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.
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.