Treaty of Fort Laramie

(1868)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

Article I

Article I ended Red Cloud's War. The treaty rather optimistically states that “war between the parties … shall for ever cease.” Had the government lived up to the provisions of this treaty (protecting Sioux lands and the Black Hills from white encroachment) and had the signing tribes been able to enforce the treaty on all its members, warfare might have been avoided. Unfortunately, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills would spark warfare just eight years later.

In an attempt to guarantee peace, the United States agreed to arrest and prosecute any “bad men among the whites” who committed any wrongs against the person or property of the Indians. It was the government agent's duty to investigate and report to the commissioner of Indian affairs any crimes that might be committed. If it was proved that an Indian had been violated or his property damaged, the injured party would be reimbursed. How or who would pay the reparation...

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The Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud (Library of Congress)

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