The purpose of this section is to give the student access to all primary and secondary resources for Unit 2.8: The Early Reservation Years - 1880 to 1920.
"Corruption, graft, and incompetence in the Indian Service often resulted in extreme hardship on the reservations. Hungry and without adequate clothing or shelter, tribesmen often left the reservation on hunting and raiding forays. White settlers facing Indian raiders cared little about the causes and demanded action from the military. However, the military recognized the problem and attempted to halt abuses in the supply system. Major James S. Brisbin of the Second Cavalry worked throughout his career in the West to alleviate this and other problems, soliciting reports and evidence on the subject. In one reply, Captain George S. Browning, a member of the Seventh Infantry and supply inspector at the Crow Reservation, detailed his knowledge of conditions among the Crow" (Montana Historical Society).
"The U.S. government selected reservation and agency sites to keep tribes away from the path of white settlement and, therefore, on less desirable land. However, the definition of desirable land kept changing. By 1880, expansion in mining, farming, and ranching made much of this previously undesirable land appealing. As a result, the federal government pushed tribes into ceding additional portions of their reservations in exchange for annuities and other benefits. Charles A. Broadwater, contractor and partner in post traderships at Fort Assiniboine, sought special consideration in redrawing the reservation lines. Using his considerable power in the Democratic Party, he asked Delegate Martin Maginnis, a Democrat who pushed for the reduction of the size of Montana's Indian reservations, to arrange preferential treatment to improve business at the mercantile establishments that Broadwater controlled. His words typified the expansionist views most Euro-American Montanans held regarding tribal land" (Montana Historical Society).