3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse by Charles Eastman

Battle of the Little Bighorn Anniversary:
June 25 is the anniversary of the great victory. As of 2016, it’s been only 140 years.
From one of his popular books, here presented are dramatic biographies of three men by the Dakota writer Ohiyesa, more widely known as Charles Eastman.
-The Voice before the Void

3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse

from Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains

Charles Eastman

“Red Cloud”

The Sioux were now entering upon the most stormy period of their history. The old things were fast giving place to new. The young men, for the first time engaging in serious and destructive warfare with the neighboring tribes, armed with the deadly weapons furnished by the white man, began to realize that they must soon enter upon a desperate struggle for their ancestral hunting grounds. The old men had been innocently cultivating the friendship of the stranger, saying among themselves, “Surely there is land enough for all!”

1865-1880 - Sioux - Red Bear, Young Man Afraid of his Horses, Good Voice, Ring Thunder, Iron Crow, White Tail, Spotted Tail, Yellow Bear, Red Cloud, Big Road, Little Wound, Black CrowRed Cloud was a modest and little-known man of about twenty-eight years when General [William S.] Harney called all the western bands of Sioux together at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, for the purpose of securing an agreement and right of way through their territory. The Ogallalas held aloof from this proposal, but Bear Bull, an Ogallala chief, after having been plied with whisky, undertook to dictate submission to the rest of the clan. Enraged by failure, he fired upon a group of his own tribesmen, and Red Cloud’s father and brother fell dead. According to Indian custom, it fell to him to avenge the deed. Calmly, without uttering a word, he faced old Bear Bull and his son, who attempted to defend his father, and shot them both. Continue reading

“Every Year Has Its Dark Stain” by Helen Hunt Jackson

U.S. Independence Day Special:
Comprehensive United States history does not offer much cause for celebration.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Every Year Has Its Dark Stain”

from A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United States Government’s Dealings with Some of the Indian Tribes

Helen Hunt Jackson

There are within the limits of the United States between two hundred and fifty and three hundred thousand Indians, exclusive of those in Alaska. The names of the different tribes and bands, as entered in the statistical tables of the Indian Office Reports, number nearly three hundred….

There is not among these three hundred bands of Indians one which has not suffered cruelly at the hands either of the Government or of white settlers. The poorer, the more insignificant, the more helpless the band, the more certain the cruelty and outrage to which they have been subjected. This is especially true of the bands on the Pacific slope. These Indians found themselves of a sudden surrounded by and caught up in the great influx of gold-seeking settlers, as helpless creatures on a shore are caught up in a tidal wave. There was not time for the Government to make treaties ; not even time for communities to make laws. The tale of the wrongs, the oppressions, the murders of the Pacific-slope Indians would be a volume by itself, and is too monstrous to be believed.

It makes little difference, however, where one opens the record of the history of the Indians ; every page and every year has its dark stain. The story of one tribe is the story of all, varied only by differences of time and place ; but neither time nor place makes any difference in the main facts. Colorado is as greedy and unjust in 1880 as was Georgia in 1830, and Ohio in 1795 Continue reading

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 4

Warfare is inherently dramatic. In this case, the Arikara are abominably outnumbered as they ride into combat against their dread enemies the Lakota.
Must warfare exist? Can grave conflict be superintended without putting men through hell and into death?
Is hell an adventure sought by men?
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 4

The story of Young Hawk

The army was on the little knoll at the foot of the hill, they were met by Custer’s party from the high butte. Considerable excitement among the scouts was to be seen. They wondered what Custer would say when he heard that the Dakotas knew of his approach. The scouts from the hill had told them of the six Dakotas. When the scouts saw Custer coming down they began to group themselves according to tribes, Arikara, Crows, etc. The Arikara grouped themselves about the older men who spoke to the younger men as is the custom of the tribe. Stabbed spoke to the young men and Custer gave the instructions here to the scouts through Gerard. He said: “Boys, I want you to take the horses away from the Sioux camp.” Then Stabbed told the Arikara scouts to obey Custer’s instructions and to try and take away as many horses as possible. Custer continued: “Make up your minds to go straight to their camp and capture their horses. Boys, you are going to have a hard day, you must keep up your courage, you will get experience today.” On the top of the ridge the bugle sounded for the unfurling of the flag. This caused great excitement, all made ready, girths were tightened, loads were made light. Another bugle sounded and Custer ordered the scouts forward. They went down the dry coulee and when about half way to the high ridge at the right, Young Hawk saw a group of scouts at the lower end of the ridge peering over toward the lone tepee. The scouts he was with slowed up as the others came toward them. Then behind them they heard a call from Gerard. He said to them: “The Chief says for you to run.” At this Strikes Two gave the war-whoop and rode on. At this we all whooped and Strikes Two reached the lone tepee first and struck it with his whip. Then Young Hawk came. He got off on the north side of the tepee, took a knife from his belt, pierced the tent through and ran the knife down to the ground. Inside of the lone tepee he saw a scaffold, and upon it a dead body wrapped in a buffalo robe.

