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Author: William A. Stein
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INDIAN HEROES
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AND
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GREAT CHIEFTAINS
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INDIAN HEROES
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AND
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GREAT CHIEFTAINS
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BY
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CHARLES A. EASTMAN
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(OHIYESA)
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CONTENTS
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1. RED CLOUD
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2. SPOTTED TAIL
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3. LITTLE CROW
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4. TAMAHAY
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5. GALL
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6. CRAZY HORSE
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7. SITTING BULL
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8. RAIN-IN-THE-FACE
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9. TWO STRIKE
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10. AMERICAN HORSE
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11. DULL KNIFE
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12. ROMAN NOSE
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13. CHIEF JOSEPH
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14. LITTLE WOLF
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15. HOLE-IN-THE-DAY
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INDIAN HEROES AND
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GREAT CHIEFTAINS
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RED CLOUD
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EVERY age, every race, has its leaders and heroes. There were over
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sixty distinct tribes of Indians on this continent, each of which
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boasted its notable men. The names and deeds of some of these men
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will live in American history, yet in the true sense they are
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unknown, because misunderstood. I should like to present some of
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the greatest chiefs of modern times in the light of the native
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character and ideals, believing that the American people will
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gladly do them tardy justice.
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It is matter of history that the Sioux nation, to which I
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belong, was originally friendly to the Caucasian peoples which it
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met in succession-first, to the south the Spaniards; then the
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French, on the Mississippi River and along the Great Lakes; later
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the English, and finally the Americans. This powerful tribe then
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roamed over the whole extent of the Mississippi valley, between
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that river and the Rockies. Their usages and government united the
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various bands more closely than was the case with many of the
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neighboring tribes.
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During the early part of the nineteenth century, chiefs such
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as Wabashaw, Redwing, and Little Six among the eastern Sioux,
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Conquering Bear, Man-Afraid-of-His-Horse, and Hump of the western
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bands, were the last of the old type. After these, we have a
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coterie of new leaders, products of the new conditions brought
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about by close contact with the conquering race.
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This distinction must be borne in mind -- that while the early
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chiefs were spokesmen and leaders in the simplest sense, possessing
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no real authority, those who headed their tribes during the
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transition period were more or less rulers and more or less
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politicians. It is a singular fact that many of the "chiefs", well
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known as such to the American public, were not chiefs at all
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according to the accepted usages of their tribesmen. Their
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prominence was simply the result of an abnormal situation, in which
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representatives of the United States Government made use of them
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for a definite purpose. In a few cases, where a chief met with a
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violent death, some ambitious man has taken advantage of the
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confusion to thrust himself upon the tribe and, perhaps with
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outside help, has succeeded in usurping the leadership.
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Red Cloud was born about 1820 near the forks of the Platte
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River. He was one of a family of nine children whose father, an
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able and respected warrior, reared his son under the old Spartan
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regime. The young Red Cloud is said to have been a fine horseman,
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able to swim across the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, of high
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bearing and unquestionable courage, yet invariably gentle and
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courteous in everyday life. This last trait, together with a
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singularly musical and agreeable voice, has always been
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characteristic of the man.
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When he was about six years old, his father gave him a
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spirited colt, and said to him:
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"My son, when you are able to sit quietly upon the back of
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this colt without saddle or bridle, I shall be glad, for the boy
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who can win a wild creature and learn to use it will as a man be
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able to win and rule men."
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The little fellow, instead of going for advice and help to his
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grandfather, as most Indian boys would have done, began quietly to
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practice throwing the lariat. In a little while he was able to
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lasso the colt. He was dragged off his feet at once, but hung on,
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and finally managed to picket him near the teepee. When the big
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boys drove the herd of ponies to water, he drove his colt with the
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rest. Presently the pony became used to him and allowed himself to
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be handled. The boy began to ride him bareback; he was thrown many
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times, but persisted until he could ride without even a lariat,
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sitting with arms folded and guiding the animal by the movements of
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his body. From that time on he told me that he broke all his own
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ponies, and before long his father's as well.
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The old men, his contemporaries, have often related to me how
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Red Cloud was always successful in the hunt because his horses were
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so well broken. At the age of nine, he began to ride his father's
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pack pony upon the buffalo hunt. He was twelve years old, he told
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me, when he was first permitted to take part in the chase, and
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found to his great mortification that none of his arrows penetrated
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more than a few inches. Excited to recklessness, he whipped his
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horse nearer the fleeing buffalo, and before his father knew what
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he was about, he had seized one of the protruding arrows and tried
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to push it deeper. The furious animal tossed his massive head
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sidewise, and boy and horse were whirled into the air.
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Fortunately, the boy was thrown on the farther side of his pony,
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which received the full force of the second attack. The thundering
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hoofs of the stampeded herd soon passed them by, but the wounded
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and maddened buffalo refused to move, and some critical moments
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passed before Red Cloud's father succeeded in attracting its
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attention so that the boy might spring to his feet and run for his
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life.
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I once asked Red Cloud if he could recall having ever been
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afraid, and in reply he told me this story. He was about sixteen
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years old and had already been once or twice upon the warpath, when
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one fall his people were hunting in the Big Horn country, where
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they might expect trouble at any moment with the hostile Crows or
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Shoshones. Red Cloud had followed a single buffalo bull into the
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Bad Lands and was out of sight and hearing of his companions. When
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he had brought down his game, he noted carefully every feature of
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his surroundings so that he might at once detect anything unusual,
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and tied his horse with a long lariat to the horn of the dead
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bison, while skinning and cutting up the meat so as to pack it to
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camp. Every few minutes he paused in his work to scrutinize the
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landscape, for he had a feeling that danger was not far off.
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Suddenly, almost over his head, as it seemed, he heard a
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tremendous war whoop, and glancing sidewise, thought he beheld
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the charge of an overwhelming number of warriors. He tried
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desperately to give the usual undaunted war whoop in reply, but
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instead a yell of terror burst from his lips, his legs gave way
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under him, and he fell in a heap. When he realized, the next
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instant, that the war whoop was merely the sudden loud whinnying of
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his own horse, and the charging army a band of fleeing elk, he was
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so ashamed of himself that he never forgot the incident, although
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up to that time he had never mentioned it. His subsequent career
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would indicate that the lesson was well learned.
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The future leader was still a very young man when he joined a
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war party against the Utes. Having pushed eagerly forward on the
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trail, he found himself far in advance of his companions as night
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came on, and at the same time rain began to fall heavily. Among
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the scattered scrub pines, the lone warrior found a natural cave,
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and after a hasty examination, he decided to shelter there for the
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night.
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Scarcely had he rolled himself in his blanket when he heard a
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slight rustling at the entrance, as if some creature were preparing
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to share his retreat. It was pitch dark. He could see nothing, but
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judged that it must be either a man or a grizzly. There was not
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room to draw a bow. It must be between knife and knife, or between
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knife and claws, he said to himself.
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The intruder made no search but quietly lay down in the
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opposite corner of the cave. Red Cloud remained perfectly still,
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scarcely breathing, his hand upon his knife. Hour after hour he
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lay broad awake, while many thoughts passed through his brain.
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Suddenly, without warning, he sneezed, and instantly a strong man
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sprang to a sitting posture opposite. The first gray of morning
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was creeping into their rocky den, and behold! a Ute hunter sat
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before him.
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Desperate as the situation appeared, it was not without a grim
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humor. Neither could afford to take his eyes from the other's; the
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tension was great, till at last a smile wavered over the
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expressionless face of the Ute. Red Cloud answered the smile, and
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in that instant a treaty of peace was born between them.
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"Put your knife in its sheath. I shall do so also, and we
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will smoke together," signed Red Cloud. The other assented gladly,
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and they ratified thus the truce which assured to each a safe
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return to his friends. Having finished their smoke, they shook
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hands and separated. Neither had given the other any information.
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Red Cloud returned to his party and told his story, adding that he
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had divulged nothing and had nothing to report. Some were inclined
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to censure him for not fighting, but he was sustained by a majority
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of the warriors, who commended his self-restraint. In a day or two
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they discovered the main camp of the enemy and fought a remarkable
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battle, in which Red Cloud especially distinguished himself
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The Sioux were now entering upon the most stormy period of
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their history. The old things were fast giving place to new. The
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young men, for the first time engaging in serious and destructive
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warfare with the neighboring tribes, armed with the deadly weapons
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furnished by the white man, began to realize that they must soon
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enter upon a desperate struggle for their ancestral hunting
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grounds. The old men had been innocently cultivating the
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friendship of the stranger, saying among themselves, "Surely there
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is land enough for all!"
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Red Cloud was a modest and little known man of about
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twenty-eight years, when General Harney called all the western
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bands of Sioux together at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, for the purpose
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of securing an agreement and right of way through their territory.
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The Ogallalas held aloof from this proposal, but Bear Bull, an
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Ogallala chief, after having been plied with whisky, undertook to
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dictate submission to the rest of the clan. Enraged by failure, he
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fired upon a group of his own tribesmen, and Red Cloud's father and
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brother fell dead. According to Indian custom, it fell to him to
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avenge the deed. Calmly, without uttering a word, he faced old
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Bear Bull and his son, who attempted to defend his father, and shot
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them both. He did what he believed to be his duty, and the whole
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band sustained him. Indeed, the tragedy gave the young man at once
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a certain standing, as one who not only defended his people against
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enemies from without, but against injustice and aggression within
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the tribe. From this time on he was a recognized leader.
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Man-Afraid-of-His-Horse, then head chief of the Ogallalas,
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took council with Red Cloud in all important matters, and the young
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warrior rapidly advanced in authority and influence. In 1854, when
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he was barely thirty-five years old, the various bands were again
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encamped near Fort Laramie. A Mormon emigrant train, moving
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westward, left a footsore cow behind, and the young men killed her
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for food. The next day, to their astonishment, an officer with
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thirty men appeared at the Indian camp and demanded of old
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Conquering Bear that they be given up. The chief in vain protested
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that it was all a mistake and offered to make reparation. It would
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seem that either the officer was under the influence of liquor, or
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else had a mind to bully the Indians, for he would accept neither
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explanation nor payment, but demanded point-blank that the young
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men who had killed the cow be delivered up to summary punishment.
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The old chief refused to be intimidated and was shot dead on the
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spot. Not one soldier ever reached the gate of Fort Laramie! Here
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Red Cloud led the young Ogallalas, and so intense was the feeling
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that they even killed the half-breed interpreter.
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Curiously enough, there was no attempt at retaliation on the
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part of the army, and no serious break until 1860, when the Sioux
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were involved in troubles with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes. In
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1862, a grave outbreak was precipitated by the eastern Sioux in
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Minnesota under Little Crow, in which the western bands took no
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part. Yet this event ushered in a new period for their race. The
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surveyors of the Union Pacific were laying out the proposed road
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through the heart of the southern buffalo country, the rendezvous
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of Ogallalas, Brules, Arapahoes, Comanches, and Pawnees, who
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followed the buffalo as a means of livelihood. To be sure, most of
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these tribes were at war with one another, yet during the summer
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months they met often to proclaim a truce and hold joint councils
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and festivities, which were now largely turned into discussions of
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the common enemy. It became evident, however, that some of the
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smaller and weaker tribes were inclined to welcome the new order of
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things, recognizing that it was the policy of the government to put
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an end to tribal warfare.
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Red Cloud's position was uncompromisingly against submission.
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He made some noted speeches in this line, one of which was repeated
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to me by an old man who had heard and remembered it with the
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remarkable verbal memory of an Indian.
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"Friends," said Red Cloud, "it has been our misfortune to
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welcome the white man. We have been deceived. He brought with him
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some shining things that pleased our eyes; he brought weapons more
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effective than our own: above all, he brought the spirit water that
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makes one forget for a time old age, weakness, and sorrow. But I
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wish to say to you that if you would possess these things for
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yourselves, you must begin anew and put away the wisdom of your
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fathers. You must lay up food, and forget the hungry. When your
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house is built, your storeroom filled, then look around for a
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neighbor whom you can take at a disadvantage, and seize all that he
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has! Give away only what you do not want; or rather, do not part
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with any of your possessions unless in exchange for another's.
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"My countrymen, shall the glittering trinkets of this rich
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man, his deceitful drink that overcomes the mind, shall these
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things tempt us to give up our homes, our hunting grounds, and the
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honorable teaching of our old men? Shall we permit ourselves to be
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driven to and fro -- to be herded like the cattle of the white man?"
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His next speech that has been remembered was made in 1866,
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just before the attack on Fort Phil Kearny. The tension of feeling
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against the invaders had now reached its height. There was no
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dissenting voice in the council upon the Powder River, when it was
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decided to oppose to the uttermost the evident purpose of the
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government. Red Cloud was not altogether ignorant of the numerical
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strength and the resourcefulness of the white man, but he was
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determined to face any odds rather than submit.
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"Hear ye, Dakotas!" he exclaimed. "When the Great Father at
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Washington sent us his chief soldier [General Harney] to ask for a
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path through our hunting grounds, a way for his iron road to the
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mountains and the western sea, we were told that they wished merely
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to pass through our country, not to tarry among us, but to seek for
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gold in the far west. Our old chiefs thought to show their
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friendship and good will, when they allowed this dangerous snake in
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our midst. They promised to protect the wayfarers.
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"Yet before the ashes of the council fire are cold, the Great
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Father is building his forts among us. You have heard the sound of
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the white soldier's ax upon the Little Piney. His presence here is
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an insult and a threat. It is an insult to the spirits of our
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ancestors. Are we then to give up their sacred graves to be plowed
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for corn? Dakotas, I am for war!"
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In less than a week after this speech, the Sioux advanced upon
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Fort Phil Kearny, the new sentinel that had just taken her place
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upon the farthest frontier, guarding the Oregon Trail. Every
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detail of the attack had been planned with care, though not without
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heated discussion, and nearly every well-known Sioux chief had
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agreed in striking the blow. The brilliant young war leader, Crazy
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Horse, was appointed to lead the charge. His lieutenants were
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Sword, Hump, and Dull Knife, with Little Chief of the Cheyennes,
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while the older men acted as councilors. Their success was
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instantaneous. In less than half an hour, they had cut down nearly
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a hundred men under Captain Fetterman, whom they drew out of the
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fort by a ruse and then annihilated.
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Instead of sending troops to punish, the government sent a
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commission to treat with the Sioux. The result was the famous
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treaty of 1868, which Red Cloud was the last to sign, having
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refused to do so until all of the forts within their territory
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should be vacated. All of his demands were acceded to, the new
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road abandoned, the garrisons withdrawn, and in the new treaty it
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was distinctly stated that the Black Hills and the Big Horn were
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Indian country, set apart for their perpetual occupancy, and that
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no white man should enter that region without the consent of the
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Sioux.
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Scarcely was this treaty signed, however, when gold was
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discovered in the Black Hills, and the popular cry was: "Remove
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the Indians!" This was easier said than done. That very territory
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had just been solemnly guaranteed to them forever: yet how stem the
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irresistible rush for gold? The government, at first, entered some
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small protest, just enough to "save its face" as the saying is; but
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there was no serious attempt to prevent the wholesale violation of
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the treaty. It was this state of affairs that led to the last
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great speech made by Red Cloud, at a gathering upon the Little
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Rosebud River. It is brief, and touches upon the hopelessness of
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their future as a race. He seems at about this time to have
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reached the conclusion that resistance could not last much longer;
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in fact, the greater part of the Sioux nation was already under
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government control.
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"We are told," said he, "that Spotted Tail has consented to be
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the Beggars' Chief. Those Indians who go over to the white man can
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be nothing but beggars, for he respects only riches, and how can an
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Indian be a rich man? He cannot without ceasing to be an Indian.
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As for me, I have listened patiently to the promises of the Great
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Father, but his memory is short. I am now done with him. This is
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all I have to say."
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The wilder bands separated soon after this council, to follow
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the drift of the buffalo, some in the vicinity of the Black Hills
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and others in the Big Horn region. Small war parties came down
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from time to time upon stray travelers, who received no mercy at
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their hands, or made dashes upon neighboring forts. Red Cloud
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claimed the right to guard and hold by force, if need be, all this
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territory which had been conceded to his people by the treaty of
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1868. The land became a very nest of outlawry. Aside from
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organized parties of prospectors, there were bands of white horse
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thieves and desperadoes who took advantage of the situation to
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plunder immigrants and Indians alike.
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An attempt was made by means of military camps to establish
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control and force all the Indians upon reservations, and another
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commission was sent to negotiate their removal to Indian Territory,
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but met with an absolute refusal. After much guerrilla warfare, an
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important military campaign against the Sioux was set on foot in
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1876, ending in Custer's signal defeat upon the Little Big Horn.
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In this notable battle, Red Cloud did not participate in
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person, nor in the earlier one with Crook upon the Little Rosebud,
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but he had a son in both fights. He was now a councilor rather
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than a warrior, but his young men were constantly in the field,
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while Spotted Tail had definitely surrendered and was in close
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touch with representatives of the government.
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But the inevitable end was near. One morning in the fall of
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1876 Red Cloud was surrounded by United States troops under the
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command of Colonel McKenzie, who disarmed his people and brought
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them into Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Thence they were removed to the
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Pine Ridge agency, where he lived for more than thirty years as a
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"reservation Indian." In order to humiliate him further,
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government authorities proclaimed the more tractable Spotted Tail
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head chief of the Sioux. Of course, Red Cloud's own people never
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recognized any other chief.
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In 1880 he appealed to Professor Marsh, of Yale, head of a
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scientific expedition to the Bad Lands, charging certain frauds at
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the agency and apparently proving his case; at any rate the matter
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was considered worthy of official investigation. In 1890-1891,
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during the "Ghost Dance craze" and the difficulties that followed,
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he was suspected of collusion with the hostiles, but he did not
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join them openly, and nothing could be proved against him. He was
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already an old man, and became almost entirely blind before his
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death in 1909 in his ninetieth year.
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His private life was exemplary. He was faithful to one wife
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all his days, and was a devoted father to his children. He was
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ambitious for his only son, known as Jack Red Cloud, and much
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desired him to be a great warrior. He started him on the warpath
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at the age of fifteen, not then realizing that the days of Indian
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warfare were well-nigh at an end.
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Among latter-day chiefs, Red Cloud was notable as a quiet man,
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simple and direct in speech, courageous in action, an ardent lover
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of his country, and possessed in a marked degree of the manly
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qualities characteristic of the American Indian in his best days.
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SPOTTED TAIL
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Among the Sioux chiefs of the "transition period" only one was
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shrewd enough to read coming events in their true light. It is
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said of Spotted Tail that he was rather a slow-moving boy,
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preferring in their various games and mimic battles to play the
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role of councilor, to plan and assign to the others their parts in
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the fray. This he did so cleverly that he soon became a leader
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among his youthful contemporaries; and withal he was apt at mimicry
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and impersonation, so that the other boys were accustomed to say of
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him, "He has his grandfather's wit and the wisdom of his
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grandmother!"
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Spotted Tail was an orphan, reared by his grandparents, and at
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an early age compelled to shift for himself. Thus he was somewhat
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at a disadvantage among the other boys; yet even this fact may have
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helped to develop in him courage and ingenuity. One little
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incident of his boy life, occurring at about his tenth year, is
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characteristic of the man. In the midst of a game, two boys became
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involved in a dispute which promised to be a serious one, as both
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drew knives. The young Spotted Tail instantly began to cry, "The
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Shoshones are upon us! To arms! to arms!" and the other boys
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joined in the war whoop. This distracted the attention of the
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combatants and ended the affair.
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Upon the whole, his boyhood is not so well remembered as is
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that of most of his leading contemporaries, probably because he had
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no parents to bring him frequently before the people, as was the
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custom with the wellborn, whose every step in their progress toward
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manhood was publicly announced at a feast given in their honor. It
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is known, however, that he began at an early age to carve out a
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position for himself. It is personal qualities alone that tell
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among our people, and the youthful Spotted Tail gained at every
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turn. At the age of seventeen, he had become a sure shot and a
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clever hunter; but, above all, he had already shown that he
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possessed a superior mind. He had come into contact with white
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people at the various trading posts, and according to his own story
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had made a careful study of the white man's habits and modes of
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thought, especially of his peculiar trait of economy and intense
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desire to accumulate property. He was accustomed to watch closely
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and listen attentively whenever any of this strange race had
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dealings with his people. When a council was held, and the other
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young men stood at a distance with their robes over their faces so
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as to avoid recognition, Spotted Tail always put himself in a
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position to hear all that was said on either side, and weighed all
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the arguments in his mind.
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When he first went upon the warpath, it appears that he was,
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if anything, overzealous to establish himself in the eye of his
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people; and as a matter of fact, it was especially hard for him to
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gain an assured position among the Brules, with whom he lived, both
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because he was an orphan, and because his father had been of
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another band. Yet it was not long before he had achieved his
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ambition, though in doing so he received several ugly wounds. It
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was in a battle with the Utes that he first notably served his
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people and their cause.
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The Utes were the attacking party and far outnumbered the
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Sioux on this occasion. Many of their bravest young men had
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fallen, and the Brules were face to face with utter annihilation,
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when Spotted Tail, with a handful of daring horsemen, dodged around
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the enemy's flank and fell upon them from the rear with so much
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spirit that they supposed that strong reinforcements had arrived,
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and retreated in confusion. The Sioux pursued on horseback; and it
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was in this pursuit that the noted chief Two Strike gained his
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historical name. But the chief honors of the fight belonged to
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Spotted Tail. The old chiefs, Conquering Bear and the rest,
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thanked him and at once made him a war chief.
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It had been the firm belief of Spotted Tail that it was unwise
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to allow the white man so much freedom in our country, long before
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the older chiefs saw any harm in it. After the opening of the
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Oregon Trail he, above all the others, was watchful of the conduct
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of the Americans as they journeyed toward the setting sun, and more
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than once he remarked in council that these white men were not like
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the French and the Spanish, with whom our old chiefs had been used
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to deal. He was not fully satisfied with the agreement with
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General Harney; but as a young warrior who had only just gained his
515
position in the council, he could not force his views upon the
516
older men.
517
518
No sooner had the Oregon Trail been secured from the Sioux
519
than Fort Laramie and other frontier posts were strengthened, and
520
the soldiers became more insolent and overbearing than ever. It
521
was soon discovered that the whites were prepared to violate most
522
of the articles of their treaty as the Indians understood it. At
523
this time, the presence of many Mormon emigrants on their way to
524
the settlements in Utah and Wyoming added to the perils of the
525
situation, as they constantly maneuvered for purposes of their own
526
to bring about a clash between the soldiers and the Indians. Every
527
summer there were storm-clouds blowing between these two -- clouds
528
usually taking their rise in some affair of the travelers along the
529
trail.
530
531
In 1854 an event occurred which has already been described and
532
which snapped the last link of friendship between the races.
533
534
By this time Spotted Tail had proved his courage both abroad
535
and at home. He had fought a duel with one of the lesser chiefs,
536
by whom he was attacked. He killed his opponent with an arrow, but
537
himself received upon his head a blow from a battle-axe which
538
brought him senseless to the ground. He was left for dead, but
539
fortunately revived just as the men were preparing his body for
540
burial.
541
542
The Brules sustained him in this quarrel, as he had acted in
543
self-defense; and for a few years he led them in bloody raids
544
against the whites along the historic trail. He ambushed many
545
stagecoaches and emigrant trains, and was responsible for waylaying
546
the Kincaid coach with twenty thousand dollars. This relentless
547
harrying of travelers soon brought General Harney to the Brule
548
Sioux to demand explanations and reparation.
549
550
The old chiefs of the Brules now appealed to Spotted Tail and
551
his young warriors not to bring any general calamity upon the
552
tribe. To the surprise of all, Spotted Tail declared that he would
553
give himself up. He said that he had defended the rights of his
554
people to the best of his ability, that he had avenged the blood of
555
their chief, Conquering Bear, and that he was not afraid to accept
556
the consequences. He therefore voluntarily surrendered to General
557
Harney, and two of his lieutenants, Red Leaf and Old Woman,
558
followed his example.
559
560
Thus Spotted Tail played an important part at the very outset
561
of those events which were soon to overthrow the free life of his
562
people. I do not know how far he foresaw what was to follow; but
563
whether so conceived or not, his surrender was a master stroke,
564
winning for him not only the admiration of his own people but the
565
confidence and respect of the military.
566
567
Thus suddenly he found himself in prison, a hostage for the
568
good behavior of his followers. There were many rumors as to the
569
punishment reserved for him; but luckily for Spotted Tail, the
570
promises of General Harney to the Brule chiefs in respect to him
571
were faithfully kept. One of his fellow-prisoners committed
572
suicide, but the other held out bravely for the two-year term of
573
his imprisonment. During the second year, it was well understood
574
that neither of the men sought to escape, and they were given
575
much freedom. It was fine schooling for Spotted Tail, that
576
tireless observer of the ways of the white man! It is a fact that
577
his engaging personal qualities won for him kindness and sympathy
578
at the fort before the time came for his release.
579
580
One day some Indian horse thieves of another tribe stampeded
581
the horses and mules belonging to the garrison. Spotted Tail asked
582
permission of the commanding officer to accompany the pursuers.
583
That officer, trusting in the honor of a Sioux brave, gave him a
584
fast horse and a good carbine, and said to him: "I depend upon you
585
to guide my soldiers so that they may overtake the thieves and
586
recapture the horses!"
587
588
The soldiers recaptured the horses without any loss, but
589
Spotted Tail still followed the Indians. When they returned to the
590
fort without him, everybody agreed that he would never turn up.
