In the second half of the 18th century the Sioux peoples had moved to new hunting grounds in an area that covered most of what is now South Dakota as well as parts of North Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana. In 1823 Lakota, Yanktonai, and Yankton Sioux joined a U.S. attack on the Arikara, and within 10 years had driven them into what is now North Dakota, thus becoming sole owners of some 20 million hectares (50 million acres) within the present boundaries of South Dakota as well as surrounding lands of roughly equal size.
As in other states and with other native peoples, however, a pattern of assault and counterassault developed as white miners and settlers pushed onto Sioux lands after the middle of the 19th century. The Sioux peoples, particularly the Lakota (Oglala and Brulé), resisted the loss of land they considered theirs.
The first clash was in 1854 near Fort Laramie, Wyoming. U.S. soldiers killed the Brulé Sioux chief while attempting to arrest a Minneconjou for killing a cow, and 19 U.S. soldiers were killed in return. In retaliation, in 1855 U.S. troops killed as many as 85 Brulé Sioux warriors at their encampment in what is now Nebraska, captured about 70 women and children, and imprisoned their chief. In 1858 Yankton tribal leaders, in a weak position and aware that war with the whites was the only way to stop white immigration, decided instead to sell most of their land east of the Missouri River in what is now South Dakota, retaining a reservation of only 174,021 hectares (430,000 acres). Their treaty opened to white settlement a fertile triangle between the Big Sioux and Missouri rivers comprising 4,514,790 hectares (11,155,890 acres).
In the early 1860s the Oglala Sioux leader Red Cloud fought to keep the U.S. Army from opening the Bozeman Trail, which led to the Montana goldfields through Sioux hunting areas in the Dakota Territory. Between 1866 and 1868 Red Cloud and his allies besieged forts along the trail until in 1868 the U.S. government agreed to abandon it. Red Cloud signed the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie on April 29, 1869. The U.S. government agreed to close the Bozeman Trail, and in the treaty included a provision that assured Sioux ownership of the Great Sioux Reservation—more than 24 million hectares (60 million acres) west of the Missouri River, most of them in what is now South Dakota. Not all Sioux signed the treaty, although nearly all Lakotas and some Yanktonais lived on the reservation. "South Dakota" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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