Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Abstract

In 1868, Chief Spotted Tail signed a United States government treaty with an X. Spotted Tail was a member of the Brule Sioux Tribe, related by marriage to Crazy Horse. The government treaty recognized the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux reservation. As such, exclusive use of the Black Hills by the Sioux people was guaranteed. Monroe, Michigan, native Gen. George Custer changed all that. In 1874, he led an expedition into that protected land, announced the discovery of gold, and the rush of prospectors followed. Within two years, Custer attacked at Little Big Horn and met his demise. Spotted Tail kept his tribe out of the battle. A year later, the Black Hills were confiscated by the United States. Crow Dog was also a Brule Sioux. He disagreed with Spotted Tail's actions and advocated a more forceful resistance for the survival of the tribe. In 1881, the two quarreled; only Crow Dog survived. In accordance with Sioux law, the tribal council met to address the reality of Spotted Tail's widow and offspring. The survival of the tribe and its migratory camp life was wholly dependent on the cooperation of all members. Punishment, retribution, or the application of an abstract system of justice or morality was not the driving force. Conflict termination and the peaceful reintegration of all members into a dependent coexistence was the necessity. The council ordered a transfer of items from Crow Dog to Spotted Tail's survivors for their continued support, and the matter was resolved. Or so they all thought.