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Lewis and Clark History
May 1804-August 1806
Lewis and Clark 101
National Geographic Society
Discovering Lewis & Clark
Journey of the Corps
of Discovery
Lewis and Clark Trail
Red Cloud
Red Cloud
Makhpiya-Luta (1822-1909)
Red Cloud
as Remembered by Ohiyesa
Red Cloud Indian School
a Catholic Institution
Chief Big Foot
AKA Si Tanka/Spotted Elk
Chief Big Foot
AKA Si Tanka/Spotted Elk
Chief Big Foot
AKA Si Tanka/Spotted Elk
Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride
Wiping The Tears
Si Tanka/Spotted Elk
From Wikipedia
Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull
Tatanka-Iyotanka (1831-1890)
Sitting Bull College
Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse
Tashunca-uitco (1849-1877)
Crazy Horse Memorial
Charles Eastman
Charles Eastman
(Ohiyesa) 1858-1939
Charles Alexander Eastman
(Ohiyesa) (1858-1939)
Luther Standing Bear
Chief of the Oglala
Luther Standing Bear
(Ota Kte, Mochunozhin) 1868-1939
Luther Standing Bear
From Wikipedia)
Zitkala Sa
Gertrude Simmons Bonnin
Zitkala Sa
Gertrude Simmons Bonnin
(Zitkala Sa)
Gertrude Simmons Bonnin
Zitkala-Sa - A Biography:
By Roseanne Hoefel
School Days of an Indian Girl
By Zitkala-Sa
Zitkala Sa
From Wikipedia
Great Sioux Nation
1868 Ft Laramie treaty
Tribal Historical Overview
Lakota Migration
Teaching With Documents:
Sioux Treaty of 1868
Fort Laramie Treaty, 1868
1868 Treaty
Apr. 29, 1868
Black Hills Gold
Little Big Horn
Black Hills Expedition
Black Hills Gold Rush
Battle of the Little Bighorn
Custers Last Stand
Little Bighorn Battlefield
National Monument
Wounded Knee Massacre 1890
Wounded Knee Massacre
December 1890
Imaging and Imagining
the Ghost Dance
Timeline of Events
Northern Plains Tribes
19th Century Decades
Wounded Knee Community

CIRCA 1890

The 1890s' marked the peak of a long era of trade between native peoples and settlers on the western frontiers of the United States.

Since 1800 westward exploration and expansion brought many settlers into our territories on the Northern plains. From the Lewis & Clark expedition around 1805, to the trappers, traders, miners and other settlers of the 1830s', 40s' and 50s'. These settlers found themselves face to face with the native peoples living there.

Although typically, historical focus is on the Indian Wars of the period, more could be said about other types of exchanges which took place. Particularly in the area of trade!

Some say trading was harmful to native people. Displacing traditional native items with trade items & impacting tribal traditions. Yet, consider how this exchange of goods and materials also enhanced or expanded native traditions.

Especially in Native decorative arts.

Lakota World

By 1890, our world on the northern plains had undergone radical change from the life we'd known. For the 50 year period ending in 1890, great changes were thrust upon our camps & our people. From the first wagon trails, to the arrival of the Iron Horse and the seemingly endless stream of settlers from the east, we were overrun. In this short time Gold was found in our lands and we'd fought many battles in an effort to stem the tide of invaders but it was hopeless. Eventually we signed Treaties, and began to adapt to the new ways.

By the end of 1890 Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and many other of our leaders had been killed or surrendered to the reservation life. Living on reservations we didn't hunt buffalo anymore, but instead got rations from reservation agents. Finally, our participation in the Ghost Dance religion resulted in the massacre of, Big Foots' band at Wounded Knee in December of 1890. So, the decade for us began in a tragic state.

1890s' Trade Period

Although "trading" began almost 100 years before, it flourished in the decade of the 1890s' for several reasons. Closer contact with Indians increased the interest on the part of Americans in "Indian things". This combined with the decreasing necessity for our actual use of some of these "Indian things", to set the foundation for the open market in Indian Trade Goods.

More critical to this was the harsh reality of inconsistent or withheld reservation rations by "Indian Agents". This condition acted as further motivation for native people to exchange their "Indian things" for much needed food goods, utensils or tools. So began the 1890s' period of Indian Trade.

The Greater World of 1890

From our world in the northern plains we couldn't see all of the vast wide world of 1890. Some among us did go out there to see, then returned to tell stories of it. Yet, it was only a glimpse of all that was actually taking place. We couldn't have known then of the greater events of the time and how they affected us!

We'd met the Iron Horse and we'd heard the Talking Wires but there was more to it than that. We didn't see that behind these things was the Industrial Age coming upon us. We'd heard of talking machines and moving pictures, but we didn't know about Standard Oil, the steel industry or advances in farm equipment. Though we'd soon find out. Over the next quarter century we'd see barbed wire, steel buildings, farms and ranches creeping across our lands.

We didn't know of Samual Morse, Alexander Bell or Thomas Edison, nor of what they had done, but we'd learn. In the boarding schools and missions we attended we'd come to know the greater world of 1890.

We'd never heard of Vincent Van Gogh, Tchaikovsky, or Ferdinand Von Zeppelin or of their deeds. Yet, before long we would venture out into that world to discover this and more. When we did, we were changed forever by what we witnessed and discovered.

Going Out & Coming Back!

Going out and coming back, many of our people brought things back. So, as we had adapted to the horse, we began adapting to all the new things that were now around us. For example, writing tools and a new language were taken, used and from this effort came the historical literary works of Charles Eastman, Zitkala Ska and later, Luther Standing Bear.

Similarly, with the arrival of new material goods such as beads, cloth and sewing tools. Our traditions of artistic expression through decorative arts were adapted too.




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created by Richard Two Elk
TWO ELK ENTERPRISE: Battle Dress Jewelry
Est.: MARCH 1999
Updated: JANUARY 2012