'We were free as the winds, and like the eagle, heard no mans commands.'      Red Cloud

Makhpiya-Lata, better known as Red Cloud, was known as a quiet man. He was faithful to his tribe and every other Sioux tribe. He was loving father that was extremely proud of his only son, Jack Red Cloud, whom he knew would bring him honor. But most of all he was devoted to saving his tribe and every other tribe from the white settlers that were trying to take over the their native  lands.
In 1822 Red Cloud  was born in western Nebraska near the Platte river, which is now North Platte . Red Cloud was said to have been very brave and was hardly ever scared. His mom was an Oglala and his father was a Brule Red Cloud. When Red Cloud was a young boy he was known as a fine horseman, a good swimmer, and a very courageous young man. Red Cloud started breaking horses at the young age of only six years old when his father gave him a young colt and said that if he could tame it, than he could keep it. And he did.  
As a young man Red Cloud became a skilled and very affective hunter when he and the other hunters were on hunting trips. It is said that the reason why Red Cloud was such a great hunter because he always used his own horses that he personally broke so that he knew the horse better and could read what the horse was going to do a lot easier. For this reason he always had success. When he was sixteen he had already been out on the warpath with his fellow warriors twice and he was still a fairly young man when he joined a war party against the Utes. When Red Cloud was twenty-eight his father was killed by a fellow Ogallala that had gotten drunk and got mad at Red Clouds father and decided to kill him. According to Indian custom Red Cloud had to avenge the deed that had been done to his father. So, in the middle of the night he went into Bear Bulls tent and killed him and his son that was trying to protect him. From then on Red Cloud was recognized as a leader and started taking part in all of the important decisions in their tribe.
Beginning in 1866 he started one of the most successful wars ever fought against the United States by an Indian nation. In the summer of 1867 Red Cloud met with a council of 6000 tribes at Bear Butte. All of the tribes pledged to stop the whites from moving any further into their territories. In 1868 the government started putting forts on the Bozeman Trail which ran through Lakota territory in Wyoming. When they started going on the trail Red Cloud had a vision that the Eastern Lakota would have to move. Because of his vision he started launching attacks on the forts. His most famous attack was the attack against Lieutenant Colonel William Fetterman's eighty men outside Fort Phil Kearney, Wyoming.
Just a couple days after Red Clouds speech, the Sioux advanced upon Fort Phil Kearney. Every detail of their attack was planned to perfection. Finally they decided that Crazy Horse should lead the charge. In less than half an hour, the Sioux killed nearly one hundred of Captain Fetterman's men and in the end they destroyed all of their opponents troops. Instead of sending troops to punish the Sioux they sent a commission to make peace with them. The result of this commission was the famous treaty of 1868. In this treaty, the government had a really hard time getting Red Cloud to agree with the terms that they put on the table because he knew that if he held out long enough that the commission would give him what he wanted. Finally they agreed that all of the forts along the trail would be abandoned and the Sioux land would be given back to them. But not long after the treaty had been signed gold was found in the Black Hills and the prospectors started pouring in which violated the treaty that had just been signed.
At first the government tried to stop the prospectors from going into the hills but it was not long before the government stopped helping and just let them go. After the government stopped helping, Red Cloud realized that he was fighting a losing battle but he decided to give it one last shot and go out with honor. Here are some words from his final speech. 'I have listened patiently to the promises of the Great Father, but his memory is short. I am done with him. This is all I have to say.'  
In the early 1870's, the government tried to put the Indians on reservations to gain control of them. But the Sioux nation fought bravely. They made absolute refusal to being captured and put onto reservations. But in the fall of 1876, all hope was lost when Red Cloud was captured and was taken into captivity at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. From Fort Robinson he was taken to the Pine Ridge Agency where he lived for thirty years. Once at the Pine Ridge Agency the government made Spotted Tail the head chief of the Sioux to humiliate Red Cloud.  
Red Cloud Died in 1909. He was known as a hero to everyone who knew him. He had so much pride and was proud to be known as a Native American and he wanted every other Native American to also be proud of their heritage. Because of all of the pride that he had for his heritage, all that he did for most of his life was try to save his people from the white settlers that were trying to take over their native lands. For this they are eternally grateful and that is why he was a hero of his time.

'My sun is set...My day is done...Darkness is stealing over me. Before I lie down to rise no more, I will speak to my people.'                 Red Cloud 


Ethan Brown

8th American History

Rossville Jr. High

Plains History Project