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Queue tachetée

Queue tachetée

Spotted Tail, ou Sinte Galeska, était un chef estimé parmi la tribu Brule de la nation Sioux. C'était un homme dont on disait qu'il était d'une grande capacité à la fois au combat et dans la paix et était un chef important des Sioux dans les guerres des Indiens des Plaines.Les jeunes annéesSpotted Tail est né en 1823, près des rives de la rivière White à l'ouest de la rivière Missouri dans le Dakota du Sud, près de l'actuelle Pine Ridge, qui se trouve au sud-est de Rapid City, juste au nord de la frontière du Nebraska. Il était apparenté au chef Crazy. Horse, bien connu pour son rôle dans la bataille du bouton de rose et la bataille de Little Big Horn. De plus, Spoted Tail était un cousin germain de Conquering Bear, un chef Brule. Son père était un Sioux Blackfoot nommé Tangled Hair, et sa mère, nommée Walks-with-Pipe, était du Brule Sioux, dont le mariage devait causer des problèmes sociaux à Sinte Galeska plus tard. Ainsi, lors d'entraînements militaires et de simulacres de batailles, Spotted Tail a décidé de prendre les choses en main et d'utiliser son intelligence innée pour jouer le rôle de stratège pour son « armée ». Il serait celui qui dresserait un plan de bataille et assignerait aux autres leurs rôles dans les exercices. Cela lui a valu le respect et la confiance nécessaires pour assumer un rôle de leader dans une vraie bataille.Début de carrièreSinte Galeska, également connu sous le nom de Jumping Buffalo, tire son nom d'adulte, Spotted Tail, d'une queue de raton laveur qu'un trappeur blanc lui avait donnée quand il était plus jeune. Spotted Tail a incorporé le trophée dans sa coiffure de guerre, le portant lors de ses premières batailles. À 30 ans, Spotted Tail avait été sélectionné pour le leadership¹ au sein de son peuple; il était un Shirtwearer honoré ². Sa chemise de combat était ornée de plus de 100 mèches de cheveux qui représentaient des scalps qu'il avait pris, des coups d'État dont il faisait partie et des chevaux qu'il avait volés. La queue tachetée a joué un rôle essentiel dans la première bataille de grande envergure entre les Lakotas et l'armée américaine. Little Thunder a ensuite succédé à Conquering Bear en tant que chef des Brules. Spotted Tail a également participé au raid de Kincaid Coach et à l'attaque de l'armée contre le camp Bluewater de Little Thunder. Pour protéger la tribu des représailles de l'armée, Spotted Tail s'est volontairement rendu au général Harney à Fort Laramie, dans le Wyoming, et a purgé environ trois ans de prison. Pendant qu'il était en prison, Spotted Tail a appris à lire et à écrire l'anglais et a acquis des compétences qui lui seraient utiles. dans ses relations avec les Blancs lorsqu'il est devenu chef. Après avoir été témoin de la force et du nombre des forces militaires blanches pendant son incarcération, il a compris que pour que son peuple survive, la diplomatie devait remplacer les conflits armés, dans la mesure du possible, si la coexistence avec les Blancs devait devenir une réalité.Spotted Tail évaluerait désormais différemment les intérêts à long terme de son peuple. Il a fait une étude minutieuse de l'homme blanc, prenant note des coutumes de l'homme blanc et de la façon dont son esprit fonctionnait, principalement de son désir étrange et désespéré d'acquérir et de posséder des biens en tant qu'individus plutôt qu'en tant que communauté où tout le monde partageait la terre et ses prime.Carrière plus tardÀ la fin des années 1850 et au début des années 1860, les Brules vivaient dans une paix relative dans leurs terres natales du sud-ouest du Nebraska et du nord-ouest du Kansas. Pendant ce temps, Spotted Tail a gagné en responsabilité et en autorité, devenant le lieutenant de confiance de Little Thunder. Creek Massacre, dans le centre-ouest du Colorado. Les survivants se sont échappés dans un camp sur la rivière Smoky Hill. Des messages appelant à la guerre ont été envoyés aux bandes et aux alliés associés, parmi lesquels les Brules du sud. Bien que Spotted Tail ait vu la futilité de la guerre, il a accepté sa responsabilité en tant que chef de guerre de mener ses tribus au combat. Avec Spotted Tail en tête, les guerriers ont attaqué l'arrêt des diligences à Julesburg, dans le territoire du Colorado, au début de janvier 1865. Ils sont revenus un mois plus tard, pour brûler la ville. Cependant, les troupes de Fort Laramie ont fait dérailler leurs plans et ont attaqué le groupe de guerre dans l'ouest du territoire du Nebraska, alors Spotted Tail et ses guerriers ont décidé qu'ils en avaient assez de la guerre et ont amené son peuple au fort de chercher un règlement de paix.Après la bataille, le conseil tribal a ignoré la lignée héréditaire et a choisi Spotted Tail pour succéder à Little Thunder, qui avait récemment été tué dans l'attaque non provoquée de son village à Blue Water Creek, en tant que chef.Spotted Tail avec impatience négocié avec la commission gouvernementale de 1867-1868. À la fin de l'été, le traité exigeait que la bande de Spotted Tail déménage dans une zone du ruisseau Whetstone près de la rivière Missouri. Après la signature du traité, Spotted Tail était une force majeure dans la soumission précoce, par la négociation, des Indiens hostiles. L'armée, sans consulter les autres chefs des tribus, nomma Spotted Tail chef en chef de tous les Sioux. Ne voulant pas d'une guerre civile parmi les Sioux, Spotted Tail a déménagé dans une nouvelle agence à Fort Sheridan, Nebraska, sur la rive sud de la rivière White, qu'ils ont appelée la « Spotted Tail Agency ».Derniers joursEn 1874, le lieutenant-colonel George Armstrong Custer a marché dans le territoire du Dakota pour son exploration des Black Hills. En décembre 1875, le président Grant ordonna l'internement de tous les Sioux dans des agences indiennes dans un délai de deux mois sous peine de les considérer comme hostiles. Spotted Tail a ensuite négocié la reddition de Crazy Horse. Spotted Tail était un administrateur extraordinairement déterminé ; en tant que chef principal, il a continué à maintenir une force de police indienne pour empêcher l'alcool de la réserve, et il a condamné les menaces de l'armée de forcer les Lakota sur le territoire indien (aujourd'hui l'Oklahoma). Les ennemis de Spotted Tail ont commencé à l'attaquer pour sa relation avec une femme qui avait quitté son mari. La victoire de l'Indien s'est avérée être une épée à double tranchant ; d'une part c'était une grande victoire dans une sanglante guerre de survie, d'autre part, c'était aussi juste l'excuse dont l'homme blanc avait besoin pour parfaire l'oppression et la destruction des peuples amérindiens et de leur culture. En 1879, quand l'école industrielle indienne Carlisle a ouvert ses portes en Pennsylvanie, Spotted Tail a inscrit plusieurs de ses membres de la réserve Rosebud dans l'école, y compris des membres de sa famille immédiate. Il a été scandalisé lorsqu'il a découvert que ses enfants avaient été baptisés épiscopaliens, qu'ils avaient reçu des prénoms chrétiens, qu'ils étaient habillés comme des soldats et qu'ils n'apprenaient pas l'anglais, mais qu'ils avaient plutôt été contraints de cultiver et de travailler dans l'industrie. À ce moment-là, Spotted Tail a enlevé toute sa famille. de Carlisle et a instantanément découvert que la bonne volonté de nombreux Blancs s'était évaporée. Crow Dog, un neveu de l'ancien chef, Conquering Bear, a menacé de tirer sur Spotted Tail, et a continué à essayer d'humilier Spotted Tail avec le fait qu'il n'était pas chef par la volonté de la tribu, mais par les fusils des soldats blancs. En août 1881, Crow Dog a tiré sur Spotted Tail dans la poitrine, le tuant.En mémoireSpotted Tail vit toujours dans le cœur de son peuple pour avoir tenté de le sauver de l'anéantissement ou du bannissement vers un lieu d'oppression, de famine et de mort appelé le « territoire de l'Oklahoma ». En fin de compte, il a localisé son peuple sur une parcelle de terre préférée et a pu préserver des quantités substantielles de la culture et de l'autorité tribales. Il a vu et épousé la conviction que l'éducation est un outil important dans la préservation de la culture et de la tradition sioux.


