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The Arikara War: The First Plains Indian War, 1823
by:William R. Nester
The Arikara War took place in August 1823 between the United States and the Arikara native Americans near the Missouri River, in present-day South Dakota. Arikara warriors had previously attacked a trapping expedition traveling on the river. The United States responded with forces of 230 soldiers, 750 Sioux, and 50 trappers under the...
The Arikara War took place in August 1823 between the United States and the Arikara native Americans near the Missouri River, in present-day South Dakota. Arikara warriors had previously attacked a trapping expedition traveling on the river. The United States responded with forces of 230 soldiers, 750 Sioux, and 50 trappers under the command of U.S. Army Colonel Henry Leavenworth. Although brief, the conflict was noted for two reasons. First, it was the first military conflict between the United States and the western native Americans, setting the tone for future encounters between Americans and the Crow and Blackfeet. Second, Leavenworth did not completely defeat the Arikara. His leniency toward them sparked a great debate between Americans demanding subjugation of the natives and those advocating cohabitation with them. The Arikara eventually settled with the Mandan and Hidatsa on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Many Arikaras and Crows became Indian scouts during the height of the Sioux Wars.
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