DECEMBER 10, 1909


Born near present-day North Platte, Nebraska, raised by his maternal uncle, Ogalala Chief Smoke, Red Cloud gained notoriety in wars against the Pawnees, Crows, Utes & Shoshones.  Starting in 1866, the U.S. Army built forts on the Bozeman Trail running through Lakota territory.  Red Cloud led attacks, including wiping out Lt. Col. William Fetterman’s column, that ended in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty in which the U.S. abandoned those forts.  However, guarantees of Lakota possession of land in Montana, WY, and South Dakota, including the Black Hills, were broken in 1874.  While Red Cloud did not join in the Lakota War of 1876-77, he obtained the removal of a corrupt Pine Ridge Indian Agent.  Fearing Army presence on his reservation, he did not endorse the Ghost Dance movement.  Red Cloud fought to preserve the authority of chiefs, and against both leasing Lakota lands to whites and allotment of reservation land under the 1887 Dawes Act.  He died in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

Source:  “Red Cloud: Makhpiya-Luta (1822-1909),” New Perspectives on THE WEST.  Retrieved 9/7/2020,
Photo:  Charles Milton Bell (1848-1893), 1880. Public Domain.

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