Red Cloud

(1822 - 1909)

Sioux war chief, spokesman, diplomat

          The legendary Oglala chief whose fearsome exploits in battle forced General Sherman to sue for peace, in 1868, in hopes of heading off the inevitable Indian Wars.  Red Cloud refused to sit down in council until the federal government agreed to honor earlier treaties that recognized the Black Hills as being the ancestral homeland of the Sioux.

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           Red Cloud was an eloquent orator, and his defense of his people's rights was most beautifully carried in his memorable words: "The Great Father that made us both wishes peace to be kept, we want to keep the peace.  Will you help us?  In 1868 men came out and brought papers.  We could not read them, and they did not tell us what was in them.  We thought the treaty was to remove the forts, and that we should then cease from fighting.  When I reached Washington, the Great Father explained to me what the treaty was, and showed me that the interpreters had deceived me.  All I want is what is right and just.  I have tried to get from the Great Father what is right and just.  I have not succeeded.  I want you to help me get what is right and just.  Look at me.  I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of a nation.  We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right.  Riches would do us no good.  We could not take them with us to the other world.  We do not want riches, we want peace and love."