Les dirigeants du peuple Lakota ont été choisis par consensus du peuple. Ils fondaient leur jugement sur le caractère et les actions qui distinguaient une personne.² L'un des plus grands honneurs et responsabilités accordés aux hommes était le titre de porteur de chemise. On s'attendait à ce qu'un porteur de chemise soit un pourvoyeur et un protecteur ultime de son peuple et qu'il mène une vie exemplaire en tant que modèle.³ Il convient de noter que chez certains Sioux, il était de coutume de permettre à une femme de divorcer de son mari à à toute heure. Elle l'a fait en emménageant simplement chez des parents ou avec un autre homme, ou en plaçant les affaires du mari à l'extérieur de leur loge. Bien qu'une compensation puisse être nécessaire pour apaiser les sentiments blessés, le mari rejeté devait accepter la décision de sa femme pour le bien de la tribu.


Camp Sheridan et Spotted Tail Agency

À environ dix milles au nord se trouvent les sites de l'agence Spotted Tail et du camp Sheridan. Nommée en l'honneur du chef Brule Sioux Spotted Tail, l'agence a été construite en 1874 pour fournir les paiements du traité, y compris la nourriture, les vêtements, les armes et les ustensiles, selon les termes du traité de Fort Laramie de 1868. L'armée a établi le camp Sheridan à proximité pour protéger l'agence. Un arrangement similaire a prévalu pour les Ogalala Sioux à l'agence Red Cloud et au camp Robinson à une quarantaine de kilomètres à l'ouest. Spotted Tail Agency était généralement calme et paisible tout au long de la guerre indienne de 1876-77. Crazy Horse s'y rend le 4 septembre 1877, après avoir fui l'agence Red Cloud. Il a été poignardé à mort le lendemain soir alors qu'il était emprisonné au Camp Robinson, mais ses parents ont ramené son corps au Camp Sheridan pour l'enterrer. Le 29 octobre 1877, Spotted Tail's Brules a été déplacé pour présenter le Dakota du Sud. En 1878, ils occupèrent l'agence Rosebud, où ils vivent aujourd'hui. Le camp Sheridan, avec une garnison de pointe de sept compagnies de soldats, a été abandonné le 1er mai 1881.


Serment de paix de Brulé Sioux Spotted Tail’s

De nombreuses années plus tard, un ancien soldat du 11th Kansas Cavalry tenta d'expliquer les raisons de la guerre indienne de 1865. Le sergent Stephen Fairfield se souvint que les Blancs avaient déjà trouvé de l'or et de l'argent dans les montagnes au-delà des Grandes Plaines et que des milliers de mineurs s'étaient précipités à travers le pays indien, tuant et détruisant le gibier. « De longs trains de wagons serpentaient à travers les plaines », écrivait-il, « les mystérieux fils télégraphiques s'étendaient sur leurs terrains de chasse jusqu'aux montagnes, les ingénieurs arpentaient un itinéraire pour une piste pour le cheval de fer, et tout cela sans en disant autant que "Par votre permission aux Indiens". Sachant que leur gibier allait bientôt disparaître, que leurs terrains de chasse leur seraient enlevés et qu'eux-mêmes seraient bientôt sans patrie, ils avaient eu recours aux armes pour défendre leur mode de vie et eux-mêmes.

Il y avait cependant des raisons plus précises. À partir d'avril 1864, une série d'incidents entre les Indiens des Plaines (principalement les Cheyennes et les Sioux) et les émigrants blancs, les commerçants et les patrouilles militaires ont élevé la violence intermittente en un règne de mort et de destruction. Le point culminant des meurtres en 1864 est survenu le 28 novembre, lorsque le colonel John Chivington a dirigé son 3e de cavalerie volontaire dans un raid à l'aube sur les Cheyennes du Sud et les Arapahos campés sur Sand Creek dans le centre-ouest du territoire du Colorado. Se croyant sous la protection du fort Lyon, les Indiens n'étaient pas préparés et complètement surpris. Au moins 130 d'entre eux sont morts.

Au camp Cheyenne sur Smoky Hill, les survivants se sont réunis en conseil. Ils ont décidé de demander à des alliés proches de se joindre à eux dans une guerre de vengeance. Les invitations sont allées au camp d'Arapaho du Nord et aux groupes sioux vivant sur la fourche Salomon. Un gros village s'assembla bientôt. À la tête des Cheyennes se trouvaient Leg-in-the-Water, Little Robe et une Black Kettle réticente. Les plus importants parmi les Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, qui ont assumé un rôle de leadership, étaient Tall Bull, White Horse et Bull Bear. Les demi-Cheyenne fils de William Bent, George et Charles, ont promis leur soutien. Les Arapahos du Nord sous les ordres de Little Raven, Storm et Big Mouth se sont joints à la coalition. Enfin sont arrivés Oglalas de Pawnee Killer et Brulé Sioux de Spotted Tail. Dans le même temps, des messagers se sont rendus au nord jusqu'aux sources de la Powder River pour informer les Sioux Oglala, Minneconjou et Sans Arcs et les Cheyennes du Nord du meurtre. Ces groupes ont ensuite rejoint leurs tribus dans une dernière campagne unie.


Bibliothèque du Congrès

À cette époque, Spotted Tail avait 41 ans, un vétéran du combat de Grattan contre les troupes américaines en 1854 et de la bataille de Blue Water Creek contre Brevet Brig. Les forces du général William Harney en 1855. Il était dans une prison militaire depuis un an, après s'être rendu pour avoir participé au meurtre de trois employés de la diligence. C'était un combattant expérimenté et intrépide qui avait compté de nombreux coups d'État. Connaissant le monde blanc mieux que ses contemporains, il était conscient de la puissance de ses ennemis.

Les représailles ont commencé le 7 janvier 1865, avec une attaque sur Julesburg, dans le territoire du Colorado, où la force indienne combinée a tué quatre sous-officiers et 11 hommes enrôlés du 7th Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, stationné à proximité de Fort Rankin. Le 2 février, ils sont revenus piller et brûler la colonie, gardant les troupes du 7e Iowa confinées dans leur poste. Les troupes commandées par William O. Collins, chef de régiment du 11th Ohio Cavalry dont le siège est à Fort Laramie, se sont dépêchées vers l'est pour engager les raiders. Ils se sont affrontés à Mud Springs et Rush Creek, dans l'ouest du Nebraska, les 4-6 et 9 février, alors que les guerriers avaient commencé à se déplacer vers le nord et l'ouest pour rejoindre leurs tribus dans le pays de Powder River, dans le Wyoming et le Montana. Les pertes étaient légères des deux côtés, mais la force écrasante des Sioux et des Cheyennes rendait la poursuite impraticable.

À ce stade, Spotted Tail et ses partisans ont décidé de quitter la coalition. Ils avaient fait leur part et ils étaient réticents à quitter le pays où ils avaient vécu pendant de nombreuses années. En peu de temps, ils se déclarent amis et s'installent dans un camp près de Fort Laramie, dans l'intention de se distancer de la guerre qui se poursuivra lorsque les tribus du sud se retrouveront avec leurs homologues du nord.