591
However, next day he did "turn up", with the scalp of one of the
592
marauders!
593
594
Soon after this he was returned to his own people, who honored
595
him by making him the successor of the old chief, Conquering Bear,
596
whose blood he had avenged, for which act he had taken upon himself
597
the full responsibility. He had made good use of his two years at
598
the fort, and completed his studies of civilization to his own
599
satisfaction. From this time on he was desirous of reconciling the
600
Indian and the white man, thoroughly understanding the uselessness
601
of opposition. He was accordingly in constant communication with
602
the military; but the other chiefs did not understand his views and
603
seem to have been suspicious of his motives.
604
605
In 1860-1864 the Southern Cheyennes and Comanches were at war
606
with the whites, and some of the Brules and Ogallalas, who were
607
their neighbors and intimates, were suspected of complicity with
608
the hostiles. Doubtless a few of their young men may have been
609
involved; at any rate, Thunder Bear and Two Face, together with a
610
few others who were roving with the warring tribes, purchased two
611
captive white women and brought them to Fort Laramie. It was,
612
however, reported at the post that these two men had maltreated the
613
women while under their care.
614
615
Of course, the commander demanded of Spotted Tail, then head
616
chief, that he give up the guilty ones, and accordingly he had the
617
two men arrested and delivered at the fort. At this there was an
618
outcry among his own people; but he argued that if the charges were
619
true, the men deserved punishment, and if false, they should be
620
tried and cleared by process of law. The Indians never quite knew
621
what evidence was produced at the court-martial, but at all events
622
the two men were hanged, and as they had many influential
623
connections, their relatives lost no time in fomenting trouble.
624
The Sioux were then camping close by the fort and it was midwinter,
625
which facts held them in check for a month or two; but as soon as
626
spring came, they removed their camp across the river and rose in
627
rebellion. A pitched battle was fought, in which the soldiers got
628
the worst of it. Even the associate chief, Big Mouth, was against
629
Spotted Tail, who was practically forced against his will and
630
judgment to take up arms once more.
631
632
At this juncture came the sudden and bloody uprising in the
633
east among the Minnesota Sioux, and Sitting Bull's campaign in the
634
north had begun in earnest; while to the south the Southern
635
Cheyennes, Comanches, and Kiowas were all upon the warpath.
636
Spotted Tail at about this time seems to have conceived the idea of
637
uniting all the Rocky Mountain Indians in a great confederacy. He
638
once said: "Our cause is as a child's cause, in comparison with the
639
power of the white man, unless we can stop quarreling among
640
ourselves and unite our energies for the common good." But old-
641
time antagonisms were too strong; and he was probably held back
642
also by his consciousness of the fact that the Indians called him
643
"the white man's friend", while the military still had some faith
644
in him which he did not care to lose. He was undoubtedly one of
645
the brainiest and most brilliant Sioux who ever lived; and while he
646
could not help being to a large extent in sympathy with the feeling
647
of his race against the invader, yet he alone foresaw the
648
inevitable outcome, and the problem as it presented itself to him
649
was simply this: "What is the best policy to pursue in the existing
650
situation?"
651
652
Here is his speech as it has been given to me, delivered at
653
the great council on the Powder River, just before the attack on
654
Fort Phil Kearny. We can imagine that he threw all his wonderful
655
tact and personal magnetism into this last effort at conciliation.
656
657
"'Hay, hay, hay! Alas, alas!' Thus speaks the old man, when
658
he knows that his former vigor and freedom is gone from him
659
forever. So we may exclaim to-day, Alas! There is a time
660
appointed to all things. Think for a moment how many multitudes of
661
the animal tribes we ourselves have destroyed! Look upon the snow
662
that appears to-day -- to-morrow it is water! Listen to the dirge
663
of the dry leaves, that were green and vigorous but a few moons
664
before! We are a part of this life and it seems that our time is
665
come.
666
667
"Yet note how the decay of one nation invigorates another.
668
This strange white man -- consider him, his gifts are manifold!
669
His tireless brain, his busy hand do wonders for his race. Those
670
things which we despise he holds as treasures; yet he is so great
671
and so flourishing that there must be some virtue and truth in his
672
philosophy. I wish to say to you, my friends: Be not moved alone
673
by heated arguments and thoughts of revenge! These are for the
674
young. We are young no longer; let us think well, and give counsel
675
as old men!"
676
677
These words were greeted with an ominous silence. Not even
678
the customary "How!" of assent followed the speech, and Sitting
679
Bull immediately got up and replied in the celebrated harangue
680
which will be introduced under his own name in another chapter.
681
The situation was critical for Spotted Tail -- the only man present
682
to advocate submission to the stronger race whose ultimate
683
supremacy he recognized as certain. The decision to attack Fort
684
Phil Kearny was unanimous without him, and in order to hold his
685
position among his tribesmen he joined in the charge. Several
686
bullets passed through his war bonnet, and he was slightly wounded.
687
688
When the commission of 1867-1868 was sent out to negotiate
689
with the Sioux, Spotted Tail was ready to meet them, and eager to
690
obtain for his people the very best terms that he could. He often
691
puzzled and embarrassed them by his remarkable speeches, the
692
pointed questions that he put, and his telling allusions to former
693
negotiations. Meanwhile Red Cloud would not come into the council
694
until after several deputations of Indians had been sent to him,
695
and Sitting Bull did not come at all.
696
697
The famous treaty was signed, and from this time on Spotted
698
Tail never again took up arms against the whites. On the contrary,
699
it was mainly attributed to his influence that the hostiles were
700
subdued much sooner than might have been expected. He came into
701
the reservation with his band, urged his young men to enlist as
702
government scouts, and assisted materially in all negotiations.
703
The hostile chiefs no longer influenced his action, and as soon as
704
they had all been brought under military control, General Crook
705
named Spotted Tail head chief of the Sioux, thus humiliating Red
706
Cloud and arousing jealousy and ill-feeling among the Ogallalas.
707
In order to avoid trouble, he prudently separated himself from the
708
other bands, and moved to the new agency on Beaver Creek (Fort
709
Sheridan, Nebraska), which was called "Spotted Tail Agency."
710
711
Just before the daring war leader, Crazy Horse, surrendered to
712
the military, he went down to the agency and roundly rebuked
713
Spotted Tail for signing away the freedom of his people. From the
714
point of view of the irreconcilables, the diplomatic chief was a
715
"trimmer" and a traitor; and many of the Sioux have tried to
716
implicate him in the conspiracy against Crazy Horse which led to
717
his assassination, but I hold that the facts do not bear out this
718
charge.
719
720
The name of Spotted Tail was prominently before the people
721
during the rest of his life. An obscure orphan, he had achieved
722
distinction by his bravery and sagacity; but he copied the white
723
politician too closely after he entered the reservation. He became
724
a good manipulator, and was made conceited and overbearing by the
725
attentions of the military and of the general public. Furthermore,
726
there was an old feud in his immediate band which affected him
727
closely. Against him for many years were the followers of Big
728
Mouth, whom he had killed in a duel; and also a party led by a son
729
and a nephew of the old chief, Conquering Bear, whom Spotted Tail
730
had succeeded at his death. These two men had hoped that one or
731
the other of them might obtain the succession.
732
733
Crow Dog, the nephew of Conquering Bear, more than once
734
taunted Spotted Tail with the fact that he was chief not by the
735
will of the tribe, but by the help of the white soldiers, and told
736
him that he would "keep a bullet for him" in case he ever disgraced
737
his high position. Thus retribution lay in wait for him while at
738
the height of his fame. Several high-handed actions of his at this
739
time, including his elopement with another man's wife, increased
740
his unpopularity with a large element of his own tribe. On the eve
741
of the chief's departure for Washington, to negotiate (or so they
742
suspected) for the sale of more of their land, Crow Dog took up his
743
gun and fulfilled his threat, regarding himself, and regarded by
744
his supporters, not as a murderer, but as an executioner.
745
746
Such was the end of the man who may justly be called the
747
Pontiac of the west. He possessed a remarkable mind and
748
extraordinary foresight for an untutored savage; and yet he is the
749
only one of our great men to be remembered with more honor by the
750
white man, perhaps, than by his own people.
751
752
753
754
755
LITTLE CROW
756
757
758
Chief Little Crow was the eldest son of Cetanwakuwa (Charging
759
Hawk). It was on account of his father's name, mistranslated Crow,
760
that he was called by the whites "Little Crow." His real name was
761
Taoyateduta, His Red People.
762
763
As far back as Minnesota history goes, a band of the Sioux
764
called Kaposia (Light Weight, because they were said to travel
765
light) inhabited the Mille Lacs region. Later they dwelt about St.
766
Croix Falls, and still later near St. Paul. In 1840, Cetanwakuwa
767
was still living in what is now West St. Paul, but he was soon
768
after killed by the accidental discharge of his gun.
769
770
It was during a period of demoralization for the Kaposias that
771
Little Crow became the leader of his people. His father, a
772
well-known chief, had three wives, all from different bands of the
773
Sioux. He was the only son of the first wife, a Leaf Dweller.
774
There were two sons of the second and two of the third wife, and
775
the second set of brothers conspired to kill their half-brother in
776
order to keep the chieftainship in the family.
777
778
Two kegs of whisky were bought, and all the men of the tribe
779
invited to a feast. It was planned to pick some sort of quarrel
780
when all were drunk, and in the confusion Little Crow was to be
781
murdered. The plot went smoothly until the last instant, when a
782
young brave saved the intended victim by knocking the gun aside
783
with his hatchet, so that the shot went wild. However, it broke
784
his right arm, which remained crooked all his life. The friends of
785
the young chieftain hastily withdrew, avoiding a general fight; and
786
later the council of the Kaposias condemned the two brothers, both
787
of whom were executed, leaving him in undisputed possession.
788
789
Such was the opening of a stormy career. Little Crow's mother
790
had been a chief's daughter, celebrated for her beauty and spirit,
791
and it is said that she used to plunge him into the lake through a
792
hole in the ice, rubbing him afterward with snow, to strengthen his
793
nerves, and that she would remain with him alone in the deep woods
794
for days at a time, so that he might know that solitude is good,
795
and not fear to be alone with nature.
796
797
"My son," she would say, "if you are to be a leader of men,
798
you must listen in silence to the mystery, the spirit."
799
800
At a very early age she made a feast for her boy and announced
801
that he would fast two days. This is what might be called a formal
802
presentation to the spirit or God. She greatly desired him to
803
become a worthy leader according to the ideas of her people. It
804
appears that she left her husband when he took a second wife, and
805
lived with her own band till her death. She did not marry again.
806
807
Little Crow was an intensely ambitious man and without
808
physical fear. He was always in perfect training and early
809
acquired the art of warfare of the Indian type. It is told of him
810
that when he was about ten years old, he engaged with other boys in
811
a sham battle on the shore of a lake near St. Paul. Both sides
812
were encamped at a little distance from one another, and the rule
813
was that the enemy must be surprised, otherwise the attack would be
814
considered a failure. One must come within so many paces
815
undiscovered in order to be counted successful. Our hero had a
816
favorite dog which, at his earnest request, was allowed to take
817
part in the game, and as a scout he entered the enemy camp unseen,
818
by the help of his dog.
819
820
When he was twelve, he saved the life of a companion who had
821
broken through the ice by tying the end of a pack line to a log,
822
then at great risk to himself carrying it to the edge of the hole
823
where his comrade went down. It is said that he also broke in, but
824
both boys saved themselves by means of the line.
825
826
As a young man, Little Crow was always ready to serve his
827
people as a messenger to other tribes, a duty involving much danger
828
and hardship. He was also known as one of the best hunters in his
829
band. Although still young, he had already a war record when he
830
became chief of the Kaposias, at a time when the Sioux were facing
831
the greatest and most far-reaching changes that had ever come to
832
them.
833
834
At this juncture in the history of the northwest and its
835
native inhabitants, the various fur companies had paramount
836
influence. They did not hesitate to impress the Indians with the
837
idea that they were the authorized representatives of the white
838
races or peoples, and they were quick to realize the desirability
839
of controlling the natives through their most influential chiefs.
840
Little Crow became quite popular with post traders and factors. He
841
was an orator as well as a diplomat, and one of the first of his
842
nation to indulge in politics and promote unstable schemes to the
843
detriment of his people.
844
845
When the United States Government went into the business of
846
acquiring territory from the Indians so that the flood of western
847
settlement might not be checked, commissions were sent out to
848
negotiate treaties, and in case of failure it often happened that
849
a delegation of leading men of the tribe were invited to
850
Washington. At that period, these visiting chiefs, attired in all
851
the splendor of their costumes of ceremony, were treated like
852
ambassadors from foreign countries.
853
854
One winter in the late eighteen-fifties, a major general of
855
the army gave a dinner to the Indian chiefs then in the city, and
856
on this occasion Little Crow was appointed toastmaster. There were
857
present a number of Senators and members of Congress, as well as
858
judges of the Supreme Court, cabinet officers, and other
859
distinguished citizens. When all the guests were seated, the Sioux
860
arose and addressed them with much dignity as follows:
861
862
"Warriors and friends: I am informed that the great white war
863
chief who of his generosity and comradeship has given us this
864
feast, has expressed the wish that we may follow to-night the
865
usages and customs of my people. In other words, this is a
866
warriors' feast, a braves' meal. I call upon the Ojibway chief,
867
the Hole-in-the-Day, to give the lone wolf's hunger call, after
868
which we will join him in our usual manner."
869
870
The tall and handsome Ojibway now rose and straightened his
871
superb form to utter one of the clearest and longest wolf howls
872
that was ever heard in Washington, and at its close came a
873
tremendous burst of war whoops that fairly rent the air, and no
874
doubt electrified the officials there present.
875
876
On one occasion Little Crow was invited by the commander of
877
Fort Ridgeley, Minnesota, to call at the fort. On his way back,
878
in company with a half-breed named Ross and the interpreter
879
Mitchell, he was ambushed by a party of Ojibways, and again
880
wounded in the same arm that had been broken in his attempted
881
assassination. His companion Ross was killed, but he managed
882
to hold the war party at bay until help came and thus saved his
883
life.
884
885
More and more as time passed, this naturally brave and
886
ambitious man became a prey to the selfish interests of the traders
887
and politicians. The immediate causes of the Sioux outbreak of
888
1862 came in quick succession to inflame to desperate action an
889
outraged people. The two bands on the so-called "lower
890
reservations" in Minnesota were Indians for whom nature had
891
provided most abundantly in their free existence. After one
892
hundred and fifty years of friendly intercourse first with the
893
French, then the English, and finally the Americans, they found
894
themselves cut off from every natural resource, on a tract of land
895
twenty miles by thirty, which to them was virtual imprisonment. By
896
treaty stipulation with the government, they were to be fed and
897
clothed, houses were to be built for them, the men taught
898
agriculture, and schools provided for the children. In addition to
899
this, a trust fund of a million and a half was to be set aside for
900
them, at five per cent interest, the interest to be paid annually
901
per capita. They had signed the treaty under pressure, believing
902
in these promises on the faith of a great nation.
903
904
However, on entering the new life, the resources so rosily
905
described to them failed to materialize. Many families faced
906
starvation every winter, their only support the store of the Indian
907
trader, who was baiting his trap for their destruction. Very
908
gradually they awoke to the facts. At last it was planned to
909
secure from them the north half of their reservation for
910
ninety-eight thousand dollars, but it was not explained to the
911
Indians that the traders were to receive all the money. Little
912
Crow made the greatest mistake of his life when he signed this
913
agreement.
914
915
Meanwhile, to make matters worse, the cash annuities were not
916
paid for nearly two years. Civil War had begun. When it was
917
learned that the traders had taken all of the ninety-eight thousand
918
dollars "on account", there was very bitter feeling. In fact, the
919
heads of the leading stores were afraid to go about as usual, and
920
most of them stayed in St. Paul. Little Crow was justly held in
921
part responsible for the deceit, and his life was not safe.
922
923
The murder of a white family near Acton, Minnesota, by a party
924
of Indian duck hunters in August, 1862, precipitated the break.
925
Messengers were sent to every village with the news, and at the
926
villages of Little Crow and Little Six the war council was red-hot.
927
It was proposed to take advantage of the fact that north and south
928
were at war to wipe out the white settlers and to regain their
929
freedom. A few men stood out against such a desperate step, but
930
the conflagration had gone beyond their control.
931
932
There were many mixed bloods among these Sioux, and some of
933
the Indians held that these were accomplices of the white people in
934
robbing them of their possessions, therefore their lives should not
935
be spared. My father, Many Lightnings, who was practically the
936
leader of the Mankato band (for Mankato, the chief, was a weak
937
man), fought desperately for the lives of the half-breeds and the
938
missionaries. The chiefs had great confidence in my father, yet
939
they would not commit themselves, since their braves were clamoring
940
for blood. Little Crow had been accused of all the misfortunes of
941
his tribe, and he now hoped by leading them against the whites to
942
regain his prestige with his people, and a part at least of their
943
lost domain.
944
945
There were moments when the pacifists were in grave peril. It
946
was almost daybreak when my father saw that the approaching
947
calamity could not be prevented. He and two others said to Little
948
Crow: "If you want war, you must personally lead your men
949
to-morrow. We will not murder women and children, but we will
950
fight the soldiers when they come." They then left the council and
951
hastened to warn my brother-in-law, Faribault, and others who were
952
in danger.
953
954
Little Crow declared he would be seen in the front of every
955
battle, and it is true that he was foremost in all the succeeding
956
bloodshed, urging his warriors to spare none. He ordered his war
957
leader, Many Hail, to fire the first shot, killing the trader James
958
Lynd, in the door of his store.
959
960
After a year of fighting in which he had met with defeat, the
961
discredited chief retreated to Fort Garry, now Winnipeg, Manitoba,
962
where, together with Standing Buffalo, he undertook secret
963
negotiations with his old friends the Indian traders. There was
964
now a price upon his head, but he planned to reach St. Paul
965
undetected and there surrender himself to his friends, who he hoped
966
would protect him in return for past favors. It is true that he
967
had helped them to secure perhaps the finest country held by any
968
Indian nation for a mere song.
969
970
He left Canada with a few trusted friends, including his
971
youngest and favorite son. When within two or three days' journey
972
of St. Paul, he told the others to return, keeping with him only
973
his son, Wowinape, who was but fifteen years of age. He meant to
974
steal into the city by night and go straight to Governor Ramsey,
975
who was his personal friend. He was very hungry and was obliged to
976
keep to the shelter of the deep woods. The next morning, as he was
977
picking and eating wild raspberries, he was seen by a wood-chopper
978
named Lamson. The man did not know who he was. He only knew that
979
he was an Indian, and that was enough for him, so he lifted his
980
rifle to his shoulder and fired, then ran at his best pace. The
981
brilliant but misguided chief, who had made that part of the
982
country unsafe for any white man to live in, sank to the ground and
983
died without a struggle. The boy took his father's gun and made
984
some effort to find the assassin, but as he did not even know in
985
which direction to look for him, he soon gave up the attempt and
986
went back to his friends.
987
988
Meanwhile Lamson reached home breathless and made his report.
989
The body of the chief was found and identified, in part by the
990
twice broken arm, and this arm and his scalp may be seen to-day in
991
the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society.
992
993
994
995
996
TAMAHAY
997
998
999
There was once a Sioux brave who declared that he would die young,
1000
yet not by his own hand. Tamahay was of heroic proportions,
1001
herculean in strength, a superb runner; in fact, he had all the
1002
physical qualities of an athlete or a typical Indian. In his
1003
scanty dress, he was beautiful as an antique statue in living
1004
bronze. When a mere youth, seventeen years of age, he met with an
1005
accident which determined his career. It was the loss of an eye,
1006
a fatal injury to the sensitive and high-spirited Indian. He
1007
announced his purpose in these words:
1008
1009
"The 'Great Mystery' has decreed that I must be disgraced.
1010
There will be no pleasure for me now, and I shall be ridiculed
1011
even by my enemies. It will be well for me to enter soon into
1012
Paradise, for I shall be happy in spending my youth there. But
1013
I will sell my life dearly. Hereafter my name shall be spoken in
1014
the traditions of our race." With this speech Tamahay began his
1015
career.
1016
1017
He now sought glory and defied danger with even more than the
1018
ordinary Indian recklessness. He accepted a personal friend, which
1019
was a custom among the Sioux, where each man chose a companion for
1020
life and death. The tie was stronger than one of blood
1021
relationship, a friendship sealed by solemn vow and covenant.
1022
Tamahay's intimate was fortunately almost his equal in physical
1023
powers, and the pair became the terror of neighboring tribes, with
1024
whom the Dakotas were continually at war. They made frequent raids
1025
upon their enemies and were usually successful, although not
1026
without thrilling experiences and almost miraculous escapes.
1027
1028
Upon one of these occasions the two friends went north into
1029
the country of the Ojibways. After many days' journey, they
1030
discovered a small village of the foe. The wicked Tamahay proposed
1031
to his associate that they should arrange their toilets after the
1032
fashion of the Ojibways, and go among them; "and perhaps," he
1033
added, "we will indulge in a little flirtation with their pretty
1034
maids, and when we have had enough of the fun we can take the scalp
1035
of a brave or two and retreat!" His friend construed his daring
1036
proposition to be a test of courage, which it would not become him,
1037
as a brave, to decline; therefore he assented with a show of
1038
cheerfulness.
1039
1040
The handsome strangers were well received by the Ojibway
1041
girls, but their perilous amusement was brought to an untimely
1042
close. A young maiden prematurely discovered their true
1043
characters, and her cry of alarm brought instantly to her side a
1044
jealous youth, who had been watching them from his place of
1045
concealment. With him Tamahay had a single-handed contest, and
1046
before a general alarm was given he had dispatched the foe and fled
1047
with his scalp.
1048
1049
The unfortunate brave had been a favorite and a leader among
1050
the tribe; therefore the maddened Ojibways were soon in hot
1051
pursuit. The Sioux braves were fine runners, yet they were finally
1052
driven out upon the peninsula of a lake. As they became separated
1053
in their retreat, Tamahay shouted, "I'll meet you at the mouth of
1054
the St. Croix River, or in the spirit land!" Both managed to swim
1055
the lake, and so made good their escape.
1056
1057
The exploits of this man were not all of a warlike nature. He
1058
was a great traveler and an expert scout, and he had some wonderful
1059
experiences with wild animals. He was once sent, with his intimate
1060
friend, on a scout for game. They were on ponies.
1061
1062
They located a herd of buffaloes, and on their return to the
1063
camp espied a lonely buffalo. Tamahay suggested that they should
1064
chase it in order to take some fresh meat, as the law of the tribe
1065
allowed in the case of a single animal. His pony stumbled and
1066
threw him, after they had wounded the bison, and the latter
1067
attacked the dismounted man viciously. But he, as usual, was on
1068
the alert. He "took the bull by the horns", as the saying is, and
1069
cleverly straddled him on the neck. The buffalo had no means of
1070
harming his enemy, but pawed the earth and struggled until his
1071
strength was exhausted, when the Indian used his knife on the
1072
animal's throat. On account of this feat he received the name
1073
"Held-the-Bull-by-the-Horns."
1074
1075
The origin of his name "Tamahay" is related as follows. When
1076
he was a young man he accompanied the chief Wabashaw to Mackinaw,
1077
Michigan, together with some other warriors. He was out with his
1078
friend one day, viewing the wonderful sights in the "white man's
1079
country", when they came upon a sow with her numerous pink little
1080
progeny. He was greatly amused and picked up one of the young
1081
pigs, but as soon as it squealed the mother ran furiously after
1082
them. He kept the pig and fled with it, still laughing; but his
1083
friend was soon compelled to run up the conveniently inclined trunk
1084
of a fallen tree, while our hero reached the shore of a lake near
1085
by, and plunged into the water. He swam and dived as long as he
1086
could, but the beast continued to threaten him with her sharp
1087
teeth, till, almost exhausted, he swam again to shore, where his
1088
friend came up and dispatched the vicious animal with a club. On
1089
account of this watery adventure he was at once called Tamahay,
1090
meaning Pike. He earned many other names, but preferred this one,
1091
because it was the name borne by a great friend of his, Lieutenant
1092
Pike, the first officer of the United States Army who came to
1093
Minnesota for the purpose of exploring the sources of the
1094
Mississippi River and of making peace with the natives. Tamahay
1095
assisted this officer in obtaining land from the Sioux upon which
1096
to build Fort Snelling. He appears in history under the name of
1097
"Tahamie" or the "One-Eyed Sioux."
1098
1099
Always ready to brave danger and unpopularity, Tamahay was the
1100
only Sioux who sided with the United States in her struggle with
1101
Great Britain in 1819. For having espoused the cause of the
1102
Americans, he was ill-treated by the British officers and free
1103
traders, who for a long time controlled the northwest, even after
1104
peace had been effected between the two nations. At one time he
1105
was confined in a fort called McKay, where now stands the town of
1106
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. He had just returned from St. Louis,
1107
and was suspected of exciting his people to rebel against British
1108
subjects. His life was even threatened, but to this Tamahay merely
1109
replied that he was ready to die. A few months later, this fort
1110
was restored to the United States, and upon leaving it the British
1111
set the buildings on fire, though the United States flag floated
1112
above them. Some Indians who were present shouted to Tamahay,
1113
"Your friends', the Americans', fort is on fire!" He responded
1114
with a war whoop, rushed into the blazing fort, and brought out the
1115
flag. For this brave act he was rewarded with a present of a flag
1116
and medal. He was never tired of displaying this medal and his
1117
recommendation papers, and even preserved to the end of his life an
1118
old colonial stovepipe hat, which he wore upon state occasions.
