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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Morrill in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

“The Great Smoke”

The Horse Creek Treaty

 
 
“The Great Smoke” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2014
1. “The Great Smoke” Marker
Inscription. Three panels make up this marker

“The Great Smoke”

From all directions they came in late summer 1851 - Plains Indian tribes, summoned by government officials so their chiefs could smoke the peace pipe and sign a treaty with representatives of “The Great Father.” Never before had so many American Indians assembled to parley with the white man. (Estimates range from 8,000 to 12,000.) It was perhaps historyís most dramatic demonstration of the Plainís tribes desire to live at peace with the whites.
The tribes had been invited to assemble at Fort Laramie, but a shortage of forage for their thousands of horses caused the parley to be moved downstream. Because some tribes had been at war for generations, most Indian camps widely spaced to minimize contact. About 270 soldiers were present to help keep the peace. However, a spirit of friendliness prevailed.
Among those helping bring the tribes together were mountain man and trailblazer Jim Bridger and Jesuit Father Peter De Smet, the beloved “Blackrobe” who worked 50 years among the Indians.

( center panel)

Beyond the tree line about 2 3/4 miles in front of this marker, Horse Creek flows into the North Platte River. There the treaty was signed
(Center Panel) image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2014
2. (Center Panel)
September 17, 1851. Officially known as The Forty Laramie Treaty of 1851, it is commonly called The Horse Creek Treaty.

Legend: 1. D.D. Mitchellís tent; 2. Council circle; 3. Dragoons and infantry; 4. De Smetís tent; 5. Mounted riflemen; 6. Fitzpatrick and traders.

The Horse Creek Treaty

The Treaty was proposed by former fur trader Thomas Fitzpatrick, Upper Platte Indian agent, supported by David D. Mitchell, superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis. The treaty provided that the government would give there tribes $50,000 a year in goods for 50 years for damage caused by emigrants bound for Oregon, California and Utah. In return the Indians would allow free passage on the emigrant trails, permit forts to be built on their land, and pledged peaceful settlement of intertribal disputes.
Signing were such chiefs as White Antelope (Cheyenne), Little Owl (Arapaho), Big Robber (Crow), and Conquering Bear, whom the whites persuaded the Sioux to elect as head chief. Assiniboine, Mandan, Gros Ventre, and Arikara chiefs also signed. The Shoshone traveled over 400 miles but were not asked to sign because they were not from the Plains.
With few exceptions, the tribes honored the treaty until 1864, when the whites demand for land pressured the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho into warfare, ending the hope for
The Horse Creek Treaty Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2014
3. The Horse Creek Treaty Marker
peace which had prompted “The Great Smoke.”
 
Erected by Nebraska State Historical Society. (Marker Number 369 A & B.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Nebraska State Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 41° 58.341′ N, 104° 0.547′ W. Marker is in Morrill, Nebraska, in Scotts Bluff County. Marker is on U.S. 26 near County Route 4, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Morrill NE 69358, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Road to Zion (within shouting distance of this marker); Oregon Trail (approx. 2.1 miles away); a different marker also named The Oregon Trail (approx. 3.2 miles away in Wyoming); Stuartís 1812-13 Astorian Party Campsite (approx. 6.6 miles away in Wyoming); a different marker also named Oregon Trail (approx. 10.1 miles away in Wyoming); Cold Springs (approx. 10.1 miles away in Wyoming); a different marker also named Oregon Trail (approx. 10.4 miles away in Wyoming); Robidoux Pass (approx. 13.5 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This marker is about one mile west of Morrill.
 
Also see . . .
“The Great Smoke” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2014
4. “The Great Smoke” Marker

1. Separate lands for separate tribes: The Horse Creek Treaty of 1851 - Wyoming State Historical Societ. Finally, on September 17, twenty-one chiefs representing the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara and Assiniboine signed the Horse Creek Treaty. They agreed to the governmentís right to “form roads and establish military posts” in Indian territory; terms for maintaining peace and for assigning reparations for losses on either side; indemnity for any prior destruction caused by the emigrants; $50,000 to each tribe for those damages; and $50,000 in annual payments per tribe for 50 years. (Submitted on December 7, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

2. Father De Smet in Wyoming - Wyoming State Historical Society. ...during his 72 years De Smet traveled 180,000 miles: to Europe for fundraising and recuperation; up the Missouri and down the Columbia rivers to find and convert Indians; around Cape Horn and across the Isthmus of Panama en route to the Oregon country to establish or visit missions; by snowshoe, mule, horse or cart in present-day eastern Washington, northern Idaho and Montana to reach a fort or mission to procure or deliver supplies. (Submitted on December 7, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Additional keywords.
Father Jean=Pierre De Smet image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, circa 1860
5. Father Jean=Pierre De Smet
Father Pierre De Smet
 
Categories. Native AmericansWars, US Indian
 
Father De Smet's map of the territories assigned to plains Indian tribes, 1851. image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, circa 1851
6. Father De Smet's map of the territories assigned to plains Indian tribes, 1851.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 234 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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