Black Coal was one of the Northern Arapahoe warrior leaders that made their reputations in the fights in the late 1860s against the whites at Bozeman Trail and Powder River Country. In 1868 he was sent with Sorrel Horse, another warrior society leader, to the peace talks at Ft. Laramie. When the Arapahoes already had settled at Red Cloud agency around 1871, one of their main leaders, Medicine Man, died and Black Coal succeeded him. He gained stature as a tribal intermediary during many conflicts with the dominating Lakotas at Red Cloud. He also became a scout at the agency and tried to improve conditions for his people. Under Black Coal as the main leader the Arapahoes stayed out of the Sioux War of 1876. That made relations between them and the Lakota even more strained. Nevertheless Black Coal (with Friday and Sharp Nose) visited Washington with the Sioux delegation in 1877. There he worked for the decision to move the Arapahoes to the Sweetwater country in Wyoming, where the Shoshone reservation was placed. In March 1878 the first twenty-one lodges under the leadership of Black Coal arrived there. He was recognized by white officials there as head chief of the Northern Arapahoes. Black Coal died in 1893.
Please add what else can be found about Black Coal.
Last Edit: Aug 13, 2008 10:17:43 GMT -5 by Dietmar
There's a photo of Arapaho and Shoshoni headmen on the Wind River Reservation waiting to meet President Arthur in 1883 and Black Coal is there. The Arapaho moved to Wind River in 1878 after agitating to be removed from Red Cloud's influence, though it was noted that they frequently visited and entertained the Lakota, with whom, until the early 70s, they'd been close allies. Of course, after the move, they ended up with their hereditary enemies.
Here's one of the photos taken at the time by Haynes, but it's not the one I'm familiar with and I can't tell whether Black Coal, who's wearing a waistcoat in the other photo, is pictured:
Last Edit: Aug 13, 2008 13:54:07 GMT -5 by grahamew
There are some prominent Shoshones and Arapahoes in the last two Haynes pictures. Washakie sits on a horse far right (1st photo). I think his sons are in the photo, too. I must have their names somewhere.
I noted the names of the Arapahoes in the Ft. Robinson group photo as: Friday, Six Feathers, Black Coal, Sharp Nose, unidentified White Horse stands at McGillycuddy´s left. Standing far right is Old Eagle aka Washington
The individuals in the Carlisle group photo are: standing l.t.r.: Iron, James Irwin, Sharp Nose sitting l.t.r.: White Horse, Black Coal, Little Wolf
you´re right, but I believe that the photo above is of Six Feather, not White Horse as labelled at some websites. Somehow the names of these two seem to be confused either by Mitchell or by some archivist.
There are some other photos of Six Feather and White Horse as reference, for example the Carlisle image above.
Here's Baker and Johnston's Six Feathers - wearing the same bonnet as Black Coal. Baker and Johnston were responsible for some of the key photos of Washakie which are usually dated about ten years earlier than they were actually taken.