Au début du mois de juin, environ 1 500 Indiens amicaux campaient près de Fort Laramie, dont Spotted Tail et les Southern Brulés. Les chefs militaires ont décidé de les envoyer à Fort Kearny, où ils seraient loin de la zone de guerre et pourraient planter une culture pour fournir une subsistance temporaire. Le 11 juin, les amis et un certain nombre de commerçants blancs avec leur progéniture de sang-mêlé ont quitté le poste avec une escorte d'environ 22 7th Iowa Cavalry et de la police indienne commandée par le capitaine William Fouts.

La nuit du 13 juin, les voyageurs campèrent à Horse Creek, près du site du Conseil du traité de Fort Laramie de 1851. Lors d'une réunion clandestine tenue cette nuit-là, la plupart des chefs et des notables décidèrent qu'ils préféraient subir la mort que de vivre dans un état de famine à Fort Kearny, près de leurs ennemis Pawnee. Lorsque les troupes sont sorties le lendemain, les Sioux sont restés au camp. De retour pour enquêter, Fouts a trouvé une dispute en cours entre les factions de la paix et de la guerre. Soudain, le chef Brulé White Thunder s'est retourné et a tiré avec son fusil sur le commandant malchanceux. Dans l'embuscade qui a suivi, une balle a transpercé le cœur de Fouts et une autre a pénétré sa tête. Tous les Sioux restants, y compris la police indienne, partirent précipitamment, fuyant vers le nord. Au cours des mois suivants, Spotted Tail et ses partisans sont restés loin des Blancs, campant sur le cours supérieur de la Powder River, à environ 260 milles au nord de Fort Laramie.

La guerre indienne de 1865 a commencé à tirer à sa fin en septembre.

Fin juillet, Brigue. L'expédition de représailles du général Patrick E. Connor à Powder River avait voyagé vers le nord pour réprimander les Sioux, les Cheyennes et les Arapahos pour le meurtre du jeune lieutenant Caspar Collins et de 28 hommes lors des batailles de Platte Bridge et de Red Buttes. Le 29 août, la colonne principale de Connor a frappé un grand village Arapaho sur la rivière Tongue, tuant 63 Indiens, incendiant 250 lodges, capturant 500 poneys et brûlant des tonnes de nourriture séchée et d'autres fournitures. Dans le même temps, les deux autres colonnes de Connor ont rencontré des problèmes dans le Montana, perdant des centaines de chevaux lors d'escarmouches avec de grands groupes de guerriers de la coalition. Lorsque Connor a été rappelé quelques semaines plus tard, l'expédition s'est dissoute, présumée être un échec.

L'hiver qui suivit fut l'un des plus rigoureux jamais connus dans la région, et il mit fin à la guerre indienne de 1865. Certains des Sioux ont commencé à venir pour des pourparlers de paix en mars, leurs femmes, leurs enfants et leurs personnes âgées étant malades et affamés. Pour survivre au terrible hiver, ils avaient tué et mangé la plupart de leurs poneys. Comme l'a dit Spotted Tail : « Nos cœurs étaient sur le sol, mon frère. Si nous devions nager dans la neige, nous serions venus. » Dans le cas du chef, il y avait une raison supplémentaire : Le colonel Henry Maynadier, qui commandait le sous-district ouest du Nebraska depuis Fort Laramie, avait reçu un message de Spotted Tail lui disant qu'il voulait apporter le corps de sa fille décédée au poste pour l'enterrer. Certains pensaient que la jeune femme avait contracté la consommation, mais Maynadier a spéculé que l'exposition et la vie difficile des Indiens étaient les raisons de sa mort. Le chef avait choisi un moment opportun, car l'officier supérieur de Fort Laramie était un homme d'une expérience et d'un tact variés, parfaitement adapté à la situation. Né en 1830, Maynadier était diplômé de l'Académie militaire des États-Unis à West Point en 1851. Il avait d'abord servi dans la 1st U.S. Artillery, puis est passé à la 10th Infantry, où il a combattu à Vicksburg et Fredericksburg. Devenu major dans le 12e d'infanterie le 4 novembre 1863, il a reçu un certain nombre d'affectations spéciales pour les 16 mois suivants, y compris un passage au bureau de l'adjudant général à Washington. Il devint colonel du 5th US Volunteers le 27 mars 1865. Maynadier avait reçu le grade de major général des volontaires le 13 mars 1865, pour service distingué à la frontière dans des opérations contre des Indiens hostiles et pour avoir beaucoup accompli pour amener la paix avec tribus en guerre. Le commandant du poste à l'époque était le major George M. O’Brien. Né en Irlande, O’Brien est entré dans le service volontaire en tant que major du 7th Iowa Cavalry le 13 juillet 1863.

La fille de Spotted Tail avait passé quelque temps à Fort Laramie et était devenue fascinée par les manières blanches. Elle peut, en fait, avoir vécu à Fort Laramie avec des parents pendant que son père était en prison en 1855-1856. Connue sous le nom de Mini-Aku (apporte de l'eau), elle était née en 1848, ce qui lui faisait environ 18 ans. Elle était la fille aînée de la première des trois épouses de Spotted Tail et sa préférée. Une petite fille délicate, avenante et pleine d'entrain, certains disaient qu'elle était tombée amoureuse d'un officier, peut-être de loin. Son dernier souhait était que sa dernière demeure soit au cimetière du poste, près de la sépulture d'Old Smoke, un parent et chef qui avait vécu près de Fort Laramie pendant de nombreuses années en tant qu'ami des Blancs. Maynadier se souvint de la jeune fille, qu'il avait rencontrée cinq ans auparavant alors qu'elle avait environ 12 ans, et il se félicita de la venue du chef.

Le 8 mars 1866, Maynadier et plusieurs officiers, accompagnés d'un signaleur, partirent à la rencontre du nouveau chef et de son groupe, comptant environ 40 loges. Ils avaient parcouru la distance en 15 jours. Au poste, le colonel a ouvert le conseil avec des mots de condoléances et de bienvenue. D'une manière conciliante, il montra le drapeau américain en disant : « Vous voyez une bande rouge et une bande blanche côte à côte, et elles n'interfèrent pas l'une avec l'autre. Ainsi, l'homme rouge et le blanc peuvent vivre dans ce pays en harmonie. Il a ensuite demandé si Spotted Tail souhaitait que sa fille soit placée dans le cimetière et que des rites chrétiens soient accomplis. Le chef a acquiescé dans un discours d'une grande éloquence et sentiment, versant des larmes en parlant.

Enveloppé dans des robes de bison et attaché avec des cordes, le corps de la jeune fille gisait en l'état dans une pièce du "Old Bedlam", le bureau et les quartiers d'habitation de l'officier supérieur. Des mousquets, des sabres et des drapeaux rangés à la hâte décoraient les murs. Maynadier a demandé à ses menuisiers de faire fabriquer un cercueil, et le colonel William G. Bullock, négociant en poste, a fait don d'un fin tissu rouge pour le recouvrir. Maynadier a suggéré un enterrement au coucher du soleil, disant à Spotted Tail que « comme le soleil se couchait, cela pourrait lui rappeler l'obscurité laissée dans sa loge lorsque sa fille bien-aimée a été emmenée, mais comme le soleil se lèverait sûrement à nouveau, alors elle se lèverait, et un jour nous nous retrouverions tous au pays du Grand Esprit. Des larmes apparurent à nouveau sur les joues du chef pendant que Maynadier parlait.

