SEPTEMBER 17, 1851


In early 1851, Congress sought a treaty with Plains Indians to assure peace along the Overland Trails.  As over 10,000 Indians gathered, the location was moved from Fort Laramie to Horse Creek on the North Platte River.  Present were the Oglala Sioux, Assiniboine, Arapaho, Shoshone, Brule Sioux, Mandan, Crow, Arikara, Rees, Cheyenne, Gros Ventre, Hidatsa, and Snake.  The U.S. sent 2 Indian agents along with Father Peter De Smet, trapper Jim Bridger, and surveyor John C. Fremont.  In return for roads and military posts, the U.S. promised to protect Indians against depredations by whites and make annual payments to Indian nations.  Oddly, the treaty was ratified in May 1852, but never published in the U. S. Statutes at Large.  The Grattan Massacre aside, the tribes were peaceful until the 1864 Dakota War.  After that, white incursions made warfare inevitable.  The U. S. did not protect Indian hunting grounds and made only one payment.  The treaty was redone in the “Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868”.  

Source:  "Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 (Horse Creek Treaty)," National Park Service.  Retrieved 7/13/2019,
Painting:  Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874), 1837.  Walters Art Museum. Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.  Released into Public Domain by the Walters Art Museum for any purpose and with no limitations. 

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