Term papers writing service


Native americans and the end of the civil war

In a war dividing brother against brother, North Carolina members of the Lumbee tribe reflected this with some serving and supporting the Confederacy and native americans and the end of the civil war the Union, influenced by the need to cast their fortunes with or against their more powerful white neighbors and experiencing the war as heated personal conflicts as a result. Pro-union Lumbee families were conscripted to help build Confederate Fort Fisher. The Lowry War arising from the murder of an Indian community leader saw a campaign of revenge that gave Lumbees a new kind of interaction with non-Natives and resulted in new Native institutions and political leverage.

Other Native people in the North saw their service in the war as an opportunity to improve the conditions faced by their communities. In Michigan, men of the Odawa, Ojibway and Pottawatomie tribes enlisted with the First Michigan Sharpshooters creating an opportunity to create relationships with non-Indian leaders and secure their support for maintaining land, hunting, and fishing rights for their people. In South Carolina, men of the Catawba tribe served in Confederate regiments and their service was honored by a statute erected to them in 1900.

There slavery was a divisive issue as some tribes practiced slavery. The Chickasaws and Choctaws sided with the Confederacy for a variety of reasons, including their slaveholding history, geographic pressure from bordering states, and the U. In other words, men from the Five Tribes fought—or refused to fight—with respect to their Indigenous national political loyalties rather than from a sense of devotion to the Union or Confederate causes. Deserters and guerilla warriors seized the crops and livestock that were not commandeered by soldiers.

Reconstruction treaties negotiated in Washington, DC further devastated the Five Tribes, but Native nations strategized to protect their economic resources and sovereignty. Having signed treaties of alliance with the Confederacy, the U. When the Chickasaw Nation signed a new treaty with the United States, it acknowledged defeat but refused to concede its autonomy. The treaty stated that the Chickasaws did not recognize U.

Confederate Cherokees and those who had wanted to remain part of the Union each possessed a distinct political and economic vision for the future of their nation, so both groups sent delegates to the treaty negotiations. While Indian affairs seemingly received little attention during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, Lincoln as well as several other prominent leaders recognized that there had been systemic graft, mismanagement, and corruption in the Office of Indian Affairs throughout the 1850s, and they made its reformation an important priority which resulted in a period of drastic and intense Indian policy reform immediately following the war.

The 1862 United States-Dakota War in Minnesota thrust the failure of the current system of managing relations with Indigenous nations into the public eye as did the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado. A series of peace commissions and federal investigations, including the 1865 Fort Smith commission, the 1867 Fort Philip Kearney investigation, and the 1868 Peace Commission in the Great Plains resulted in a constellation of laws passed by Congress and policies administered by the Office of Indian Affairs that came to be known as the Peace Policy.

Influential in this process was Ely S. Parker, a Tonawanda Seneca leader who was General U. In 1869, Congress created the Board of Indian Commissioners to monitor the purchase and distribution of goods for Indian agencies across the country. To address corruption, Congress also placed church organizations at the head of the local Indian agencies.

By Rose Stremlau, C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa and Malinda Maynor Lowery

But Parker and others advocated an end to treaty making because they believed that tribal nations could not benefit from treaty making since they lacked the military might and political influence to force the United States to uphold its promises.

Congress formally ended treaty making in 1871. Parker also used the Peace Policy to provide money, goods, and opportunities for Native peoples, especially in the form of education. Like Reconstruction in the South, however, the optimistic possibilities surrounding the early Peace Policy were fleeting and the programs short-lived.

While lawmakers debated how to bring needed reform to Indian-white relations in the post-war years, Native people reconstructed their communities and actively preserved the documentary record of the Civil War, telling the story of the war from their perspectives—stories of how profoundly the Civil War shaped affairs in a Native communities but also how Indigenous people sought to skillfully use the Civil War as an opportunity to attain other goals, including resolving internal political disputes and protecting land and resources, during and after the war.

The Civil War, for many Native people, was a significant event with a tremendous impact felt for decades and magnified because of the history of colonialism that preceded it.

Graveraet explained his feelings about his service in the Civil War: He survived brutal combat at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and Cold Harbor; separation from loved ones; and the death of friends and family, including his father. Graveraet did not live to see that his sacrifice had largely been in vain. Those challenges posed threats and opportunities for Natives as individuals and as members of sovereign nations.

