According to a website promoting tourism in South Dakpta, "the history of the Black Hills is short and turbulent. In fact, dinosaur bones and some ancient archaeological sites from prehistory are the only hard evidence of happenings prior to 1700. The first trace of modern civilization dates from 1743 when New World explorers claimed the region for France." This ain't necessarily so.
The website goes on to tell how "Sioux Indian tribes achieved dominance of Dakota in the 1780s and there was a brief but legendary Fur Trade Era that flourished between 1817 and 1857" and that "homesteading, settlement and railroading were well underway in eastern South Dakota in 1857, but the Black Hills remained an unknown wilderness of Indian Country."
That view is a matter of perspective. However, it is true that in 1874 General George Armstrong Custer led a force of one thousand men into the Lakota lands to investigate reports that there was gold in the land and they found it in the Black Hills. By 1876 prospectors and miners were claiming the land and, soon, gold worth up to $300,000 per haul was being transported out in “Treasure Coaches.”
Outlaws joined the prospectors and miners in the invasion of the Great Sioux Reservation which had been established in 1868 in the Fort Laramie Treaty; a treaty signed by the United States and Lakota and Northern Cheyenne leaders. No longer able, or perhaps, willing to enforce the treaty, the U.S. government met with Native American leaders in Washington D.C. in 1875 hoping to re-negotiate the treaty that had followed what is known as Red Cloud’s War.
President Grant was under pressure to resolve the issues.The delegation was told that Congress was willing to pay $25,000 for their land and that their people would be allowed to relocate to “Indian Territory” (present-day Oklahoma).The delegates refused the offer. "You speak of another country,” Spotted Tail said, “but it is not my country. It does not concern me and I want nothing to do with it. I was not born there. If it’s such a good country, you ought to send the white men now in our country there and let us alone."
The long war continued.
Where Are My Lands?
"A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky. I was hostile to the white man...we preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be left alone. Soldiers came and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came...They say we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape but we were so hemmed in we had to fight...The Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again." ((Tashuncahuitco a/k/a Crazy Horse, killed 1877)
Note: No fully authenticated photo of Crazy horse exists. The above photo is often said to be the most likely.