Discuss Sioux and Apache resistance against American expansion in the plains and southwestern desert.  

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Native Americans fiercely resisted white-American intrusions on their lands and heritage. Two groups, in particular, fought with bravery and distinction. The Sioux and Apache Indians fought against American expansion during the second half of the 19th Century. The Sioux, which was a confederation of three linguistically distinct groups, had migrated West from Minnesota in the 17th Century. They adapted to the use of the horse as well as any Native group and were fierce warriors. In 1854, 19 American soldiers were killed by the Sioux at Fort Laramie in Wyoming . This event inspired thirty years of conflict between the Sioux and the U.S. Army. The conflict had its fair share of Sioux victories.  A major Sioux victory was the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn.  In this battle, Sioux warriors led by Chief Sitting Bull defeated the American army of General George Custer. Despite the bravery and skill of the Sioux warrior, the odds were stacked against them in terms of a total victory over the United States. In 1890, the Wounded Knee Massacre brought a brutal end to effective Sioux resistance.

In the southwestern United States, another confederacy of tribes led a fierce resistance campaign against the United States and Mexico. The Apache Wars (1861-1886) were a sustained attempt by the Native Americans to maintain their land and autonomy. The wars officially started after the Mexican-American War but this group had rebelled against European expansion for decades. The Apache Wars ended with the surrender of Geronimo in 1886.