Indians in the Southwest had a different background from that of others in the United States. The Spaniards, who ruled this territory for many years, believed in making them dependent on their masters. They did not settle the tribes on reservations or take them away from their hunting grounds. But they sometimes massacred whole villages if the people disobeyed them. Many Americans favored the same violent method. The whites would often start a fight, then call on the government to kill the "hostile" Indians.
Apaches terrorized Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico for many years. The Apache disliked reservation life. They were determined to live as they had in the past or die fighting. Their raids increased in the 1860's because the Civil War closed many frontier posts. Leaders such as Chochice, Victoria, Mangas Coloradas and Geronimo led small bands of brave, cruel warriors in hundreds of lightening attacks on lonely outposts. In 1873 and 1883, General George Crook led expeditions that returned the bands to reservations temporarily.
The Navajo of Arizona and New Mexico easily adopted the customs of the whites. But sometimes they raided settlements of Americans, Mexicans and other peaceful tribes. The government sent many expeditions against the Navajo, but fighting always broke out again. Finally, in 1863, Kit Carson marched with 400 men around the Navajo stronghold, the Canyon de Chilly in northeast Arizona. His troops killed much livestock and destroyed many crops. In 1864 they entered the canyon and captured the remaining Navajo. They were taken to Fort Sumner in New Mexico and imprisoned there until 1868.
One other significant conflict took place somewhat earlier. In 1680-1692, the Pueblo Revolt occurred. Spaniards began moving into what is now Arizona and New Mexico as early as 1540. They conquered more than 100 villages. Spanish soldiers and priests set up a forced-labor system almost like slavery and prevented the desert people from worshiping their ancient gods. Finally they struck back. Led by Pope from San Juan pueblo, they attacked several Spanish settlements
in August 1680. 400 Spaniards were killed and they besieged 1,000 more in Santa Fe. After several days without water, the Spaniards escaped to El Paso del Norte [now El Paso, Texas}] and Pope became the master of New Mexico.
The desert people were then able to rule for 12 years and destroyed almost every trace of the Roman Catholic Church. But Spanish soldiers under Diego de Vargas easily reconquered the territory in 1692, after Pope's death.
[by Michael D. Green]
A Shawnee Indian chief became a central figure in Indian wars in Ohio in the late 1700's. He became alarmed when a conflict between other Ohio Indians and Virginians led to an invasion by two armies in 1774. Cornstalk feared the Virginians would overrun Ohio, and so he led a Shawnee army against one of the Virginian forces. His warriors were defeated in the Battle of point Pleasant in October 1774. In 1777, Cornstalk was visiting Point Pleasant when other Indians killed a settler. A mob took revenge by killing Cornstalk, his son and three other Shawnee. These murders led to years of warfare in Ohio.
CRAZY HORSE [1844?-1877]
[by Jerome A. Greene]
Crazy Horse was an Oglala Sioux Indian chief . In 1875, the United States government ordered Crazy Horse and other Sioux to enter a reservation. They refused. In 1876, Crazy Horse led the Sioux and Cheyenne who defeated General George Crook in the Battle of the Rosebud in Montana. Eight days later, he led the Indians in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and his command were wiped out.
As a boy, Crazy Horse was named Curly. After his first great war deed, his father, who was himself named Crazy Horse, gave his name to the boy. Crazy Horse had light skin and hair. He had a quiet manner. He had unusual spiritual powers. The Sioux called him their "strange one".
In 1877, Crazy Horse voluntarily surrendered to American troops. Crazy Horse was in 1877 at Fort Robinson Nebraska, by a soldier, while the chief was being forced into a jail cell. A gigantic figure of Crazy Horse is being sculptured out of a mountain in the black hills of South Dakota.
SITTING BULL [1834?-1890]
[by Beatrice Medicine]
He was a famous medicine man and leader of the Hunkpapa band of the Teton Sioux Indians. Many people think he was the leader of the Indians at the battle of the Little Bighorn, on June 25,1876, in which Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer died. Actually, Sitting Bull acted only as the leading medicine man in preparation for the battle. The year before he received a vision that all his enemies would be delivered into his hands.
In the spring of 1876, Sitting Bull led a sun dance at which he told the Indians to change their way of fighting. Instead of showing off to prove their bravery, they should fight to kill, or they would lose all their lands to the white people. This new tactic led to the victory over Custer.
CAPTAIN JACK [1837-1873]
[by W. Jean Hurtado ]
Captain Jack was a leader of the Modoc Indians. He led his tribe against the Army during the Modoc War [ 1872-1873].
The tribe lived mainly in the Lost River Valley and around Tule Lake, on the California-Oregon border. In 1864, the government moved the Modoc to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon, but they could not support themselves there. Captain Jack led part of his tribe back to the Lost River Valley in 1872.