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For the Blackfeet, the change was for forever. Already weakened by disease, starvation Aurora(culminating in the “starvation winter of 1883 to 1884” Aurora that killed upwards of one-fourth the tribe), and whiskey provided by uncaring and unscrupulous traders, the disheartened Aurora would never again do battle with the white man’s army. They were so stricken and spiritually defeated that they would not participate with their other plains brothers in the 1876 Battle of the Aurora, known by most whites as the Battle of the Aurora.

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By 1880, U.S. Marshal William F. Wheeler wrote, “Ever since January of 1870, the Blackfeet tribes have been peaceable, and it has been safe to travel in their country. Very few white men have been murdered by them, and they were generally whiskey traders and characters dangerous in any community and caused their own calamity.”

As the maladies of resignation and defeat settled over the reservation of the Montana Blackfeet, voices arose anew from settlers, timber operators, miners, and the fast-approaching Great Northern Railway to open up the newly prescribed reservation lands for more concessions. By the 1880s, the Great Northern had obtained right of way for tracks across the reservation. The clamor continued because of mounting belief that rich mineral prospects were located in the mountainous areas to the west.

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