L'officier a également dit à Spotted Tail que dans deux ou trois mois, des commissaires à la paix viendraient à Fort Laramie pour le rencontrer ainsi que d'autres chefs tribaux. Selon Maynadier, le chef a répondu comme suit :

Il doit y avoir un rêve pour moi d'être dans une si belle pièce, et entouré de tels que vous. Ai-je dormi au cours des quatre dernières années d'épreuves et d'épreuves, et je rêve que tout ira bien à nouveau, ou est-ce réel ? Oui, je vois que c'est le cas, la belle journée, le ciel bleu et sans nuage, le vent calme et tranquille, convient à la course que je fais, et rappelle-moi que tu m'as offert la paix. Nous pensons que nous avons été très lésés et que nous avons droit à une indemnisation pour les dommages et la détresse causés par la construction de tant de routes à travers notre pays et par la chasse et la destruction des buffles et du gibier. Mon cœur est très triste et je ne peux pas parler affaires. J'attendrai de voir les conseillers que le Grand Père Blanc enverra.

À environ 200 mètres au nord du poste, les soldats ont construit un échafaudage pour contenir le cercueil. La plate-forme était à environ huit pieds au-dessus du sol. Au coucher du soleil d'une journée claire et claire mais extrêmement froide, le cortège s'est mis en route. Une ambulance a transporté le cercueil jusqu'au lieu de sépulture, situé à l'intérieur du cimetière à poteaux clôturés. Un obusier de montagne de 12 livres a suivi le transport funéraire, avec le postillon husky resplendissant de chevrons rouges. Puis vinrent les 200 Indiens du train Spotted Tail et la plupart des 600 hommes de la garnison qui n'étaient pas de service, marchant tous au son de la musique solennelle de la fanfare de la poste. Les Brulés tuèrent deux poneys blancs, clouant la tête par les oreilles aux poteaux, face au soleil levant. Au-dessous des têtes se trouvaient des récipients d'eau que les animaux pouvaient boire pendant qu'ils transportaient la fille vers le pays des esprits. Les soldats formaient un grand carré autour du site, tandis que les Indiens formaient un cercle autour de la crypte.

Les agents ont placé la fille dans le cercueil ouvert. Le colonel Maynadier a fourni une paire de gantelets pour garder les mains de Mini-Aku au chaud, tandis que d'autres officiers ont ajouté des articles tels que des mocassins, de la flanelle rouge et des vêtements, tous destinés à garder la jeune fille à l'aise pendant son voyage. Le major O’Brien a mis un billet vert pour qu'elle puisse acheter ce qu'elle voulait en route vers le monde des esprits. Chacune des femmes indiennes est sortie, portant un petit cadeau, un collier de perles, une pomme de pin brodée, un petit miroir. Each whispered something to the deceased and then returned to her place. Finally, Spotted Tail gave a little red book to the post chaplain, the Rev. Alpha Wright. It was an Episcopal prayer book that Brevet Maj. Gen. William Harney had given the girl many years before. The chaplain placed it inside. Many hands raised the coffin to its resting place on the scaffold, with the head placed toward the east. Chaplain Wright then conducted services, improvising a sermon. He promised that the girl would look down and take care of her father, mother and friends, and that they would soon meet her where there was plenty of game and no more snowstorms, tears or dying. The mother of the dead girl wept deeply while the father-chief often wiped his eyes.

The result of the burial at Fort Laramie was the beginning of a trust between the officer and the Brulé leader. In ending a letter to the commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, written the day following the burial, Maynadier declared, ‘The occurrence of such an incident is regarded by the oldest settlers, men of most experience in Indian character, as unprecedented, and as calculated to secure a certain and lasting peace.’ Maynadier concluded that the chief would ‘not have confided the remains of his child to the care of any but those whom he intended to be friends always.’ The officer was correct Spotted Tail never fought whites again. Perhaps it was as Colonel Henry Carrington later conjectured: ‘As his daughter was adopted by the white man’s Great Spirit, he had no heart to fight the white man any more.’

On March 12, Spotted Tail and Red Cloud approached Fort Laramie for a council. Maynadier and his officers went out to meet them near the crossing of the North Platte River two miles east of the post. There were about 200 warriors in the party, the Sioux drawn up in a line, singing and shouting. Besides the two chiefs were other prominent leaders, among them Standing Elk, Brave Bear and Trunk. Maynadier rode into Fort Laramie with Spotted Tail on one side and Red Cloud on the other, presenting as he put it, ‘a gay and novel appearance.’ In all, there were about 700 Brulés and Oglalas that camped nearby, the people described as being destitute of everything.

After hearing their grievances about whites entering their hunting grounds, their poverty and the difficult winter, Maynadier gave them the expected feast. Red Cloud stated that he wanted to meet the Great White Father, and the officer promised to explore the possibility. Swift Bear and 40 lodges arrived in the area on the same day that Maynadier met with Spotted Tail and Red Cloud. They camped near the trading house of Red Cloud’s brother-in-law James Bordeaux, nine miles east of Fort Laramie on the North Platte River.

With these events, prospects for peace on the Plains looked promising. The surrender and discussions with these bands of Sioux were auspicious beginnings for treaty negotiations that were slated for Fort Laramie on May 20. Red Cloud, the fabled Oglala chief who had counted 80 coups against his Indian enemies in war, was the key. Just emerging as a leader of the resistant Sioux in the southern half of the Northern Plains, he commanded respect. Blessed with a beautiful oratorical voice, his words complemented his deeds. While the Indian War of 1865 was over, it would be Red Cloud who determined whether there would be an Indian War of 1866, for Spotted Tail had made his peace forever. In 1868 Spotted Tail was one of many native leaders — Lakotas, Cheyennes, Arapahos and Crows — to sign the Fort Laramie Treaty, which, among many other things, called for an end to all war between the Plains tribes and the U.S. government and its citizens.

Over the years, legends grew about the Indian maiden, and different names surfaced. Colonel Maynadier in his accounts of the affair called her Ah-ho-ap-pa (‘Wheat Flower’) and then Hinziwin (‘Fallen Leaf’). Eugene Ware, who was the post adjutant at Fort Laramie when the funeral took place, also called her Ah-ho-ap-pa in a magazine article and in his book The Indian War of 1864, published in 1890. This became ‘Falling Leaf’ in other renditions by numerous authors. In 1867 Louis Simonin, a Parisian traveling the West, identified her as Moneka. A newspaper in 1902 identified her as Shunk-hee-zee-wah (‘The Girl that Owned the Yellow Mare’). A 1909 account named her ‘Fleet Foot,’ and it seems that her white acquaintances called her Monica when she was living at Fort Laramie. Other names included ‘Faded Flower,’ ‘White Flower’ and ‘Princess.’ And so it went, each new story adding embellishments and often new names for Spotted Tail’s famous daughter. In some stories Mini-Aku was having a secret affair with an officer who promised to marry her. When it did not work out, she died of a broken heart. Some identified the officer as Captain Levi Rienhart, of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, who died in an Indian fight west of Fort Laramie on February 13, 1865. One of the most intriguing stories is found in Carrie De Voe’s Legends of the Kaw, appearing in 1904. De Voe relates that Mini-Aku’s lover was Thomas Dorion, a military courier. He had been sent as a messenger of peace. Staying with the Brulés for a short time, he had fallen in love with the girl and desired to marry her, and she had expressed a willingness to become his wife. However, Mini-Aku grew ill and died before it happened.

