In the 1850s the American settlers were really scared of the native Indians. They also feared cholera which used to be a deadly disease back then. Native Red Indians believed that cholera was spread due to the intrusions by the white settlers. The cultural difference between the settlers and the native people further fueled the grievances. Neither the Red Indians nor the white settlers trusted the other party. This racial hostility lead to incidents which alleviated the discrimination to a much greater extent. The entire tribe or group of settlers were punished for the crime of one individual.
In order to improve the situation the federal government decided to take action. Thomas Fitzpatrick was approached to find a problem to the solution. He sent a number of runners across the region to implore the people to come to the parlay at Fort Laramie. The government viewed the hostility the Indians bore against the white settlers and the inter tribe rivalry threatening to the immigrants. The different tribes agreed to attend the meeting as Thomas Fitzpatrick was viewed with a lot of respect. The tribes who attended the parlay included the Crow, the Lakota, the Arikara, the Arapaho, the Hidatsa, the southern Cheyenne, the northern Cheyenne, the Shoshone, the Assiniboine and the Mandan.
The meeting itself was held amidst a number of problems. The situation was very tense with so many hostile parties gathering at one spot. The large number of Indians and their horses that had gathered caused such pollution that they had to be removed to a spot farther away from the Fort. The meeting went on for a period of twenty days. The meeting was known by several names including ‘The Treaty of Horse Creek’, ‘The Fitzpatrick Treaty’ as it would not have been possible to have the meeting without his endeavors. The Indians simply referred to it as ‘The Big Treaty’. While some of the Indian chiefs sounded really hopeful and optimistic about the treaty others treated this treaty with suspicion.
The purpose of arranging this treaty was to ensure the safety of the white immigrants and make sure that they do not tread on the Oregon Trail. The government also wanted to decrease the inter tribal hostility as this was proving to be dangerous to the travelers and the workers. The federal government promised to protect the tribes from any kind of attack from anyone. The tribes were also promised a sum of approximately fifty million American dollars which were to be shared by all the tribes. The exact method of distribution was not made very clear.
Later the senate reduced the amount of compensation from fifty million to ten million. This decision was one sided as all the chiefs of all the Indian tribes could not be gathered within such a short notice. The tribes were not even properly informed and their consent was not taken either. The entire incident managed to treat the Red Indians unfairly. Not only this treaty was an unjust one for them but this paved the way for declaration of such unfair treaties in the future.