1119
1120
The Sioux long referred to the president of the United States
1121
as "Tamahay's father."
1122
1123
The following story is told of him in his later days. He
1124
attempted one day to cross the first bridge over the Mississippi
1125
River, but was not recognized by the sentinel, who would not allow
1126
him to pass until he paid the toll. Tamahay, who was a privileged
1127
character, explained as best he could, with gestures and broken
1128
English, that he was always permitted to pass free; but as the
1129
sentinel still refused, and even threatened him with his bayonet,
1130
the old Indian silently seized the musket, threw it down into the
1131
waters of the Mississippi and went home. Later in the day a
1132
company of soldiers appeared in the Indian village, and escorted
1133
our hero to a sort of court-martial at the fort. When he was
1134
questioned by the Colonel, he simply replied: "If you were
1135
threatened by any one with a weapon, you would, in self-defense,
1136
either disable the man or get rid of the weapon. I did the latter,
1137
thinking that you would need the man more than the gun."
1138
1139
Finally the officer said to them, "I see you are both partly
1140
wrong. Some one must be responsible for the loss of the gun;
1141
therefore, you two will wrestle, and the man who is downed must
1142
dive for the weapon to the bottom of the river."
1143
1144
Scarcely was this speech ended when Tamahay was upon the
1145
soldier, who was surprised both by the order and by the unexpected
1146
readiness of the wily old Indian, so that he was not prepared, and
1147
the Sioux had the vantage hold. In a moment the bluecoat was down,
1148
amid shouts and peals of laughter from his comrades. Having thrown
1149
his man, the other turned and went home without a word.
1150
1151
Sad to say, he acquired a great appetite for "minne-wakan", or
1152
"mysterious water", as the Sioux call it, which proved a source of
1153
trouble to him in his old age. It is told of him that he was
1154
treated one winter's day to a drink of whisky in a trader's store.
1155
He afterwards went home; but even the severe blizzard which soon
1156
arose did not prevent him from returning in the night to the
1157
friendly trader. He awoke that worthy from sleep about twelve
1158
o'clock by singing his death dirge upon the roof of the log cabin.
1159
In another moment he had jumped down the mud chimney, and into the
1160
blazing embers of a fire. The trader had to pour out to him some
1161
whisky in a tin pail, after which he begged the old man to "be good
1162
and go home." On the eve of the so-called "Minnesota Massacre" by
1163
the Sioux in 1862, Tamahay, although he was then very old and had
1164
almost lost the use of his remaining eye, made a famous speech at
1165
the meeting of the conspirators. These are some of his words, as
1166
reported to me by persons who were present.
1167
1168
"What! What! is this Little Crow? Is that Little Six? You,
1169
too, White Dog, are you here? I cannot see well now, but I can see
1170
with my mind's eye the stream of blood you are about to pour upon
1171
the bosom of this mother of ours" (meaning the earth). "I stand
1172
before you on three legs, but the third leg has brought me wisdom"
1173
[referring to the staff with which he sup- ported himself]. "I
1174
have traveled much, I have visited among the people whom you think
1175
to defy. This means the total surrender of our beautiful land, the
1176
land of a thousand lakes and streams. Methinks you are about to
1177
commit an act like that of the porcupine, who climbs a tree,
1178
balances himself upon a springy bough, and then gnaws off the very
1179
bough upon which he is sitting; hence, when it gives way, he falls
1180
upon the sharp rocks below. Behold the great Pontiac, whose grave
1181
I saw near St. Louis; he was murdered while an exile from his
1182
country! Think of the brave Black Hawk! Methinks his spirit is
1183
still wailing through Wisconsin and Illinois for his lost people!
1184
I do not say you have no cause to complain, but to resist is
1185
self-destruction. I am done."
1186
1187
It is supposed that this speech was his last, and it was made,
1188
though vainly, in defense of the Americans whom he had loved. He
1189
died at Fort Pierre, South Dakota, in 1864. His people say that he
1190
died a natural death, of old age. And yet his exploits are not
1191
forgotten. Thus lived and departed a most active and fearless
1192
Sioux, Tamahay, who desired to die young!
1193
1194
1195
1196
1197
GALL
1198
1199
1200
Chief Gall was one of the most aggressive leaders of the Sioux
1201
nation in their last stand for freedom.
1202
1203
The westward pressure of civilization during the past three
1204
centuries has been tremendous. When our hemisphere was
1205
"discovered", it had been inhabited by the natives for untold ages,
1206
but it was held undiscovered because the original owners did not
1207
chart or advertise it. Yet some of them at least had developed
1208
ideals of life which included real liberty and equality to all men,
1209
and they did not recognize individual ownership in land or other
1210
property beyond actual necessity. It was a soul development
1211
leading to essential manhood. Under this system they brought forth
1212
some striking characters.
1213
1214
Gall was considered by both Indians and whites to be a most
1215
impressive type of physical manhood. From his picture you can
1216
judge of this for yourself.
1217
1218
Let us follow his trail. He was no tenderfoot. He never
1219
asked a soft place for himself. He always played the game
1220
according to the rules and to a finish. To be sure, like every
1221
other man, he made some mistakes, but he was an Indian and never
1222
acted the coward.
1223
1224
The earliest stories told of his life and doings indicate the
1225
spirit of the man in that of the boy.
1226
1227
When he was only about three years old, the Blackfoot band of
1228
Sioux were on their usual roving hunt, following the buffalo while
1229
living their natural happy life upon the wonderful wide prairies of
1230
the Dakotas.
1231
1232
It was the way of every Sioux mother to adjust her household
1233
effects on such dogs and pack ponies as she could muster from day
1234
to day, often lending one or two to accommodate some other woman
1235
whose horse or dog had died, or perhaps had been among those
1236
stampeded and carried away by a raiding band of Crow warriors. On
1237
this particular occasion, the mother of our young Sioux brave,
1238
Matohinshda, or Bear-Shedding-His-Hair (Gall's childhood name),
1239
intrusted her boy to an old Eskimo pack dog, experienced and
1240
reliable, except perhaps when unduly excited or very thirsty.
1241
1242
On the day of removing camp the caravan made its morning march
1243
up the Powder River. Upon the wide table-land the women were
1244
busily digging teepsinna (an edible sweetish root, much used by
1245
them) as the moving village slowly progressed. As usual at such
1246
times, the trail was wide. An old jack rabbit had waited too long
1247
in hiding. Now, finding himself almost surrounded by the mighty
1248
plains people, he sprang up suddenly, his feathery ears
1249
conspicuously erect, a dangerous challenge to the dogs and the
1250
people.
1251
1252
A whoop went up. Every dog accepted the challenge. Forgotten
1253
were the bundles, the kits, even the babies they were drawing or
1254
carrying. The chase was on, and the screams of the women reechoed
1255
from the opposite cliffs of the Powder, mingled with the yelps of
1256
dogs and the neighing of horses. The hand of every man was against
1257
the daring warrior, the lone Jack, and the confusion was great.
1258
1259
When the fleeing one cleared the mass of his enemies, he
1260
emerged with a swiftness that commanded respect and gave promise
1261
of a determined chase. Behind him, his pursuers stretched out in
1262
a thin line, first the speedy, unburdened dogs and then the travois
1263
dogs headed by the old Eskimo with his precious freight. The
1264
youthful Gall was in a travois, a basket mounted on trailing poles
1265
and harnessed to the sides of the animal.
1266
1267
"Hey! hey! they are gaining on him!" a warrior shouted. At
1268
this juncture two of the canines had almost nabbed their furry prey
1269
by the back. But he was too cunning for them. He dropped
1270
instantly and sent both dogs over his head, rolling and spinning,
1271
then made another flight at right angles to the first. This gave
1272
the Eskimo a chance to cut the triangle. He gained fifty yards,
1273
but being heavily handicapped, two unladen dogs passed him. The
1274
same trick was repeated by the Jack, and this time he saved himself
1275
from instant death by a double loop and was now running directly
1276
toward the crowd, followed by a dozen or more dogs. He was losing
1277
speed, but likewise his pursuers were dropping off steadily. Only
1278
the sturdy Eskimo dog held to his even gait, and behind him in the
1279
frail travois leaned forward the little Matohinshda, nude save a
1280
breech clout, his left hand holding fast the convenient tail of his
1281
dog, the right grasping firmly one of the poles of the travois.
1282
His black eyes were bulging almost out of their sockets; his long
1283
hair flowed out behind like a stream of dark water.
1284
1285
The Jack now ran directly toward the howling spectators, but
1286
his marvelous speed and alertness were on the wane; while on the
1287
other hand his foremost pursuer, who had taken part in hundreds of
1288
similar events, had every confidence in his own endurance. Each
1289
leap brought him nearer, fiercer and more determined. The last
1290
effort of the Jack was to lose himself in the crowd, like a fish in
1291
muddy water; but the big dog made the one needed leap with unerring
1292
aim and his teeth flashed as he caught the rabbit in viselike jaws
1293
and held him limp in air, a victor!
1294
1295
The people rushed up to him as he laid the victim down, and
1296
foremost among them was the frantic mother of Matohinshda, or Gall.
1297
"Michinkshe! michinkshe!" (My son! my son!) she screamed as she
1298
drew near. The boy seemed to be none the worse for his experience.
1299
"Mother!" he cried, "my dog is brave: he got the rabbit!" She
1300
snatched him off the travois, but he struggled out of her arms to
1301
look upon his dog lovingly and admiringly. Old men and boys
1302
crowded about the hero of the day, the dog, and the thoughtful
1303
grandmother of Matohinshda unharnessed him and poured some water
1304
from a parfleche water bag into a basin. "Here, my grandson, give
1305
your friend something to drink."
1306
1307
"How, hechetu," pronounced an old warrior no longer in active
1308
service. "This may be only an accident, an ordinary affair; but
1309
such things sometimes indicate a career. The boy has had a
1310
wonderful ride. I prophesy that he will one day hold the attention
1311
of all the people with his doings."
1312
1313
This is the first remembered story of the famous chief, but
1314
other boyish exploits foretold the man he was destined to be. He
1315
fought many sham battles, some successful and others not; but he
1316
was always a fierce fighter and a good loser.
1317
1318
Once he was engaged in a battle with snowballs. There were
1319
probably nearly a hundred boys on each side, and the rule was that
1320
every fair hit made the receiver officially dead. He must not
1321
participate further, but must remain just where he was struck.
1322
1323
Gall's side was fast losing, and the battle was growing hotter
1324
every minute when the youthful warrior worked toward an old water
1325
hole and took up his position there. His side was soon annihilated
1326
and there were eleven men left to fight him. He was pressed close
1327
in the wash-out, and as he dodged under cover before a volley of
1328
snowballs, there suddenly emerged in his stead a huge gray wolf.
1329
His opponents fled in every direction in superstitious terror, for
1330
they thought he had been transformed into the animal. To their
1331
astonishment he came out on the farther side and ran to the line of
1332
safety, a winner!
1333
1334
It happened that the wolf's den had been partly covered with
1335
snow so that no one had noticed it until the yells of the boys
1336
aroused the inmate, and he beat a hasty retreat. The boys always
1337
looked upon this incident as an omen.
1338
1339
Gall had an amiable disposition but was quick to resent insult
1340
or injustice. This sometimes involved him in difficulties, but he
1341
seldom fought without good cause and was popular with his
1342
associates. One of his characteristics was his ability to
1343
organize, and this was a large factor in his leadership when he
1344
became a man. He was tried in many ways, and never was known to
1345
hesitate when it was a question of physical courage and endurance.
1346
He entered the public service early in life, but not until he had
1347
proved himself competent and passed all tests.
1348
1349
When a mere boy, he was once scouting for game in midwinter,
1350
far from camp, and was overtaken by a three days' blizzard. He was
1351
forced to abandon his horse and lie under the snow for that length
1352
of time. He afterward said he was not particularly hungry; it was
1353
thirst and stiffness from which he suffered most. One reason the
1354
Indian so loved his horse or dog was that at such times the animal
1355
would stay by him like a brother. On this occasion Gall's pony was
1356
not more than a stone's throw away when the storm subsided and the
1357
sun shone. There was a herd of buffalo in plain sight, and the
1358
young hunter was not long in procuring a meal.
1359
1360
This chief's contemporaries still recall his wrestling match
1361
with the equally powerful Cheyenne boy, Roman Nose, who afterward
1362
became a chief well known to American history. It was a custom of
1363
the northwestern Indians, when two friendly tribes camped together,
1364
to establish the physical and athletic supremacy of the youth of
1365
the respective camps.
1366
1367
The "Che-hoo-hoo" is a wrestling game in which there may be
1368
any number on a side, but the numbers are equal. All the boys of
1369
each camp are called together by a leader chosen for the purpose
1370
and draw themselves up in line of battle; then each at a given
1371
signal attacks his opponent.
1372
1373
In this memorable contest, Matohinshda, or Gall, was placed
1374
opposite Roman Nose. The whole people turned out as spectators of
1375
the struggle, and the battlefield was a plateau between the two
1376
camps, in the midst of picturesque Bad Lands. There were many
1377
athletic youths present, but these two were really the Apollos of
1378
the two tribes.
1379
1380
In this kind of sport it is not allowed to strike with the
1381
hand, nor catch around the neck, nor kick, nor pull by the hair.
1382
One may break away and run a few yards to get a fresh start, or
1383
clinch, or catch as catch can. When a boy is thrown and held to
1384
the ground, he is counted out. If a boy has met his superior, he
1385
may drop to the ground to escape rough handling, but it is very
1386
seldom one gives up without a full trial of strength.
1387
1388
It seemed almost like a real battle, so great was the
1389
enthusiasm, as the shouts of sympathizers on both sides went up in
1390
a mighty chorus. At last all were either conquerors or subdued
1391
except Gall and Roman Nose. The pair seemed equally matched. Both
1392
were stripped to the breech clout, now tugging like two young
1393
buffalo or elk in mating time, again writhing and twisting like
1394
serpents. At times they fought like two wild stallions, straining
1395
every muscle of arms, legs, and back in the struggle. Every now
1396
and then one was lifted off his feet for a moment, but came down
1397
planted like a tree, and after swaying to and fro soon became rigid
1398
again.
1399
1400
All eyes were upon the champions. Finally, either by trick or
1401
main force, Gall laid the other sprawling upon the ground and held
1402
him fast for a minute, then released him and stood erect, panting,
1403
a master youth. Shout after shout went up on the Sioux side of the
1404
camp. The mother of Roman Nose came forward and threw a superbly
1405
worked buffalo robe over Gall, whose mother returned the compliment
1406
by covering the young Cheyenne with a handsome blanket.
1407
1408
Undoubtedly these early contests had their influence upon our
1409
hero's career. It was his habit to appear most opportunely in a
1410
crisis, and in a striking and dramatic manner to take command of
1411
the situation. The best known example of this is his entrance on
1412
the scene of confusion when Reno surprised the Sioux on the Little
1413
Big Horn. Many of the excitable youths, almost unarmed, rushed
1414
madly and blindly to meet the intruder, and the scene might have
1415
unnerved even an experienced warrior. It was Gall, with not a
1416
garment upon his superb body, who on his black charger dashed ahead
1417
of the boys and faced them. He stopped them on the dry creek,
1418
while the bullets of Reno's men whistled about their ears.
1419
1420
"Hold hard, men! Steady, we are not ready yet! Wait for more
1421
guns, more horses, and the day is yours!"
1422
1423
They obeyed, and in a few minutes the signal to charge was
1424
given, and Reno retreated pell mell before the onset of the Sioux.
1425
1426
Sitting Bull had confidence in his men so long as Gall planned
1427
and directed the attack, whether against United States soldiers or
1428
the warriors of another tribe. He was a strategist, and able in a
1429
twinkling to note and seize upon an advantage. He was really the
1430
mainstay of Sitting Bull's effective last stand. He consistently
1431
upheld his people's right to their buffalo plains and believed that
1432
they should hold the government strictly to its agreements with
1433
them. When the treaty of 1868 was disregarded, he agreed with
1434
Sitting Bull in defending the last of their once vast domain, and
1435
after the Custer battle entered Canada with his chief. They hoped
1436
to bring their lost cause before the English government and were
1437
much disappointed when they were asked to return to the United
1438
States.
1439
1440
Gall finally reported at Fort Peck, Montana, in 1881, and
1441
brought half of the Hunkpapa band with him, whereupon he was soon
1442
followed by Sitting Bull himself. Although they had been promised
1443
by the United States commission who went to Canada to treat with
1444
them that they would not be punished if they returned, no sooner
1445
had Gall come down than a part of his people were attacked, and in
1446
the spring they were all brought to Fort Randall and held as
1447
military prisoners. From this point they were returned to Standing
1448
Rock agency.
1449
1450
When "Buffalo Bill" successfully launched his first show, he
1451
made every effort to secure both Sitting Bull and Gall for his
1452
leading attractions. The military was in complete accord with him
1453
in this, for they still had grave suspicions of these two leaders.
1454
While Sitting Bull reluctantly agreed, Gall haughtily said: "I am
1455
not an animal to be exhibited before the crowd," and retired to his
1456
teepee. His spirit was much worn, and he lost strength from that
1457
time on. That superb manhood dwindled, and in a few years he died.
1458
He was a real hero of a free and natural people, a type that is
1459
never to be seen again.
1460
1461
1462
1463
1464
CRAZY HORSE
1465
1466
1467
Crazy Horse was born on the Republican River about 1845. He was
1468
killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, in 1877, so that he lived barely
1469
thirty-three years.
1470
1471
He was an uncommonly handsome man. While not the equal of
1472
Gall in magnificence and imposing stature, he was physically
1473
perfect, an Apollo in symmetry. Furthermore he was a true type of
1474
Indian refinement and grace. He was modest and courteous as Chief
1475
Joseph; the difference is that he was a born warrior, while Joseph
1476
was not. However, he was a gentle warrior, a true brave, who stood
1477
for the highest ideal of the Sioux. Notwithstanding all that
1478
biased historians have said of him, it is only fair to judge a man
1479
by the estimate of his own people rather than that of his enemies.
1480
1481
The boyhood of Crazy Horse was passed in the days when the
1482
western Sioux saw a white man but seldom, and then it was usually
1483
a trader or a soldier. He was carefully brought up according to
1484
the tribal customs. At that period the Sioux prided themselves on
1485
the training and development of their sons and daughters, and not
1486
a step in that development was overlooked as an excuse to bring the
1487
child before the public by giving a feast in its honor. At such
1488
times the parents often gave so generously to the needy that they
1489
almost impoverished themselves, thus setting an example to the
1490
child of self-denial for the general good. His first step alone,
1491
the first word spoken, first game killed, the attainment of manhood
1492
or womanhood, each was the occasion of a feast and dance in his
1493
honor, at which the poor always benefited to the full extent of the
1494
parents' ability.
1495
1496
Big-heartedness, generosity, courage, and self-denial are the
1497
qualifications of a public servant, and the average Indian was keen
1498
to follow this ideal. As every one knows, these characteristic
1499
traits become a weakness when he enters a life founded upon
1500
commerce and gain. Under such conditions the life of Crazy Horse
1501
began. His mother, like other mothers, tender and watchful of her
1502
boy, would never once place an obstacle in the way of his father's
1503
severe physical training. They laid the spiritual and patriotic
1504
foundations of his education in such a way that he early became
1505
conscious of the demands of public service.
1506
1507
He was perhaps four or five years old when the band was snowed
1508
in one severe winter. They were very short of food, but his father
1509
was a tireless hunter. The buffalo, their main dependence, were
1510
not to be found, but he was out in the storm and cold every day and
1511
finally brought in two antelopes. The little boy got on his pet
1512
pony and rode through the camp, telling the old folks to come to
1513
his mother's teepee for meat. It turned out that neither his
1514
father nor mother had authorized him to do this. Before they knew
1515
it, old men and women were lined up before the teepee home, ready
1516
to receive the meat, in answer to his invitation. As a result, the
1517
mother had to distribute nearly all of it, keeping only enough for
1518
two meals.
1519
1520
On the following day the child asked for food. His mother
1521
told him that the old folks had taken it all, and added: "Remember,
1522
my son, they went home singing praises in your name, not my name or
1523
your father's. You must be brave. You must live up to your
1524
reputation."
1525
1526
Crazy Horse loved horses, and his father gave him a pony of
1527
his own when he was very young. He became a fine horseman and
1528
accompanied his father on buffalo hunts, holding the pack horses
1529
while the men chased the buffalo and thus gradually learning the
1530
art. In those days the Sioux had but few guns, and the hunting was
1531
mostly done with bow and arrows.
1532
1533
Another story told of his boyhood is that when he was about
1534
twelve he went to look for the ponies with his little brother, whom
1535
he loved much, and took a great deal of pains to teach what he had
1536
already learned. They came to some wild cherry trees full of ripe
1537
fruit, and while they were enjoying it, the brothers were startled
1538
by the growl and sudden rush of a bear. Young Crazy Horse pushed
1539
his brother up into the nearest tree and himself sprang upon the
1540
back of one of the horses, which was frightened and ran some
1541
distance before he could control him. As soon as he could,
1542
however, he turned him about and came back, yelling and swinging
1543
his lariat over his head. The bear at first showed fight but
1544
finally turned and ran. The old man who told me this story added
1545
that young as he was, he had some power, so that even a grizzly did
1546
not care to tackle him. I believe it is a fact that a silver-tip
1547
will dare anything except a bell or a lasso line, so that
1548
accidentally the boy had hit upon the very thing which would drive
1549
him off.
1550
1551
It was usual for Sioux boys of his day to wait in the field
1552
after a buffalo hunt until sundown, when the young calves would
1553
come out in the open, hungrily seeking their mothers. Then these
1554
wild children would enjoy a mimic hunt, and lasso the calves or
1555
drive them into camp. Crazy Horse was found to be a determined
1556
little fellow, and it was settled one day among the larger boys
1557
that they would "stump" him to ride a good-sized bull calf. He
1558
rode the calf, and stayed on its back while it ran bawling over the
1559
hills, followed by the other boys on their ponies, until his
1560
strange mount stood trembling and exhausted.
1561
1562
At the age of sixteen he joined a war party against the Gros
1563
Ventres. He was well in the front of the charge, and at once
1564
established his bravery by following closely one of the foremost
1565
Sioux warriors, by the name of Hump, drawing the enemy's fire and
1566
circling around their advance guard. Suddenly Hump's horse was
1567
shot from under him, and there was a rush of warriors to kill or
1568
capture him while down. But amidst a shower of arrows the youth
1569
leaped from his pony, helped his friend into his own saddle, sprang
1570
up behind him, and carried him off in safety, although they were
1571
hotly pursued by the enemy. Thus he associated himself in his
1572
maiden battle with the wizard of Indian warfare, and Hump, who was
1573
then at the height of his own career, pronounced Crazy Horse the
1574
coming warrior of the Teton Sioux.
1575
1576
At this period of his life, as was customary with the best
1577
young men, he spent much time in prayer and solitude. Just what
1578
happened in these days of his fasting in the wilderness and upon
1579
the crown of bald buttes, no one will ever know; for these things
1580
may only be known when one has lived through the battles of life to
1581
an honored old age. He was much sought after by his youthful
1582
associates, but was noticeably reserved and modest; yet in the
1583
moment of danger he at once rose above them all -- a natural
1584
leader! Crazy Horse was a typical Sioux brave, and from the point
1585
of view of our race an ideal hero, living at the height of the
1586
epical progress of the American Indian and maintaining in his own
1587
character all that was most subtle and ennobling of their spiritual
1588
life, and that has since been lost in the contact with a material
1589
civilization.
1590
1591
He loved Hump, that peerless warrior, and the two became close
1592
friends, in spite of the difference in age. Men called them "the
1593
grizzly and his cub." Again and again the pair saved the day for
1594
the Sioux in a skirmish with some neighboring tribe. But one day
1595
they undertook a losing battle against the Snakes. The Sioux were
1596
in full retreat and were fast being overwhelmed by superior
1597
numbers. The old warrior fell in a last desperate charge; but
1598
Crazy Horse and his younger brother, though dismounted, killed two
1599
of the enemy and thus made good their retreat.
1600
1601
It was observed of him that when he pursued the enemy into
1602
their stronghold, as he was wont to do, he often refrained from
1603
killing, and simply struck them with a switch, showing that he did
1604
not fear their weapons nor care to waste his upon them. In
1605
attempting this very feat, he lost this only brother of his, who
1606
emulated him closely. A party of young warriors, led by Crazy
1607
Horse, had dashed upon a frontier post, killed one of the
1608
sentinels, stampeded the horses, and pursued the herder to the very
1609
gate of the stockade, thus drawing upon themselves the fire of the
1610
garrison. The leader escaped without a scratch, but his young
1611
brother was brought down from his horse and killed.
1612
1613
While he was still under twenty, there was a great winter
1614
buffalo hunt, and he came back with ten buffaloes' tongues which he
1615
sent to the council lodge for the councilors' feast. He had in one
1616
winter day killed ten buffalo cows with his bow and arrows, and the
1617
unsuccessful hunters or those who had no swift ponies were made
1618
happy by his generosity. When the hunters returned, these came
1619
chanting songs of thanks. He knew that his father was an expert
1620
hunter and had a good horse, so he took no meat home, putting in
1621
practice the spirit of his early teaching.