Early scholarship about American Indians in the Civil War emphasized the tragic outcomes of this conflict and cast men like Graveraet as victims, but more native americans and the end of the civil war, American Indian scholars and scholars of American Indian societies have seen the period through a different lens. During the war years, American Indians, their allies, and their enemies brought larger issues of power, resource distribution, and political rights to the forefront. In combat and on the home front, American Indian people experienced the war in terms of both opportunities and threats; after all, they possessed a unique status as members of Indigenous nations that had a long history of sophisticated and complicated engagement with non-Indians during times of crisis.

Both United States and Confederate engagement with Indigenous nations highlighted the failures of previous Indian policies, revealed alternatives to the marginalization of American Indian peoples, and foreshadowed post-war policies.

Native Americans in the Civil War

A few Native men make cameo appearances but do not change the master narrative. For example, scholars have often provided Stand Watie, a Cherokee Nation citizen who served as brigadier general in the Confederate States Army, as an example of bravery and tenacity—almost always without explaining the specific Cherokee National causes for which he fought.

  1. While Indian affairs seemingly received little attention during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, Lincoln as well as several other prominent leaders recognized that there had been systemic graft, mismanagement, and corruption in the Office of Indian Affairs throughout the 1850s, and they made its reformation an important priority which resulted in a period of drastic and intense Indian policy reform immediately following the war.
  2. Further, American Indian men sought the right to vote, which the state of Michigan had denied them.
  3. Non-combatants in Kansas survived the war in refugee camps where the lack of shelter and food proved deadly. The Cherokees divided along lines largely consistent with political factions that had existed since the removal era of the 1820s and 1830s, during which time the federal government forcibly relocated these tribes from the Southeast in order to open land for cotton cultivation by whites.
  4. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1988.
  5. The tribunal condemned all 303 men to execution, but Lincoln pardoned 265 of them. Historians are just beginning to write about the experiences of southern Plains peoples during this period, but initial scholarship suggests that the catastrophes resulting from the transition to reservations were intensified when the U.

Ely Parker, a Tonawanda Seneca and brevet brigadier general in the U. Army, is mentioned for his close association with Ulysses S. For many of the nearly six hundred sovereign and distinct Indigenous nations in what is now the United States, however, the Civil War was a pivotal turning point with significant outcomes. Native North America is tremendously diverse; this essay will not comprehensively treat Native experiences but will identify main themes and provide particularly relevant examples.

Most Americans remember the war as dividing brother against brother. This experience held true in many American Indian communities as well. In southeastern North Carolina, for example, participation in the Civil War first divided and then united American Indian peoples in Robeson County, today home to people who identify as Lumbee and Tuscarora.

Lumbees experienced the Civil War not through pitched battles between armies, but as heated, personal conflicts driven by fear, power, and greed. Secession forced people to take sides. Lumbees strategically approached every decision to cast their fortunes with or against their more powerful white neighbors. As a result, the status of American Indian people in Robeson County had declined and their surviving land base had shrunk, due to legalized predation by powerful local families.

For this reason, some Lumbees opposed the Confederacy, hoping to regain freedoms they had lost in the antebellum period. Others focused on a strategy that would allow them to maintain the freedoms they had. Regardless, Lumbees sought to carry on their daily lives without interruption, including worshiping, farming, and sustaining their family ties.

Their actions were also shaped by those of the various parties, pro-Confederate and pro-Union, around them. Technically, Lumbees could not serve in the Confederate Army, because North Carolina state law prevented Indians and free blacks from carrying weapons. However, at least a few Lumbees did serve; some enlisted in units outside Robeson County, presumably passing as white because local officials did not know their identity. At least four men enlisted in Robeson County regiments.

Native Americans and the Civil War

One of them, Thomas Beauregard Sanderson, enlisted as a private, but within a year, his superior officers promoted him to sergeant; later, he survived the battle of Antietam. James Brantley Harris, who spent the first years of the war as a supplier for the Confederate army, likely collected these goods.

What looks like Lumbee support for the Confederacy may have in actuality been an attempt to avoid conflict with Harris, a local merchant who had acquired power and influence by defrauding and indebting his less powerful neighbors, including American Indian people. In other words, even when forced or coerced, Indians likely participated in the Confederate war effort to foster ties with important non-Indians. The Confederate government forced young Lumbee men to work alongside slaves constructing the earthworks around Fort Fisher in Wilmington, about 90 miles from Robeson County.

