December 1, 2013
Case Studies in Project Management
Professor Andrew C. Hildebrand
The Black Hills of South Dakota were first inhabited in 1700 by the Kiowa and Crow Indians, who were then conquered by the warring Sioux tribes. (Larner, p. 20) Numerous wars were fought between the Indian inhabitants and the U.S. Army looking to protect settlers who wanted to make the hills of South Dakota their home. Skirmishes with settlers prompted the Government to grant ownership of the Black Hills to the Sioux in the Treaty of 1868. The peace, however, was short-lived. In 1874 gold was discovered in Harney’s Peak by a small Army party, led by General George Armstrong Custer, while on a “reconnaissance mission” for General Sheridan. (Larner, pp. 75-78)
White settlers and gold-crazed prospectors eagerly violated the Treaty and the Indian Wars took on a new intensity. One of the most notorious battles of the Indian Wars was the Battle of Little Big Horn, where Custer and the 7th Cavalry fought Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes led by Crazy Horse and Chief Gall. In June of 1876, this battle, which became known as “Custer’s Last Stand”, claimed the life of the General Custer and almost 300 of his men. It was, however, one of the few battles lost by the Army. Many of the battles ended with significant fatalities for peaceful Indian tribes, and slowly eroded their freedom in the West. Relegated to reservations in Oklahoma and Kansas, the Indians were left starving and homeless with their major food source, the buffalo, decimated by massive hunting campaigns by white hunters. Many Indians had no choice but to move to reservations and depend on the white people for food and shelter.
As most projects begin, Mount Rushmore began with an idea: Doane Robinson, South Dakota’s official historian, born on October 19, 1856, had this idea. Twenty...