The biennial Fort Robinson History Conference has explored themes relating to the U.S. Army and the so-called Indian wars of the last half of the nineteenth century since 1995. Fort Robinson’s establishment and much of its history stemmed from the conflicts that ensued as Americans occupied the homelands of the Native peoples of the central and northern Plains. The final conference in the series will focus on the aftermath of what has been termed “the Great Sioux War of 1876-77.” The conference is co-sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
While the year 1876 brought the allied northern Plains tribes their greatest victory, the defeat of George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh U.S. Cavalry at the Little Big Horn, it was followed by intensive military campaigns that soon broke Native resistance. By the end of 1877, Crazy Horse had been murdered at Fort Robinson, the Black Hills had been seized and occupied by whites, and the Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and their allies had been forced onto reservations. Henceforth, the role of the army and life for the Indians changed dramatically. Yet more conflict lay ahead. In December 1890 came the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek as the Seventh U.S. Cavalry sought to disarm Big Foot, an adherent of the Ghost Dance religion, and his followers. More than 250 lives were lost, most of them Indians.
Scholarly papers will primarily address people, places, and events connected to the ongoing story of the army and the Indians from 1877 through 1890. Topics include the role of the African American “Buffalo Soldiers,” the Wounded Knee Massacre, and the changing image of George Armstrong Custer. A panel will consider topics still to be studied for a fuller understanding of the conflict, transformation, and loss that marked this era for both white Americans and the Native peoples. New books by several of the presenters will be available for purchase and a bus tour for conferees to the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre is planned. The conference will conclude with a banquet and address by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Powers, “Crazy Horse: Looking for the Deep Story.”
Click here for a mail-in registration form (PDF) with program information and a speakers’ list. The pre-registration deadline is April 6. (Don’t delay; the previous conference sold out.) Or contact Lana Hatcher at email@example.com or 402-471-3272.