Killing Bison to Kill Off the Native Population.
A large pile of buffalo bones collected by the early settlers and sold for cash. Over 50 million buffalo were slaughtered. Millions were wasted and just left to rot, this was a way to starve out the native population.
General Sheridan told the Texas Legislature in 1875, the Anglos should “kill, skin and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated.
The railroad industry also wanted bison herds culled or eliminated. Herds of bison on tracks could damage locomotives when the trains failed to stop in time.
Bison were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century and were reduced to a few hundred by the mid-1880’s. They were hunted for their skins, with the rest of the animal left behind to decay on the ground. After the animals rotted, their bones were collected and shipped back east in large quantities and sold in Saskatchewan.
Within a few years of the signing [of the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867], Anglo hunters invaded the treaty land. They killed bison by the millions, stockpiling hides and horns for a lucrative trade back east. Seven million pounds of bison tongues were shipped out of Dodge City, Kansas, in a single two-year period, 1872–1873, a time when one government agent estimated the killing at twenty-five million. Bones, bleaching in the sun in great piles at railroad terminals, were used for fertilizer, selling for up to ten dollars a ton. Among the gluttons for killing was a professional buffalo hunter named Tom Nixon, who said he had once killed 120 animals in forty minutes.
The last bison were killed within five years after the Comanche Nation was routed and moved off the Llano Estacado.
Just a few years earlier, there had been bison herds that covered fifty square miles. Bison were the Indians’ commissary, and the remnants of the great southern herd had been run off the ground, every one of them, as a way to ensure that no Indian would ever wander the Texas Panhandle
1875 General Philip Sheridan pleaded to a joint session of Congress to slaughter the herds, to deprive the Indians of their source of food. By 1884, the American Bison was close to extinction.
Subsequent settlers harvested bison bones to be sold for fertilizer. It was an important source of supplemental income for poorer farmers in the 1880’s and early 1890’s.
Many of the Plains tribes depended on the buffalo for survival. Several tribes followed the buffalo migration, harvesting conservatively to fill tribal needs. The Indians ate buffalo meat, used its hide for clothing and shelter.
By the 1870’s, however, the buffalo population was on the decline. Non-Indians killed the buffalo for their pelts, to feed railroad construction crews, or even just for the pure sport of it.
Between 1872 and 1875, only three years, hunters killed 9 million buffalo, most often taking the skin and leaving the carcass to rot in waste. By the 1880s the Indian way of life was ruined and the way was cleared for American settlement of the Plains.
As early as the 1860s, the US government had abandoned its policy of treating much of the West as a large Indian reserve, and introduced a system of small, separate tribal reservations, where the Indians were to be concentrated. Some tribes peacefully accepted their fate, but other tribes, with a total population of over 100,000, resisted. These tribes battled the US Army for control of the West. Early skirmishes and violent massacres prompted the US government to set aside two large areas in 1867, one North of Nebraska, and one south of Kansas, in which they hoped the nomadic tribes would finally settle. The government used the threat of force to convince the tribes to comply, and at first, many did.
This picture was taken in Canada. Saskatchewan. The railroad that goes through Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The same railroad that was built by colored slaves and aboriginal slaves.