There are similarities in the way the American government treated the plains Indians in the second half of the 19th century and the way it treated the Indians from the east in the first part of the century. However, there are slight differences between these two groups of Indians. To begin with, we can see that during the second half of the 19th century, the railroad, which was a project of the United States government, led to the displacement of the plains tribes from their original homes along the Mississippi. During this period, the plains Indians lost most of their buffalo herds despite the fact that the buffaloes were the Indians’ main economic activity and a source of food (Boyer et al. 382).
The enactment of the Indian Removal Act also led to the forceful removal of many Native Americans from their original homes. This made the plains Indians survive in reservations throughout that period.
Similarly, the Indians from the east faced the same treatment. By that time, the rapidly developing United States were expanding towards the east and south. The white settlers felt that the Indians were an obstacle to their progress, especially in raising cotton. The settlers thus mounted pressure on the government to evict them from that region. Between 1814 and 1824, with the help of Jackson, the United States government had signed 11 treaties to exchange the fertile land of the east with the west lands (University of Regina, Canadian Plains Research Center 130).
The only difference in the treatment of these two communities is the eviction of the plains Indians from their place of origin; the United States government used force. We saw the government forcefully killing their buffaloes. On the other hand, in an attempt to evict the Indians from the east, the government used agreements and treaties to occupy the land. In addition, the government also gave the Indians an alternative land to occupy.