During the 1880s a song written by some unknown Fort Laramie soldier kept the legend alive. Whenever men gathered to sing, ‘Fallen Leaf’ was sure to be heard. Johnny O’Brien, a son of a Fort Laramie enlisted man, remembered the verses even when he was 90 years old:

Far beyond the rolling prairies
Where the noble forest lies
Dwelled the fairest Indian maiden
Ever seen by mortal eyes.
And her eyes were like the sunset
Daughter of an Indian Chief
Came to brighten life in autumn
So they called her Fallen Leaf.
Fallen Leaf the breezes whisper
Of thy spirit’s early flight,
And within that lonely wigwam
There’s a wail of woe tonight
Through a long and tangled forest
All upon a summer’s day
Came a hunter weak and weary
From his long and lonely way.
Weeks went by but still he lingered.
Fallen Leaf was by his side.
And with love she smiled upon him
Soon to be his woodland bride
One bright day this hunter wandered
Through the prairie all alone.
Fallen Leaf she watched and waited
But his fate was never known.
On a summer’s day she fainted.
In the autumn leaves she died,
And they closed her eyes in slumber
Near the Laramie riverside.

Mini-Aku was indeed a tragic figure, with hopes unfulfilled and dreams that never came to be.

This article was written by John D. McDermot and originally appeared in the February 2006 issue of Far West.

Pour plus d'articles, assurez-vous de vous abonner à Far West magazine aujourd'hui !


Spotted Tail - History

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HERITAGE

Sometimes also spelled &ldquoLakhota,&rdquo this group consists of seven tribes who were known as warriors and buffalo-hunters. Sometimes called the Tetons (referring to their dialect and location west of the Dakota on the plains) the seven tribes include:

Ogalala (&ldquothey scatter their own,&rdquo or &ldquodust scatterers&rdquo)

Sicangu or Brule (&ldquoBurnt Thighs&rdquo)

Hunkpapa (&ldquoend of the circle&rdquo),

Miniconjou (&ldquoplanters beside the stream&rdquo),

Sihasapa or Blackfoot (Ntote confused with the separate Blackfoot tribe)

Itazipacola (or Sans Arcs: &ldquowithout bows&rdquo)

Oohenupa (&ldquoTwo Boilings&rdquo or &ldquoTwo Kettle&rdquo)

This band was found in the upper Mississippi Region in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. There were about 20,000 Lakota in the mid 18th century, a number which has increased to about 70,000 today, of which approximately 1/3 still speak their ancestral language.

The Lakota were located in and around present-day Minnesota when Europeans began to explore and settle the land in the 1600s. Living on small game, deer, and wild rice, they were surrounded by large rival tribes. Conflict with their enemy, the Ojibwa eventually forced the Lakota to move west. By the 1700s, the Lakota had acquired horses and flourished hunting buffalo on the high plains of Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, and as far north as Canada. The Tetons, the largest of the Lakota tribes dominated the region.

As white settlers continued to push west onto Sioux lands and multiple treaties were made and broken, the Sioux retaliated, resulting in three major wars and numerous other battles and skirmishes.

The first major clash occurred in 1854 near Fort Laramie, Wyoming, when 19 U.S. soldiers were killed. In retaliation, in 1855 U.S. troops killed about 100 Sioux at their encampment in Nebraska and imprisoned their chief. In 1866-1867, Red Cloud&rsquos War was fought that ended in a treaty granting the Black Hills in perpetuity to the Sioux. The treaty, however, was not honored by the United States gold prospectors and miners flooded the region in the 1870s. In the ensuing conflict, General George Armstrong Custer and 300 troops were killed at Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876, by the Sioux Chief Sitting Bull and his warriors.

After that battle, the Sioux separated into their various groups. The massacre by U.S. troops of about 150 to 370 Sioux men, women, and children at Wounded Knee in December 1890 marked the end of Sioux resistance until modern times.

The Rosebud Indian Reservation has large areas of Ponderosa Pine forest scattered in its grasslands and deep valleys are defined by steep hills and ravines, often with lakes dotting the deeper valleys. It's 922,759 acres include 20 communities. The tribal headquarters is located in the community of Rosebud.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, more properly known as Sicangu Lakota Oyate, or Burnt Thigh People, are descendants of the Sicangu Oyate of the Tetonwan Division of the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires. Historically, they were warriors and hunters and expert horsemen. Native plants and wildlife were very important to the Sicangu people and continue to be today.


This collection relates to the Lakota Sioux tribe that lived in northwest Nebraska and parts of South and North Dakota. The collection consists mostly of photographic prints and postcards. Many of the images relate to life on reservations and to the interaction between Native Americans and Euro-Americans. This collection consists of 685 photographic prints and postcards relating to Lakota Indians. Included are many photographs of Chief Red Cloud and his family, from the lat 1800s to around the time of his death in 1909 images from an 1868 treaty council at Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory, with individuals identified photographs of Indian camps, agencies, missions, and schools images show


Spotted Tail - History

About ten miles north are the sites of Spotted Tail Agency and Camp Sheridan. Named for Brule Sioux Chief Spotted Tail, the agency was built in 1874 to supply treaty payments, including food, clothing, weapons, and utensils, under the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. The army established Camp Sheridan nearby to protect the agency. A similar arrangement prevailed for the Ogalala Sioux at Red Cloud Agency and Camp Robinson forty miles west.

Spotted Tail Agency was generally quiet and peaceful throughout the Indian War of 1876-77. Crazy Horse surrendered there on September 4, 1877, after fleeing Red Cloud Agency. He was stabbed to death the next evening while being imprisoned at Camp Robinson, but his parents returned his body to Camp Sheridan for burial.

On October 29, 1877, Spotted Tail's Brules were moved to present South Dakota. In 1878 they occupied the Rosebud Agency, where they live today. Camp Sheridan, with a peak garrison of seven companies of soldiers, was abandoned on May 1, 1881.

Société historique de l'État du Nebraska
Camp Sheridan and Spotted Tail Agency
Sunset Park alone Hwy. 20, Hay Springs
Sheridan County
Marker 354


Peace, War, Land and a Funeral: The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868

Toward sunset one evening in March 1866, a large group of Indian, white and mixed-blood people moved away from the parade ground at Fort Laramie and out toward a graveyard on a hill. Leading them was an army wagon with a coffin in it. Next came a small group of relatives of the dead girl. Their clothes, a feather or two, and the fur around the edges of their buffalo robes fluttered slightly in the breeze. Next came a large crowd of officers, enlisted soldiers, and tribespeople, walking quietly and paying attention to the weather and their steps. Slowly they made their way over the ground past the sutler’s store and hospital, and up a low rise beyond.

At the cemetery was a platform on four posts about seven feet high. The relatives of the dead girl gathered closest around the coffin: her mother, her aunts, and her father, Spotted Tail or Sinte Gleska, chief of the Brulé or Sicangu Lakota, called Sioux by the whites. The other Indians and soldiers stood in rings around the relatives.

Then in the silence a chaplain gave a prayer, which an interpreter translated it into Lakota. The dead girl’s mother and aunts wept quietly. Other people placed special things on the coffin. Col. Henry Maynadier, the highest-ranking soldier at the fort, laid down his best kid gloves. Then the girl’s relatives covered the coffin with a buffalo robe and a red wool blanket, raised it to the platform, and tied it down with leather thongs.

By 1866 war between Indians and whites had become almost constant on the high plains of what soon would become Wyoming. An event like this was rare. Old-timers regarded it as “unprecedented,” Col. Maynadier reported to officials back in Washington, D.C. But he had high hopes, he added, that the mutual feelings of loss would allow both sides to come together in “a certain and lasting peace.”

Young Mni Akuwin

Spotted Tail’s daughter Mni Akuwin—Brings Water Home—was born about 1848, so she would have been 17 or 18 when she died. Probably she was with her people when trouble broke out in their village in 1854, and 2nd Lt. John Grattan and his 30 soldiers were killed, and with her people also when they were attacked in turn by Brig. Gen. William Harney’s cavalry on Blue Water Creek in western Nebraska the following year. Many children and women were killed in that fight, and many more were taken back to Fort Laramie by the soldiers, as hostages.

