Monday, September 14, 2009

Native Americans

How did the railroad make the lives of the Indians life hard?

Note: The hostilities with the plains Indians was with the Union Pacific Railroad. (The Indians and the Central Pacific Railroad got along together very well.)


Anonymous Bob Harris said...

The railroad brought white development, which brought environmental derogation and habitat destruction. To make room for agricultural development and stock ranging the buffalo were removed. That denied these Aboriginal Americans the ability to feed and clothe themselves. Understandably that was a concern for them (not to mention the regular hostility directed at them). By the time of the Transcontinental Railroad was built The Native Americans who confronted the Union Pacific were well acquainted with the pattern of white man’s western development and rightly saw the coming of the railroad as “the end of the world” so to speak. The Native Americans of California who dealt with the Central Pacific had already been victimized by continental settlers for over 200 years before California became U.S. property. For them the railroad was just another strike at the wound.

Bob Harris

9/23/2009 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following information about the CPRR is excerpted from a webpage that is no longer online:

Native Americans and the Transcontinental Railroad

Kerry Brinkerhoff
Park Ranger, Golden Spike National Historic Site
President, The Friends of the Native Americans of Northern Utah

" ... The Central Pacific railroad was offered Army support for protection but turned it down. They had their own ideas on how to deal with the Native Americans. When the railroad came out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Nevada flat land they started running into Paiute tribes. Central Pacific Dignitaries would meet with the Chiefs and offer them treaties. They were offered free passage on the trains, and jobs. They were also told if they gave the railroad problems that the railroad had a great army of men and would defeat them. The Central Pacific at that time started using Paiutes to work on the railroad. As they moved into Shoshone territory they began to use Shoshone workers. The Central Pacific used both their men and women. It was written by an observer of that day that those Native American women were stronger than the men in back breaking work. The C.P. also hired Chief Winnemucca and his tribe to be tourist attractions. People traveling on the rails could see a traditional Native American tribe. Many travelers later would write about Native Americans working and riding the railroad in the Nevada area. They either criticized the practice or talked about how it added to the romanticism they felt they would see in the west.

The Paiute and Shoshone would work along side the Chinese workers. One of the most interesting stories of this association was a trick played on the Chinese by the Native Americans. The Native American workers told the Chinese that in the Nevada Desert were great Lizards large enough to swallow a man whole. The next day when the foremen got up the Chinese were gone. They had left in the night. The foremen had to chase down the Chinese on their horses. It took the foremen some time to convince the Chinese there were no dragons in North America before they could get them back to work. The Native Americans also tell stories of the Chinese. Leland Pubigee, Shoshone Elder, told me of stories about gambling and bronco busting meetings with the Chinese. Also the Shoshone of this area talk about grandparents who worked on the railroad and at Corrine, calling the Chinese the "Yellow Ant People" and most impressed with their industry. The Chinese also have stories to tell. Bill Chew and Johnny Yee have told me about a young Lee Sing orphaned, when his father was killed while working on the Central Pacific railroad. He was adopted into a Shoshone tribe and became known as "Sharp eyes". Murry Lee wrote of his grandfather Lee Yik-Gim, who was nick named "The Elephant" because of his size. He was captured by an Native American tribe and became a part of the tribe living with them for two years and becoming a minor chief of the tribe. ... "

9/23/2009 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also see, Indian treaties and railroads.

3/25/2014 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1928.
First edition. 8vo., 299 pp., frontispiece [folding map], introduction, index.

The North Brothers created a band of Indian scouts which protected the surveying and construction of the Union Pacific Railroad during the plains Indians wars. According to Grinnell, "Captain North and his brother Frank North, were in the class with Bridger and Carson." AHC 114 says, "The North Brothers were two of the most important scouts in the history of the West. Based on hitherto unpublished sources, this study details their role in the building of the Union Pacific Railway, among other exploits." The Pawnee Scouts also scouted for the Connor Expedition in 1865 and along the Republican River in 1866, fought the Cheyennes at the Battle of Plum Creek, directed the Carr Expedition that led to the destruction of the Cheyenne Dog Soldier village at Summit Springs, fought in Crook's Campaign against Dull Knife in 1876-77, and assisted with the campaign following Custer's defeat.
RADER 1702. AHC 114.

Buckingham Books, ABAA, ILAB, IOBA
8058 Stone Bridge Road
Greencastle, PA 17225
(717) 597-5657

7/07/2022 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any truth to the following dialogue from a TV show?:

“Poison’s nothing new. Back when the railroad was coming through [Wyoming] the U.S. Army used to poison Indian wells on occasion to kill the natives and take their land … " ‘Longmire’ S2:E3 @16:10

Answer from Perplexity artificial intelligence:

“The search results do not contain any information about the U.S. Army poisoning Native American wells to take their land during the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The results focus on the interactions between Native Americans and the railroad construction, but do not mention any incidents of the U.S. Army poisoning wells.

The search results indicate that there were conflicts and skirmishes between Native Americans and railroad workers, as the railroad construction disrupted Native American lands and hunting grounds. However, there is no evidence presented that the U.S. Army deliberately poisoned Native American water sources[3]. The search results do not support the claim made in the dialogue.”

Source cited:
[3] Native Americans and the Transcontinental Railroad - PBS

4/14/2024 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also see, The History of Poisoning the Well, which similarly offers no such confirmation.

4/14/2024 10:25 PM  

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