Custer Survey George Armstrong Custer (left center in light clothing) leads a military expedition into the Black Hills of Dakota Territory in 1874. Custer's incursion violated the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and laid the groundwork for war between the Lakota and the United States when he announced that gold had been discovered in this most sacred of the Lakota's lands. Photograph by William H. Illingworth. (National Archives 777-HQ-264-854)
Custer entered the Black Hills under the precept of searching for locations for future fort placement to enforce the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and keep white incursions from entering the area. Anyone that knew the truth also knew the deceit of President Grant's administration.
The U. S. was deep in an economic depression and President Grant, who included as a plank in his presidential election platform — NO WAR IN THE WEST — was looking for ways to improve the economy. Rumors had circulated for years that the Black Hills held substantial deposits of gold. The problem was, the Hills were guaranteed to the Lakota, in not only the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty, but also the 1868 Treaty also signed at Fort Laramie. The treaties specified that the government was obligated to keep whites out of the hills to protect Indian control of the land. Others in governmental positions spoke openly of annexation...if there was gold in them thar hills. Grant wanted to find out; is gold in the Black Hills?
Knowing that white encroachment was disallowed by the treaty, but also knowing that the Army had the rights to explore the area to search for suitable locations for forts to protect the Black Hills from white trespassers, the government considered ways to gain control of the hills. Grant also knew that the public would not stand for government annexation. What he did was not only a violation of the treaty, but also a breach of military etiquette, and misleading to the congress and the general public.
The Sioux must appear to start a war and he knew just how to make that happen. He formed a cabal, and planned a war while making it look as though military action was indeed a reaction to unwarranted native transgressions.
To understand the misdeeds done by the cabal, and how they began the steps necessary for the government to force the Lakota out of the region and gain control the Black Hills, explore the new release, Tears Of Sorrow and click here. To learn about the military action against the Dakota Sioux that opened the deceitful treaty system against the Sioux Nation study The Thirty-Ninth Man and click here.
At seventy-six, I’m at the beginning of a new chapter in a life filled with blessings from above, adventure, love of family, and kinships reaching into the heavens and to God himself. —AND— I love to tell a story.