1622
1623
He attained his majority at the crisis of the difficulties
1624
between the United States and the Sioux. Even before that time,
1625
Crazy Horse had already proved his worth to his people in Indian
1626
warfare. He had risked his life again and again, and in some
1627
instances it was considered almost a miracle that he had saved
1628
others as well as himself. He was no orator nor was he the son of
1629
a chief. His success and influence was purely a matter of
1630
personality. He had never fought the whites up to this time, and
1631
indeed no "coup" was counted for killing or scalping a white man.
1632
1633
Young Crazy Horse was twenty-one years old when all the Teton
1634
Sioux chiefs (the western or plains dwellers) met in council to
1635
determine upon their future policy toward the invader. Their
1636
former agreements had been by individual bands, each for itself,
1637
and every one was friendly. They reasoned that the country was
1638
wide, and that the white traders should be made welcome. Up to
1639
this time they had anticipated no conflict. They had permitted the
1640
Oregon Trail, but now to their astonishment forts were built and
1641
garrisoned in their territory.
1642
1643
Most of the chiefs advocated a strong resistance. There were
1644
a few influential men who desired still to live in peace, and who
1645
were willing to make another treaty. Among these were White Bull,
1646
Two Kettle, Four Bears, and Swift Bear. Even Spotted Tail,
1647
afterward the great peace chief, was at this time with the
1648
majority, who decided in the year 1866 to defend their rights and
1649
territory by force. Attacks were to be made upon the forts within
1650
their country and on every trespasser on the same.
1651
1652
Crazy Horse took no part in the discussion, but he and all the
1653
young warriors were in accord with the decision of the council.
1654
Although so young, he was already a leader among them. Other
1655
prominent young braves were Sword (brother of the man of that name
1656
who was long captain of police at Pine Ridge), the younger Hump,
1657
Charging Bear, Spotted Elk, Crow King, No Water, Big Road, He Dog,
1658
the nephew of Red Cloud, and Touch-the-Cloud, intimate friend of
1659
Crazy Horse.
1660
1661
The attack on Fort Phil Kearny was the first fruits of the new
1662
policy, and here Crazy Horse was chosen to lead the attack on the
1663
woodchoppers, designed to draw the soldiers out of the fort, while
1664
an army of six hundred lay in wait for them. The success of this
1665
stratagem was further enhanced by his masterful handling of his
1666
men. From this time on a general war was inaugurated; Sitting Bull
1667
looked to him as a principal war leader, and even the Cheyenne
1668
chiefs, allies of the Sioux, practically acknowledged his
1669
leadership. Yet during the following ten years of defensive war he
1670
was never known to make a speech, though his teepee was the
1671
rendezvous of the young men. He was depended upon to put into
1672
action the decisions of the council, and was frequently consulted
1673
by the older chiefs.
1674
1675
Like Osceola, he rose suddenly; like Tecumseh he was always
1676
impatient for battle; like Pontiac, he fought on while his allies
1677
were suing for peace, and like Grant, the silent soldier, he was a
1678
man of deeds and not of words. He won from Custer and Fetterman
1679
and Crook. He won every battle that he undertook, with the
1680
exception of one or two occasions when he was surprised in the
1681
midst of his women and children, and even then he managed to
1682
extricate himself in safety from a difficult position.
1683
1684
Early in the year 1876, his runners brought word from Sitting
1685
Bull that all the roving bands would converge upon the upper Tongue
1686
River in Montana for summer feasts and conferences. There was
1687
conflicting news from the reservation. It was rumored that the
1688
army would fight the Sioux to a finish; again, it was said that
1689
another commission would be sent out to treat with them.
1690
1691
The Indians came together early in June, and formed a series
1692
of encampments stretching out from three to four miles, each band
1693
keeping separate camp. On June 17, scouts came in and reported the
1694
advance of a large body of troops under General Crook. The council
1695
sent Crazy Horse with seven hundred men to meet and attack him.
1696
These were nearly all young men, many of them under twenty, the
1697
flower of the hostile Sioux. They set out at night so as to steal
1698
a march upon the enemy, but within three or four miles of his camp
1699
they came unexpectedly upon some of his Crow scouts. There was a
1700
hurried exchange of shots; the Crows fled back to Crook's camp,
1701
pursued by the Sioux. The soldiers had their warning, and it was
1702
impossible to enter the well-protected camp. Again and again Crazy
1703
Horse charged with his bravest men, in the attempt to bring the
1704
troops into the open, but he succeeded only in drawing their fire.
1705
Toward afternoon he withdrew, and returned to camp disappointed.
1706
His scouts remained to watch Crook's movements, and later brought
1707
word that he had retreated to Goose Creek and seemed to have no
1708
further disposition to disturb the Sioux. It is well known to us
1709
that it is Crook rather than Reno who is to be blamed for cowardice
1710
in connection with Custer's fate. The latter had no chance to do
1711
anything, he was lucky to save himself; but if Crook had kept on
1712
his way, as ordered, to meet Terry, with his one thousand regulars
1713
and two hundred Crow and Shoshone scouts, he would inevitably have
1714
intercepted Custer in his advance and saved the day for him, and
1715
war with the Sioux would have ended right there. Instead of this,
1716
he fell back upon Fort Meade, eating his horses on the way, in a
1717
country swarming with game, for fear of Crazy Horse and his braves!
1718
1719
The Indians now crossed the divide between the Tongue and the
1720
Little Big Horn, where they felt safe from immediate pursuit.
1721
Here, with all their precautions, they were caught unawares by
1722
General Custer, in the midst of their midday games and festivities,
1723
while many were out upon the daily hunt.
1724
1725
On this twenty-fifth of June, 1876, the great camp was
1726
scattered for three miles or more along the level river bottom,
1727
back of the thin line of cottonwoods -- five circular rows of
1728
teepees, ranging from half a mile to a mile and a half in
1729
circumference. Here and there stood out a large, white, solitary
1730
teepee; these were the lodges or "clubs" of the young men. Crazy
1731
Horse was a member of the "Strong Hearts" and the "Tokala" or Fox
1732
lodge. He was watching a game of ring-toss when the warning came
1733
from the southern end of the camp of the approach of troops.
1734
1735
The Sioux and the Cheyennes were "minute men", and although
1736
taken by surprise, they instantly responded. Meanwhile, the women
1737
and children were thrown into confusion. Dogs were howling, ponies
1738
running hither and thither, pursued by their owners, while many of
1739
the old men were singing their lodge songs to encourage the
1740
warriors, or praising the "strong heart" of Crazy Horse.
1741
1742
That leader had quickly saddled his favorite war pony and was
1743
starting with his young men for the south end of the camp, when a
1744
fresh alarm came from the opposite direction, and looking up, he
1745
saw Custer's force upon the top of the bluff directly across the
1746
river. As quick as a flash, he took in the situation -- the enemy
1747
had planned to attack the camp at both ends at once; and knowing
1748
that Custer could not ford the river at that point, he instantly
1749
led his men northward to the ford to cut him off. The Cheyennes
1750
followed closely. Custer must have seen that wonderful dash up the
1751
sage-bush plain, and one wonders whether he realized its meaning.
1752
In a very few minutes, this wild general of the plains had
1753
outwitted one of the most brilliant leaders of the Civil War and
1754
ended at once his military career and his life.
1755
1756
In this dashing charge, Crazy Horse snatched his most famous
1757
victory out of what seemed frightful peril, for the Sioux could not
1758
know how many were behind Custer. He was caught in his own trap.
1759
To the soldiers it must have seemed as if the Indians rose up from
1760
the earth to overwhelm them. They closed in from three sides and
1761
fought until not a white man was left alive. Then they went down
1762
to Reno's stand and found him so well intrenched in a deep gully
1763
that it was impossible to dislodge him. Gall and his men held him
1764
there until the approach of General Terry compelled the Sioux to
1765
break camp and scatter in different directions.
1766
1767
While Sitting Bull was pursued into Canada, Crazy Horse and
1768
the Cheyennes wandered about, comparatively undisturbed, during the
1769
rest of that year, until in the winter the army surprised the
1770
Cheyennes, but did not do them much harm, possibly because they
1771
knew that Crazy Horse was not far off. His name was held in
1772
wholesome respect. From time to time, delegations of friendly
1773
Indians were sent to him, to urge him to come in to the
1774
reservation, promising a full hearing and fair treatment.
1775
1776
For some time he held out, but the rapid disappearance of the
1777
buffalo, their only means of support, probably weighed with him
1778
more than any other influence. In July, 1877, he was finally
1779
prevailed upon to come in to Fort Robinson, Nebraska, with several
1780
thousand Indians, most of them Ogallala and Minneconwoju Sioux, on
1781
the distinct understanding that the government would hear and
1782
adjust their grievances.
1783
1784
At this juncture General Crook proclaimed Spotted Tail, who
1785
had rendered much valuable service to the army, head chief of the
1786
Sioux, which was resented by many. The attention paid Crazy Horse
1787
was offensive to Spotted Tail and the Indian scouts, who planned a
1788
conspiracy against him. They reported to General Crook that the
1789
young chief would murder him at the next council, and stampede the
1790
Sioux into another war. He was urged not to attend the council and
1791
did not, but sent another officer to represent him. Meanwhile the
1792
friends of Crazy Horse discovered the plot and told him of it. His
1793
reply was, "Only cowards are murderers."
1794
1795
His wife was critically ill at the time, and he decided to
1796
take her to her parents at Spotted Tail agency, whereupon his
1797
enemies circulated the story that he had fled, and a party of
1798
scouts was sent after him. They overtook him riding with his wife
1799
and one other but did not undertake to arrest him, and after he had
1800
left the sick woman with her people he went to call on Captain Lea,
1801
the agent for the Brules, accompanied by all the warriors of the
1802
Minneconwoju band. This volunteer escort made an imposing
1803
appearance on horseback, shouting and singing, and in the words of
1804
Captain Lea himself and the missionary, the Reverend Mr. Cleveland,
1805
the situation was extremely critical. Indeed, the scouts who had
1806
followed Crazy Horse from Red Cloud agency were advised not to show
1807
themselves, as some of the warriors had urged that they be taken
1808
out and horsewhipped publicly.
1809
1810
Under these circumstances Crazy Horse again showed his
1811
masterful spirit by holding these young men in check. He said to
1812
them in his quiet way: "It is well to be brave in the field of
1813
battle; it is cowardly to display bravery against one's own
1814
tribesmen. These scouts have been compelled to do what they did;
1815
they are no better than servants of the white officers. I came
1816
here on a peaceful errand."
1817
1818
The captain urged him to report at army headquarters to
1819
explain himself and correct false rumors, and on his giving
1820
consent, furnished him with a wagon and escort. It has been said
1821
that he went back under arrest, but this is untrue. Indians have
1822
boasted that they had a hand in bringing him in, but their stories
1823
are without foundation. He went of his own accord, either
1824
suspecting no treachery or determined to defy it.
1825
1826
When he reached the military camp, Little Big Man walked
1827
arm-in-arm with him, and his cousin and friend, Touch-the-Cloud,
1828
was just in advance. After they passed the sentinel, an officer
1829
approached them and walked on his other side. He was unarmed but
1830
for the knife which is carried for ordinary uses by women as well
1831
as men. Unsuspectingly he walked toward the guardhouse, when
1832
Touch-the-Cloud suddenly turned back exclaiming: "Cousin, they will
1833
put you in prison!"
1834
1835
"Another white man's trick! Let me go! Let me die fighting!"
1836
cried Crazy Horse. He stopped and tried to free himself and draw
1837
his knife, but both arms were held fast by Little Big Man and the
1838
officer. While he struggled thus, a soldier thrust him through
1839
with his bayonet from behind. The wound was mortal, and he died in
1840
the course of that night, his old father singing the death song
1841
over him and afterward carrying away the body, which they said
1842
must not be further polluted by the touch of a white man. They hid
1843
it somewhere in the Bad Lands, his resting place to this day.
1844
1845
Thus died one of the ablest and truest American Indians. His
1846
life was ideal; his record clean. He was never involved in any of
1847
the numerous massacres on the trail, but was a leader in
1848
practically every open fight. Such characters as those of Crazy
1849
Horse and Chief Joseph are not easily found among so-called
1850
civilized people. The reputation of great men is apt to be
1851
shadowed by questionable motives and policies, but here are two
1852
pure patriots, as worthy of honor as any who ever breathed God's
1853
air in the wide spaces of a new world.
1854
1855
1856
1857
1858
SITTING BULL
1859
1860
1861
IT is not easy to characterize Sitting Bull, of all Sioux chiefs
1862
most generally known to the American people. There are few to whom
1863
his name is not familiar, and still fewer who have learned to
1864
connect it with anything more than the conventional notion of a
1865
bloodthirsty savage. The man was an enigma at best. He was not
1866
impulsive, nor was he phlegmatic. He was most serious when he
1867
seemed to be jocose. He was gifted with the power of sarcasm, and
1868
few have used it more artfully than he.
1869
1870
His father was one of the best-known members of the Unkpapa
1871
band of Sioux. The manner of this man's death was characteristic.
1872
One day, when the Unkpapas were attacked by a large war party of
1873
Crows, he fell upon the enemy's war leader with his knife. In a
1874
hand-to-hand combat of this sort, we count the victor as entitled
1875
to a war bonnet of trailing plumes. It means certain death to one
1876
or both. In this case, both men dealt a mortal stroke, and Jumping
1877
Buffalo, the father of Sitting Bull, fell from his saddle and died
1878
in a few minutes. The other died later from the effects of the
1879
wound.
1880
1881
Sitting Bull's boyhood must have been a happy one. It was
1882
long after the day of the dog-travaux, and his father owned many
1883
ponies of variegated colors. It was said of him in a joking way
1884
that his legs were bowed like the ribs of the ponies that he rode
1885
constantly from childhood. He had also a common nickname that was
1886
much to the point. It was "Hunkeshnee", which means "Slow",
1887
referring to his inability to run fast, or more probably to the
1888
fact that he seldom appeared on foot. In their boyish games he was
1889
wont to take the part of the "old man", but this does not mean that
1890
he was not active and brave. It is told that after a buffalo hunt
1891
the boys were enjoying a mimic hunt with the calves that had been
1892
left behind. A large calf turned viciously on Sitting Bull, whose
1893
pony had thrown him, but the alert youth got hold of both ears and
1894
struggled until the calf was pushed back into a buffalo wallow in
1895
a sitting posture. The boys shouted: "He has subdued the buffalo
1896
calf! He made it sit down!" And from this incident was derived
1897
his familiar name of Sitting Bull.
1898
1899
It is a mistake to suppose that Sitting Bull, or any other
1900
Indian warrior, was of a murderous disposition. It is true that
1901
savage warfare had grown more and more harsh and cruel since the
1902
coming of white traders among them, bringing guns, knives, and
1903
whisky. Yet it was still regarded largely as a sort of game,
1904
undertaken in order to develop the manly qualities of their youth.
1905
It was the degree of risk which brought honor, rather than the
1906
number slain, and a brave must mourn thirty days, with blackened
1907
face and loosened hair, for the enemy whose life he had taken.
1908
While the spoils of war were allowed, this did not extend to
1909
territorial aggrandizement, nor was there any wish to overthrow
1910
another nation and enslave its people. It was a point of honor
1911
in the old days to treat a captive with kindness. The common
1912
impression that the Indian is naturally cruel and revengeful is
1913
entirely opposed to his philosophy and training. The revengeful
1914
tendency of the Indian was aroused by the white man. It is not the
1915
natural Indian who is mean and tricky; not Massasoit but King
1916
Philip; not Attackullakulla but Weatherford; not Wabashaw but
1917
Little Crow; not Jumping Buffalo but Sitting Bull! These men
1918
lifted their hands against the white man, while their fathers held
1919
theirs out to him with gifts.
1920
1921
Remember that there were councils which gave their decisions
1922
in accordance with the highest ideal of human justice before there
1923
were any cities on this continent; before there were bridges to
1924
span the Mississippi; before this network of railroads was dreamed
1925
of! There were primitive communities upon the very spot where
1926
Chicago or New York City now stands, where men were as children,
1927
innocent of all the crimes now committed there daily and nightly.
1928
True morality is more easily maintained in connection with the
1929
simple life. You must accept the truth that you demoralize any
1930
race whom you have subjugated.
1931
1932
From this point of view we shall consider Sitting Bull's
1933
career. We say he is an untutored man: that is true so far as
1934
learning of a literary type is concerned; but he was not an
1935
untutored man when you view him from the standpoint of his nation.
1936
To be sure, he did not learn his lessons from books. This is
1937
second-hand information at best. All that he learned he verified
1938
for himself and put into daily practice. In personal appearance he
1939
was rather commonplace and made no immediate impression, but as he
1940
talked he seemed to take hold of his hearers more and more. He was
1941
bull-headed; quick to grasp a situation, and not readily induced to
1942
change his mind. He was not suspicious until he was forced to be
1943
so. All his meaner traits were inevitably developed by the events
1944
of his later career.
1945
1946
Sitting Bull's history has been written many times by
1947
newspaper men and army officers, but I find no account of him which
1948
is entirely correct. I met him personally in 1884, and since his
1949
death I have gone thoroughly into the details of his life with his
1950
relatives and contemporaries. It has often been said that he was
1951
a physical coward and not a warrior. Judge of this for yourselves
1952
from the deed which first gave him fame in his own tribe, when he
1953
was about twenty-eight years old.
1954
1955
In an attack upon a band of Crow Indians, one of the enemy
1956
took his stand, after the rest had fled, in a deep ditch from
1957
which it seemed impossible to dislodge him. The situation had
1958
already cost the lives of several warriors, but they could not let
1959
him go to repeat such a boast over the Sioux!
1960
1961
"Follow me!" said Sitting Bull, and charged. He raced his
1962
horse to the brim of the ditch and struck at the enemy with his
1963
coup-staff, thus compelling him to expose himself to the fire of
1964
the others while shooting his assailant. But the Crow merely poked
1965
his empty gun into his face and dodged back under cover. Then
1966
Sitting Bull stopped; he saw that no one had followed him, and he
1967
also perceived that the enemy had no more ammunition left. He rode
1968
deliberately up to the barrier and threw his loaded gun over it;
1969
then he went back to his party and told them what he thought of
1970
them.
1971
1972
"Now," said he, "I have armed him, for I will not see a brave
1973
man killed unarmed. I will strike him again with my coup-staff to
1974
count the first feather; who will count the second?"
1975
1976
Again he led the charge, and this time they all followed him.
1977
Sitting Bull was severely wounded by his own gun in the hands of
1978
the enemy, who was killed by those that came after him. This is a
1979
record that so far as I know was never made by any other warrior.
1980
1981
The second incident that made him well known was his taking of
1982
a boy captive in battle with the Assiniboines. He saved this boy's
1983
life and adopted him as his brother. Hohay, as he was called, was
1984
devoted to Sitting Bull and helped much in later years to spread
1985
his fame. Sitting Bull was a born diplomat, a ready speaker, and
1986
in middle life he ceased to go upon the warpath, to become the
1987
councilor of his people. From this time on, this man represented
1988
him in all important battles, and upon every brave deed done was
1989
wont to exclaim aloud:
1990
1991
"I, Sitting Bull's boy, do this in his name!"
1992
1993
He had a nephew, now living, who resembles him strongly, and
1994
who also represented him personally upon the field; and so far as
1995
there is any remnant left of his immediate band, they look upon
1996
this man One Bull as their chief.
1997
1998
When Sitting Bull was a boy, there was no thought of trouble
1999
with the whites. He was acquainted with many of the early traders,
2000
Picotte, Choteau, Primeau, Larpenteur, and others, and liked them,
2001
as did most of his people in those days. All the early records
2002
show this friendly attitude of the Sioux, and the great fur
2003
companies for a century and a half depended upon them for the bulk
2004
of their trade. It was not until the middle of the last century
2005
that they woke up all of a sudden to the danger threatening their
2006
very existence. Yet at that time many of the old chiefs had been
2007
already depraved by the whisky and other vices of the whites, and
2008
in the vicinity of the forts and trading posts at Sioux City, Saint
2009
Paul, and Cheyenne, there was general demoralization. The
2010
drunkards and hangers-on were ready to sell almost anything they
2011
had for the favor of the trader. The better and stronger element
2012
held aloof. They would not have anything of the white man except
2013
his hatchet, gun, and knife. They utterly refused to cede their
2014
lands; and as for the rest, they were willing to let him alone as
2015
long as he did not interfere with their life and customs, which was
2016
not long.
2017
2018
It was not, however, the Unkpapa band of Sioux, Sitting Bull's
2019
band, which first took up arms against the whites; and this was not
2020
because they had come less in contact with them, for they dwelt on
2021
the Missouri River, the natural highway of trade. As early as
2022
1854, the Ogallalas and Brules had trouble with the soldiers near
2023
Fort Laramie; and again in 1857 Inkpaduta massacred several
2024
families of settlers at Spirit Lake, Iowa. Finally, in 1869, the
2025
Minnesota Sioux, goaded by many wrongs, arose and murdered many of
2026
the settlers, afterward fleeing into the country of the Unkpapas
2027
and appealing to them for help, urging that all Indians should make
2028
common cause against the invader. This brought Sitting Bull face
2029
to face with a question which was not yet fully matured in his own
2030
mind; but having satisfied himself of the justice of their cause,
2031
he joined forces with the renegades during the summer of 1863, and
2032
from this time on he was an acknowledged leader.
2033
2034
In 1865 and 1866 he met the Canadian half-breed, Louis Riel,
2035
instigator of two rebellions, who had come across the line for
2036
safety; and in fact at this time he harbored a number of outlaws
2037
and fugitives from justice. His conversations with these,
2038
especially with the French mixed-bloods, who inflamed his
2039
prejudices against the Americans, all had their influence in making
2040
of the wily Sioux a determined enemy to the white man. While among
2041
his own people he was always affable and genial, he became boastful
2042
and domineering in his dealings with the hated race. He once
2043
remarked that "if we wish to make any impression upon the pale-face,
2044
it is necessary to put on his mask."
2045
2046
Sitting Bull joined in the attack on Fort Phil Kearny and in
2047
the subsequent hostilities; but he accepted in good faith the
2048
treaty of 1868, and soon after it was signed he visited Washington
2049
with Red Cloud and Spotted Tail, on which occasion the three
2050
distinguished chiefs attracted much attention and were entertained
2051
at dinner by President Grant and other notables. He considered
2052
that the life of the white man as he saw it was no life for his
2053
people, but hoped by close adherence to the terms of this treaty to
2054
preserve the Big Horn and Black Hills country for a permanent
2055
hunting ground. When gold was discovered and the irrepressible
2056
gold seekers made their historic dash across the plains into this
2057
forbidden paradise, then his faith in the white man's honor was
2058
gone forever, and he took his final and most persistent stand in
2059
defense of his nation and home. His bitter and at the same time
2060
well-grounded and philosophical dislike of the conquering race is
2061
well expressed in a speech made before the purely Indian council
2062
before referred to, upon the Powder River. I will give it in brief
2063
as it has been several times repeated to me by men who were
2064
present.
2065
2066
"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly
2067
received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results
2068
of their love! Every seed is awakened, and all animal life. It is
2069
through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we
2070
therefore yield to our neighbors, even to our animal neighbors, the
2071
same right as ourselves to inhabit this vast land.
2072
2073
"Yet hear me, friends! we have now to deal with another
2074
people, small and feeble when our forefathers first met with them,
2075
but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough, they have a mind
2076
to till the soil, and the love of possessions is a disease in them.
2077
These people have made many rules that the rich may break, but the
2078
poor may not! They have a religion in which the poor worship, but
2079
the rich will not! They even take tithes of the poor and weak to
2080
support the rich and those who rule. They claim this mother of
2081
ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away
2082
from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse.
2083
They compel her to produce out of season, and when sterile she is
2084
made to take medicine in order to produce again. All this is
2085
sacrilege.
2086
2087
"This nation is like a spring freshet; it overruns its banks
2088
and destroys all who are in its path. We cannot dwell side by
2089
side. Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were
2090
assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now
2091
they threaten to take that from us also. My brothers, shall we
2092
submit? or shall we say to them: 'First kill me, before you can
2093
take possession of my fatherland!'"
2094
2095
As Sitting Bull spoke, so he felt, and he had the courage to
2096
stand by his words. Crazy Horse led his forces in the field; as
2097
for him, he applied his energies to state affairs, and by his
2098
strong and aggressive personality contributed much to holding the
2099
hostiles together.
2100
2101
It may be said without fear of contradiction that Sitting Bull
2102
never killed any women or children. He was a fair fighter, and
2103
while not prominent in battle after his young manhood, he was the
2104
brains of the Sioux resistance. He has been called a "medicine
2105
man" and a "dreamer." Strictly speaking, he was neither of these,
2106
and the white historians are prone to confuse the two. A medicine
2107
man is a doctor or healer; a dreamer is an active war prophet who
2108
leads his war party according to his dream or prophecy. What is
2109
called by whites "making medicine" in war time is again a wrong
2110
conception. Every warrior carries a bag of sacred or lucky charms,
2111
supposed to protect the wearer alone, but it has nothing to do with
2112
the success or safety of the party as a whole. No one can make any
2113
"medicine" to affect the result of a battle, although it has been
2114
said that Sitting Bull did this at the battle of the Little Big
2115
Horn.
2116
2117
When Custer and Reno attacked the camp at both ends, the chief
2118
was caught napping. The village was in danger of surprise, and the
2119
women and children must be placed in safety. Like other men of his
2120
age, Sitting Bull got his family together for flight, and then
2121
joined the warriors on the Reno side of the attack. Thus he was
2122
not in the famous charge against Custer; nevertheless, his voice
2123
was heard exhorting the warriors throughout that day.
