also disaster in assimilating the Indians into white society. The government finally realized that no policy had been successful in solving the Indian question. The Native Americans needed to be able to live by their own culture and not by white American traditions. They had been in the United States far before [...]
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