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Extermination Of The Plaines Indians
Extermination of the Plains Indians
The Plains Indians in the early nineteenth century, numbered approximately
250,000. The Zuni, Hopi, Navaho, Pawnee, Sioux, Apache, and Cheyenne were the
major tribes of the West. By the late nineteenth century the Indians were reduced to
roughly 10,000. Because of new technological advances and new industries, America
expanded to the Mid-West. The railroad caused thousands of people to move west
therefore reducing the number of Plains Indians and partly destroying their culture. The
decline of the Plains Indians were caused by three primary factors: the transcontinental
railroad, the decrease of the buffalo, and war with the white Americans.
Easy access to the West, because of the railroad, introduced a new way of life for
Americans; consequently, the process destroyed the buffalo, essential to Indian survival.
The buffalo supplied the basic necessities of life. The Indians used the meats as food, the
hides for shelter, and the bones for tools. About 13 million buffalo roamed the Plains
before the arrival of the white settlers. Due to the railroad, the settlers nearly made the
buffalo extinct. To the superior white man, the buffalo interfered with construction and
derailed trains. Cattle ranching, mining, and farming appeared in the West since the rail
as finished. Cattle ranchers shipped the buffalo northeast to be sold. The discovery of
gold attracted thousands of people to the West by rail, contri...