Monday, November 9, 2009
This date in "Year Of" history...
On November 9, 1875, Indian Inspector E.C. Watkins submitted a report to Washington DC, stating that hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne associated with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were "hostile" to the United States. The government responded with an order that the Native Americans "be informed that they must remove to a reservation before the 31st of January, 1876" or else they would be "turned over to the War Department for punishment."
Of course, since this decree was issued in November, by the time couriers delivered the message to these "hostile Indians" it was already winter. The government expected the Sioux to travel approximately 200 hundred miles across frozen ground with no provisions for themselves or grass for their ponies (or maybe they didn't expect it at all). When the Sioux missed their deadline, the matter was turned over to the War Department. In March of 1876, General Philip Sheridan ordered in the troops. Among the officers leading the forced removal? General George Armstrong Custer.
(Source: history.com. In photograph: Chief Sitting Bull)