Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Native American Biographies: At Little Big Horn

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull are well known for their exploits at Little Big Horn.  They were the leaders of the Native American Forces.  Different sources have different stories of Sitting Bull's participation.  He had been involved in a Sun Dance, and was weakened.  As a result of the dance, he saw the Federals coming and new the Native people would have a great victory.  However because he was weaker, some sources feel he was not involved directly.  However this is likely not true.  However many more Native Americans were involved, some fighting for General George Armstrong Custer, and others as part of the Cheyenne-Sioux alliance that opposed him.  Shoshone and Creek warriors served as scouts for Custer.
Bloody Knife: Although a Hunkpapa Sioux, Bloody Knife fought with Custer and met his death in this battle.  Bloody knife was actually considered to be of mixed blood (his mother was Arikara) and was taunted by his peers.  Consequently he grew up with his mother's tribe and a hatred of the Sioux.  At one point serving as a scout, he brought the federals to Gall's camp.  Gall was wounded, but Bloody Knife was not allowed to finish him.
At Little Big Horn, Bloody Knife was worried about the numbers of enemy and advised against attack.  However he was in the advance group, and was killed by a one of Gall's warriors.  The Sioux displayed his head in victory.
Rain in the Face, also Hunkpapa Sioux, was fighting with Sitting Bull.  His names comes from an incident when blood streaked with war paint and smeared and streaked on his face.  He had been arrested for the murder of a white surgeon.  However he was allowed to escape and was at Little Big Horn.  He is credited with killing General Custer.  After the battle he fled to Canada with Sitting Bull, and later came back to reservation life.
White Man Runs Him was Crow.  He was Custer's chief scout.  He and other scouts with him observed and reported the location of a large Indian camp and the stage was set for Custer's attack.  His actual participation during the battle is not clear, but after passing away he was reburied in the Little Bighorn Battlefield Cemetery.
Kicking Bear, Hump and Short Bull were all at Little Big Horn.  Little Bear was especially prominent in repulsing the initial attack by Major Marcus Reno.  He along with Bad Heart Bull (father of the historian Amos Bad Heart Bull) helped turn back the initial assault of Major Marcus Reno.  After, Reno's men were in retreat with Indian Warriors chasing them, taking coup and killing them.
Gall was credited with being the architect of the native American war strategy at Little Big Horn.  He was a contemporary and ally of Sitting Bull.  They grew up together, although Gall was a few years younger.  He had been wounded badly when tracked to his camp.  A bayonet went through him, but he was too stubborn to die.  His greatest exploits were at Little Big Horn.  He helped repulse the initial attack from Reno, but also suspected a two pronged attack, and searched for the other attack and in finding it reported to the camp, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, so defenses were ready for Custer's move.  He and his men were able to put blistering flanking fire into the Federal Calvary.  After Little Big Horn, Gall and his people went north to Canada with Sitting Bull.  However he returned before Sitting Bull because of the lack of food.  He was determined to live the reservation life, and lived as a farmer.  He became friendly with Indian Agent McLaughlin and in this parted with Sitting Bull.  He represented his people in Washington on several occasions.  He was also appointed an Indian judge on the Sand Hill Reservation.  John Grass fought with Gall.
Curly was another of Custer's scouts.  He was Crow.  He was recruited to scout for Custer in the Yellowstone expedition when he was 17.  His escape from death caused controversy.  He says he stayed with the battle until all seemed hopeless.  He then tied his hair back like a Sioux, wrapped himself in a Sioux blanket, and left the battle field undetected.  He reported the results to a supply boat on the Yellowstone River.  Other scouts tell a different story, saying they were held back, and watched the battle from a distance.  When he died in 1923 he was buried at the National Cemetery on the Custer Battlefield.

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