After the Civil War, most of the Native Americans had been moved to “Indian Territory.” But there were still skirmishes between the newcomers and the Indians who wanted to remain on the Prairie. Even before the war, land speculators and railroad tycoons fenced off Native lands. To attract buyers, they offered it cheap, (it wasn’t the best farming environment). Next came railroad cars full of hundreds of thousands of Texas cattle, and along with the cows came the cowboys. The Indians didn’t stand a chance. Imagine what that must have looked and felt like to the senses of an American Indian. Your homeland is fenced off with barbed wire, guns are going off (and they’re pointed at you) and cowboys who’ve had too much to drink are having dangerous fun at your expense. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of rugged individualism and freedom of the open range. I love the romanticism of the cowboy life. But imagine America’s natural beauty before hundreds of thousands of Texas cattle started stampeding through the western plains and guns started going off. Must have been beautiful.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here: