Native Americans | Spike 150

Native Americans

The building of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads harmed and displaced many Native American tribes–including the Sioux, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Shoshone, and Paiute, to name a few–through altering natural resources or by the taking of native lands. Predominantly, in an effort to defend their independence and their way of life, Native Americans resisted the railroad’s construction. There were, however, tribes that worked on or offered support for its construction. During the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad (1869-2019), Spike150 acknowledges the suffering of those Native Americans displaced in the building of this railroad.

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Additional Questions and Discussions for Your Students

  • Why did some Native American tribes see the railroad as a positive development while others resisted it?
  • What were some of the impacts on wildlife
  • If you had to live off the land in the late 1860s what would you grow or hunt?