2124
2125
During the autumn of 1876, after the fall of Custer, Sitting
2126
Bull was hunted all through the Yellowstone region by the military.
2127
The following characteristic letter, doubtless written at his
2128
dictation by a half-breed interpreter, was sent to Colonel Otis
2129
immediately after a daring attack upon his wagon train.
2130
2131
"I want to know what you are doing, traveling on this road.
2132
You scare all the buffalo away. I want to hunt in this place. I
2133
want you to turn back from here. If you don't, I will fight you
2134
again. I want you to leave what you have got here and turn back
2135
from here.
2136
2137
2138
2139
I am your friend
2140
2141
2142
2143
2144
2145
Sitting Bull.
2146
I mean all the rations you have got and some powder. Wish you
2147
would write me as soon as you can."
2148
2149
Otis, however, kept on and joined Colonel Miles, who followed
2150
Sitting Bull with about four hundred soldiers. He overtook him at
2151
last on Cedar Creek, near the Yellowstone, and the two met midway
2152
between the lines for a parley. The army report says: "Sitting
2153
Bull wanted peace in his own way." The truth was that he wanted
2154
nothing more than had been guaranteed to them by the treaty of 1868
2155
-- the exclusive possession of their last hunting ground. This the
2156
government was not now prepared to grant, as it had been decided to
2157
place all the Indians under military control upon the various
2158
reservations.
2159
2160
Since it was impossible to reconcile two such conflicting
2161
demands, the hostiles were driven about from pillar to post for
2162
several more years, and finally took refuge across the line in
2163
Canada, where Sitting Bull had placed his last hope of justice and
2164
freedom for his race. Here he was joined from time to time by
2165
parties of malcontents from the reservation, driven largely by
2166
starvation and ill-treatment to seek another home. Here, too, they
2167
were followed by United States commissioners, headed by General
2168
Terry, who endeavored to persuade him to return, promising
2169
abundance of food and fair treatment, despite the fact that the
2170
exiles were well aware of the miserable condition of the "good
2171
Indians" upon the reservations. He first refused to meet them at
2172
all, and only did so when advised to that effect by Major Walsh of
2173
the Canadian mounted police. This was his characteristic remark:
2174
"If you have one honest man in Washington, send him here and I will
2175
talk to him."
2176
2177
Sitting Bull was not moved by fair words; but when he found
2178
that if they had liberty on that side, they had little else, that
2179
the Canadian government would give them protection but no food;
2180
that the buffalo had been all but exterminated and his starving
2181
people were already beginning to desert him, he was compelled at
2182
last, in 1881, to report at Fort Buford, North Dakota, with his
2183
band of hungry, homeless, and discouraged refugees. It was, after
2184
all, to hunger and not to the strong arm of the military that he
2185
surrendered in the end.
2186
2187
In spite of the invitation that had been extended to him in
2188
the name of the "Great Father" at Washington, he was immediately
2189
thrown into a military prison, and afterward handed over to Colonel
2190
Cody ("Buffalo Bill") as an advertisement for his "Wild West Show."
2191
After traveling about for several years with the famous showman,
2192
thus increasing his knowledge of the weaknesses as well as the
2193
strength of the white man, the deposed and humiliated chief settled
2194
down quietly with his people upon the Standing Rock agency in North
2195
Dakota, where his immediate band occupied the Grand River district
2196
and set to raising cattle and horses. They made good progress;
2197
much better, in fact, than that of the "coffee-coolers" or "loafer"
2198
Indians, received the missionaries kindly and were soon a
2199
church-going people.
2200
2201
When the Commissions of 1888 and 1889 came to treat with the
2202
Sioux for a further cession of land and a reduction of their
2203
reservations, nearly all were opposed to consent on any terms.
2204
Nevertheless, by hook or by crook, enough signatures were finally
2205
obtained to carry the measure through, although it is said that
2206
many were those of women and the so-called "squaw-men", who had no
2207
rights in the land. At the same time, rations were cut down, and
2208
there was general hardship and dissatisfaction. Crazy Horse was
2209
long since dead; Spotted Tail had fallen at the hands of one of his
2210
own tribe; Red Cloud had become a feeble old man, and the
2211
disaffected among the Sioux began once more to look to Sitting Bull
2212
for leadership.
2213
2214
At this crisis a strange thing happened. A half-breed Indian
2215
in Nevada promulgated the news that the Messiah had appeared to him
2216
upon a peak in the Rockies, dressed in rabbit skins, and bringing
2217
a message to the red race. The message was to the effect that
2218
since his first coming had been in vain, since the white people had
2219
doubted and reviled him, had nailed him to the cross, and trampled
2220
upon his doctrines, he had come again in pity to save the Indian.
2221
He declared that he would cause the earth to shake and to overthrow
2222
the cities of the whites and destroy them, that the buffalo would
2223
return, and the land belong to the red race forever! These events
2224
were to come to pass within two years; and meanwhile they were to
2225
prepare for his coming by the ceremonies and dances which he
2226
commanded.
2227
2228
This curious story spread like wildfire and met with eager
2229
acceptance among the suffering and discontented people. The
2230
teachings of Christian missionaries had prepared them to believe in
2231
a Messiah, and the prescribed ceremonial was much more in accord
2232
with their traditions than the conventional worship of the
2233
churches. Chiefs of many tribes sent delegations to the Indian
2234
prophet; Short Bull, Kicking Bear, and others went from among the
2235
Sioux, and on their return all inaugurated the dances at once.
2236
There was an attempt at first to keep the matter secret, but it
2237
soon became generally known and seriously disconcerted the Indian
2238
agents and others, who were quick to suspect a hostile conspiracy
2239
under all this religious enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, there
2240
was no thought of an uprising; the dancing was innocent enough, and
2241
pathetic enough their despairing hope in a pitiful Saviour who
2242
should overwhelm their oppressors and bring back their golden age.
2243
2244
When the Indians refused to give up the "Ghost Dance" at the
2245
bidding of the authorities, the growing suspicion and alarm focused
2246
upon Sitting Bull, who in spirit had never been any too submissive,
2247
and it was determined to order his arrest. At the special request
2248
of Major McLaughlin, agent at Standing Rock, forty of his Indian
2249
police were sent out to Sitting Bull's home on Grand River to
2250
secure his person (followed at some little distance by a body of
2251
United States troops for reinforcement, in case of trouble). These
2252
police are enlisted from among the tribesmen at each agency, and
2253
have proved uniformly brave and faithful. They entered the cabin
2254
at daybreak, aroused the chief from a sound slumber, helped him to
2255
dress, and led him unresisting from the house; but when he came out
2256
in the gray dawn of that December morning in 1890, to find his
2257
cabin surrounded by armed men and himself led away to he knew not
2258
what fate, he cried out loudly:
2259
2260
"They have taken me: what say you to it?"
2261
2262
Men poured out of the neighboring houses, and in a few minutes
2263
the police were themselves surrounded with an excited and rapidly
2264
increasing throng. They harangued the crowd in vain; Sitting
2265
Bull's blood was up, and he again appealed to his men. His adopted
2266
brother, the Assiniboine captive whose life he had saved so many
2267
years before, was the first to fire. His shot killed Lieutenant
2268
Bull Head, who held Sitting Bull by the arm. Then there was a
2269
short but sharp conflict, in which Sitting Bull and six of his
2270
defenders and six of the Indian police were slain, with many more
2271
wounded. The chief's young son, Crow Foot, and his devoted
2272
"brother" died with him. When all was over, and the terrified
2273
people had fled precipitately across the river, the soldiers
2274
appeared upon the brow of the long hill and fired their Hotchkiss
2275
guns into the deserted camp.
2276
2277
Thus ended the life of a natural strategist of no mean courage
2278
and ability. The great chief was buried without honors outside the
2279
cemetery at the post, and for some years the grave was marked by a
2280
mere board at its head. Recently some women have built a cairn of
2281
rocks there in token of respect and remembrance.
2282
2283
2284
2285
2286
RAIN-IN-THE-FACE
2287
2288
2289
The noted Sioux warrior, Rain-in-the-Face, whose name once carried
2290
terror to every part of the frontier, died at his home on the
2291
Standing Rock reserve in North Dakota on September 14, 1905. About
2292
two months before his death I went to see him for the last time,
2293
where he lay upon the bed of sickness from which he never rose
2294
again, and drew from him his life-history.
2295
2296
It had been my experience that you cannot induce an Indian to
2297
tell a story, or even his own name, by asking him directly.
2298
2299
"Friend," I said, "even if a man is on a hot trail, he stops
2300
for a smoke! In the good old days, before the charge there was a
2301
smoke. At home, by the fireside, when the old men were asked to
2302
tell their brave deeds, again the pipe was passed. So come, let us
2303
smoke now to the memory of the old days!"
2304
2305
He took of my tobacco and filled his long pipe, and we smoked.
2306
Then I told an old mirthful story to get him in the humor of
2307
relating his own history.
2308
2309
The old man lay upon an iron bedstead, covered by a red
2310
blanket, in a corner of the little log cabin. He was all alone
2311
that day; only an old dog lay silent and watchful at his master's
2312
feet.
2313
2314
Finally he looked up and said with a pleasant smile:
2315
2316
"True, friend; it is the old custom to retrace one's trail
2317
before leaving it forever! I know that I am at the door of the
2318
spirit home.
2319
2320
"I was born near the forks of the Cheyenne River, about
2321
seventy years ago. My father was not a chief; my grandfather was
2322
not a chief, but a good hunter and a feast-maker. On my mother's
2323
side I had some noted ancestors, but they left me no chieftainship.
2324
I had to work for my reputation.
2325
2326
"When I was a boy, I loved to fight," he continued. "In all
2327
our boyish games I had the name of being hard to handle, and I took
2328
much pride in the fact.
2329
2330
"I was about ten years old when we encountered a band of
2331
Cheyennes. They were on friendly terms with us, but we boys
2332
always indulged in sham fights on such occasions, and this time I
2333
got in an honest fight with a Cheyenne boy older than I. I got the
2334
best of the boy, but he hit me hard in the face several times, and
2335
my face was all spattered with blood and streaked where the paint
2336
had been washed away. The Sioux boys whooped and yelled:
2337
2338
"'His enemy is down, and his face is spattered as if with
2339
rain! Rain-in-the-Face! His name shall be Rain-in-the-Face!'
2340
2341
"Afterwards, when I was a young man, we went on a warpath
2342
against the Gros Ventres. We stole some of their horses, but were
2343
overtaken and had to abandon the horses and fight for our lives.
2344
I had wished my face to represent the sun when partly covered with
2345
darkness, so I painted it half black, half red. We fought all day
2346
in the rain, and my face was partly washed and streaked with red
2347
and black: so again I was christened Rain-in-the-Face. We
2348
considered it an honorable name.
2349
2350
"I had been on many warpaths, but was not especially
2351
successful until about the time the Sioux began to fight with the
2352
white man. One of the most daring attacks that we ever made was at
2353
Fort Totten, North Dakota, in the summer of 1866.
2354
2355
"Hohay, the Assiniboine captive of Sitting Bull, was the
2356
leader in this raid. Wapaypay, the Fearless Bear, who was
2357
afterward hanged at Yankton, was the bravest man among us. He
2358
dared Hohay to make the charge. Hohay accepted the challenge, and
2359
in turn dared the other to ride with him through the agency and
2360
right under the walls of the fort, which was well garrisoned and
2361
strong.
2362
2363
"Wapaypay and I in those days called each other
2364
'brother-friend.' It was a life-and-death vow. What one does the
2365
other must do; and that meant that I must be in the forefront of
2366
the charge, and if he is killed, I must fight until I die also!
2367
2368
"I prepared for death. I painted as usual like an eclipse of
2369
the sun, half black and half red."
2370
2371
His eyes gleamed and his face lighted up remarkably as he
2372
talked, pushing his black hair back from his forehead with a
2373
nervous gesture.
2374
2375
"Now the signal for the charge was given! I started even with
2376
Wapaypay, but his horse was faster than mine, so he left me a
2377
little behind as we neared the fort. This was bad for me, for by
2378
that time the soldiers had somewhat recovered from the surprise
2379
and were aiming better.
2380
2381
"Their big gun talked very loud, but my Wapaypay was leading
2382
on, leaning forward on his fleet pony like a flying squirrel on a
2383
smooth log! He held his rawhide shield on the right side, a little
2384
to the front, and so did I. Our warwhoop was like the coyotes
2385
singing in the evening, when they smell blood!
2386
2387
"The soldiers' guns talked fast, but few were hurt. Their big
2388
gun was like a toothless old dog, who only makes himself hotter the
2389
more noise he makes," he remarked with some humor.
2390
2391
"How much harm we did I do not know, but we made things lively
2392
for a time; and the white men acted as people do when a swarm of
2393
angry bees get into camp. We made a successful retreat, but some
2394
of the reservation Indians followed us yelling, until Hohay told
2395
them that he did not wish to fight with the captives of the white
2396
man, for there would be no honor in that. There was blood running
2397
down my leg, and I found that both my horse and I were slightly
2398
wounded.
2399
2400
"Some two years later we attacked a fort west of the Black
2401
Hills [Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming]. It was there we killed one
2402
hundred soldiers." [The military reports say eighty men, under the
2403
command of Captain Fetterman -- not one left alive to tell the
2404
tale!] "Nearly every band of the Sioux nation was represented in
2405
that fight -- Red Cloud, Spotted Tail, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull,
2406
Big Foot, and all our great chiefs were there. Of course such men
2407
as I were then comparatively unknown. However, there were many
2408
noted young warriors, among them Sword, the younger
2409
Young-Man-Afraid, American Horse [afterward chief], Crow King, and
2410
others.
2411
2412
"This was the plan decided upon after many councils. The main
2413
war party lay in ambush, and a few of the bravest young men were
2414
appointed to attack the woodchoppers who were cutting logs to
2415
complete the building of the fort. We were told not to kill these
2416
men, but to chase them into the fort and retreat slowly, defying
2417
the white men; and if the soldiers should follow, we were to lead
2418
them into the ambush. They took our bait exactly as we had hoped!
2419
It was a matter of a very few minutes, for every soldier lay dead
2420
in a shorter time than it takes to annihilate a small herd of
2421
buffalo.
2422
2423
"This attack was hastened because most of the Sioux on the
2424
Missouri River and eastward had begun to talk of suing for peace.
2425
But even this did not stop the peace movement. The very next year
2426
a treaty was signed at Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, by nearly all
2427
the Sioux chiefs, in which it was agreed on the part of the Great
2428
Father in Washington that all the country north of the Republican
2429
River in Nebraska, including the Black Hills and the Big Horn
2430
Mountains, was to be always Sioux country, and no white man should
2431
intrude upon it without our permission. Even with this agreement
2432
Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were not satisfied, and they would not
2433
sign.
2434
2435
"Up to this time I had fought in some important battles, but
2436
had achieved no great deed. I was ambitious to make a name for
2437
myself. I joined war parties against the Crows, Mandans, Gros
2438
Ventres, and Pawnees, and gained some little distinction.
2439
2440
"It was when the white men found the yellow metal in our
2441
country, and came in great numbers, driving away our game, that
2442
we took up arms against them for the last time. I must say here
2443
that the chiefs who were loudest for war were among the first to
2444
submit and accept reservation life. Spotted Tail was a great
2445
warrior, yet he was one of the first to yield, because he was
2446
promised by the Chief Soldiers that they would make him chief of
2447
all the Sioux. Ugh! he would have stayed with Sitting Bull to the
2448
last had it not been for his ambition.
2449
2450
"About this time we young warriors began to watch the trails
2451
of the white men into the Black Hills, and when we saw a wagon
2452
coming we would hide at the crossing and kill them all without much
2453
trouble. We did this to discourage the whites from coming into our
2454
country without our permission. It was the duty of our Great
2455
Father at Washington, by the agreement of 1868, to keep his white
2456
children away.
2457
2458
"During the troublesome time after this treaty, which no one
2459
seemed to respect, either white or Indian [but the whites broke it
2460
first], I was like many other young men -- much on the warpath, but
2461
with little honor. I had not yet become noted for any great deed.
2462
Finally, Wapaypay and I waylaid and killed a white soldier on his
2463
way from the fort to his home in the east.
2464
2465
"There were a few Indians who were liars, and never on the
2466
warpath, playing 'good Indian' with the Indian agents and the war
2467
chiefs at the forts. Some of this faithless set betrayed me, and
2468
told more than I ever did. I was seized and taken to the fort near
2469
Bismarck, North Dakota [Fort Abraham Lincoln], by a brother [Tom
2470
Custer] of the Long-Haired War Chief, and imprisoned there. These
2471
same lying Indians, who were selling their services as scouts to
2472
the white man, told me that I was to be shot to death, or else
2473
hanged upon a tree. I answered that I was not afraid to die.
2474
2475
"However, there was an old soldier who used to bring my food
2476
and stand guard over me -- he was a white man, it is true, but he
2477
had an Indian heart! He came to me one day and unfastened the iron
2478
chain and ball with which they had locked my leg, saying by signs
2479
and what little Sioux he could muster:
2480
2481
"'Go, friend! take the chain and ball with you. I shall
2482
shoot, but the voice of the gun will lie.'
2483
2484
"When he had made me understand, you may guess that I ran my
2485
best! I was almost over the bank when he fired his piece at me
2486
several times, but I had already gained cover and was safe. I have
2487
never told this before, and would not, lest it should do him an
2488
injury, but he was an old man then, and I am sure he must be dead
2489
long since. That old soldier taught me that some of the white
2490
people have hearts," he added, quite seriously.
2491
2492
"I went back to Standing Rock in the night, and I had to hide
2493
for several days in the woods, where food was brought to me by my
2494
relatives. The Indian police were ordered to retake me, and they
2495
pretended to hunt for me, but really they did not, for if they had
2496
found me I would have died with one or two of them, and they knew
2497
it! In a few days I departed with several others, and we rejoined
2498
the hostile camp on the Powder River and made some trouble for the
2499
men who were building the great iron track north of us [Northern
2500
Pacific].
2501
2502
"In the spring the hostile Sioux got together again upon the
2503
Tongue River. It was one of the greatest camps of the Sioux that
2504
I ever saw. There were some Northern Cheyennes with us, under Two
2505
Moon, and a few Santee Sioux, renegades from Canada, under
2506
Inkpaduta, who had killed white people in Iowa long before. We had
2507
decided to fight the white soldiers until no warrior should be
2508
left."
2509
2510
At this point Rain-in-the-Face took up his tobacco pouch and
2511
began again to fill his pipe.
2512
2513
"Of course the younger warriors were delighted with the
2514
prospect of a great fight! Our scouts had discovered piles of oats
2515
for horses and other supplies near the Missouri River. They had
2516
been brought by the white man's fire-boats. Presently they
2517
reported a great army about a day's travel to the south, with
2518
Shoshone and Crow scouts.
2519
2520
"There was excitement among the people, and a great council
2521
was held. Many spoke. I was asked the condition of those Indians
2522
who had gone upon the reservation, and I told them truly that they
2523
were nothing more than prisoners. It was decided to go out and
2524
meet Three Stars [General Crook] at a safe distance from our camp.
2525
2526
"We met him on the Little Rosebud. I believe that if we had
2527
waited and allowed him to make the attack, he would have fared no
2528
better than Custer. He was too strongly fortified where he was,
2529
and I think, too, that he was saved partly by his Indian allies,
2530
for the scouts discovered us first and fought us first, thus giving
2531
him time to make his preparations. I think he was more wise than
2532
brave! After we had left that neighborhood he might have pushed on
2533
and connected with the Long-Haired Chief. That would have saved
2534
Custer and perhaps won the day.
2535
2536
"When we crossed from Tongue River to the Little Big Horn, on
2537
account of the scarcity of game, we did not anticipate any more
2538
trouble. Our runners had discovered that Crook had retraced his
2539
trail to Goose Creek, and we did not suppose that the white men
2540
would care to follow us farther into the rough country.
2541
2542
"Suddenly the Long-Haired Chief appeared with his men! It was
2543
a surprise."
2544
2545
"What part of the camp were you in when the soldiers attacked
2546
the lower end?" I asked.
2547
2548
"I had been invited to a feast at one of the young men's
2549
lodges [a sort of club]. There was a certain warrior who was
2550
making preparations to go against the Crows, and I had decided to
2551
go also," he said.
2552
2553
"While I was eating my meat we heard the war cry! We all
2554
rushed out, and saw a warrior riding at top speed from the lower
2555
camp, giving the warning as he came. Then we heard the reports of
2556
the soldiers' guns, which sounded differently from the guns fired
2557
by our people in battle.
2558
2559
"I ran to my teepee and seized my gun, a bow, and a quiver
2560
full of arrows. I already had my stone war club, for you know we
2561
usually carry those by way of ornament. Just as I was about to set
2562
out to meet Reno, a body of soldiers appeared nearly opposite us,
2563
at the edge of a long line of cliffs across the river.
2564
2565
"All of us who were mounted and ready immediately started down
2566
the stream toward the ford. There were Ogallalas, Minneconjous,
2567
Cheyennes, and some Unkpapas, and those around me seemed to be
2568
nearly all very young men.
2569
2570
"'Behold, there is among us a young woman!' I shouted. 'Let
2571
no young man hide behind her garment!' I knew that would make
2572
those young men brave.
2573
2574
"The woman was Tashenamani, or Moving Robe, whose brother had
2575
just been killed in the fight with Three Stars. Holding her
2576
brother's war staff over her head, and leaning forward upon her
2577
charger, she looked as pretty as a bird. Always when there is a
2578
woman in the charge, it causes the warriors to vie with one another
2579
in displaying their valor," he added.
2580
2581
"The foremost warriors had almost surrounded the white men,
2582
and more were continually crossing the stream. The soldiers had
2583
dismounted, and were firing into the camp from the top of the
2584
cliff."
2585
2586
"My friend, was Sitting Bull in this fight?" I inquired.
2587
2588
"I did not see him there, but I learned afterward that he was
2589
among those who met Reno, and that was three or four of the white
2590
man's miles from Custer's position. Later he joined the attack
2591
upon Custer, but was not among the foremost.
2592
2593
"When the troops were surrounded on two sides, with the river
2594
on the third, the order came to charge! There were many very young
2595
men, some of whom had only a war staff or a stone war club in hand,
2596
who plunged into the column, knocking the men over and stampeding
2597
their horses.
2598
2599
"The soldiers had mounted and started back, but when the onset
2600
came they dismounted again and separated into several divisions,
2601
facing different ways. They fired as fast as they could load their
2602
guns, while we used chiefly arrows and war clubs. There seemed to
2603
be two distinct movements among the Indians. One body moved
2604
continually in a circle, while the other rode directly into and
2605
through the troops.
2606
2607
"Presently some of the soldiers remounted and fled along the
2608
ridge toward Reno's position; but they were followed by our
2609
warriors, like hundreds of blackbirds after a hawk. A larger body
2610
remained together at the upper end of a little ravine, and fought
2611
bravely until they were cut to pieces. I had always thought that
2612
white men were cowards, but I had a great respect for them after
2613
this day.
2614
2615
"It is generally said that a young man with nothing but a war
2616
staff in his hand broke through the column and knocked down the
2617
leader very early in the fight. We supposed him to be the leader,
2618
because he stood up in full view, swinging his big knife [sword]
2619
over his head, and talking loud. Some one unknown afterwards shot
2620
the chief, and he was probably killed also; for if not, he would
2621
have told of the deed, and called others to witness it. So it is
2622
that no one knows who killed the Long-Haired Chief [General
2623
Custer].
2624
2625
"After the first rush was over, coups were counted as usual on
2626
the bodies of the slain. You know four coups [or blows] can be
2627
counted on the body of an enemy, and whoever counts the first one
2628
[touches it for the first time] is entitled to the 'first feather.'
2629
2630
"There was an Indian here called Appearing Elk, who died a
2631
short time ago. He was slightly wounded in the charge. He had
2632
some of the weapons of the Long-Haired Chief, and the Indians used
2633
to say jokingly after we came upon the reservation that Appearing
2634
Elk must have killed the Chief, because he had his sword! However,
2635
the scramble for plunder did not begin until all were dead. I do
2636
not think he killed Custer, and if he had, the time to claim the
2637
honor was immediately after the fight.
2638
2639
"Many lies have been told of me. Some say that I killed the
2640
Chief, and others that I cut out the heart of his brother [Tom
2641
Custer], because he had caused me to be imprisoned. Why, in that
2642
fight the excitement was so great that we scarcely recognized our
2643
nearest friends! Everything was done like lightning. After the
2644
battle we young men were chasing horses all over the prairie, while
2645
the old men and women plundered the bodies; and if any mutilating
2646
was done, it was by the old men.
2647
2648
"I have lived peaceably ever since we came upon the
2649
reservation. No one can say that Rain-in-the-Face has broken the
2650
rules of the Great Father. I fought for my people and my country.
2651
When we were conquered I remained silent, as a warrior should.
2652
Rain-in-the-Face was killed when he put down his weapons before the
2653
Great Father. His spirit was gone then; only his poor body lived
2654
on, but now it is almost ready to lie down for the last time. Ho,
2655
hechetu! [It is well.]"