Slaveholders proved largely unwilling to risk losing their most valuable property to that fate, and in 1862 the Confederacy ordered states to conscript free people of color, including the Lumbees. An indeterminate number of Robeson County Indian men were sent to Fort Fisher, against their will, to labor under conditions of no pay, little clothing or native americans and the end of the civil war, and rampant disease.

Republican politicians could not square their desire to support non-white political rights with the type of vigilante violence that the Lowrys—and groups like the Ku Klux Klan—seemed to represent. If they supported the Lowrys, as many of their non-white constituents did, then they also found themselves having to explain to their Conservative Democrat opponents why they did not support the Klan. One of the most concrete consequences of the Lowry War was the establishment of an Indian-controlled school system and teacher-training institution for American Indians in 1885.

These institutions stood apart from those established for freed slaves of predominantly African descent, a sign of the political leverage that American Indians had with the ruling conservative Democratic regime, power which arose from how they articulated their sovereignty during and after the Civil War and backed it up with force of arms. Other American Indian people participated to fulfill their ongoing alliances with their non-Indian neighbors.

By the outbreak of the Civil War, the Catawba, for example, had been closely aligned with the government of South Carolina and its planter class for nearly a century and a half. As colonial and then federal officials pressured the Catawba for even more of their land base, Catawba people survived in their homeland because of their economic ties to prominent local settlers.

By the 1700s and in the aftermath of the Stono Rebellion, the largest slave rebellion in the colonial period, Catawba men sometimes worked as slave catchers for their wealthier neighbors. Catawba women made and sold pottery to those who had settled near their reservation.

The Catawba economy was intimately intertwined with that of upstate South Carolina, and nearly all Catawba men of military age enlisted and served in several regiments during the war. Hauptman estimated that total to be approximately nineteen men, almost all of whom were injured or killed.

That statue, located in Fort Mill, South Carolina, was dedicated in 1900 in a ceremony in which Catawba leaders recounted and celebrated their long military alliance with South Carolina. It still stands today.

Indians & Race in the South After the Civil War

That agreement, through which Catawba leaders ceded 144,000 acres of land to South Carolina in 1840, led to a series of land claims cases finally resolved in 1993.

Even though they lived far away from the battlefields, many Native people in the North also saw their service in the war as an opportunity to improve the conditions faced by their communities. Men from those communities saw military service as an opportunity to gain power in their ongoing struggle to remain in their homelands.

Odawa men such as Garrett A. Graveraet exemplified this sense of purpose. In the summer of 1863, he and other Anishinaabek men enlisted in the First Michigan Sharpshooters. Most of them served in Company K. These men were Odawa, Ojibway, and Pottawatomie.

With some of the bloodiest battles of the war already fought, these recruits possessed no illusions about the profound risks they faced. They also joined the U. Army after it and its colonial antecedent had repeatedly burned their villages and pushed them west for generations. Odawa people in Michigan had signed treaties ceding land in 1836 and 1855. As the non-Native population of Michigan surged in the decades immediately before the war, pressure on their remaining land base increased and Odawa leaders again envisioned themselves at the negotiating table.

Service in the war provided an opportunity to create relationships with non-Indian leaders and secure their support for maintaining land, hunting, and fishing rights for their people.

Further, American Indian men sought the right to vote, which the state of Michigan had denied them. Now, however, military service on behalf of the United States served the interests of their communities, and so these Odawa men fought with distinction in some of the bloodiest battles of the war. By 1865, only a third survived to be mustered out and return to their Michigan homeland. The Civil War exacerbated fissures created by generations of colonization and previous U.

Indian policies, particularly in Indian Territory now Oklahoma. Earlier generations of scholars focused on the decisions of Native leaders who seemed assimilated to Anglo-American society, but more recently, historians have looked broadly at the impact of European and U.

Their analysis has focused less on how Indigenous societies conformed to the mainstream U. Increasingly, historians have recognized that the deep roots of conflict in this bloody period lay in U. Civilization policy advocates encouraged Indigenous people to adopt Anglo-American ways of thinking and living.