When her father went to prison at Fort Leavenworth in distant northeastern Kansas the year after that, his family went with him. On their way home, after he was released, they spent some months at Fort Kearny in Nebraska. And each year after that, when Spotted Tail and the Brulé people visited Fort Laramie to trade and to pick up the food and clothes the government had promised them, Mni Akuwin went along.

She became a particular friend of the officers and their wives—“they made a pet of her,” one historian put it. She loved to watch soldiers march and turn and slap their rifles to the ground. And they liked showing off for her. “Among ourselves we called her ‘the princess,’” an officer remembered many years later. “She was looking, always looking, as if she were feeding upon what she saw.”

Years of war

Relations worsened between whites and Indians as tens of thousands of people poured each year past Fort Laramie on Oregon/California/Mormon Trail. The Brulé people stayed more friendly than other Lakota bands did—the Oglala and the Hunkpapa, for example. But after the massacre of a peaceful Cheyenne village on Sand Creek in Colorado near the end of 1864, even the Brulé felt they had to make war. That winter, the southern Cheyenne, Arapaho, and various Lakota bands all moved north, raiding as they went. On the Powder and Tongue Rivers in northern Wyoming, they joined up with the Oglala, in gatherings of great power.

The following summer was all-out war. Lt. Caspar Collins and 26 other soldiers were killed in a fight at what’s now Casper, Wyo. General Patrick Connor led a successful attack on an Arapaho village on the Tongue River, but his 2,500 troops came close to starving later that summer as they chased the tribes all over the Powder River country. From Fort Laramie, Col. Thomas Moonlight sent Spotted Tail and the Brulé under guard down the Platte to Fort Kearny, as prisoners of war. But they escaped, crossed the river, and headed north. When the cavalry came after them the Indians ran off all the soldiers’ horses, and they had to walk 100 miles back to Fort Laramie in disgrace, carrying their saddles.

The whites realized they were getting nowhere, and decided to see if they could make peace. In the fall, Col. Maynadier sent messages out to the Oglala and Brulé bands in the Powder River country. After three months the messengers returned: Red Cloud and 250 Oglala lodges would come the fort to talk, also Swift Bear, Spotted Tail, and the Brulé people. Despite their victories, it had been a hard winter. Buffalo were harder than ever to find, and when the generally peaceful tribes like the Brulé made war, they had to do without the yearly supplies the government owed them otherwise.

Just as the Brulé were starting on the long trip south to Fort Laramie, Mni Akuwin died, probably of tuberculosis or pneumonia, perhaps of simple hunger and exhaustion. She had never done well away from the forts. Before she died she asked her father to have her buried near the fort. Spotted Tail sent a message to Maynadier asking if this would be possible. Maynadier immediately answered yes.

The colonel had known the family years before, perhaps when he spent the winter on Deer Creek near what’s now Glenrock, Wyo., with an army expedition mapping new routes to Montana. But up to this point Maynadier had been unsure of Spotted Tail’s real intentions—whether peaceful or warlike. Now he was sure the chief meant peace. He rode out with a small group of officers to welcome the Brulé when he learned they were near.

Back at the fort, Maynadier told Spotted Tail that a special commission of peacemakers would arrive from the East in a few months to work out details of a treaty. Meanwhile, he was honored that the chief would trust him with his daughter’s remains, and they should have a funeral at sunset.

Spotted Tail was moved, yet calmed by the colonel’s sympathy. He said the tribes were due payments to make up for the vanishing buffalo, and all the new roads being built through their lands. But such matters could wait for later, he said, when the peace commissioners came. The chief’s emotions had a strong effect on the other Indians, Maynadier reported, “and satisfied some [whites] who had never before seemed to believe it, that an Indian had a human heart to work on and was not a wild animal.”

An attempt at peace

Within a few days, Red Cloud and 200 Oglala warriors arrived. As weeks went by, more and more Indians camped nearby, coming and going all the time. The soldiers were nervous, especially when the Indian men walked around with their bows strung and their hands full of arrows. The soldiers didn’t trust their officers, either. Private Hervey Johnson wrote home to his sisters in Ohio that Maynadier had been making nothing but promises to the Indians all spring, “the most of which he is unable to fulfil, and in fact being drunk most of his time I guess he don’t know half the time what he is promising.”

Johnson was right. Maynadier était making a lot of promises, and giving out a lot of presents and supplies so the tribes would stick around. This was risky. Though it was clear the grieving Spotted Tail was for peace, neither Maynadier nor any of the white officers had bothered to find out what Red Cloud and the Oglalas thought.

At last the peace commissioners arrived. The government had no desire, they told the Indians, to buy or occupy their land. All they wanted was a safe way through the Powder River country. Gold had been discovered in Montana, and much of the fighting had been along the Bozeman Road, the new road north to the gold fields. Whites would stay on the roads and wouldn’t kill off the buffalo or otherwise disturb the game, the commissioners promised. If the tribes would agree, they would be paid well in yearly supplies. Red Cloud and Spotted Tail asked for time to bring in the rest of their people, camped in Nebraska, a few days’ journey away.

The day the peace talks reopened, by sheer coincidence, Col. Henry B. Carrington and 700 troops showed up at Fort Laramie. They were on their way to build new forts on the Bozeman Road. No one had told the Indians about this. Red Cloud was disgusted. Here the Indians had agreed to nothing, and yet the whites were sending a new army to build new forts in the country they still had no rights to travel through. With the other fighting Indians, mostly Oglala, he left and went back north.

Spotted Tail, the Brulé people and some southern Oglala people signed the treaty. They were tired of war, tired of living away from the big forts, and they had never really regarded the Powder River country as theirs in any case. The commissioners had signatures on paper, but their loose promises and the army’s bad timing only ensured more war.

It came to be called Red Cloud’s war. Carrington’s troops strengthened Fort Reno on the Powder and built two more forts—Fort Phil Kearny on Piney Creek near what’s now Story, Wyo., and Fort C.F. Smith on the Bighorn River in Montana Territory. The tribes raided the road constantly, making travel almost impossible. In December, Red Cloud’s Oglala warriors and their Cheyenne allies lured Captain William Fetterman and 80 soldiers out of Fort Phil Kearny and killed them all in the snow. Two more fights near the forts the following summer ended in a draw.

Again, the government was ready to try peace. But this time, the Union Pacific Railroad was being built across the plains, changing everything. After the Indians made just a few raids on the railroad route, company officials had threatened to stop work altogether unless the government could protect the crews.

Congress appointed a new peace commission in 1867. These men met first with leaders of the southern plains tribes in Kansas—Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Comanche and Apache. The leaders agreed their people would move onto reservations. But the people didn’t like the idea much, and soon rejected it. At Fort Laramie, no Lakota people would come in to talk at all. Red Cloud sent word that the war would stop as soon as the army abandoned the new forts and closed the Bozeman Road.

Peace again on the horizon

And this, the government was ready to do. For one thing, the army had shrunk drastically since the end of the Civil War. There simply weren’t enough troops to protect the Bozeman Road, the railroad builders et the new black citizens and their right to vote in the Reconstruction South.

Second, war was expensive. Congressmen who favored peace argued it was cheaper to feed the Indians than to fight them. Third, it was unjust. Ever since Sand Creek, Congress and the nation had been rethinking the fairness of making war on Indians to force them to give up their lands.

Finally, as soon as the new railroad was finished, there would be a much shorter wagon route north from Utah to the gold fields of western Montana. Whites would not need the Bozeman Road anymore. It wasn’t worth more war.