2656
2657
2658
2659
2660
TWO STRIKE
2661
2662
2663
It is a pity that so many interesting names of well-known Indians
2664
have been mistranslated, so that their meaning becomes very vague
2665
if it is not wholly lost. In some cases an opposite meaning is
2666
conveyed. For instance there is the name, "Young-Man-Afraid-of-
2667
His-Horses." It does not mean that the owner of the name is afraid
2668
of his own horse -- far from it! Tashunkekokipapi signifies "The
2669
young men [of the enemy] fear his horses." Whenever that man
2670
attacks, the enemy knows there will be a determined charge.
2671
2672
The name Tashunkewitko, or Crazy Horse, is a poetic simile.
2673
This leader was likened to an untrained or untouched horse, wild,
2674
ignorant of domestic uses, splendid in action, and unconscious of
2675
danger.
2676
2677
The name of Two Strike is a deed name. In a battle with the
2678
Utes this man knocked two enemies from the back of a war horse.
2679
The true rendering of the name Nomkahpa would be, "He knocked off
2680
two."
2681
2682
I was well acquainted with Two Strike and spent many pleasant
2683
hours with him, both at Washington, D. C., and in his home on the
2684
Rosebud reservation. What I have written is not all taken from his
2685
own mouth, because he was modest in talking about himself, but I
2686
had him vouch for the truth of the stories. He said that he was
2687
born near the Republican River about 1832. His earliest
2688
recollection was of an attack by the Shoshones upon their camp on
2689
the Little Piney. The first white men he ever met were traders who
2690
visited his people when he was very young. The incident was still
2691
vividly with him, because, he said, "They made my father crazy,"
2692
[drunk]. This made a deep impression upon him, he told me, so that
2693
from that day he was always afraid of the white man's "mysterious
2694
water."
2695
2696
Two Strike was not a large man, but he was very supple and
2697
alert in motion, as agile as an antelope. His face was mobile and
2698
intelligent. Although he had the usual somber visage of an Indian,
2699
his expression brightened up wonderfully when he talked. In some
2700
ways wily and shrewd in intellect, he was not deceitful nor mean.
2701
He had a high sense of duty and honor. Patriotism was his ideal
2702
and goal of life.
2703
2704
As a young man he was modest and even shy, although both his
2705
father and grandfather were well-known chiefs. I could find few
2706
noteworthy incidents in his early life, save that he was an expert
2707
rider of wild horses. At one time I was pressing him to give me
2708
some interesting incident of his boyhood. He replied to the effect
2709
that there was plenty of excitement but "not much in it." There
2710
was a delegation of Sioux chiefs visiting Washington, and we were
2711
spending an evening together in their hotel. Hollow Horn Bear
2712
spoke up and said:
2713
2714
"Why don't you tell him how you and a buffalo cow together
2715
held your poor father up and froze him almost to death?"
2716
2717
Everybody laughed, and another man remarked: "I think he had
2718
better tell the medicine man (meaning myself) how he lost the power
2719
of speech when he first tried to court a girl." Two Strike,
2720
although he was then close to eighty years of age, was visibly
2721
embarrassed by their chaff.
2722
2723
"Anyway, I stuck to the trail. I kept on till I got what I
2724
wanted," he muttered. And then came the story.
2725
2726
The old chief, his father, was very fond of the buffalo hunt;
2727
and being accomplished in horsemanship and a fine shot, although
2728
not very powerfully built, young Two Strike was already following
2729
hard in his footsteps. Like every proud father, his was giving him
2730
every incentive to perfect his skill, and one day challenged his
2731
sixteen-year-old son to the feat of "one arrow to kill" at the very
2732
next chase.
2733
2734
It was midwinter. A large herd of buffalo was reported by the
2735
game scout. The hunters gathered at daybreak prepared for the
2736
charge. The old chief had his tried charger equipped with a soft,
2737
pillow-like Indian saddle and a lariat. His old sinew-backed
2738
hickory bow was examined and strung, and a fine straight arrow with
2739
a steel head carefully selected for the test. He adjusted a keen
2740
butcher knife over his leather belt, which held a warm buffalo robe
2741
securely about his body. He wore neither shirt nor coat, although
2742
a piercing wind was blowing from the northwest. The youthful Two
2743
Strike had his favorite bow and his swift pony, which was perhaps
2744
dearer to him than his closest boy comrade.
2745
2746
Now the hunters crouched upon their horses' necks like an army
2747
in line of battle, while behind them waited the boys and old men
2748
with pack ponies to carry the meat. "Hukahey!" shouted the leader
2749
as a warning. "Yekiya wo!" (Go) and in an instant all the ponies
2750
leaped forward against the cutting wind, as if it were the start in
2751
a horse race. Every rider leaned forward, tightly wrapped in his
2752
robe, watching the flying herd for an opening in the mass of
2753
buffalo, a chance to cut out some of the fattest cows. This was
2754
the object of the race.
2755
2756
The chief had a fair start; his horse was well trained and
2757
needed no urging nor guidance. Without the slightest pull on the
2758
lariat he dashed into the thickest of the herd. The youth's pony
2759
had been prancing and rearing impatiently; he started a little
2760
behind, yet being swift passed many. His rider had one clear
2761
glimpse of his father ahead of him, then the snow arose in blinding
2762
clouds on the trail of the bison. The whoops of the hunters, the
2763
lowing of the cows, and the menacing glances of the bulls as they
2764
plunged along, or now and then stood at bay, were enough to unnerve
2765
a boy less well tried. He was unable to select his victim. He had
2766
been carried deeply into the midst of the herd and found himself
2767
helpless to make the one sure shot, therefore he held his one arrow
2768
in his mouth and merely strove to separate them so as to get his
2769
chance.
2770
2771
At last the herd parted, and he cut out two fat cows, and was
2772
maneuvering for position when a rider appeared out of the snow
2773
cloud on their other side. This aroused him to make haste lest his
2774
rival secure both cows; he saw his chance, and in a twinkling his
2775
arrow sped clear through one of the animals so that she fell
2776
headlong.
2777
2778
In this instant he observed that the man who had joined him
2779
was his own father, who had met with the same difficulties as
2780
himself. When the young man had shot his only arrow, the old chief
2781
with a whoop went after the cow that was left, but as he gained her
2782
broadside, his horse stepped in a badger hole and fell, throwing
2783
him headlong. The maddened buffalo, as sometimes happens in such
2784
cases, turned upon the pony and gored him to death. His rider lay
2785
motionless, while Two Strike rushed forward to draw her attention,
2786
but she merely tossed her head at him, while persistently standing
2787
guard over the dead horse and the all but frozen Indian.
2788
2789
Alas for the game of "one arrow to kill!" The boy must think
2790
fast, for his father's robe had slipped off, and he was playing
2791
dead, lying almost naked in the bitter air upon the trampled snow.
2792
His bluff would not serve, so he flew back to pull out his solitary
2793
arrow from the body of the dead cow. Quickly wheeling again, he
2794
sent it into her side and she fell. The one arrow to kill had
2795
become one arrow to kill two buffalo! At the council lodge that
2796
evening Two Strike was the hero.
2797
2798
The following story is equally characteristic of him, and in
2799
explanation it should be said that in the good old days among the
2800
Sioux, a young man is not supposed to associate with girls until he
2801
is ready to take a wife. It was a rule with our young men,
2802
especially the honorable and well-born, to gain some reputation in
2803
the hunt and in war, -- the more difficult the feats achieved the
2804
better, -- before even speaking to a young woman. Many a life was
2805
risked in the effort to establish a reputation along these lines.
2806
Courtship was no secret, but rather a social event, often
2807
celebrated by the proud parents with feasts and presents to the
2808
poor, and this etiquette was sometimes felt by a shy or sensitive
2809
youth as an insurmountable obstacle to the fulfilment of his
2810
desires.
2811
2812
Two Strike was the son and grandson of a chief, but he could
2813
not claim any credit for the deeds of his forbears. He had not
2814
only to guard their good name but achieve one for himself. This he
2815
had set out to do, and he did well. He was now of marriageable age
2816
with a war record, and admitted to the council, yet he did not seem
2817
to trouble himself at all about a wife. His was strictly a
2818
bachelor career. Meanwhile, as is apt to be the case, his parents
2819
had thought much about a possible daughter-in-law, and had even
2820
collected ponies, fine robes, and other acceptable goods to be
2821
given away in honor of the event, whenever it should take place.
2822
Now and then they would drop a sly hint, but with no perceptible
2823
effect.
2824
2825
They did not and could not know of the inward struggle that
2826
racked his mind at this period of his life. The shy and modest
2827
young man was dying for a wife, yet could not bear even to think of
2828
speaking to a young woman! The fearless hunter of buffaloes,
2829
mountain lions, and grizzlies, the youth who had won his eagle
2830
feathers in a battle with the Utes, could not bring himself to take
2831
this tremendous step.
2832
2833
At last his father appealed to him directly. "My son," he
2834
declared, "it is your duty to take unto yourself a wife, in order
2835
that the honors won by your ancestors and by yourself may be handed
2836
down in the direct line. There are several eligible young women in
2837
our band whose parents have intimated a wish to have you for their
2838
son-in-law."
2839
2840
Two Strike made no reply, but he was greatly disturbed. He
2841
had no wish to have the old folks select his bride, for if the
2842
truth were told, his choice was already made. He had simply lacked
2843
the courage to go a-courting!
2844
2845
The next morning, after making an unusually careful toilet, he
2846
took his best horse and rode to a point overlooking the path by
2847
which the girls went for water. Here the young men were wont to
2848
take their stand, and, if fortunate, intercept the girl of their
2849
heart for a brief but fateful interview. Two Strike had determined
2850
to speak straight to the point, and as soon as he saw the pretty
2851
maid he came forward boldly and placed himself in her way. A long
2852
moment passed. She glanced up at him shyly but not without
2853
encouragement. His teeth fairly chattered with fright, and he
2854
could not say a word. She looked again, noted his strange looks,
2855
and believed him suddenly taken ill. He appeared to be suffering.
2856
At last he feebly made signs for her to go on and leave him alone.
2857
The maiden was sympathetic, but as she did not know what else to do
2858
she obeyed his request.
2859
2860
The poor youth was so ashamed of his cowardice that he
2861
afterward admitted his first thought was to take his own life. He
2862
believed he had disgraced himself forever in the eyes of the only
2863
girl he had ever loved. However, he determined to conquer his
2864
weakness and win her, which he did. The story came out many years
2865
after and was told with much enjoyment by the old men.
2866
2867
Two Strike was better known by his own people than by the
2868
whites, for he was individually a terror in battle rather than a
2869
leader. He achieved his honorable name in a skirmish with the Utes
2870
in Colorado. The Sioux regarded these people as their bravest
2871
enemies, and the outcome of the fight was for some time uncertain.
2872
First the Sioux were forced to retreat and then their opponents,
2873
and at the latter point the horse of a certain Ute was shot under
2874
him. A friend came to his rescue and took him up behind him. Our
2875
hero overtook them in flight, raised his war club, and knocked both
2876
men off with one blow.
2877
2878
He was a very old man when he died, only two or three years
2879
ago, on the Rosebud reservation.
2880
2881
2882
2883
2884
AMERICAN HORSE
2885
2886
2887
One of the wittiest and shrewdest of the Sioux chiefs was American
2888
Horse, who succeeded to the name and position of an uncle, killed
2889
in the battle of Slim Buttes in 1876. The younger American Horse
2890
was born a little before the encroachments of the whites upon the
2891
Sioux country became serious and their methods aggressive, and his
2892
early manhood brought him into that most trying and critical period
2893
of our history. He had been tutored by his uncle, since his own
2894
father was killed in battle while he was still very young. The
2895
American Horse band was closely attached to a trading post, and its
2896
members in consequence were inclined to be friendly with the
2897
whites, a policy closely adhered to by their leader.
2898
2899
When he was born, his old grandfather said: "Put him out in
2900
the sun! Let him ask his great-grandfather, the Sun, for the warm
2901
blood of a warrior!" And he had warm blood. He was a genial man,
2902
liking notoriety and excitement. He always seized an opportunity
2903
to leap into the center of the arena.
2904
2905
In early life he was a clownish sort of boy among the boys --
2906
an expert mimic and impersonator. This talent made him popular and
2907
in his way a leader. He was a natural actor, and early showed
2908
marked ability as a speaker.
2909
2910
American Horse was about ten years old when he was attacked by
2911
three Crow warriors, while driving a herd of ponies to water. Here
2912
he displayed native cunning and initiative. It seemed he had
2913
scarcely a chance to escape, for the enemy was near. He yelled
2914
frantically at the ponies to start them toward home, while he
2915
dropped off into a thicket of willows and hid there. A part of the
2916
herd was caught in sight of the camp and there was a counter chase,
2917
but the Crows got away with the ponies. Of course his mother was
2918
frantic, believing her boy had been killed or captured; but after
2919
the excitement was over, he appeared in camp unhurt. When
2920
questioned about his escape, he remarked: "I knew they would not
2921
take the time to hunt for small game when there was so much bigger
2922
close by."
2923
2924
When he was quite a big boy, he joined in a buffalo hunt, and
2925
on the way back with the rest of the hunters his mule became
2926
unmanageable. American Horse had insisted on riding him in
2927
addition to a heavy load of meat and skins, and the animal
2928
evidently resented this, for he suddenly began to run and kick,
2929
scattering fresh meat along the road, to the merriment of the
2930
crowd. But the boy turned actor, and made it appear that it was at
2931
his wish the mule had given this diverting performance. He clung
2932
to the back of his plunging and braying mount like a circus rider,
2933
singing a Brave Heart song, and finally brought up amid the
2934
laughter and cheers of his companions. Far from admitting defeat,
2935
he boasted of his horsemanship and declared that his "brother" the
2936
donkey would put any enemy to flight, and that they should be
2937
called upon to lead a charge.
2938
2939
It was several years later that he went to sleep early one
2940
night and slept soundly, having been scouting for two nights
2941
previous. It happened that there was a raid by the Crows, and when
2942
he awoke in the midst of the yelling and confusion, he sprang up
2943
and attempted to join in the fighting. Everybody knew his voice in
2944
all the din, so when he fired his gun and announced a coup, as was
2945
the custom, others rushed to the spot, to find that he had shot a
2946
hobbled pony belonging to their own camp. The laugh was on him,
2947
and he never recovered from his chagrin at this mistake. In fact,
2948
although he was undoubtedly fearless and tried hard to distinguish
2949
himself in warfare, he did not succeed.
2950
2951
It is told of him that he once went with a war party of young
2952
men to the Wind River country against the Shoshones. At last they
2953
discovered a large camp, but there were only a dozen or so of the
2954
Sioux, therefore they hid themselves and watched for their
2955
opportunity to attack an isolated party of hunters. While waiting
2956
thus, they ran short of food. One day a small party of Shoshones
2957
was seen near at hand, and in the midst of the excitement and
2958
preparations for the attack, young American Horse caught sight of
2959
a fat black-tail deer close by. Unable to resist the temptation,
2960
he pulled an arrow from his quiver and sent it through the deer's
2961
heart, then with several of his half-starved companions sprang upon
2962
the yet quivering body of the animal to cut out the liver, which
2963
was sometimes eaten raw. One of the men was knocked down, it is
2964
said, by the last kick of the dying buck, but having swallowed a
2965
few mouthfuls the warriors rushed upon and routed their enemies.
2966
It is still told of American Horse how he killed game and feasted
2967
between the ambush and the attack.
2968
2969
At another time he was drying his sacred war bonnet and other
2970
gear over a small fire. These articles were held in great
2971
veneration by the Indians and handled accordingly. Suddenly the
2972
fire blazed up, and our hero so far forgot himself as to begin
2973
energetically beating out the flames with the war bonnet, breaking
2974
off one of the sacred buffalo horns in the act. One could almost
2975
fill a book with his mishaps and exploits. I will give one of them
2976
in his own words as well as I can remember them.
2977
2978
"We were as promising a party of young warriors as our tribe
2979
ever sent against any of its ancestral enemies. It was midsummer,
2980
and after going two days' journey from home we began to send two
2981
scouts ahead daily while the main body kept a half day behind. The
2982
scouts set out every evening and traveled all night. One night the
2983
great war pipe was held out to me and to Young-Man-Afraid-of-
2984
His-Horses. At daybreak, having met no one, we hid our horses and
2985
climbed to the top of the nearest butte to take an observation. It
2986
was a very hot day. We lay flat on our blankets, facing the west
2987
where the cliff fell off in a sheer descent, and with our backs
2988
toward the more gradual slope dotted with scrub pines and cedars.
2989
We stuck some tall grass on our heads and proceeded to study the
2990
landscape spread before us for any sign of man.
2991
2992
"The sweeping valleys were dotted with herds, both large and
2993
small, of buffalo and elk, and now and then we caught a glimpse of
2994
a coyote slinking into the gulches, returning from night hunting to
2995
sleep. While intently watching some moving body at a distance, we
2996
could not yet tell whether of men or animals, I heard a faint noise
2997
behind me and slowly turned my head. Behold! a grizzly bear
2998
sneaking up on all fours and almost ready to spring!
2999
3000
"'Run!' I yelled into the ear of my companion, and we both
3001
leaped to our feet in a second. 'Separate! separate!' he shouted,
3002
and as we did so, the bear chose me for his meat. I ran downhill
3003
as fast as I could, but he was gaining. 'Dodge around a tree!'
3004
screamed Young-Man-Afraid. I took a deep breath and made a last
3005
spurt, desperately circling the first tree I came to. As the
3006
ground was steep just there, I turned a somersault one way and the
3007
bear the other. I picked myself up in time to climb the tree, and
3008
was fairly out of reach when he gathered himself together and came
3009
at me more furiously than ever, holding in one paw the shreds of my
3010
breechcloth, for in the fall he had just scratched my back and cut
3011
my belt in two, and carried off my only garment for a trophy!
3012
3013
"My friend was well up another tree and laughing heartily at
3014
my predicament, and when the bear saw that he could not get at
3015
either of us he reluctantly departed, after I had politely
3016
addressed him and promised to make an offering to his spirit on my
3017
safe return. I don't think I ever had a narrower escape," he
3018
concluded.
3019
3020
During the troublous times from 1865 to 1877, American Horse
3021
advocated yielding to the government at any cost, being no doubt
3022
convinced of the uselessness of resistance. He was not a
3023
recognized leader until 1876, when he took the name and place of
3024
his uncle. Up to this time he bore the nickname of Manishnee (Can
3025
not walk, or Played out.)
3026
3027
When the greater part of the Ogallalas, to which band he
3028
belonged, came into the reservation, he at once allied himself with
3029
the peace element at the Red Cloud agency, near Fort Robinson,
3030
Nebraska, and took no small part in keeping the young braves quiet.
3031
Since the older and better-known chiefs, with the exception of
3032
Spotted Tail, were believed to be hostile at heart, the military
3033
made much use of him. Many of his young men enlisted as scouts by
3034
his advice, and even he himself entered the service.
3035
3036
In the early part of the year 1876, there was a rumor that
3037
certain bands were in danger of breaking away. Their leader was
3038
one Sioux Jim, so nicknamed by the soldiers. American Horse went
3039
to him as peacemaker, but was told he was a woman and no brave. He
3040
returned to his own camp and told his men that Sioux Jim meant
3041
mischief, and in order to prevent another calamity to the tribe, he
3042
must be chastised. He again approached the warlike Jim with
3043
several warriors at his back. The recalcitrant came out, gun in
3044
hand, but the wily chief was too quick for him. He shot and
3045
wounded the rebel, whereupon one of his men came forward and killed
3046
him.
3047
3048
This quelled the people for the time being and up to the
3049
killing of Crazy Horse. In the crisis precipitated by this event,
3050
American Horse was again influential and energetic in the cause of
3051
the government. From this time on he became an active participant
3052
in the affairs of the Teton Sioux. He was noted for his eloquence,
3053
which was nearly always conciliatory, yet he could say very sharp
3054
things of the duplicity of the whites. He had much ease of manner
3055
and was a master of repartee. I recall his saying that if you have
3056
got to wear golden slippers to enter the white man's heaven no
3057
Indian will ever get there, as the whites have got the Black Hills
3058
and with them all the gold.
3059
3060
It was during the last struggle of his people, at the time of
3061
the Messiah craze in 1890-1891 that he demonstrated as never before
3062
the real greatness of the man. While many of his friends were
3063
carried away by the new thought, he held aloof from it and
3064
cautioned his band to do the same. When it developed into an
3065
extensive upheaval among the nations he took his positive stand
3066
against it.
3067
3068
Presently all Indians who did not dance the Ghost Dance were
3069
ordered to come into camp at Pine Ridge agency. American Horse was
3070
the first to bring in his people. I was there at the time and
3071
talked with him daily. When Little was arrested, it had been
3072
agreed among the disaffected to have him resist, which meant that
3073
he would be roughly handled. This was to be their excuse to attack
3074
the Indian police, which would probably lead to a general massacre
3075
or outbreak. I know that this desperate move was opposed from the
3076
beginning by American Horse, and it was believed that his life was
3077
threatened.
3078
3079
On the day of the "Big Issue", when thousands of Indians were
3080
gathered at the agency, this man Little, who had been in hiding,
3081
walked boldly among them. Of course the police would arrest him at
3082
sight, and he was led toward the guardhouse. He struggled with
3083
them, but was overpowered. A crowd of warriors rushed to his
3084
rescue, and there was confusion and a general shout of "Hurry up
3085
with them! Kill them all!" I saw American Horse walk out of the
3086
agent's office and calmly face the excited mob.
3087
3088
"What are you going to do?" he asked. "Stop, men, stop and
3089
think before you act! Will you murder your children, your women,
3090
yes, destroy your nation to-day?" He stood before them like a
3091
statue and the men who held the two policemen helpless paused for
3092
an instant. He went on: "You are brave to-day because you
3093
outnumber the white men, but what will you do to-morrow? There are
3094
railroads on all sides of you. The soldiers will pour in from
3095
every direction by thousands and surround you. You have little
3096
food or ammunition. It will be the end of your people. Stop, I
3097
say, stop now!"
3098
3099
Jack Red Cloud, son of the old chief rushed up to him and
3100
thrust a revolver almost in his face. "It is you and men like
3101
you," he shouted, "who have reduced our race to slavery and
3102
starvation!" American Horse did not flinch but deliberately
3103
reentered the office, followed by Jack still flourishing the
3104
pistol. But his timely appearance and eloquence had saved the day.
3105
Others of the police force had time to reach the spot, and with a
3106
large crowd of friendly Indians had taken command of the situation.
3107
3108
When I went into the office I found him alone but apparently
3109
quite calm. "Where are the agent and the clerks?" I asked. "They
3110
fled by the back door," he replied, smiling. "I think they are in
3111
the cellar. These fools outside had almost caught us asleep, but
3112
I think it is over now."
3113
3114
American Horse was one of the earliest advocates of education
3115
for the Indian, and his son Samuel and nephew Robert were among the
3116
first students at Carlisle. I think one or two of his daughters
3117
were the handsomest Indian girls of full blood that I ever saw.
3118
His record as a councilor of his people and his policy in the new
3119
situation that confronted them was manly and consistent.
3120
3121
3122
3123
3124
DULL KNIFE
3125
3126
3127
The life of Dull Knife, the Cheyenne, is a true hero tale. Simple,
3128
child-like yet manful, and devoid of selfish aims, or love of gain,
3129
he is a pattern for heroes of any race.
3130
3131
Dull Knife was a chief of the old school. Among all the
3132
Indians of the plains, nothing counts save proven worth. A man's
3133
caliber is measured by his courage, unselfishness and intelligence.
3134
Many writers confuse history with fiction, but in Indian history
3135
their women and old men and even children witness the main events,
3136
and not being absorbed in daily papers and magazines, these events
3137
are rehearsed over and over with few variations. Though orally
3138
preserved, their accounts are therefore accurate. But they have
3139
seldom been willing to give reliable information to strangers,
3140
especially when asked and paid for.
3141
3142
Racial prejudice naturally enters into the account of a man's
3143
life by enemy writers, while one is likely to favor his own race.
3144
I am conscious that many readers may think that I have idealized
3145
the Indian. Therefore I will confess now that we have too many
3146
weak and unprincipled men among us. When I speak of the Indian
3147
hero, I do not forget the mongrel in spirit, false to the ideals of
3148
his people. Our trustfulness has been our weakness, and when the
3149
vices of civilization were added to our own, we fell heavily.
3150
3151
It is said that Dull Knife as a boy was resourceful and
3152
self-reliant. He was only nine years old when his family was
3153
separated from the rest of the tribe while on a buffalo hunt. His
3154
father was away and his mother busy, and he was playing with his
3155
little sister on the banks of a stream, when a large herd of
3156
buffalo swept down upon them on a stampede for water. His mother
3157
climbed a tree, but the little boy led his sister into an old
3158
beaver house whose entrance was above water, and here they remained
3159
in shelter until the buffalo passed and they were found by their
3160
distracted parents.
3161
3162
Dull Knife was quite a youth when his tribe was caught one
3163
winter in a region devoid of game, and threatened with starvation.
3164
The situation was made worse by heavy storms, but he secured help
3165
and led a relief party a hundred and fifty miles, carrying bales of
3166
dried buffalo meat on pack horses.
3167
3168
Another exploit that made him dear to his people occurred in
3169
battle, when his brother-in-law was severely wounded and left lying
3170
where no one on either side dared to approach him. As soon as Dull
3171
Knife heard of it he got on a fresh horse, and made so daring a
3172
charge that others joined him; thus under cover of their fire he
3173
rescued his brother-in-law, and in so doing was wounded twice.
