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Indian Relations

Annexation to the United States meant that most of the Indians were expelled from Texas. Indian relations became even more confusing than they had been in the republic:

  • The federal government controlled the American Indians, but Texas controlled the land on which they lived.
  • Indians lost their land and were federal wards.
  • When Texas became a state, it no longer had an official policy toward the Indians.
  • Texans wanted the land, so they moved the Indians. The Indian way of life was destroyed, since they historically lived off the land.
  • The federal government was responsible for defending the frontier.
  • The U.S. Senate was unclear as to how Texas should deal with the Indians.

The feeling was growing that colonizing the Indians somewhere on Texas soil would be the best solution for the Indian problem. The Indian Reservations had many problems:

  • The government tried to colonize the Indians into two or three reservations.
  • One reservation was the Brazos Reserve, intended for seven tribes—about 1,100 people.
  • A second reservation was the Clear Fork Reserve for the Penateka Comanches.
  • There were periodic raids along the western frontier.
  • Critics claimed that between 500 and 800 horses were stolen and about 25 settlers were killed by Indian attacks.
  • Although both white and Indian residents were attacked, the Indians were blamed.
  • Settlers began saying that the Indians should be expelled.
  • On June 11, 1859, the state and federal governments decided to move the reserve north of the Red River. The Indians were moved out of Texas on September 1.


Source: Indian Relations
Copyright © Texas State Historical Association

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