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant sent word to abandon the forts on the Bozeman Road. The peace commission took the train to Cheyenne in early April 1868, and from there took the road to Fort Laramie. With them they brought Spotted Tail and his headmen from Nebraska, and a load of presents for any Indians willing to sign a new treaty.

A new treaty, an uncertain future

The Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868, as it came to be called, set aside a reservation for the Lakota that included all of what is now South Dakota west of the Missouri River. This was a lot of land, but not nearly as much had been set aside for the Lakota in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, seventeen years before. The new treaty also allowed the Lakota to keep hunting on what was called “unceded Indian territory.”

This included the Powder River country the Oglala had fought so hard to keep—all the land north of the North Platte and east of the Bighorn Mountains. It also included land south of the South Platte along the Republican River in Kansas and Nebraska, which was meant for Spotted Tail’s Brulé people.

But most of the words in the treaty are about farming—how the Indians could file land claims on the new reservation, how they could eventually own the land as individuals, separate from their tribes, how owning land would allow them to be full U.S. citizens, how the government would provide them with seeds, tools, and oxen to pull their plows, and provide them too with expert farmers to advise them, blacksmiths to fix their tools, millers to grind their grain, and teachers to teach their children an English-language education.

Many Indians, including various Brulé, Oglala, Minniconjou, and Yankton Lakota people, plus some Arapaho people, signed in April and May, but all who did so had been more or less friendly already. The army finally abandoned Fort C.F. Smith on July 29. Red Cloud and his warriors burned it down the next day, and burned Fort Phil Kearny after it and Fort Reno were abandoned a few days later. Red Cloud sent word he might come in after a while, but first, the Oglalas would go hunt buffalo, as they did every fall.

On November 4, Red Cloud came to Fort Laramie. With him were about 125 men, leaders of the Oglala, Hunkpapa, Brulé, Blackfeet, and Sans Arc bands of the Lakota. The peace commissioners had all left months before, Maynadier was no longer in charge, and only Col. William Dye was on hand at the fort to take their signatures.

When Dye was explaining the complicated parts of the treaty about land claims and farming, Red Cloud interrupted. His people were not interested in leaving their country for a new place, or in farming, he said. He added that he had not come because he’d been sent for, but only to hear the latest news, and to get some ammunition for fighting the Oglala’s old enemies, the Crow. Dye said he couldn’t provide powder and lead for any Indians still at war with the U.S. The next day, Red Cloud had more questions, especially about how far the hunting grounds and reservation actually extended. It seemed as if the talks would bog down in detail and suspicion.

Finally, nervous and reluctant, Red Cloud rubbed his hands in dust from the floor, washed them with a dusty washing motion, took a pen, and made his mark on the treaty paper. He asked all the white men to touch the pen, which they did. Then he shook hands all around, and made a speech. He was ready for peace, he said. There was no need for more war. He wasn’t sure if he’d go to the reservation anytime soon, however, and he hoped the Oglala could visit and trade at Fort Laramie again, as they had in the more peaceful years of the past. His people had no desire to farm, and as long as there was game, he saw no need for them to learn.

Each side was lost in a dream of the other’s point of view. The whites assumed the buffalo would only last a few more years, and soon the tribes would move peacefully onto the reservation and start farming. The Indians, and especially the Oglala, assumed they had won the war and protected their traditional hunting ground.

Both would turn out to be very, very wrong. Anyone who looked up toward the hill beyond the sutler’s store and the hospital would have seen Mni Akuwin’s coffin still up there, on top of the four-post platform. That view, and the loss it recalled, would have been something both sides understood, if they’d bothered to look.


RG2969.PH000001-000066 - Print, Photographic

Black and white group photograph of twelve men, one woman and a child standing and sitting in front of a bluff dressed in their best outfits. One man wears a full feather headdress, the others have at least one feather in their hair. Several men wear white shirts and some wear beaded vests, all are wrapped in blankets and wear moccasins. Two men hold spears. Among those in the picture are: One Star, William Spotted Tail, Keeps the Mountain, Aaron White Thunder, Sees Red, Afraid of Eagle, Big Head, Eagle Bird, Pizzola and his family. The photograph was taken at the Rosebud Reservation. Some of the people in this photograph were part of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Same as glass plat


Spotted Tail - History

Lesson 3
Spotted Tail and Mary Collins

In 1877, the Great Sioux Reservation stretched for many miles. It went west from the Missouri River almost all the way to the Black Hills. But the Lakotas nomadic way of life was over. No longer could they hunt buffalo. Instead, their food and clothing came from the United States government. It was payment for the land the Lakotas had given up. Government agents played a large role in the people s lives. Agents urged them to send their children to school. They told them to take up farming.

Spotted Tail and the Sicangu Lakotas

Spotted Tail was a Brul (Sicangu) Lakota. As a strong voice for his people, he led them in their dealings with the United States. He was born in about 1823 near the White River. He earned honor among his people as a warrior. He fought other tribes and United States soldiers. He spent time in prison in Kansas for killing soldiers.


Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society


Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society

When gold seekers came to the Black Hills, Spotted Tail visited the mines. He saw that the hills were of great value. He urged the Lakotas not to sell them. Even so, he kept his people at their agence during the fighting in Montana. Spotted Tail was one of the leaders who signed the agreement with the government. He gave up the Black Hills so that his people could eat. Spotted Tail settled with the Sicangus on what would become the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He remained a powerful leader until his death in 1881.

Mary Collins and Sitting Bull

Christian missionaries now came to the reservation. President Ulysses S. Grant asked them to teach the Indians a new way of life. The missionaries taught about the Christian religion. They taught reading and writing. Some missionaries taught in both Lakota and English. They taught farming and home building. They were not always welcome. Missionaries had to win the trust of the people.

Mary C. Collins came to work among the Lakotas. She left thirty-five years later as a friend. She was born in Illinois in 1846. She taught school in Iowa for a few years. Then she came to work at the Oahe Mission on the Missouri River. Later Collins moved to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. She lived among Sitting Bull s band. Collins learned the Lakota language. She and Sitting Bull were friends. They valued each other s opinions .


Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society

These were desperate times for the Lakotas. New laws and treaties broke up the Great Sioux Reservation. First Congress allotted land to the Lakotas. Each adult got 160 acres. This was the same size of farm that settlers got as a homestead. Three-quarters of the adult men signed a paper agreeing to sell the rest of their lands. This is called the Sioux Agreement of 1889. Then Congress made six smaller reservations. All land not allotted to Lakotas was opened to settlers the next year. The Lakotas were not happy about this. The government was behind in payments of food and supplies. People were hungry. Missionaries like Mary Collins did what they could to help. Then a new religion spread among the people.

Les Ghost Dance religion promised that the settlers would disappear the buffalo would come back to feed the people. Many Lakotas came together to dance so that this might come to pass. Fear spread among the settlers. The new religion looked like the start of a new war. The United States Army was afraid that Sitting Bull would be the leader. Mary Collins asked Sitting Bull to stop the dancing. She feared that many Indians would be killed. Her advice was too late. United States soldiers and Indian policemen came to arrest Sitting Bull. There was a fight, and Sitting Bull was killed. Some Lakotas fled south to the Badlands. The army stopped one group at Wounded Knee Creek. Over 150 Lakota men, women, and children were killed. About thirty soldiers died. For the Lakotas, it was the end of all hope for the old style of life.

Mary Collins stayed with the Lakotas. She tried to help them adapt to the reservation. She fought to get them more money for their lands. She moved back to Iowa when she retired. Even there, she worked to make friends for the Indians. She died in 1920.