3174
3175
The Sioux knew him as a man of high type, perhaps not so
3176
brilliant as Roman Nose and Two Moon, but surpassing both in
3177
honesty and simplicity, as well as in his war record. (Two Moon,
3178
in fact, was never a leader of his people, and became distinguished
3179
only in wars with the whites during the period of revolt.) A story
3180
is told of an ancestor of the same name that illustrates well the
3181
spirit of the age.
3182
3183
It was the custom in those days for the older men to walk
3184
ahead of the moving caravan and decide upon all halts and camping
3185
places. One day the councilors came to a grove of wild cherries
3186
covered with ripe fruit, and they stopped at once. Suddenly a
3187
grizzly charged from the thicket. The men yelped and hooted, but
3188
the bear was not to be bluffed. He knocked down the first warrior
3189
who dared to face him and dragged his victim into the bushes.
3190
3191
The whole caravan was in the wildest excitement. Several of
3192
the swiftest-footed warriors charged the bear, to bring him out
3193
into the open, while the women and dogs made all the noise they
3194
could. The bear accepted the challenge, and as he did so, the man
3195
whom they had supposed dead came running from the opposite end of
3196
the thicket. The Indians were delighted, and especially so when in
3197
the midst of their cheers, the man stopped running for his life and
3198
began to sing a Brave Heart song as he approached the grove with
3199
his butcher knife in his hand. He would dare his enemy again!
3200
3201
The grizzly met him with a tremendous rush, and they went down
3202
together. Instantly the bear began to utter cries of distress, and
3203
at the same time the knife flashed, and he rolled over dead. The
3204
warrior was too quick for the animal; he first bit his sensitive
3205
nose to distract his attention, and then used the knife to stab him
3206
to the heart. He fought many battles with knives thereafter and
3207
claimed that the spirit of the bear gave him success. On one
3208
occasion, however, the enemy had a strong buffalo-hide shield which
3209
the Cheyenne bear fighter could not pierce through, and he was
3210
wounded; nevertheless he managed to dispatch his foe. It was from
3211
this incident that he received the name of Dull Knife, which was
3212
handed down to his descendant.
3213
3214
As is well known, the Northern Cheyennes uncompromisingly
3215
supported the Sioux in their desperate defense of the Black Hills
3216
and Big Horn country. Why not? It was their last buffalo region
3217
-- their subsistence. It was what our wheat fields are to a
3218
civilized nation.
3219
3220
About the year 1875, a propaganda was started for confining
3221
all the Indians upon reservations, where they would be practically
3222
interned or imprisoned, regardless of their possessions and rights.
3223
The men who were the strongest advocates of the scheme generally
3224
wanted the Indians' property -- the one main cause back of all
3225
Indian wars. From the warlike Apaches to the peaceful Nez Perces,
3226
all the tribes of the plains were hunted from place to place; then
3227
the government resorted to peace negotiations, but always with an
3228
army at hand to coerce. Once disarmed and helpless, they were to
3229
be taken under military guard to the Indian Territory.
3230
3231
A few resisted, and declared they would fight to the death
3232
rather than go. Among these were the Sioux, but nearly all the
3233
smaller tribes were deported against their wishes. Of course those
3234
Indians who came from a mountainous and cold country suffered
3235
severely. The moist heat and malaria decimated the exiles. Chief
3236
Joseph of the Nez Perces and Chief Standing Bear of the Poncas
3237
appealed to the people of the United States, and finally succeeded
3238
in having their bands or the remnant of them returned to their own
3239
part of the country. Dull Knife was not successful in his plea,
3240
and the story of his flight is one of poignant interest.
3241
3242
He was regarded by the authorities as a dangerous man, and
3243
with his depleted band was taken to the Indian Territory without
3244
his consent in 1876. When he realized that his people were dying
3245
like sheep, he was deeply moved. He called them together. Every
3246
man and woman declared that they would rather die in their own
3247
country than stay there longer, and they resolved to flee to their
3248
northern homes.
3249
3250
Here again was displayed the genius of these people. From the
3251
Indian Territory to Dakota is no short dash for freedom. They knew
3252
what they were facing. Their line of flight lay through a settled
3253
country and they would be closely pursued by the army. No sooner
3254
had they started than the telegraph wires sang one song: "The
3255
panther of the Cheyennes is at large. Not a child or a woman in
3256
Kansas or Nebraska is safe." Yet they evaded all the pursuing and
3257
intercepting troops and reached their native soil. The strain was
3258
terrible, the hardship great, and Dull Knife, like Joseph, was
3259
remarkable for his self-restraint in sparing those who came within
3260
his power on the way.
3261
3262
But fate was against him, for there were those looking for
3263
blood money who betrayed him when he thought he was among friends.
3264
His people were tired out and famished when they were surrounded
3265
and taken to Fort Robinson. There the men were put in prison, and
3266
their wives guarded in camp. They were allowed to visit their men
3267
on certain days. Many of them had lost everything; there were but
3268
a few who had even one child left. They were heartbroken.
3269
3270
These despairing women appealed to their husbands to die
3271
fighting: their liberty was gone, their homes broken up, and only
3272
slavery and gradual extinction in sight. At last Dull Knife
3273
listened. He said: "I have lived my life. I am ready." The
3274
others agreed. "If our women are willing to die with us, who is
3275
there to say no? If we are to do the deeds of men, it rests with
3276
you women to bring us our weapons.
3277
3278
As they had been allowed to carry moccasins and other things
3279
to the men, so they contrived to take in some guns and knives under
3280
this disguise. The plan was to kill the sentinels and run to the
3281
nearest natural trench, there to make their last stand. The women
3282
and children were to join them. This arrangement was carried out.
3283
Not every brave had a gun, but all had agreed to die together.
3284
They fought till their small store of ammunition was exhausted,
3285
then exposed their broad chests for a target, and the mothers even
3286
held up their little ones to be shot. Thus died the fighting
3287
Cheyennes and their dauntless leader.
3288
3289
3290
3291
3292
ROMAN NOSE
3293
3294
3295
This Cheyenne war chief was a contemporary of Dull Knife. He was
3296
not so strong a character as the other, and was inclined to be
3297
pompous and boastful; but with all this he was a true type of
3298
native American in spirit and bravery.
3299
3300
While Dull Knife was noted in warfare among Indians, Roman
3301
Nose made his record against the whites, in defense of territory
3302
embracing the Republican and Arickaree rivers. He was killed on
3303
the latter river in 1868, in the celebrated battle with General
3304
Forsythe.
3305
3306
Save Chief Gall and Washakie in the prime of their manhood,
3307
this chief had no peer in bodily perfection and masterful
3308
personality. No Greek or Roman gymnast was ever a finer model of
3309
physical beauty and power. He thrilled his men to frenzied action
3310
when he came upon the field. It was said of him that he sacrificed
3311
more youths by his personal influence in battle than any other
3312
leader, being very reckless himself in grand-stand charges. He was
3313
killed needlessly in this manner.
3314
3315
Roman Nose always rode an uncommonly fine, spirited horse, and
3316
with his war bonnet and other paraphernalia gave a wonderful
3317
exhibition. The Indians used to say that the soldiers must gaze at
3318
him rather than aim at him, as they so seldom hit him even when
3319
running the gantlet before a firing line.
3320
3321
He did a remarkable thing once when on a one-arrow-to-kill
3322
buffalo hunt with his brother-in-law. His companion had selected
3323
his animal and drew so powerfully on his sinew bowstring that it
3324
broke. Roman Nose had killed his own cow and was whipping up close
3325
to the other when the misfortune occurred. Both horses were going
3326
at full speed and the arrow jerked up in the air. Roman Nose
3327
caught it and shot the cow for him.
3328
3329
Another curious story told of him is to the effect that he had
3330
an intimate Sioux friend who was courting a Cheyenne girl, but
3331
without success. As the wooing of both Sioux and Cheyennes was
3332
pretty much all effected in the night time, Roman Nose told his
3333
friend to let him do the courting for him. He arranged with the
3334
young woman to elope the next night and to spend the honeymoon
3335
among his Sioux friends. He then told his friend what to do. The
3336
Sioux followed instructions and carried off the Cheyenne maid, and
3337
not until morning did she discover her mistake. It is said she
3338
never admitted it, and that the two lived happily together to a
3339
good old age, so perhaps there was no mistake after all.
3340
3341
Perhaps no other chief attacked more emigrants going west on
3342
the Oregon Trail between 1860 and 1868. He once made an attack on
3343
a large party of Mormons, and in this instance the Mormons had time
3344
to form a corral with their wagons and shelter their women,
3345
children, and horses. The men stood outside and met the Indians
3346
with well-aimed volleys, but they circled the wagons with whirlwind
3347
speed, and whenever a white man fell, it was the signal for Roman
3348
Nose to charge and count the "coup." The hat of one of the dead
3349
men was off, and although he had heavy hair and beard, the top of
3350
his head was bald from the forehead up. As custom required such a
3351
deed to be announced on the spot, the chief yelled at the top of
3352
his voice:
3353
3354
"Your Roman Nose has counted the first coup on the
3355
longest-faced white man who was ever killed!"
3356
3357
When the Northern Cheyennes under this daring leader attacked
3358
a body of scouting troops under the brilliant officer General
3359
Forsythe, Roman Nose thought that he had a comparatively easy task.
3360
The first onset failed, and the command entrenched itself on a
3361
little island. The wily chief thought he could stampede them and
3362
urged on his braves with the declaration that the first to reach
3363
the island should be entitled to wear a trailing war bonnet.
3364
Nevertheless he was disappointed, and his men received such a warm
3365
reception that none succeeded in reaching it. In order to inspire
3366
them to desperate deeds he had led them in person, and with him
3367
that meant victory or death. According to the army accounts, it
3368
was a thrilling moment, and might well have proved disastrous to
3369
the Forsythe command, whose leader was wounded and helpless. The
3370
danger was acute until Roman Nose fell, and even then his
3371
lieutenants were bent upon crossing at any cost, but some of the
3372
older chiefs prevailed upon them to withdraw.
3373
3374
Thus the brilliant war chief of the Cheyennes came to his
3375
death. If he had lived until 1876, Sitting Bull would have had
3376
another bold ally.
3377
3378
3379
3380
3381
CHIEF JOSEPH
3382
3383
3384
The Nez Perce tribe of Indians, like other tribes too large to be
3385
united under one chief, was composed of several bands, each
3386
distinct in sovereignty. It was a loose confederacy. Joseph and
3387
his people occupied the Imnaha or Grande Ronde valley in Oregon,
3388
which was considered perhaps the finest land in that part of the
3389
country.
3390
3391
When the last treaty was entered into by some of the bands of
3392
the Nez Perce, Joseph's band was at Lapwai, Idaho, and had nothing
3393
to do with the agreement. The elder chief in dying had counseled
3394
his son, then not more than twenty-two or twenty-three years of
3395
age, never to part with their home, assuring him that he had signed
3396
no papers. These peaceful non-treaty Indians did not even know
3397
what land had been ceded until the agent read them the government
3398
order to leave. Of course they refused. You and I would have done
3399
the same.
3400
3401
When the agent failed to move them, he and the would-be
3402
settlers called upon the army to force them to be good, namely,
3403
without a murmur to leave their pleasant inheritance in the hands
3404
of a crowd of greedy grafters. General O. O. Howard, the Christian
3405
soldier, was sent to do the work.
3406
3407
He had a long council with Joseph and his leading men, telling
3408
them they must obey the order or be driven out by force. We may be
3409
sure that he presented this hard alternative reluctantly. Joseph
3410
was a mere youth without experience in war or public affairs. He
3411
had been well brought up in obedience to parental wisdom and with
3412
his brother Ollicut had attended Missionary Spaulding's school
3413
where they had listened to the story of Christ and his religion of
3414
brotherhood. He now replied in his simple way that neither he nor
3415
his father had ever made any treaty disposing of their country,
3416
that no other band of the Nez Perces was authorized to speak for
3417
them, and it would seem a mighty injustice and unkindness to
3418
dispossess a friendly band.
3419
3420
General Howard told them in effect that they had no rights, no
3421
voice in the matter: they had only to obey. Although some of the
3422
lesser chiefs counseled revolt then and there, Joseph maintained
3423
his self-control, seeking to calm his people, and still groping for
3424
a peaceful settlement of their difficulties. He finally asked for
3425
thirty days' time in which to find and dispose of their stock, and
3426
this was granted.
3427
3428
Joseph steadfastly held his immediate followers to their
3429
promise, but the land-grabbers were impatient, and did everything
3430
in their power to bring about an immediate crisis so as to hasten
3431
the eviction of the Indians. Depredations were committed, and
3432
finally the Indians, or some of them, retaliated, which was just
3433
what their enemies had been looking for. There might be a score of
3434
white men murdered among themselves on the frontier and no outsider
3435
would ever hear about it, but if one were injured by an Indian --
3436
"Down with the bloodthirsty savages!" was the cry.
3437
3438
Joseph told me himself that during all of those thirty days a
3439
tremendous pressure was brought upon him by his own people to
3440
resist the government order. "The worst of it was," said he, "that
3441
everything they said was true; besides" -- he paused for a moment
3442
-- "it seemed very soon for me to forget my father's dying words,
3443
'Do not give up our home!'" Knowing as I do just what this would
3444
mean to an Indian, I felt for him deeply.
3445
3446
Among the opposition leaders were Too-hul-hul-sote, White
3447
Bird, and Looking Glass, all of them strong men and respected by
3448
the Indians; while on the other side were men built up by
3449
emissaries of the government for their own purposes and advertised
3450
as "great friendly chiefs." As a rule such men are unworthy, and
3451
this is so well known to the Indians that it makes them distrustful
3452
of the government's sincerity at the start. Moreover, while
3453
Indians unqualifiedly say what they mean, the whites have a hundred
3454
ways of saying what they do not mean.
3455
3456
The center of the storm was this simple young man, who so far
3457
as I can learn had never been upon the warpath, and he stood firm
3458
for peace and obedience. As for his father's sacred dying charge,
3459
he told himself that he would not sign any papers, he would not go
3460
of his free will but from compulsion, and this was his excuse.
3461
3462
However, the whites were unduly impatient to clear the coveted
3463
valley, and by their insolence they aggravated to the danger point
3464
an already strained situation. The murder of an Indian was the
3465
climax and this happened in the absence of the young chief. He
3466
returned to find the leaders determined to die fighting. The
3467
nature of the country was in their favor and at least they could
3468
give the army a chase, but how long they could hold out they did
3469
not know. Even Joseph's younger brother Ollicut was won over.
3470
There was nothing for him to do but fight; and then and there began
3471
the peaceful Joseph's career as a general of unsurpassed strategy
3472
in conducting one of the most masterly retreats in history.
3473
3474
This is not my judgment, but the unbiased opinion of men whose
3475
knowledge and experience fit them to render it. Bear in mind that
3476
these people were not scalp hunters like the Sioux, Cheyennes, and
3477
Utes, but peaceful hunters and fishermen. The first council of war
3478
was a strange business to Joseph. He had only this to say to his
3479
people:
3480
3481
"I have tried to save you from suffering and sorrow.
3482
Resistance means all of that. We are few. They are many. You can
3483
see all we have at a glance. They have food and ammunition in
3484
abundance. We must suffer great hardship and loss." After this
3485
speech, he quietly began his plans for the defense.
3486
3487
The main plan of campaign was to engineer a successful retreat
3488
into Montana and there form a junction with the hostile Sioux and
3489
Cheyennes under Sitting Bull. There was a relay scouting system,
3490
one set of scouts leaving the main body at evening and the second
3491
a little before daybreak, passing the first set on some commanding
3492
hill top. There were also decoy scouts set to trap Indian scouts
3493
of the army. I notice that General Howard charges his Crow scouts
3494
with being unfaithful.
3495
3496
Their greatest difficulty was in meeting an unencumbered army,
3497
while carrying their women, children, and old men, with supplies
3498
and such household effects as were absolutely necessary. Joseph
3499
formed an auxiliary corps that was to effect a retreat at each
3500
engagement, upon a definite plan and in definite order, while the
3501
unencumbered women were made into an ambulance corps to take care
3502
of the wounded.
3503
3504
It was decided that the main rear guard should meet General
3505
Howard's command in White Bird Canyon, and every detail was planned
3506
in advance, yet left flexible according to Indian custom, giving
3507
each leader freedom to act according to circumstances. Perhaps no
3508
better ambush was ever planned than the one Chief Joseph set for
3509
the shrewd and experienced General Howard. He expected to be hotly
3510
pursued, but he calculated that the pursuing force would consist of
3511
not more than two hundred and fifty soldiers. He prepared false
3512
trails to mislead them into thinking that he was about to cross or
3513
had crossed the Salmon River, which he had no thought of doing at
3514
that time. Some of the tents were pitched in plain sight, while
3515
the women and children were hidden on the inaccessible ridges, and
3516
the men concealed in the canyon ready to fire upon the soldiers
3517
with deadly effect with scarcely any danger to themselves. They
3518
could even roll rocks upon them.
3519
3520
In a very few minutes the troops had learned a lesson. The
3521
soldiers showed some fight, but a large body of frontiersmen who
3522
accompanied them were soon in disorder. The warriors chased them
3523
nearly ten miles, securing rifles and much ammunition, and killing
3524
and wounding many.
3525
3526
The Nez Perces next crossed the river, made a detour and
3527
recrossed it at another point, then took their way eastward. All
3528
this was by way of delaying pursuit. Joseph told me that he
3529
estimated it would take six or seven days to get a sufficient force
3530
in the field to take up their trail, and the correctness of his
3531
reasoning is apparent from the facts as detailed in General
3532
Howard's book. He tells us that he waited six days for the arrival
3533
of men from various forts in his department, then followed Joseph
3534
with six hundred soldiers, beside a large number of citizen
3535
volunteers and his Indian scouts. As it was evident they had a
3536
long chase over trackless wilderness in prospect, he discarded his
3537
supply wagons and took pack mules instead. But by this time the
3538
Indians had a good start.
3539
3540
Meanwhile General Howard had sent a dispatch to Colonel
3541
Gibbons, with orders to head Joseph off, which he undertook to do
3542
at the Montana end of the Lolo Trail. The wily commander had no
3543
knowledge of this move, but he was not to be surprised. He was too
3544
brainy for his pursuers, whom he constantly outwitted, and only
3545
gave battle when he was ready. There at the Big Hole Pass he met
3546
Colonel Gibbons' fresh troops and pressed them close. He sent a
3547
party under his brother Ollicut to harass Gibbons' rear and rout
3548
the pack mules, thus throwing him on the defensive and causing him
3549
to send for help, while Joseph continued his masterly retreat
3550
toward the Yellowstone Park, then a wilderness. However, this was
3551
but little advantage to him, since he must necessarily leave a
3552
broad trail, and the army was augmenting its columns day by day
3553
with celebrated scouts, both white and Indian. The two commands
3554
came together, and although General Howard says their horses were
3555
by this time worn out, and by inference the men as well, they
3556
persisted on the trail of a party encumbered by women and children,
3557
the old, sick, and wounded.
3558
3559
It was decided to send a detachment of cavalry under Bacon, to
3560
Tash Pass, the gateway of the National Park, which Joseph would
3561
have to pass, with orders to detain him there until the rest could
3562
come up with them. Here is what General Howard says of the affair.
3563
"Bacon got into position soon enough but he did not have the heart
3564
to fight the Indians on account of their number." Meanwhile
3565
another incident had occurred. Right under the eyes of the chosen
3566
scouts and vigilant sentinels, Joseph's warriors fired upon the
3567
army camp at night and ran off their mules. He went straight on
3568
toward the park, where Lieutenant Bacon let him get by and pass
3569
through the narrow gateway without firing a shot.
3570
3571
Here again it was demonstrated that General Howard could not
3572
depend upon the volunteers, many of whom had joined him in the
3573
chase, and were going to show the soldiers how to fight Indians.
3574
In this night attack at Camas Meadow, they were demoralized, and
3575
while crossing the river next day many lost their guns in the
3576
water, whereupon all packed up and went home, leaving the army to
3577
be guided by the Indian scouts.
3578
3579
However, this succession of defeats did not discourage General
3580
Howard, who kept on with as many of his men as were able to carry
3581
a gun, meanwhile sending dispatches to all the frontier posts with
3582
orders to intercept Joseph if possible. Sturgis tried to stop him
3583
as the Indians entered the Park, but they did not meet until he was
3584
about to come out, when there was another fight, with Joseph again
3585
victorious. General Howard came upon the battle field soon
3586
afterward and saw that the Indians were off again, and from here he
3587
sent fresh messages to General Miles, asking for reinforcements.
3588
3589
Joseph had now turned northeastward toward the Upper Missouri.
3590
He told me that when he got into that part of the country he knew
3591
he was very near the Canadian line and could not be far from
3592
Sitting Bull, with whom he desired to form an alliance. He also
3593
believed that he had cleared all the forts. Therefore he went more
3594
slowly and tried to give his people some rest. Some of their best
3595
men had been killed or wounded in battle, and the wounded were a
3596
great burden to him; nevertheless they were carried and tended
3597
patiently all during this wonderful flight. Not one was ever left
3598
behind.
3599
3600
It is the general belief that Indians are cruel and
3601
revengeful, and surely these people had reason to hate the race who
3602
had driven them from their homes if any people ever had. Yet it is
3603
a fact that when Joseph met visitors and travelers in the Park,
3604
some of whom were women, he allowed them to pass unharmed, and in
3605
at least one instance let them have horses. He told me that he
3606
gave strict orders to his men not to kill any women or children.
3607
He wished to meet his adversaries according to their own standards
3608
of warfare, but he afterward learned that in spite of professions
3609
of humanity, white soldiers have not seldom been known to kill
3610
women and children indiscriminately.
3611
3612
Another remarkable thing about this noted retreat is that
3613
Joseph's people stood behind him to a man, and even the women and
3614
little boys did each his part. The latter were used as scouts in
3615
the immediate vicinity of the camp.
3616
3617
The Bittersweet valley, which they had now entered, was full
3618
of game, and the Indians hunted for food, while resting their
3619
worn-out ponies. One morning they had a council to which Joseph
3620
rode over bareback, as they had camped in two divisions a little
3621
apart. His fifteen-year-old daughter went with him. They
3622
discussed sending runners to Sitting Bull to ascertain his exact
3623
whereabouts and whether it would be agreeable to him to join forces
3624
with the Nez Perces. In the midst of the council, a force of
3625
United States cavalry charged down the hill between the two camps.
3626
This once Joseph was surprised. He had seen no trace of the
3627
soldiers and had somewhat relaxed his vigilance.
3628
3629
He told his little daughter to stay where she was, and himself
3630
cut right through the cavalry and rode up to his own teepee, where
3631
his wife met him at the door with his rifle, crying: "Here is your
3632
gun, husband!" The warriors quickly gathered and pressed the
3633
soldiers so hard that they had to withdraw. Meanwhile one set of
3634
the people fled while Joseph's own band entrenched themselves in a
3635
very favorable position from which they could not easily be
3636
dislodged.
3637
3638
General Miles had received and acted on General Howard's
3639
message, and he now sent one of his officers with some Indian
3640
scouts into Joseph's camp to negotiate with the chief. Meantime
3641
Howard and Sturgis came up with the encampment, and Howard had with
3642
him two friendly Nez Perce scouts who were directed to talk to
3643
Joseph in his own language. He decided that there was nothing to
3644
do but surrender.
3645
3646
He had believed that his escape was all but secure: then at
3647
the last moment he was surprised and caught at a disadvantage. His
3648
army was shattered; he had lost most of the leaders in these
3649
various fights; his people, including children, women, and the
3650
wounded, had traveled thirteen hundred miles in about fifty days,
3651
and he himself a young man who had never before taken any important
3652
responsibility! Even now he was not actually conquered. He was
3653
well entrenched; his people were willing to die fighting; but the
3654
army of the United States offered peace and he agreed, as he said,
3655
out of pity for his suffering people. Some of his warriors still
3656
refused to surrender and slipped out of the camp at night and
3657
through the lines. Joseph had, as he told me, between three and
3658
four hundred fighting men in the beginning, which means over one
3659
thousand persons, and of these several hundred surrendered with
3660
him.
3661
3662
His own story of the conditions he made was prepared by
3663
himself with my help in 1897, when he came to Washington to present
3664
his grievances. I sat up with him nearly all of one night; and I
3665
may add here that we took the document to General Miles who was
3666
then stationed in Washington, before presenting it to the
3667
Department. The General said that every word of it was true.
3668
3669
In the first place, his people were to be kept at Fort Keogh,
3670
Montana, over the winter and then returned to their reservation.
3671
Instead they were taken to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and placed
3672
between a lagoon and the Missouri River, where the sanitary
3673
conditions made havoc with them. Those who did not die were then
3674
taken to the Indian Territory, where the health situation was even
3675
worse. Joseph appealed to the government again and again, and at
3676
last by the help of Bishops Whipple and Hare he was moved to the
3677
Colville reservation in Washington. Here the land was very poor,
3678
unlike their own fertile valley. General Miles said to the chief
3679
that he had recommended and urged that their agreement be kept, but
3680
the politicians and the people who occupied the Indians' land
3681
declared they were afraid if he returned he would break out again
3682
and murder innocent white settlers! What irony!
