RCH: Crazy Horse’s last battle

I’m back at it over at RealClearHistory. An excerpt:

When the Indian wars were underway, the battles were characterized as two very different peoples fighting against each other. Today, this view is still espoused, but the logic underneath has changed. Today, the American Indian fighting the American soldier has come to be viewed as more of a civil war than a clash of civilizations. The Native Americans are deeply intertwined in our culture, our history. As historical research gets better, thanks in part to the fact that our society continues to get wealthier and wealthier, the indigenous actors who helped shape American history receive more attention, empirically and theoretically.

Crazy Horse’s last battle in Montana against the U.S. Army highlights this civil war better than most. The Sioux and Cheyenne were not being pursued to be eliminated, but to be domesticated and transformed, by a benevolent government with the best of intentions, into American citizens.

Please, read the rest.

Afternoon Tea: “The Winning of the West: The Expansion of the Western Sioux in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”

There is, however, a second group of anthropologists, WW Newcomb, Oscar Lewis, Frank Secoy, and more recently Symmes Oliver, who have found this explanation of intertribal warfare unconvincing. These scholars, making much more thorough use of historical sources than is common among anthropologists, have examined warfare in light of economic and technological change. They have presented intertribal warfare as dynamic, changing over time; wars were not interminable contests with traditional enemies, but real struggles in which defeat was often catastrophic. Tribes fought largely for the potential economic and social benefits to be derived from furs, slaves, better hunting grounds, and horses. According to these scholars, plains tribes went to war because their survival as a people depended on securing and defending essential resources.

This is from Richard White, a historian at Stanford University. Here is a link.