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Treaty of Fort Laramie, 1868


As large numbers of white settlers poured across the Great Plains in the mid-nineteenth century,

Native Americans resisted white encroachment on their land. Plains Indians negotiated the first

Fort Laramie Treaty in 1851, which gave wagon trains a right-of-way over their territory in

exchange for the promise that the rest of their land would remain inviolate. By 1868, however,

the Indians were threatened once again as the United States sought to build the Bozeman Trail

across their hunting grounds to connect Fort Laramie to the newly discovered gold fields in

Montana. After fierce resistance from an alliance of the Cheyenne and Sioux tribes in the conflict

known as Red Cloud’s War, the United States agreed to this second Treaty of Fort Laramie,

which abandoned the Bozeman Trail and guaranteed the Indians control of the Black Hills and

other land in the Powder River valley forever.


Source: Charles J. Kappler, eds., Indian Affairs: Law and Treaties, Vol. II (Washington, D.C.:

Government Printing Office, 1904), 998–1003.


ARTICLES OF A TREATY MADE AND CONCLUDED BY AND BETWEEN Lieutenant

General William T. Sherman, General William S. Harney, General Alfred H. Terry, General O.

O. Augur, J. B. Henderson, Nathaniel G. Taylor, John G. Sanborn, and Samuel F. Tappan, duly

appointed commissioners on the part of the United States, and the different bands of the Sioux

Nation of Indians, by their chiefs and headmen, whose names are hereto subscribed, they being

duly authorized to act in the premises.


ARTICLE I.

From this day forward all war between the parties to this agreement shall forever cease.

The government of the United States desires peace, and its honor is hereby pledged to keep it.

The Indians desire peace, and they now pledge their honor to maintain it.

If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the

United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United

States will, upon proof made to the agent, and forwarded to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs

at Washington city, proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according

to the laws of the United States, and also reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained.

If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or

property of any one, white, black, or Indian, subject to the authority of the United States, and at

peace therewith, the Indians herein named solemnly agree that they will, upon proof made to

their agent, and notice by him, deliver up the wrongdoer to the United States, to be tried and

punished according to its laws, and, in case they willfully refuse so to do, the person injured shall

be reimbursed for his loss from the annuities, or other moneys due or to become due to them

under this or other treaties made with the United States; and the President, on advising with the

Commissioner of Indian Affairs, shall prescribe such rules and regulations for ascertaining

damages under the provisions of this article as in his judgment may be proper, but no one

sustaining loss while violating the provisions of this treaty, or the laws of the United States, shall

be reimbursed therefor.

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