Sitting Bull Essay

Submitted By JoeGaze
Words: 1017
Pages: 5

It is hard to say who is necessarily the sole person to blame for the downfall of the Lakota people in 1800’s America. Personally, there are many variables that are to blame from all parties after completing the reading. It is not based on solely one person, but the entire populations involved i.e. the Americans, the Lakota, and the governing bodies of both. The question of who was involved with the demise of the Lakota people is highly suggestive and relative to whoever is reading the book.

The Americans or the “Wassicuns” and the native people of the Lakota had typically little to no contact during the early years of the country. As the Gold Rushes in the West popped up, the push for Western expansion came around. The Lakota were not so friendly about giving up their land as the Americans had hoped, which created a lot of hostility. For instance, Gold was discovered in the Black Hills, an area that was once spiritually sacred to the Lakota. Settlers moved on to the Black Hills knowing that Gold was present. They came up with the alternative of moving the tribes to reservations where they would leave their old traditions and become “American.” However, that was met with mu The Buffalo was one of the Lakota’s main resources and settlers knew it. To try to make them succumb to move, the settlers would kill the buffalo for sport, and leave the carcass to rot. To make it even worse, they began to pour poison on the buffalo to render the meat useless to the Lakota which outraged them due to their religious beliefs and their beliefs in never wasting anything of the buffalo. The Americans would also create treaties that were never followed even after the leaders of the Tribes signed them forcing the Lakota to move into areas they would not go. Forcing them to look harder for buffalo, almost forcing that the reservations would be the best alternative for the preservation of their people. Forts were built in Lakota areas, almost corralling the tribes due to the hostility met at areas nearby the forts. The way the Lakota were treated by the ever growing opposition called America were one of the main reasons for their demise because they could not keep going, the opposition had bested them in the very end.

However, the Lakota themselves were their own downfall. Sitting Bull and Red Cloud had very opposite positions for the outcome of their people. Red Cloud was a huge advocate for the reservations, that there would be no reason to stay with their traditions. That it would not be for the best of the people to stay off the reservations. Meanwhile, Sitting Bull wanted nothing to do with the Wassicuns or the treaties they were trying to create. He wanted people to stay where they were, and do the things that were done for centuries and that their beliefs should be fought for. These 2 ideas split the Lakota in half on what to do and where to go, it divided the nation which made it easier for them to fall to the opposition. Their relationships with white Americans were another reason for their downfalls, as the Lakotas that did not move on to reservations did not trust them. The Americans were met with high hostility no matter what their intentions were because in a general sense they were always wanting to offer a treaty, or a price for the desirable parts of their land. The Lakota faced a lot of hardships, but if they had pulled together to form one united front, their outcome could have been drastically different. Had they not signed any treaties believing it was for peace. Had they all pulled together, they might have been able to hold off American advancement. If they weren’t so dependent on the buffalo, they could have held on for their beliefs a little bit longer.