Indian Wars

From 1817 to 1898 there were approximately 17 major conflicts and many smaller conflicts between Native Americans and white settlers and federal soldiers. These conflicts were known as the Indian Wars.

During this period in American history, Native American peoples were forcibly removed from their lands, relocated to established Indian territories with few provisions; thousands were imprisoned or murdered.

The U.S. Government used treaties as one means to displace Indians from their tribal lands, a mechanism that was strengthened with the Removal Act of 1830. In cases where this failed, the government sometimes violated both treaties and Supreme Court rulings to facilitate the spread of European Americans westward across the continent.

After the Civil War, as thousands of Americans poured into the Great Plains, homesteaders, ranchers, and miners further encroached on Indian lands and threatened their way of life. Settlers called on the U.S. Army to crush Indian resistance and confine tribes to government controlled reservations.

With the exception of a small number of Seminoles still resisting removal in Florida, by the 1840s, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, no Indian tribes resided in the American South. Through a combination of coerced treaties and the contravention of treaties and judicial determination, the United States Government succeeded in paving the way for the westward expansion and the incorporation of new territories as part of the United States.

By 1890, the Army had defeated any Native American opposition and called for all native peoples to either integrate into the general population as citizens or live peacefully on reservations.