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101499 Losing the Black Hills In the early 1860s the Oglala Sioux leader Chief Red Cloud fought to keep the U S Army from opening the Bozeman Trail which led to the Montana gold fields 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 US government agreed to abandon it Red Cloud signed the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie Wyoming 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 60 million acres west of the Missouri River During the summer of 1874 a military expedition under General George Armstrong Custer confirmed that the Black Hills contained gold At that time the Black Hills were part of the Great Sioux Reservation Initially the federal government attempted to keep eager miners from entering the region as it was oblige to do under the terms of the treaty By mid-summer 1875 hundreds of miners had evaded military patrols to prospect in the Black Hills In September federal officials met with Sioux leaders and attempted to buy mining rights but the US government considered the price to high and the gold rush began after negotiations with the Sioux collapsed In October the federal government withdrew its military forces from the area giving tacit permission for gold prospectors to enter and they came by the thousands The flood of miners into the Black Hills also provoked the Sioux and groups of Cheyenne to attack to prevent the loss of their land Much of the fighting between the U S government and the Native Americans led by Hunkpapa Sioux Sitting Bull and the Oglala Sioux Crazy Horse took place outside the area of present-day South Dakota including the Battle of the Little Bighorn
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