Blue Cloud ih.jpg
Induction Category & YearHistorical 1988
Home TownEastern, SD
Eastern South Dakota
Eastern, SD

   Mahpiyato Cloud
Champion of Excellence

 Blue Cloud, a Yankton Sioux, was a man of peace. He embraced Christianity, seeing this as a way of living in harmony with the white man. He was the last hereditary chief of the Yankton Sioux.

As a child, Blue Cloud was christened William Bean after his father, Major Jonathan Bean, who was a settler of the trading posts for the Yankton Sioux. His mother, Flying Feather, was the daughter of Chief Hashata. Hashata was greatly influenced by the visit of explorer, Jean Nichollet, and later by the young Belgian priest, Pierre Jean DeSmet. Eventually, both Hashata and Blue Cloud were baptized Roman Catholic. Blue Cloud was also known as Mahiyato (Blue Sky) and grew up under the influence of uncles Joseph and Paul Picotte, who were fur traders, War Eagle, Head Chief of the Yankton, the Black Robers and treaty makers. <p>Blue Cloud worked as a scout and guide for the U.S. Army, mapping expeditions on the Powder River in Utah. During this time, he lived at Fort Pierre and Farm Island where he planted corn and led a settled life. Blue Cloud traveled to Minatree and Mandan County with Father DeSmet in search of his father and was involved in the big move of the Yanktons to Fort Randall. He accompanied Father DeSmet to the 1851 treaty conference at Fort Laramie in an effort to plead for peace. During this time his first family perished in the flu epidemic. Two years later Blue Cloud remarried and started another family. During the Minnesota Uprising he was one of the scouts sent by Struck By The Ree to warn white settlers. Blue Cloud always worked to keep the Yankton Sioux peaceful. <p>In 1877, the government agents appointed Blue Cloud as Head Chief after the hereditary leader, Felix Brunot, son of Pretty Boy, left the tribe to gain an education. In 1892, the Yankton sold their land and became citizens and gained the right to vote. <p>Blue Cloud died in 1918, a settled family man who had remained a staunch Catholic. Throughout his lifetime he hoped for a resident priest for his people. The Yanktons gave their land to have a chapel built. Bishop Marty was later instrumental in having a Catholic monastery built so that resident priests could serve in the area. In the early 1950’s a monastery was built by the Benedictines and appropriately named Blue Cloud Abbey after this Yankton Chief who had kept his faith for half a century without the regular ministrations of a priest. <p>

Home Town (Eastern, SD)
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