There are many famous Native Americans.
They were famous for their wisdom, bravery, intelligence and leadership.
Many of them tried to resist the attack of white men.
Most of them failed. But, their efforts were important for saving the Native American culture
and making people take a look at Native Americans in positive way.
Here are some of them:
Black Elk was an Oglala Sioux. He was a tribe holy man. He fought in the famous Battle of the Little Big Horn with Crazy Horse.holy man and distant cousin of Crazy Horse. After his cousin Crazy Horse, who was a great Sioux leader, died Black Elk and his family ended up on Indian reservation in South Dakota. Few years later, Black Elk became a part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. He traveled all over America and Europe and saw many things. He had many healing powers, new about herbs and medicine and had many visions that actually came true. He wrote memoirs which is a book of his memories. He lived in 10th century and was one of the very few Sioux who knew a lot about traditions, customs, and religion. He helped publish his second book which was called "The Sacred Pipe". It was very important book because it made old traditions live forever.
History of native Americans is all about broken promises by white men. They were made sign treaties they did not understand, their land was stolen, and they were sent away from their land. In 1831 Black Hawk who was a leader of Saux tribe brought them to their village called Saukenuk. They wanted to plant crops. But when he came there white people were living in Indian homes. They put fences around Indian cornfields and said they belonged to them. Some fences even touched the graves of Indians. Black Hawk decided to change that. he took 300 warriors and refused to move. By the end of summer he had 600 warriors. American government sent troops. When they came Black Hawk tried to talk to them and make piece. But they started shooting at them. This started a war. Black Hawk kept fighting and government kept sending more and more soldiers. Black Hawk was chased north, and children and women starved. They tried to make piece again. Black Hawk even raised white flag. No one listened and soldiers fired and Indians. Finally soldiers ran through the Indians killing everyone in their path. Very few Indians survived and they ran away to another tribe.
Chief Joseph - Nez Perce
Chief Joseph was born in 1840 and he was Nez Perce. He had a Christian name and also Indian name which was Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt. That means "thunder coming down the mountain." Nez Perce were friendly to white people. Chief Joseph went to school in Christian mission. The problem was that the land on which the tribe lived was one of the best mining land. So the government broke the treaty with Nez Perce and took away most of their land. Chief Joseph refused to give up the land. He kept resisting. At one point it looked like he was going to get his land and government ordered white people to stay away from Nez Perce land. That did not last long. Nez Perce were chased away and sent to reservations in Kansas and Oklahoma. Many of them died of diseases like malaria or starved to death there. Chief Joseph was educated and great speaker. He fought for equal rights for his people.
Cochise - Apache
Cochise was a leader of Apace tribe called Chiricahua. Government tried to get his tribe into reservation, but Coichise would not let them. The area where they lived is still today called the Cochise Stronghold. Apaches were great warriors and would not let US government send them to reservations. They wanted to live free on their own land. But, few pioneers on the farms did not like Indians around and were always attacking them. Apache would do revenge. And it went on and on. But Cochise knew there were too many whites coming. To protect his land he mad an agreement with Butterfield Stage Line not to attack them. That agreement was short lived. because in 1860 group of Indians attacked a stage coach and kidnapped a little girl. It wasn't Cochise who attacked but Army did not believe it, so they tried to arrest him. He escaped. Cochise was angry with what happened and started attacking up and down for almost 10 years. Cochise surrendered in 1872. New reservation was found for his tribe.
Crazy Horse was brave and skilled warrior. He was the leader of Lakota. At 13 he stole horses from the Crow and led his first war party before the age of 20. Early on he decided he would fight to protect the Lakota way of life and encroachment of white armies and settlers, fighting against the new arrivals in Wyoming with Red Cloud in the 1865-68 war, playing a key role in destroying William J. Fetterman's brigade at Fort Phil Kearny in 1867. That victory did not stop the influx, however, and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 opened the door of Lakota land to all that Crazy Horse fought to prevent. Undaunted, Crazy Horse led an attack on a surveying party sent into the Black Hills by General George Armstrong Custer in 1873.