3683
3684
The great Chief Joseph died broken-spirited and
3685
broken-hearted. He did not hate the whites, for there was nothing
3686
small about him, and when he laid down his weapons he would not
3687
fight on with his mind. But he was profoundly disappointed in the
3688
claims of a Christian civilization. I call him great because he
3689
was simple and honest. Without education or special training he
3690
demonstrated his ability to lead and to fight when justice
3691
demanded. He outgeneraled the best and most experienced commanders
3692
in the army of the United States, although their troops were well
3693
provisioned, well armed, and above all unencumbered. He was great
3694
finally, because he never boasted of his remarkable feat. I am
3695
proud of him, because he was a true American.
3696
3697
3698
3699
3700
LITTLE WOLF
3701
3702
3703
If any people ever fought for liberty and justice, it was the
3704
Cheyennes. If any ever demonstrated their physical and moral
3705
courage beyond cavil, it was this race of purely American heroes,
3706
among whom Little Wolf was a leader.
3707
3708
I knew the chief personally very well. As a young doctor, I
3709
was sent to the Pine Ridge agency in 1890, as government physician
3710
to the Sioux and the Northern Cheyennes. While I heard from his
3711
own lips of that gallant dash of his people from their southern
3712
exile to their northern home, I prefer that Americans should read
3713
of it in Doctor George Bird Grinnell's book, "The Fighting
3714
Cheyennes." No account could be clearer or simpler; and then too,
3715
the author cannot be charged with a bias in favor of his own race.
3716
3717
At the time that I knew him, Little Wolf was a handsome man,
3718
with the native dignity and gentleness, musical voice, and pleasant
3719
address of so many brave leaders of his people. One day when he
3720
was dining with us at our home on the reservation, I asked him, as
3721
I had a habit of doing, for some reminiscences of his early life.
3722
He was rather reluctant to speak, but a friend who was present
3723
contributed the following:
3724
3725
"Perhaps I can tell you why it is that he has been a lucky man
3726
all his life. When quite a small boy, the tribe was one winter in
3727
want of food, and his good mother had saved a small piece of
3728
buffalo meat, which she solemnly brought forth and placed before
3729
him with the remark: 'My son must be patient, for when he grows up
3730
he will know even harder times than this.'
3731
3732
"He had eaten nothing all day and was pretty hungry, but
3733
before he could lay hands on the meat a starving dog snatched it
3734
and bolted from the teepee. The mother ran after the dog and
3735
brought him back for punishment. She tied him to a post and was
3736
about to whip him when the boy interfered. 'Don't hurt him,
3737
mother!' he cried; 'he took the meat because he was hungrier than
3738
I am!'"
3739
3740
I was told of another kind act of his under trying
3741
circumstances. While still a youth, he was caught out with a party
3742
of buffalo hunters in a blinding blizzard. They were compelled to
3743
lie down side by side in the snowdrifts, and it was a day and a
3744
night before they could get out. The weather turned very cold, and
3745
when the men arose they were in danger of freezing. Little Wolf
3746
pressed his fine buffalo robe upon an old man who was shaking with
3747
a chill and himself took the other's thin blanket.
3748
3749
As a full-grown young man, he was attracted by a maiden of his
3750
tribe, and according to the custom then in vogue the pair
3751
disappeared. When they returned to the camp as man and wife,
3752
behold! there was great excitement over the affair. It seemed that
3753
a certain chief had given many presents and paid unmistakable court
3754
to the maid with the intention of marrying her, and her parents had
3755
accepted the presents, which meant consent so far as they were
3756
concerned. But the girl herself had not given consent.
3757
3758
The resentment of the disappointed suitor was great. It was
3759
reported in the village that he had openly declared that the young
3760
man who defied and insulted him must expect to be punished. As
3761
soon as Little Wolf heard of the threats, he told his father and
3762
friends that he had done only what it is every man's privilege to
3763
do.
3764
3765
"Tell the chief," said he, "to come out with any weapon he
3766
pleases, and I will meet him within the circle of lodges. He shall
3767
either do this or eat his words. The woman is not his. Her people
3768
accepted his gifts against her wishes. Her heart is mine."
3769
3770
The chief apologized, and thus avoided the inevitable duel,
3771
which would have been a fight to the death.
3772
3773
The early life of Little Wolf offered many examples of the
3774
dashing bravery characteristic of the Cheyennes, and inspired the
3775
younger men to win laurels for themselves. He was still a young
3776
man, perhaps thirty-five, when the most trying crisis in the
3777
history of his people came upon them. As I know and as Doctor
3778
Grinnell's book amply corroborates, he was the general who largely
3779
guided and defended them in that tragic flight from the Indian
3780
Territory to their northern home. I will not discuss the justice
3781
of their cause: I prefer to quote Doctor Grinnell, lest it appear
3782
that I am in any way exaggerating the facts.
3783
3784
"They had come," he writes, "from the high, dry country of
3785
Montana and North Dakota to the hot and humid Indian Territory.
3786
They had come from a country where buffalo and other game were
3787
still plentiful to a land where the game had been exterminated.
3788
Immediately on their arrival they were attacked by fever and ague,
3789
a disease wholly new to them. Food was scanty, and they began to
3790
starve. The agent testified before a committee of the Senate that
3791
he never received supplies to subsist the Indians for more than
3792
nine months in each year. These people were meat-eaters, but the
3793
beef furnished them by the government inspectors was no more than
3794
skin and bone. The agent in describing their sufferings said:
3795
'They have lived and that is about all.'
3796
3797
"The Indians endured this for about a year, and then their
3798
patience gave out. They left the agency to which they had been
3799
sent and started north. Though troops were camped close to them,
3800
they attempted no concealment of their purpose. Instead, they
3801
openly announced that they intended to return to their own country.
3802
3803
We have heard much in past years of the march of the Nez
3804
Perces under Chief Joseph, but little is remembered of the Dull
3805
Knife outbreak and the march to the north led by Little Wolf. The
3806
story of the journey has not been told, but in the traditions of
3807
the old army this campaign was notable, and old men who were
3808
stationed on the plains forty years ago are apt to tell you, if you
3809
ask them, that there never was such another journey since the
3810
Greeks marched to the sea. . . .
3811
3812
"The fugitives pressed constantly northward undaunted, while
3813
orders were flying over the wires, and special trains were carrying
3814
men and horses to cut them off at all probable points on the
3815
different railway lines they must cross. Of the three hundred
3816
Indians, sixty or seventy were fighting men -- the rest old men,
3817
women, and children. An army officer once told me that thirteen
3818
thousand troops were hurrying over the country to capture or kill
3819
these few poor people who had left the fever-stricken South, and in
3820
the face of every obstacle were steadily marching northward.
3821
3822
"The War Department set all its resources in operation against
3823
them, yet they kept on. If troops attacked them, they stopped and
3824
fought until they had driven off the soldiers, and then started
3825
north again. Sometimes they did not even stop, but marched along,
3826
fighting as they marched. For the most part they tried -- and with
3827
success -- to avoid conflicts, and had but four real hard fights,
3828
in which they lost half a dozen men killed and about as many
3829
wounded."
3830
3831
It must not be overlooked that the appeal to justice had first
3832
been tried before taking this desperate step. Little Wolf had gone
3833
to the agent about the middle of the summer and said to him: "This
3834
is not a good country for us, and we wish to return to our home in
3835
the mountains where we were always well. If you have not the power
3836
to give permission, let some of us go to Washington and tell them
3837
there how it is, or do you write to Washington and get permission
3838
for us to go back."
3839
3840
"Stay one more year," replied the agent, "and then we will see
3841
what we can do for you. "No," said Little Wolf. "Before another
3842
year there will be none left to travel north. We must go now."
3843
3844
Soon after this it was found that three of the Indians had
3845
disappeared and the chief was ordered to surrender ten men as
3846
hostages for their return. He refused. "Three men," said he, "who
3847
are traveling over wild country can hide so that they cannot be
3848
found. You would never get back these three, and you would keep my
3849
men prisoners always."
3850
3851
The agent then threatened if the ten men were not given up to
3852
withhold their rations and starve the entire tribe into submission.
3853
He forgot that he was addressing a Cheyenne. These people had not
3854
understood that they were prisoners when they agreed to friendly
3855
relations with the government and came upon the reservation.
3856
Little Wolf stood up and shook hands with all present before making
3857
his final deliberate address.
3858
3859
"Listen, my friends, I am a friend of the white people and
3860
have been so for a long time. I do not want to see blood spilt
3861
about this agency. I am going north to my own country. If you are
3862
going to send your soldiers after me, I wish you would let us get
3863
a little distance away. Then if you want to fight, I will fight
3864
you, and we can make the ground bloody at that place."
3865
3866
The Cheyenne was not bluffing. He said just what he meant,
3867
and I presume the agent took the hint, for although the military
3868
were there they did not undertake to prevent the Indians'
3869
departure. Next morning the teepees were pulled down early and
3870
quickly. Toward evening of the second day, the scouts signaled the
3871
approach of troops. Little Wolf called his men together and
3872
advised them under no circumstances to fire until fired upon. An
3873
Arapahoe scout was sent to them with a message. "If you surrender
3874
now, you will get your rations and be well treated." After what
3875
they had endured, it was impossible not to hear such a promise with
3876
contempt. Said Little Wolf: "We are going back to our own country.
3877
We do not want to fight." He was riding still nearer when the
3878
soldiers fired, and at a signal the Cheyennes made a charge. They
3879
succeeded in holding off the troops for two days, with only five
3880
men wounded and none killed, and when the military retreated the
3881
Indians continued northward carrying their wounded.
3882
3883
This sort of thing was repeated again and again. Meanwhile
3884
Little Wolf held his men under perfect control. There were
3885
practically no depredations. They secured some boxes of ammunition
3886
left behind by retreating troops, and at one point the young men
3887
were eager to follow and destroy an entire command who were
3888
apparently at their mercy, but their leader withheld them. They
3889
had now reached the buffalo country, and he always kept his main
3890
object in sight. He was extraordinarily calm. Doctor Grinnell was
3891
told by one of his men years afterward: "Little Wolf did not seem
3892
like a human being. He seemed like a bear." It is true that a man
3893
of his type in a crisis becomes spiritually transformed and moves
3894
as one in a dream.
3895
3896
At the Running Water the band divided, Dull Knife going toward
3897
Red Cloud agency. He was near Fort Robinson when he surrendered
3898
and met his sad fate. Little Wolf remained all winter in the Sand
3899
Hills, where there was plenty of game and no white men. Later he
3900
went to Montana and then to Pine Ridge, where he and his people
3901
remained in peace until they were removed to Lame Deer, Montana,
3902
and there he spent the remainder of his days. There is a clear sky
3903
beyond the clouds of racial prejudice, and in that final Court of
3904
Honor a noble soul like that of Little Wolf has a place.
3905
3906
3907
3908
HOLE-IN-THE-DAY
3909
3910
[I wish to thank Reverend C. H. Beaulieu of Le Soeur,
3911
Minnesota, for much of the material used in this chapter.]
3912
3913
In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Indian nations of
3914
the Northwest first experienced the pressure of civilization. At
3915
this period there were among them some brilliant leaders unknown to
3916
history, for the curious reason that they cordially received and
3917
welcomed the newcomers rather than opposed them. The only
3918
difficulties were those arising among the European nations
3919
themselves, and often involving the native tribes. Thus new
3920
environments brought new motives, and our temptations were
3921
increased manyfold with the new weapons, new goods, and above all
3922
the subtly destructive "spirit water."
3923
3924
Gradually it became known that the new race had a definite
3925
purpose, and that purpose was to chart and possess the whole
3926
country, regardless of the rights of its earlier inhabitants. Still
3927
the old chiefs cautioned their people to be patient, for, said
3928
they, the land is vast, both races can live on it, each in their
3929
own way. Let us therefore befriend them and trust to their
3930
friendship. While they reasoned thus, the temptations of graft and
3931
self-aggrandizement overtook some of the leaders.
3932
3933
Hole-in-the-Day (or Bug-o-nay-ki-shig) was born in the opening
3934
days of this era. The word "ki-shig" means either "day" or "sky",
3935
and the name is perhaps more correctly translated Hole-in-the-Sky.
3936
This gifted man inherited his name and much of his ability from his
3937
father, who was a war chief among the Ojibways, a Napoleon of the
3938
common people, and who carried on a relentless warfare against the
3939
Sioux. And yet, as was our custom at the time, peaceful meetings
3940
were held every summer, at which representatives of the two tribes
3941
would recount to one another all the events that had come to pass
3942
during the preceding year.
3943
3944
Hole-in-the-Day the younger was a handsome man, tall and
3945
symmetrically formed, with much grace of manner and natural
3946
refinement. He was an astute student of diplomacy. The Ojibways
3947
allowed polygamy, and whether or not he approved the principle, he
3948
made political use of it by marrying the daughter of a chief in
3949
nearly every band. Through these alliances he held a controlling
3950
influence over the whole Ojibway nation. Reverend Claude H.
3951
Beaulieu says of him:
3952
3953
"Hole-in-the-Day was a man of distinguished appearance and
3954
native courtliness of manner. His voice was musical and magnetic,
3955
and with these qualities he had a subtle brain, a logical mind, and
3956
quite a remarkable gift of oratory. In speech he was not
3957
impassioned, but clear and convincing, and held fast the attention
3958
of his hearers."
3959
3960
It is of interest to note that his everyday name among his
3961
tribesmen was "The Boy." What a boy he must have been! I wonder
3962
if the name had the same significance as with the Sioux, who
3963
applied it to any man who performs a difficult duty with alertness,
3964
dash, and natural courage. "The Man" applies to one who adds to
3965
these qualities wisdom and maturity of judgment.
3966
3967
The Sioux tell many stories of both the elder and the younger
3968
Hole-in-the-Day. Once when The Boy was still under ten years of
3969
age, he was fishing on Gull Lake in a leaky birch-bark canoe.
3970
Presently there came such a burst of frantic warwhoops that his
3971
father was startled. He could not think of anything but an attack
3972
by the dreaded Sioux. Seizing his weapons, he ran to the rescue of
3973
his son, only to find that the little fellow had caught a fish so
3974
large that it was pulling his canoe all over the lake. "Ugh,"
3975
exclaimed the father, "if a mere fish scares you so badly, I fear
3976
you will never make a warrior!
3977
3978
It is told of him that when he was very small, the father once
3979
brought home two bear cubs and gave them to him for pets. The Boy
3980
was feeding and getting acquainted with them outside his mother's
3981
birch-bark teepee, when suddenly he was heard to yell for help.
3982
The two little bears had treed The Boy and were waltzing around the
3983
tree. His mother scared them off, but again the father laughed at
3984
him for thinking that he could climb trees better than a bear.
3985
3986
The elder Hole-in-the-Day was a daring warrior and once
3987
attacked and scalped a Sioux who was carrying his pelts to the
3988
trading post, in full sight of his friends. Of course he was
3989
instantly pursued, and he leaped into a canoe which was lying near
3990
by and crossed to an island in the Mississippi River near Fort
3991
Snelling. When almost surrounded by Sioux warriors, he left the
3992
canoe and swam along the shore with only his nose above water, but
3993
as they were about to head him off he landed and hid behind the
3994
falling sheet of water known as Minnehaha Falls, thus saving his
3995
life.
3996
3997
It often happens that one who offers his life freely will
3998
after all die a natural death. The elder Hole-in-the-Day so died
3999
when The Boy was still a youth. Like Philip of Massachusetts,
4000
Chief Joseph the younger, and the brilliant Osceola, the mantle
4001
fell gracefully upon his shoulders, and he wore it during a short
4002
but eventful term of chieftainship. It was his to see the end of
4003
the original democracy on this continent. The clouds were fast
4004
thickening on the eastern horizon. The day of individualism and
4005
equity between man and man must yield to the terrific forces of
4006
civilization, the mass play of materialism, the cupidity of
4007
commerce with its twin brother politics. Under such conditions the
4008
younger Hole-in-the-Day undertook to guide his tribesmen. At first
4009
they were inclined to doubt the wisdom of so young a leader, but he
4010
soon proved a ready student of his people's traditions, and yet,
4011
like Spotted Tail and Little Crow, he adopted too willingly the
4012
white man's politics. He maintained the territory won from the
4013
Sioux by his predecessors. He negotiated treaties with the ability
4014
of a born diplomat, with one exception, and that exception cost him
4015
his life.
4016
4017
Like other able Indians who foresaw the inevitable downfall of
4018
their race, he favored a gradual change of customs leading to
4019
complete adoption of the white man's ways. In order to accustom
4020
the people to a new standard, he held that the chiefs must have
4021
authority and must be given compensation for their services. This
4022
was a serious departure from the old rule but was tacitly accepted,
4023
and in every treaty he made there was provision for himself in the
4024
way of a land grant or a cash payment. He early departed from the
4025
old idea of joint ownership with the Lake Superior Ojibways,
4026
because he foresaw that it would cause no end of trouble for the
4027
Mississippi River branch of which he was then the recognized head.
4028
But there were difficulties to come with the Leech Lake and Red
4029
Lake bands, who held aloof from his policy, and the question of
4030
boundaries began to arise.
4031
4032
In the first treaty negotiated with the government by young
4033
Hole-in-the-Day in 1855, a "surplus" was provided for the chiefs
4034
aside from the regular per capita payment, and this surplus was to
4035
be distributed in proportion to the number of Indians under each.
4036
Hole-in-the-Day had by far the largest enrollment, therefore he got
4037
the lion's share of this fund. Furthermore he received another sum
4038
set apart for the use of the "head chief", and these things did not
4039
look right to the tribe. In the very next treaty he provided
4040
himself with an annuity of one thousand dollars for twenty years,
4041
beside a section of land near the village of Crow Wing, and the
4042
government was induced to build him a good house upon this land.
4043
In his home he had many white servants and henchmen and really
4044
lived like a lord. He dressed well in native style with a touch
4045
of civilized elegance, wearing coat and leggings of fine
4046
broadcloth, linen shirt with collar, and, topping all, a handsome
4047
black or blue blanket. His moccasins were of the finest deerskin
4048
and beautifully worked. His long beautiful hair added much to his
4049
personal appearance. He was fond of entertaining and being
4050
entertained and was a favorite both among army officers and
4051
civilians. He was especially popular with the ladies, and this
4052
fact will appear later in the story.
4053
4054
At about this time, the United States government took it upon
4055
itself to put an end to warfare between the Sioux and Ojibways. A
4056
peace meeting was arranged at Fort Snelling, with the United States
4057
as mediator. When the representatives of the two nations met at
4058
this grand council, Hole-in-the-Day came as the head chief of his
4059
people, and with the other chiefs appeared in considerable pomp and
4060
dignity. The wives of the government officials were eager for
4061
admission to this unusual gathering, but when they arrived there
4062
was hardly any space left except next to the Sioux chiefs, and the
4063
white ladies soon crowded this space to overflowing. One of the
4064
Sioux remarked: "I thought this was to be a council of chiefs and
4065
braves, but I see many women among us." Thereupon the Ojibway
4066
arose and spoke in his courtliest manner. "The Ojibway chiefs will
4067
feel highly honored," said he, "if the ladies will consent to sit
4068
on our side."
4069
4070
Another sign of his alertness to gain favor among the whites
4071
was seen in the fact that he took part in the territorial
4072
campaigns, a most unusual thing for an Indian of that day. Being
4073
a man of means and influence, he was listened to with respect by
4074
the scattered white settlers in his vicinity. He would make a
4075
political speech through an interpreter, but would occasionally
4076
break loose in his broken English, and wind up with an invitation
4077
to drink in the following words: "Chentimen, you Pemicans
4078
(Republicans), come out and drink!"
4079
4080
From 1855 to 1864 Hole-in-the-Day was a well-known figure in
4081
Minnesota, and scarcely less so in Washington, for he visited the
4082
capital quite often on tribal affairs. As I have said before, he
4083
was an unusually handsome man, and was not unresponsive to flattery
4084
and the attentions of women. At the time of this incident he was
4085
perhaps thirty-five years old, but looked younger. He had called
4086
upon the President and was on his way back to his hotel, when he
4087
happened to pass the Treasury building just as the clerks were
4088
leaving for the day. He was immediately surrounded by an
4089
inquisitive throng. Among them was a handsome young woman who
4090
asked through the interpreter if the chief would consent to an
4091
interview about his people, to aid her in a paper she had promised
4092
to prepare.
4093
4094
Hole-in-the-Day replied: "If the beautiful lady is willing to
4095
risk calling on the chief at his hotel, her request will be
4096
granted." The lady went, and the result was so sudden and strong
4097
an attachment that both forgot all racial biases and differences of
4098
language and custom. She followed him as far as Minneapolis, and
4099
there the chief advised her to remain, for he feared the jealousy
4100
of some of his many wives. She died there, soon after giving birth
4101
to a son, who was brought up by a family named Woodbury; and some
4102
fifteen years ago I met the young man in Washington and was taken
4103
by him to call upon certain of his mother's relatives.
4104
4105
The ascendancy of Hole-in-the-Day was not gained entirely
4106
through the consent of his people, but largely by government favor,
4107
therefore there was strong suppressed resentment among his
4108
associate chiefs, and the Red Lake and Leech Lake bands in fact
4109
never acknowledged him as their head, while they suspected him of
4110
making treaties which involved some of their land. He was in
4111
personal danger from this source, and his life was twice attempted,
4112
but, though wounded, in each case he recovered. His popularity
4113
with Indian agents and officers lasted till the Republicans came
4114
into power in the sixties and there was a new deal. The chief no
4115
longer received the favors and tips to which he was accustomed; in
4116
fact he was in want of luxuries, and worse still, his pride was
4117
hurt by neglect. The new party had promised Christian treatment to
4118
the Indians, but it appeared that they were greater grafters than
4119
their predecessors, and unlike them kept everything for themselves,
4120
allowing no perquisites to any Indian chief.
4121
4122
In his indignation at this treatment, Hole-in-the-Day began
4123
exposing the frauds on his people, and so at a late day was
4124
converted to their defense. Perhaps he had not fully understood
4125
the nature of graft until he was in a position to view it from the
4126
outside. After all, he was excusable in seeking to maintain the
4127
dignity of his office, but he had departed from one of the
4128
fundamental rules of the race, namely: "Let no material gain be the
4129
motive or reward of public duty." He had wounded the ideals of his
4130
people beyond forgiveness, and he suffered the penalty; yet his
4131
courage was not diminished by the mistakes of his past. Like the
4132
Sioux chief Little Crow, he was called "the betrayer of his
4133
people", and like him he made a desperate effort to regain lost
4134
prestige, and turned savagely against the original betrayers of his
4135
confidence, the agents and Indian traders.
4136
4137
When the Sioux finally broke out in 1862, the first thought of
4138
the local politicians was to humiliate Hole-in-the-Day by arresting
4139
him and proclaiming some other "head chief" in his stead. In so
4140
doing they almost forced the Ojibways to fight under his
4141
leadership. The chief had no thought of alliance with the Sioux,
4142
and was wholly unaware of the proposed action of the military on
4143
pretense of such a conspiracy on his part. He was on his way to
4144
the agency in his own carriage when a runner warned him of his
4145
danger. He thereupon jumped down and instructed the driver to
4146
proceed. His coachman was arrested by a file of soldiers, who when
4147
they discovered their mistake went to his residence in search of
4148
him, but meanwhile he had sent runners in every direction to notify
4149
his warriors, and had moved his family across the Mississippi.
4150
When the military reached the river bank he was still in sight, and
4151
the lieutenant called upon him to surrender. When he refused, the
4152
soldiers were ordered to fire upon him, but he replied with his own
4153
rifle, and with a whoop disappeared among the pine groves.
4154
4155
It was remarkable how the whole tribe now rallied to the call
4156
of Hole-in-the-Day. He allowed no depredations to the young men
4157
under his leadership, but camped openly near the agency and awaited
4158
an explanation. Presently Judge Cooper of St. Paul, a personal
4159
friend of the chief, appeared, and later on the Assistant Secretary
4160
of the Interior, accompanied by Mr. Nicolay, private secretary of
4161
President Lincoln. Apparently that great humanitarian President
4162
saw the whole injustice of the proceeding against a loyal nation,
4163
and the difficulty was at an end.
4164
4165
Through the treaties of 1864, 1867, and 1868 was accomplished
4166
the final destiny of the Mississippi River Ojibways.
4167
Hole-in-the-Day was against their removal to what is now White
4168
Earth reservation, but he was defeated in this and realized that
4169
the new turn of events meant the downfall of his race. He declared
4170
that he would never go on the new reservation, and he kept his
4171
word. He remained on one of his land grants near Crow Wing. As
4172
the other chiefs assumed more power, the old feeling of suspicion
4173
and hatred became stronger, especially among the Pillager and Red
4174
Lake bands. One day he was waylaid and shot by a party of these
4175
disaffected Indians. He uttered a whoop and fell dead from his
4176
buggy.
4177
4178
Thus died one of the most brilliant chiefs of the Northwest,
4179
who never defended his birthright by force of arms, although almost
4180
compelled to do so. He succeeded in diplomacy so long as he was
4181
the recognized head of his people. Since we have not passed over
4182
his weaknesses, he should be given credit for much insight in
4183
causing the article prohibiting the introduction of liquor into the
4184
Indian country to be inserted into the treaty of 1858. I think it
4185
was in 1910 that this forgotten provision was discovered and again
4186
enforced over a large expanse of territory occupied by whites, it
4187
being found that the provision had never been repealed.
4188
4189
Although he left many children, none seem to have made their
4190
mark, yet it may be that in one of his descendants that undaunted
4191
spirit will rise again.
4192
4193
4194
End of Project Gutenberg Etext of Indian Heroes & Great Chieftains
4195
4196
4197