American Indian History

Information and Facts

Indian Wars Of The Old West:

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas



On September 28, 1874, Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie at the head of the Fourth U.S. Cavalry attacked and destroyed a large Indian encampment in Palo Duro Canyon.

Mackenzie’s troopers formed part of the Red River Campaign of 1874 - 75, which saw no less than six military columns placed in the field (in a bid) to force Kiowas, Cheyennes, and Comanches to return to the reservations. On the 28th, Mackenzie’s scouts followed the Indian trail to the edge of Palo Duro Canyon.

The soldiers descended the steep slopes to the valley floor 700 feet below. Taken by surprise, the Indians abandoned their villages, allowing Mackenzie to capture more than 1,100 horses that were later slaughtered to prevent recapture.

Although few Indians or soldiers were killed, the unrelenting pursuit of the troopers and the cold weather ultimately forced the Indians to surrender, thus bringing to a close the Red River War. Part of the battlefield is located within Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Indian Wars Of The Old West:

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Oklahoma

Lt. Col. George A. Custer

Here in the predawn of November 27, 1868, Lt. Col. George A. Custer, leading the 7th Cavalry, attacked the sleeping Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle.

The chief and more than 100 Indians, many of them women and children, were killed. The controversial attack was hailed by the military and many civilians as a significant military victory aimed at reducing Indian raids on frontier settlements.


Washita was also viewed by many whites and Indian participants as a massacre. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, located in western Oklahoma, testifies to the struggle of the Southern Plains Indians to maintain their traditional lifeways. Casualties: U.S. 21 killed, 16 wounded; Indians 103 killed, 53 captured. The site is operated by the National Park Service

Native American Event Calendar from