The narrative of the Sioux begins with Brown's discussion of the Santee Dakota tribe. Following a poor harvest and lack of promised support from the US government in the early 1860s, members of the tribe became angry at white people. After the murder of several white men and women by young Dakota, the frustrated Santee tribe, led by Chief Little Crow, attacked Fort Ridgely and a nearby town. When the Santees refuse to surrender their white hostages to Colonel Sibley, they are forced into battle again at Yellow Medicine River. The Santees lose and over three dozen Santee warriors are executed in December 1862. Santee chiefs, including Chief Little Crow, were killed during the following six months, and the remaining Santees are removed to a Missouri River and Crow Creek reservation.
Brown's discussion of the Oglala Lakota begins with the US Army's 1865 invasion of the Powder River country in Montana. The army is confronted with opposition from the local Lakota and Cheyenne tribes. This and other skirmishes result in heated conflict between the US Army and the Oglala Lakotas led by Chiefs Red Cloud and Roman Nose, forcing the US Army to retreat for the winter. The high death toll among US troops fostered great confidence in the Native Americans who began a journey to the Black Hills.
By the US Army's request, the Sioux chiefs and approximately 2000 other warriors arrived at Fort Laramie in May 1866 for treaty talks. The tribes quickly learned of the army's intent to build roads and railroads through Sioux land. As construction progresses, the Sioux plan an attack on the white men and harass white traffic through the Powder River country. Red Cloud unknowingly leads approximately 3,000 Lakota into an ambush, later called the Fetterman Massacre, at Peno Creek where 81 white men and 200 Lakotas are killed. Conflict continues between the US Army and the Lakota for years despite peace commissioners being sent to Powder River to address differences. In 1868 the US Army retreats upon the signing of the peace treaty with Red Cloud.
In 1869 Red Cloud is invited to Washington D.C. to speak with Donehogawa, a member of the Iroquois tribe who is serving as the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the US government. Chief Red Cloud and his tribe members express their discontent with the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie which defined their reservation land as bordered by the Missouri River rather than the Powder River. Commissioner Donehogawa corrected this mistake by declaring the Powder River country as reserved for Lakota hunting grounds. Donehogawa's agency was later accused of being like a "savage Indian" and the agency was unable to purchase supplies for the reservations. Donehogawa was subsequently forced to resign his commission.
In 1874, when rumors of gold in the Black Hills were delivered by Custer and his men to the white settlers on the plains, miners and panhandlers flooded the Black Hills, angering the Lakota and Dakota living there. A peace council in 1875 tried to arrange for the US government to either purchase the mineral rights or outright ownership of the Black Hills, but both proposals were rejected by the Sioux. In 1876, a series of battles occur between the Sioux and US troops which initially ends when the Sioux defeat General Custer and his troops at the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25. The humiliated US Army sends a peace council to sign a treaty that forces the Sioux out of the Black Hills to the Missouri River. The troops follow this treaty with numerous attacks on Lakota villages.
Hunkpapa and Minneconjou Lakota
Following the removal of the Lakota from the Black Hills to the Missouri River Reservation, Sitting Bull, in exile in Canada and participating in unsuccessful peace talks, returns to American soil and surrenders at Fort Buford. He is removed to the Hunkpapa reservation at Standing Rock; he subsequently joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. The Lakota were ultimately forced to sign a treaty in 1890 that further divided and limited their reservation.
Sitting Bull is later arrested in an attempt by US authorities to suppress Sitting Bull's endorsement of the Ghost Dance which they considered a religious disturbance. The two Native American policemen sent to arrest Sitting Bull killed him. Following the death of Sitting Bull, a conflict arose that resulted in the Hunkpapas and Minneconjous tribes fleeing Standing Rock. Deciding against further resistance, the tribes join Red Cloud at Pine Ridge where they encounter Major Whitside in late December 1890. The tribes are subsequently directed to Wounded Knee, where a member of the Minneconjou tribe called Black Coyote refuses to surrender his rifle. The US Army reacts with violence which results in the deaths of 150-350 Native Americans and 25-31 US Army soldiers. The Lakota that survived the assault fled to Pine Ridge, and returned to Wounded Knee the next day only to bury their families and comrades.