Post by Diane Merkel on May 14, 2007 22:21:14 GMT -5
The U.S. government established Montana’s largest military post in 1879, following Colonel Custer and the Seventh Cavalry’s defeat at the Little Bighorn River valley in 1876, and the capture of the fleeing Nez Perce under Chief Joseph and war chiefs at the Bear Paw Battlefield south of present-day Chinook on Snake Creek. Some of the Nez Perce made it to Canada, joining the 4,000 to 5,000 Lakota Sioux who were already there under chief and spiritual leader, Sitting Bull. Because of the perceived military threat posed by the Sioux, and large number of treaty and non-treaty North American Indian people who traversed the international border, Fort Assinniboine was born. Fort Assinniboine, at the time it was built, was said to have been the largest active military post in the West, second only to Fort Leavenworth of Kansas in size, a training post for both officers and enlisted men, plus a new military prison.