Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Gordon W. Davidson
The Dull Knife outbreak of 1878 was one of the last Indian raids in the United States. It was part of the general conflict which plagued frontier America from its very genesis to the latter part of the nineteenth century. The frontiersman-Indian conflict can only be explained through a study of the actual confrontation of the Indians and the whites. The Indian and the frontiersman differed in their conception of land use. In the Northern Cheyenne's relationship with the United States government, that difference was manifested in the treaty which forced the northern tribe to the southern agency, and the attempt of the agency to "civilize" the Cheyenne. The conditions in Indian Territory were unbearable for the Northern Cheyenne who had been forced there by an illegal treaty. The annuities and rations guaranteed these Indians were not supplied in full measure showing the infidelity of the government in its role as benefactor of the red man. The outbreak from Darlington Agency, the raids in southwest Kansas, and the Sappa creek and Beaver creek massacres were defiant acts of revenge against the whites who were taking over their country. Indian ingenuity and military failure characterize this outbreak. Serious problems plagued the United States Army in protecting the frontier and the public was unwilling to either give support to the army in suppressing the Indians or leave the red man to determine his own future in his own way. The settler demanded the services of the state and federal government to protect him in his exploitation of the earth's resources. The might of a new industrial nation was on his side and he won.
Copyright 1963 Ramon S. Powers
Powers, Ramon S., "The Dull Knife Raid of 1878 : A Study of the Frontier" (1963). Master's Theses. 817.