|Between 1876 and
1877, the U.S. Army battled Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Indians
in a series of vicious conflicts known today as the Great Sioux War.
After the defeat of Custer at the Little Big Horn in June 1876, the
army responded to its stunning loss by pouring fresh troops and
resources into the war effort. In the end, the U.S. Army prevailed, but
at a significant cost.
|In this unique
contribution to American western history, Paul L. Hedren examines the
war’s effects on the culture, environment, and geography of the
northern Great Plains, their Native inhabitants, and the Anglo-American
Hedren explains, U.S.
military control of the northern plains following the Great Sioux War
permitted the Northern Pacific Railroad to extend westward from the
Missouri River. The new transcontinental line brought hide hunters who
targeted the great northern buffalo herds and ultimately destroyed
them. A de-buffaloed prairie lured cattlemen, who in turn spawned their
own culture. Through forced surrender
of their lands and lifeways, Lakotas and Northern Cheyennes now
experienced even more stress and calamity than they had endured during
the war itself. The victors, meanwhile, faced a different set of
challenges, among them providing security for the railroad crews, hide
hunters, and cattlemen.
Hedren is the first scholar to examine the events of 1876–77 and
aftermath as a whole, taking into account relationships among military
leaders, the building of forts, and the army’s efforts to
the war and its victims. Woven into his narrative are the voices of
those who witnessed such events as the burial of Custer, the laying of
railroad track, or the sudden surround of a buffalo herd. Their
personal testimonies lend both vibrancy and pathos to this story of
irreversible change in Sioux Country..
and Transformation in Sioux Country
by Paul L. Hedren
University of Oklahoma Press, 2011
Out of the