Red Cloud

Photograph of Red Cloud

Fast Facts about Red Cloud
Who was Red Cloud and why was this Native Indian chief famous? Summary: Red Cloud (1822–1909) was a famous Native America chief and war leader of the Oglala Sioux Indians who fought against the US government's attempts to build forts along the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming and Montana. This conflict became known as Red Cloud's War 1865–1868.

He died on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1909. The following fact sheet contains interesting facts, background history and information about the life of Red Cloud and the events in history that led to his fame as a great Native American Indian leader.

Fast Facts about Red Cloud

Tribe: Oglalla Sioux
Lifespan of Red Cloud: 1822 - 1909
Place of Birth: Powder River country of Wyoming and Montana
Date of Birth: 1822
Date of Death: December 10, 1909
Place of Death: The Sioux agency at Pine Ridge
Name of Father: Lone Man
Name of Mother:  Walks as She Thinks
Relatives: Raised by his uncle, called Smoke
Native Indian Allies: Cheyenne
Native Indian Enemies: Crow and Pawnee
Wars: The Sioux Wars (1854 - 1891), Red Cloud's War (1865–1868).
Famous Battles: On December 21, 1866 Red Cloud set an ambush that annihilated Captain W.J. Fetterman and his 80 men
Peace Treaty: Signed on November 6, 1868

Red Cloud - The Early Years
One of the most notable individuals during the tumultuous era of fights between the Native Indians and the colonizers is Red Cloud. Red Cloud was born in the year 1822 in the land of what is now known as Nebraska. He was a child of high profile individuals from each of their clan. His mother was Walks as She Thinks who came from the Oglala Sioux also known as Oglala Lakota. His father on the other hand was a warrior from Brule Lakota named Lone Man. Unfortunately Red Cloud lost his father at a young age of five. When his father died, the custody of Red Cloud was assumed by his uncle from the mother side, a chief of the Oglala Sioux named Smoke. He showed immense promise as a warrior even at a young age and his uncle played a huge role in his development especially when his mother died in 1825.

Red Cloud - Battles with the Pawnee and Crow
His potential was demonstrated during the battles that their tribe had against the neighboring Indian Tribes of Pawnees and Crow. He was able to gain a lot of experience during these battles.

Red Cloud's War
Red Cloud was the war chief during a two year conflict which was forever known as Red Cloud’s War. In 1866 the US army began to build a road in Powder River country from the Oregon Trail to the goldfields of Montana. The main objective of Red Cloud was to prevent the White Americans in invading the lands of the Native Americans in Wyoming and Montana. Red Cloud showed the white Americans their strength during their little skirmishes which demonstrated how strong their tribes were. That may have been the reason why the American government offered a treaty during 1866. However, Red Cloud refused to sign the treaty and even stormed out during the negotiations and continued to show their superiority over the American troops which were dispatched within their region.

Red Cloud's War - Captain J. Fetterman
In November 1866, Red Cloud led a massacre of a particular American infantry which were dispatched to fight them. A group of 81 men including two civilians was led by Captain J. Fetterman was dispatched from Fort Phil Kearny. They were task to dismantle a small Indian raid that was reported to their camp. Crazy Horse acted as a decoy leader helping to lure Lt. Colonel William J. Fetterman and 81 soldiers from Fort Phil Kearny into a trap.  With 81 American fatalities, the Fetterman Massacre was the army’s worst defeat in the West until the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 and spread terror amongst the white settlers.

Red Cloud - The Peace Treaty
By 1867 the American government launched a mission which aimed to look for a solution to end Red Cloud's War. They wanted him to sign a peace treaty and their only option was to retract their troops from the forts which are located from within the region. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 was made in which the army agreed to abandon the posts along the Bozeman Trail. Red Cloud won both his war and the peace settlement

Red Cloud - The Reservation
However, the lands of the Sioux was again threatened by miners who found out that gold was abundant in their area. Fellow tribesmen
Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse stood up and fought the invaders but Red Cloud stayed out of the war. Instead, he and his people chose to settle in the reservation camp provided for them by the government. 

Red Cloud
Throughout the remainder of his life, Red Cloud showed diplomatic skills which impressed the colonizers. He worked hard for the improvement of the lives of his people. He acted mainly to help their lives in the reserve. He died in the reservation due to old age on December 10, 1909. 

The Story of Red Cloud
For additional facts and information refer to the legend and story of
Red Cloud.

Famous Native Indians
Native Indian Tribes Index

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