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The war like Sioux driven to the Rocky Mountains, are compelled to make their last fight (and no insignificant one at that,) for tribal existence.
In just one hundred years after the Declaration of our National Independence, the Government is engaged in the expensive, perplexing and perilous effort to drive the last nail in the coffin of American Pagan existence. It will ultimately succeed but at what cost time alone can determine.
We are beginning to realize the enormous contract we are pledged to fill. The strength, as well as the bravery of the Sioux, has been greatly misrepresented. They can certainly bring into the field 20,000 warriors, and twice as many troops will be required to thoroughly and quickly subdue them. With homes in the wilderness of the mountains and forests, strange to say they are better mounted for this country and purpose than the United States’ Army backed with 500 millions of annual revenue and 40 millions of people. They are equally well armed and superior shots. Finally, from the very nature of their individual style of fighting, they are magnificent skirmishers-the best in the world; and necessarily the deployed line must be most frequently used in Indian warfare.
The fall of the chivalric Custer and his brave command, will be but a drop in the bucket of the sacrifice of human life and treasure.
To understand the extent of the Indian war the Government has upon its hands, it is necessary to have a correct knowledge of the position and power of the hostile Sioux and their allies. In one of the late reports of the Commissioner of Indian affairs the location of the different agencies is given, with the number and condition of the Indians on each reservation. The entire Indian population of the United States, exclusive of Alaska, is estimated at 295,084. In Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, there are nearly 70,000, divided as follows:
|Sisseton Agency (Sioux)||687||582||1,264|
|Devil’s Lake Sioux||434||586||1,020|
|Grand River Sioux||6,269|
|Cheyenne River (Sioux)||6,000|
|Upper Missouri (Sioux||1,600||1,395||2,995|
|Fort Berthold (Gros Ventres, Mandan and Arickarees)||901||1,202||2,510|
|Flandreau special (Sioux)||100|
|Blackfeet Agency (Blackfeet, Bloods and Piegan)||7,500|
|Milk River Agency (Sioux)||10,625|
|At other agencies and wandering||14,000|
|Red Cloud Agency (Sioux and Cheyenne)||9,177|
|Total number in hostile country||68,638|
According to the estimates given in the same report, about sixty per cent are women; this gives 27,000 warriors within the Indian Territory, which, considering the number of bands that have never settled at any of the reservations, is a low estimate of their strength. According to the same calculation the Sioux and Cheyenne, now openly at war would be able to bring nearly 22,000 men into the field. From all accounts received from the seat of war, one fact seems clear, and it is that the estimate made as to the number of Indians actually on the war path and operating against the troops is below the real number.
Had the Indians been compelled, at an early day to adopt agriculture and stock raising for the chase individualization of their property submission to territorial government as wards of the nation the sale of intoxicating drinks visited with the penitentiary, had. they at the same time been furnish with schools and honest missionaries, the result might have been vastly different.
Strange that a philosophy so false should have been pursued for a hundred years by the most en-lightened nation on earth, until annihilation becomes absolutely necessary to close the scene.
When we were a boy, we caught a young gray fox before his eyes were opened. We tamed him to the playfulness of a kitten, but as he grew up a “gray fox,” he, one morning, took our fingers with the meat, and the result was annihilation to the fox. Such is Indian history. Moral suasion is useless-there are hardly exceptions enough to establish the rule.
On the old Government map of 1842 accompanying the official report of N. Nicollet and J. C. Fremont, of astronomical and barometrical observations and surveys of the hydrographical basin of the Mississippi (luring the year 1836, to and including 1840, and long before the territory now composing Minnesota was christened, and before St. Paul was dubbed ” Pigs Eye, ” this territory was appropriated to and known and divided up as reservations for different sub-Indian bands.
The portion south of Fort Snelling and east of “Mankasa” (Mankato) was known as War-pe ku-te country. All west of Mankato River, and southwest of the Upper “Minnesotah,” was known as the War-pc-ton and Sisseton country.