Although almost all eastern lands in Nebraska had been ceded to whites by 1854, the Sioux and the Cheyenne remained the owners of the western lands. In the early 1860s an Oglala Sioux chief, Red Cloud, fought to keep the U.S. Army from opening the Bozeman Trail, which led to the Montana goldfields and crossed an important Oglala hunting area in Nebraska and South Dakota. In 1866 Red Cloud assumed leadership of a group of Sioux and Cheyenne that opposed the construction that year of three army forts to protect travelers on the Bozeman Trail. For two years Red Cloud and his allies besieged these forts, and after long negotiations, in 1869 Red Cloud and the U.S. government signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie, under which the United States agreed to abandon the Bozeman Trail.
The U.S. government, however, deceived Red Cloud; the treaty also included a provision that relocated the Sioux from Nebraska to a reservation in what is now South Dakota. Many Sioux, who opposed the agreement, refused to move to the reservation and continued fighting.
In 1874 Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led mining experts on an expedition into the Black Hills of South Dakota and discovered gold; whites poured into the area. To keep their land free of occupation by white settlers, Crazy Horse, an Oglala Sioux leader, and Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Sioux leader, joined forces. On June 25, 1876, Custer and the Seventh Cavalry attacked the camps of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull on the banks of the Little Bighorn River in what is now Montana.
In the ensuing Battle of the Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse and his warriors killed Custer and most of his cavalry. The U.S. Army then pursued Crazy Horse, who finally surrendered in northwestern Nebraska on May 6, 1877.
Ultimately almost all the Native Americans remaining in Nebraska were removed to reservations outside the state, most in what is now Oklahoma. The exceptions were the Santee Sioux in Knox County, the Omaha in Thurston County, and the Winnebago in Cuming County. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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