When the U.S. War Department ordered all Lakota bands onto reservations in 1876, Crazy Horse took it upon himself to lead the resistance.A Crazy Horse had taken a Cheyenne woman as his first wife, which allowed a close alliance between the Lakota and Cheyenne. Crazy Horse called upon his Cheyenne relatives to join forces with his Oglala warriors in an attempt to keep General George Crook from following the Rosebud Creek to Sitting Bull's camp on the Little Big Horn River. Crazy Horse and his band of 1,200 warriors turned Crook and his men back on June 17, 1876. This victory paved the way for hope. A week later Crazy Horse joined forces with Sitting Bull and Hunkpapa Lakota leader Gall in an attack that destroyed Custer's Seventh Cavalry.
Despite the Indian victory at the Little Bighorn, things changed. Though all three leaders chose not to submit to government orders to report to the reservation, Sitting Bull and Gall decided to lead their people to Canada. Crazy Horse chose to remain in the sacred lands of the Lakota. General Nelson Miles pursued Crazy Horse, the Lakota and their allies relentlessly throughout the winter of 1876-77, bringing Crazy Horse into battle several times. Eventually, the intense focus of the military on his position and intent, coupled with the decline of the buffalo population, led Crazy Horse to surrender on May 6, 1877.
Geronimo's "white name" came as a result of his fearless and resourceful as a warrior. While leading a charge against Mexicans they began to shout "Geronimo!" seeking help from their patron saint, Jerome, or Geronimo in Spanish. Emerging conqueror over the Mexicans, the warriors bestowed the name of Geronimo on their fearless leader. To this day the name remains a battle cry.
The army tried to place all the Chiricahua on reservation in 1876, but Geronimo fled to Mexico and escaped capture for a decade. While the press is accused of "making news" these days, so it was then. The press had Geronimo everywhere and doing everything, often at the same time. The media image of Geronimo made him the most high-profile and feared of all the Apache. It wasn't all myth however. His name was associated with terror in the Southwest and ultimately it took more than 5,000 soldiers and 500 scouts to track down Geronimo and his followers.
He finally surrendered after hearing his people were being sent East. He was the very last renegade Indian to surrender to white authority. Geronimo was sent to a reservation in Florida for two years, where many died of malaria or tuberculosis. Geronimo longed to return to his beloved Arizona, but that was not to be so. He was to make another stop in Alabama before finally being placed on a reservation in Oklahoma, which at least bore a climate more similar to that of the Southwest. It was here, at Fort Sill, that he spent the last 14 years of his life.
In his old age, Geronimo learned a little English and how to write his name. He became very enterprising in his ability to market himself and his legacy, selling buttons from his coat for a quarter apiece, his hat for five dollars or bows and arrows that he made. For 50 cents, he would sign his name. If asked he would show off his battle wounds with pride. He also made personal appearances at places like Oklahoma fairs, the Exposition in Omaha in 1898, the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901, the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 and Teddy Roosevelt's inaugural parade in 1905.
Sitting Bull was born in present day South Dakota around 1831. His Indian name was Tatanka Iyotake. Sitting Bull was a member of the Sioux tribe.Sitting Bull became known for his bravery in battle. He was also generous and wise. Sitting Bull became a leader of the Strong Heart warrior society, and he successfully increased Sioux hunting grounds. . From 1863 to 1868, the Sioux fought the US Army because they were taking their land. Soon, Sioux signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie. But when the gold was discovered in Black Hills, white people were back again. Sioux were told to leave their reservation. Sitting Bull refused. Sioux joined together with few other tribes ready to fight. He fought Custer in a famous battle of the Little Big Horn. In 1877, Sitting Bull and his followers escaped into Canada. They surrendered four years later. Sitting Bull joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and traveled throughout the United States and Canada. He was arrested again in 1889 and when his warriors tried to rescue him, he was killed.
Northwestern University. Library., Evanston, Ill.
Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library, 10 W. 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, Colorado 80204.
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