Chief Red Cloud


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Sioux Chief Red Cloud

Chief Red Cloud

Red Cloud was born around 1822, and died on December 10, 1909. He was the celebrated Chief of the Oglala Sioux Indian Tribe. One of the fiercest enemies the U.S. Army ever fought, he led the successful Indian Campaign known as Red Cloud's War between 1866 and 1868. He fought the army for control of parts of Montana and Wyoming.

He was born close to the present city of North Platte, Nebraska. He was the son of an Oglala mother and Brule Father. Red Cloud's Uncle, Chief Smoke, helped raise him.  As a young man, he warred against both the Pawnee and Sioux, and became a skilled warrior.

He started Red Cloud's war in 1866, which was the most successful war an Indian nation ever waged against the US Army. The military was building forts along the Bozeman Trail straight through the Lakota Territory of Wyoming and Montana. As miners and pioneers started encroaching on Lakota Land, Red Cloud feared the demise of the Indian way of life there.

Red Cloud's military success forced the United States to make treaties.  The US abandoned its forts on the Bozeman Trail, and gave the Lakota possession of much of South Dakota.  In particular, the Lakotas were given the Black Hills of Montana and Wyoming.

Peace was short-lived. In 1874, General Custer attacked Red Cloud. Red Cloud did not take part in the Lakota war of 187677 with Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and other war leaders.

Red Cloud continued to fight for the freedom of his people. At Pine Ridge, he fought corrupt Indian agents who stole from the natives.



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