White-Man-Runs-Him, Hairy Moccasin, Curly, Goes-Ahead - US Army cavalry Crow scouts at Little Bighorn Battlefield ca 1913

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Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 3

Scouting forward and encountering the portents of a momentous battle to come: giant deserted camps with sun dance circles and sweat lodges, drawings in sand of dead men, drawings on hills of fighting bison, rocks painted red.
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 3

An interview with Custer as told by the Arikara scout named Soldier

Soldier and Bob-tailed Bull met Custer at his camp on the river bank, in his own tent, F.F. Gerard was interpreter. Custer said: “The man before me, Bob-tailed Bull, is a man of good heart, of good character. I am pleased to have him here. I am glad he has enlisted. It will be a hard expedition but we will all share the same hardships. I am very well pleased to have him in my party, and I told it at Washington. We are to live and fight together, children of one father and one mother. The great-grandfather has a plan. The Sioux camps have united and you and I must work together for the Great Father and help each other. The Great Father is well pleased that it took few words to coax Son-of-the-Star to furnish me scouts for this work we have to do and he is pleased, too, at his behavior in helping on the plan of the Great Father. I, for one, am willing to help in this all I can, and you must help too. It is this way, my brothers. If I should happen to lose any of the men Son-of-the-Star has furnished, their reward will not be forgotten by the government. Their relations will be saddened by their death but there will be some comfort in the pay that the United States government will provide.”

Bob-tailed Bull replied: “It is a good thing you say, my brother, my children and other relatives will receive my pay and other rewards. I am glad you say this for I see there is some gain even though I lose my life.”

Custer then said: “No more words need be said. Bob-tailed Bull is to be leader and Soldier second in command of the scouts.”

Clothing was issued to the two leaders, on Bob-tailed Bull’s sleeve there were three stripes, and on Soldier’s sleeve there were two. Custer called on Bob-tailed Bull to speak, and he said through Gerard, that he was not a man to change tribes all the time, that he was always an Arikara and respected their chiefs and had served under them gladly. He said: ”Yes, Long Hair, I am a member of the police and also chief, with one hand I hold the position of police among my people and with the other I hold the position of chief of the scouts. My brother, I am going to address you so, for you said we were brothers, I have had experience fighting the Sioux, and when we meet them we shall see each other’s bravery.”

Bloody Knife US Army cavalry Arikara scout 1873 Continue reading

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 2

The small society of the Arikara, in facing their age-old enemies the mighty Lakota nation, prehend a powerful ally: the United States.
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 2

Preface to the Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas

The purpose in publishing this material on the Dakota campaign of 1876 is twofold. Merely as a matter of justice to the Arikara scouts, their version of the campaign in which they played an important part should have long ago been given to the public. Nearly every other conceivable angle of this memorable campaign has received attention and study. But during the past generation, the Arikara scouts, true to their oath of fealty to the government as they understood it, have remained silent as to their own part in those eventful days. The present narrative is designed to make public the real story of the Arikara scouts who served with General Terry and under the immediate command of Colonel Custer.

back row John Buckman, Goose front row Bloody Knife, George Armstrong Custer, Little Soldier 1874 Continue reading

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn, part 1

Battle of the Little Bighorn Anniversary Special:
One of the most mesmeric and seismic battles in world history: when the Lakota defeated utterly the United States.
⁓The Voice before the Void

Into Annihilation: The Arikara Story of Custer’s March to, and the Battle of, the Little Bighorn

from The Arikara Narrative of the Campaign against the Hostile Dakotas, June, 1876

compiled from interviews conducted by the North Dakota State Historical Society with the aged Arikara scouts in 1912 at Fort Berthold Reservation

edited by O.G. Libby and The Voice before the Void

part 1

Historical Introduction to the Battle of the Little Big Horn

In the year 1867, the United States Congress provided for a commission to treat with all the Indian tribes of the Great Plains and arrange a treaty which would grant to them definite lands. This, it was thought, would cause them to settle down and cease their war on the white man. Parts of two years were spent in visiting the scattered bands and finally, in April, 1868, an agreement was concluded which defined clearly the boundaries of the territory set apart for the Dakotas [Treaty of Fort Laramie]. This area was not large when compared with the fields over which the Dakotas had been accustomed to roam at will, but it included the Black Hills and adjacent lands which the Dakotas had cherished for a long time as a hunting ground and asylum. Consequently when gold was discovered in these hills and when the expedition commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer was sent “to reconnoiter the route from Fort Abraham Lincoln to Bear Butte,” a well known point north of the Black Hills, and “to explore the country south, southeast, and southwest of that point,” the Dakotas were much disturbed.

Charles Marion Russell - The Custer Fight - 1903

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