Following the Civil War, the United States Army recognized
the contributions of African American soldiers in maintaining
the Union by offering placement of black troops as regular soldiers
in the "peacetime" US military. In 1866 Congress reorganized
the military to reflect these needs, and to take advantage of
the willing and skilled African American troops. Creating African
Ameircan cavalry and infantry units, military leadership sent
these troops west to participate in the "Indian Wars," to help
conquer and control the Native American population. It was there,
according to tradition, that the Native Americans dubbed the
Exploring the Contributions of Buffalo Soldiers
through New Technologies
role played by Buffalo Soldiers in the conquest of the American
West is controversial. The American military studied the colonial
model used in the deployment of native troops against indigenous
populations. The establishment of regular black troops in the
American West after the Civil War reflected many of these ideas.
Today, many aspects of Buffalo Soldier history are idealized
or incorporated as a part of an evolving national mythology.
Regardles, the Buffalo Soldiers played an important role in the 19th century history of the American West.
2002, the National Park Service (NPS) Intermountain Regional
Office and the Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystems Studies
Unit began a partnership with Howard University and Haskell
Indian Nations University. Designed to give undergraduate history
students experience in inventorying the significant data and
sites associated with the Buffalo Soldiers and to foster cooperation
among the African American and Native American communities,
the effort was entitled, "The Warriors Project." By opening
a dialogue between the two communities, NPS hopes to foster
interest in a subject of mutual importance to a new generation
of students, in addition to providing more recognition of these important resources.
together, students from the two universities identified approximately
250 sites in 12 states associated with the Buffalo Soldier activity
between 1866 and 1891, and compiled a bibliography of primary
and secondary source works.
provided training for the participating students at Howard University,
focusing on how to apply GIS to cultural resource applications.
CRGIS created generalized point locations for 215 of the 250
identified sites, using existing data sources such as the National
Register of Historic Places, Federal land boundaries, NPS boundaries,
and the Geographic Names Information System created by the US
Geological Survey. The attribute table associated with the points
identified those sites already listed on the National Register,
located on Federal property, or otherwise protected in some
Information provided by the Howard University students, such
as date ranges, military units, and Native American opponents,
was similarly entered into the attribute table, attaching a
wealth of information to each point. Definitive locations for
the remaining 35 sites could not be determined from the information