Spotted Tail - History

The history of Native Americans in North America dates back thousands of years. Exploration and settlement of the western United States by Americans and Europeans wreaked havoc on the Indian peoples living there.

In the 19th century the American drive for expansion clashed violently with the Native American resolve to preserve their lands, sovereignty, and ways of life. The struggle over land has defined relations between the U.S. government and Native Americans and is well documented in the holdings of the National Archives.

Treaty of 1868, April 29, 1868, top of page 1

The Black Hills of Dakota are sacred to the Sioux Indians. In the 1868 treaty, signed at Fort Laramie and other military posts in Sioux country, the United States recognized the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, set aside for exclusive use by the Sioux people. However, after the discovery of gold there in 1874, the United States confiscated the land in 1877. To this day, ownership of the Black Hills remains the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. government and the Sioux.

Page 2 bears the signatures of the American commissioners who represented the United States (including Lt.-Gen. William T. Sherman) , while page 3 features the names and markings of the Sioux chiefs. You can see high- resolution images of the treaty:


"Spotted Tail, a Brul Sioux chief of great renown"
(National Archives, Still Picture Branch, 111-SC-82538 )


Taeniura lymma

Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray. Photo © Klaus Jost

This smaller ray (12 to 14 inches across) has an oval pectoral disc that is usually yellow to brown to olive-green and scattered with blue spots on top, and white underneath. It looks a lot like the bluespotted stingray, but this ray is much rounder and has a noticeably thicker tail. It has two venomous spines on its tail, but it tends to be shy to humans and will only use these as defense if threatened or stepped on. They prefer hunting crustaceans and small fish in reefs, and will follow the high tide into shallower, sandy areas.

Order – Rajiformes Family – Dasyatidae Genus – Taeniura Species – lymma

Common Names

English language common names for this species include bluespotted ribbontail ray, blue spotted lagoon ray, blue spotted stingray, blue-spotted fantail ray, blue-spotted lagoon ray, blue-spotted ray, blue-spotted ribbontail ray, blue-spotted stingray, bluespotted fantail ray, bluespotted ribbontailray, bluespotted stingray, lagoon ray, lesser fan-tailed ray, lesser fantail ray, reef ray, ribbon-tailed ray, and ribbontail stingray. Other common names include ali maduva (Sinhalese), ath maduva (Sinhalese), blåplettet pigrokke (Danish), blauwgestippelde pijlstaartrog (Dutch), bloukol-lintstertrog (Afrikaans), ikan pari (Malay), kiampao (Cebuano), krabane tong (Thai), lukhmah (Arabic), nauhakeihäsrausku (Finnish), nyenga (Swahili), pagi (Tagalog), pari karang (Malay), pari kembang (Malay), pari reben (Malay), pastenague queue à ruban (French), rajalátigo rabo cinta (Spanish), ratão pintalgado (Portuguese), ruget (Arabic), shafane (Somali), trnucha lemovaná (Czech), vali (Gela), and yilinggan (Guugu Yimidhirr).

Importance to Humans

Up-close view of the eyes of a bluespotted ribbontrail ray. Photo © Steve Jones

The bluespotted ribbontail ray is taken by commercial fisheries as well as by recreational fishers as a game fish. This species is also popular with home marine aquarists although it tends not do well in captivity.

Danger to Humans

Bluespotted ribbontail rays are often shy, swimming away when approached by divers. However, when threatened, it will use its venomous tail spine to deliver venom into narrow groves running lengthwise along the underside of the stinger. The entire structure is covered by a thin layer of skin which, when broken, releases its venom into its victim. The sting from its spine can be quite painful.

Conservation

The IUCN is a global union of states, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations in a partnership that assesses the conservation status of species.

Although the bluespotted ribbontail ray is widely distributed, it is subject to human-pressures due to intense inshore fisheries and widespread habitat destruction of reefs. It also suffers pressure from the marine aquarium fish trade due to its popularity with home aquarists.

Geographical Distribution

World distribution map for the bluespotted ribbontail ray

The bluespotted ribbontail ray is found in the Indo-West Pacific region including the Red Sea and East Africa to the Solomon Islands north to Japan and south to northern Australia. In Australia it has been recorded from the central coast of Western Australia and to the northern tropics, and south to the northern coast of New South Wales.

Habitat

Bluespotted ribbontail rays are found in shallow temperate and tropical waters over continental shelves to depths of 66 feet (20 m). As a resident of coral reefs, this ray disperses during falling tides to take up shelter in crevasses and under rocky ledges. During rising tides, it migrates in small aggregations onto shallow sandy areas in search of prey. This species has rarely been observed buried under the sandy sediments.

La biologie

Bluespotted ribbontail ray. Photo © Doug Perrine

Distinctive Features
This stingray has an oval and elongated disc with broadly rounded outer corners. The snout is bluntly rounded with slender narrow nostrils and the spiracles are large and located close to the large eyes. The mouth and gills are located on the ventral surface of the ray. The pelvic fins are moderate in size and slender. The tail is stout and tapers, measuring less than twice the body length. The lower caudal finfold is broad and reaches the tip of the tail. There is usually two, but sometimes one, medium-sized spines present on the tail used to fend off would-be predators.

Bluespotted ribbontail rays are sometimes confused with the bluespotted stingray (as pictured above) due to similarities in coloration. Photo © Doug Perrine

The bluespotted ribbontail ray may be confused with the bluespotted stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) which is also found inshore over coral reefs. However, the bluespotted stingray can be distinguished with its more angular disc and a more slender tail.

Coloration
A visually interesting ray, the bluespotted ribbontail ray is grey-brown to yellow to olive-green or reddish brown in color with large bright blue spots across the dorsal surface of the disc. There are blue stripes on either side of the tail. The ventral surface is uniformly white.

Bluespotted ribbontail rays resides in coral reef habitats, venturing out to sandy areas during high tides to feed. Photo © Klaus Jost

Dentition
Inside the mouth, the numerous small teeth are arranged in plates and used for crushing prey such as mollusks and crabs.

Denticles
The disc of this ray is smooth with the exception of a small patch of thorns along the midback dorsal region of adult specimens.

Size, Age, and Growth
The maximum reported size of the bluespotted ribbontail ray is 12 inches (30 cm) disc width and a maximum total length of 28 inches(70 cm). The lifespan has yet to be determined.

Food Habits
Feeding in sandy areas adjacent to reefs during high tides, the bluespotted ribbontail ray’s prey include mollusks, worms, shrimps, crabs, and small fishes.

la reproduction
The reproductive mode of this ray is ovoviviparous with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine “milk” that is enriched with mucus, fat and protein. Females give birth to up to seven young per litter after a gestation period of 4-12 months (unknown). These young have markings similar to the adults including the characteristic blue spots.

The tail spines of a bluespotted ribbontrail ray. Photo © Doug Perrine

Prédateurs
A documented predator of the bluespotted ribbontail ray is the hammerhead shark. The hammerhead shark pin the ray to the bottom substrate with its heads, avoiding injury from the venomous spines while removing flesh from the dorsal surface of the ray. Other potential predators include marine mammals and large fish such as sharks.

Parasites
Echinobothrium helmymohamedi n.m. sp., a cestode, is a documented parasite on the bluespotted ribbontail ray taken from the Red Sea.

Taxonomie

The bluespotted ribbontail ray was originally described as Raja lymma by Forsskål in 1775. This name was later changed to Taeniura lymma (Forsskål 1775). Taeniura, the genus name, is derived from the Latin taenia meaning “stripe” and the Greek “oura” meaning “tail”, referring to the coloration of the tail. A synonym referring to this species in past scientific literature is Trygon ornatus Gray 1830.


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