“The Only Good Indian…”
In This Chapter
Indian roles in the Civil War
The Santee Sioux Uprising
The victory of Red Cloud
Futile campaigns, the War for the Black Hills, and Custer’s Last Stand
Defeat of the Nez Perce and Geronimo
Massacre at Wounded Knee
The West was a land of many dreams, but what we seem to remember most vividly are the nightmares. On the vast stage of prairie and mountain, the last act of a four-century tragedy was played out. The curtain had been raised by the crew of Christopher Columbus, who clashed with the people they called Indians on an island they called Hispaniola. From then on, warfare between Native Americans and European Americans was chronic and continual. When whites and Indians did not start wars between themselves, Indians became embroiled in wars between whites: the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and finally, the Civil War.
Read any standard history of the Civil War, and you will learn that this epic struggle was mainly an eastern conflict. In the West, battles were smaller and less frequent, yet often, they were uglier.