So there is no attempt to understand the cultural mind-set of the Native Americans, which makes the scene with Sitting Bull and General Miles just sound ridiculous. Not to mention Miles spouts lines that sounded better suited for Rush Limbaugh on last week's radio show than for an army officer in the mid-to-late 1800s. In the scene he accuses the Lakota of fabricating their attachment to the Black Hills. That Indians “were killing one another and lusting for territory” before the Whites showed up. This is about the same as if a Nazi officer excused everything they did to the Jews because some Jews mistreated other Jews sometime in the past.
What Giat has Miles referring to regarding warring tribes is true – as far as it goes. But there are many first hand accounts – by Whites – early on in their contact with various tribes that time and again witnessed these “battles”. In most cases there were no fatalities. Think of it as what gang wars used to be like back in '50s New York. Lots of cuts, bruises, and occasionally cracked skulls. But for the most part “territorial” wars were not deadly.
It wasn't until the French, English, Spanish, and Americans began using Native Americans as proxies in their conquest of the Western Hemisphere and began arming them to the teeth that this started to change. The Europeans, past masters of “divide and conquer,” were essentially adults in a schoolyard where they were passing out rifles and an endless supply of ammo.
Also, Miles' claim about the Black Hills, the focus of gold lust for the Whites, is also barely true. It is true that as the traditional rivals of the Sioux – the Mandan and Arikara – had controlled the Black Hills (the Paha Sapa – Lakota for “the heart of everthing”) prior to the Lakota moving into the territory. Let's also mention (Giat/General Miles) that the Lakota were enabled to do this because the Mandan and Arikara were virtually wiped out from smallpox. Hmm... I wonder who introduced that to them? Also never mentioned is that the Cheyenne, Pawnee, and even Kiowa tribes – at one time or another – controlled the Black Hills. It wasn't as if the Lakota didn't know of the Black Hills. They didn't just stumble over them one day, say, “Hey! We likeee! Let's move in quick an claim 'squatter rights'!”