File:Red Cloud, Chief ih.jpg
Induction Category & YearHistorical 1978
Home TownForks of the Platte River
near the Platte River, NE
Pine Ridge, SD

   Red Cloud
Champion of Excellence

 Red Cloud was the chief of the Oglalas, the largest tribe of the Teton Sioux. He became noted as a warrior early in life and before he left the warpath, he had a record of eighty individual feats of courage. By the early 1860's he led an independent band of his own called the Bad Faces.

In June 1866, Chief Red Cloud attended the council at Fort Laramie. The commissioners wanted to open the Bozeman Trail through the heart of Lakota territoryand build forts to protect it, but they apparently pretended in their councils with the Indians that they were referring to another location farther west where a road was already open. When Colonel Henry B. Carrington arrived and Red Cloud learned that the government intended to proceed with the opening of the Bozeman Trail and the building of three forts despite of Indians' protests, he defiantly walked out of the meeting and began war. <p>For two years, Chief Red Cloud kept the Bozeman Trail and the forts, which were built with great difficulty, closed for all practical purposes. Although there is some question as to whether or not Red Cloud was present at the Fetterman Massacre in December 1866 where Captain Fetterman and eighty men were killed, it was definitely the work of his warriors led by Crazy Horse. Another part of Red Cloud’s command later attacked a government party in the Hayfield Fight near Fort C.F. Smith. His unrelenting campaign induced the government to yield, and with the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the Bozeman Trail was closed and the three forts were abandoned. Red Cloud was not completely satisfied with the provisions of the treaty. Refusing to move from the North Country to the Missouri River, he camped instead at Whetstone (now located in Gregory County, SD). In 1870 Red Cloud visited Washington and explained his grievances, but received little reaction. However, after much negotiation, the government allowed Red Cloud to locate his agency along the North Platte River. Later he relocated his agency to the White River in South Dakota. <p>Red Cloud welcomed the council with the Crook Commission, which tried to divide the Indians’ reservation. In 1889 the government finally pushed through the agreement to divide the reservations into five smaller reservations. After the Sioux Commission left, the Indians’ rations, which had been steadily diminishing since 1886, were suddenly decreased by more than half and reduced the Sioux to near starvation. Many Indians turned to the Messiah Craze and began practicing the ghost dance. Red Cloud did not actively participate in the dances, but he did not stop them. <p>As a result of the rivalry between the Bad Faces and Crazy Horse’s group, Red Cloud may have set up Crazy Horse to be murdered. However, Red Cloud had had enough of fighting and after Crazy Horse was killed, he used his influence to calm the tension and reassert his leadership. <p>Chief Red Cloud lived for almost nineteen years after the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. He died a Roman Catholic convert on December 10, 1909 at his home in Pine Ridge, SD.

Home Town (Forks of the Platte River)
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