Whites and Indians

Though frontier race relations were complex and even free African Americans were unarguably second-class citizens in comparison to whites, many people ultimately recognized only two kinds of people: “whites” and Indians. The white category included Caucasians of European origin, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Indians regarded them all with antipathy, just as blacks and whites often feared and hated various aboriginal peoples with equal vigor regardless of tribal or band affiliation. African American pioneers, whether free or slave, were part of, not distinct from, the Euro American or white cultural front engaged in conquering the landscape and native inhabitants of the American West. Though the Rock Ranch slave’s skin was black, as far as the Sioux and Cheyenne were concerned, he was white, and he was an enemy.