Post by kingsleybray on Jun 12, 2012 10:46:10 GMT -5
Yes, He Dog's reference in the Hinman interviews clearly pegs an Oglala war party against the Crows in summer 1857. It got back to the home village on the same day young Crazy Horse got in from his summer with the Cheyennes (and the July 29 battle on Solomon Fork). It's sometime in August. So the war party went out in let's say later July. It must be in reprisal for the Crow war party that Twiss reports. So again, I get the feeling of something winding down.
Alex Adams (Charging Crow) has left an autobiography that Ive just managed to access. He mentions a few Oglala war parties in 1857-58 but the main target seems to be Shoshones. I shall look at it with our interests in mind.
Incidentally, the Lakota expedition in July/August 1857 is mentioned with a bit more detail in Beckwith's 'Mythology of the Oglala', focusing on the exploits of a young Oglala boy in the fight. I'll post the story on the Intertribal Wars page.
Post by kingsleybray on Jun 13, 2012 5:10:21 GMT -5
I'm still at a preliminary stage in assessing the Alex Adams account. He was the son of a trader and an Oglala woman, one of Red Cloud's 'sisters'. Born about 1845, he grew up in the trading-Loafer community near Ft Laramie, and he was 12 years old when his uncle visited and took him to join the Oglalas in the north. Like He Dog, he mentions the arrival of Crazy Horse (age 16) returning from his sojourn with the Brules (and Cheyennes), i.e. August 1857. The following spring he mentions two war-parties against the Shoshones, in which both he and Crazy Horse took part. I suggest that this (or one of the fights) is the same as the Fight with the Grass House People (Northern Shoshone/Bannock) that I covered in CRAZY HORSE, A LAKOTA LIFE, pp 61-62, which I dated May 1858.
Alex's chronology is mashed up, but so far I can't see any ref's to Crow fights in 1857.
I must check the Beckwith story about Long Soldier.
Post by kingsleybray on Jun 13, 2012 5:26:30 GMT -5
I think that Twiss and possibly some of the peaceably inclined Oglala leaders kept up the dialogue with the Crows, and that Twiss must have held his projected council with the Crows in fall 1857, presumably after he brought the agency to Deer Creek. Hence the Schmidt diary ref. in Sept. 1858 to Iron Bull receiving his medal from Twiss about one year previous.
Alex Adams actually writes that Twiss moved the agency to Deer Cr. in order to make peace between the Oglalas and the Crows and Shoshones. "So they also came there, the three tribes all agreed and now made peace and shook hands, but this did not last very long, for in a few days afterward when all the Oglala men were out hunting games in the mountains the Crows came and made a clean-up on us. They took all the horses away, and so this caused much anger among our men. They set out at once and trailed them until they found them resting. They right away made a charge on them and they had to kill three men to recover all their horses."
This looks to be the horse stealing that Twiss mentions in his annual report, taking place in August 1858. Schmidt makes clear that "Ischuretsch", i.e White Temple/Iron Bull was one of the leaders, making reprisal for the death of his beloved son. So maybe the son was killed soon after the Nov. 1857 peace summit?
Amos Bad Heart Bull also dates to 1857 the 'capture' (yuspe) of a Crow man by Iron Whiteman (Hunkpatila band, kinsman of Crazy Horse), when the two men accidentally met each other alone on the prairie. Could this be the hapless youth?
Post by kingsleybray on Jun 13, 2012 5:45:52 GMT -5
Schmidt accompanied a camp of Kicked in the Bellies to Deer Creek Agency in fall 1858, intending to visit Twiss (who had sent tobacco and letters to five Crow leaders), try to patch up things with the Lakota, trade with Bissonette etc. They sent a few young men as envoys ahead of the camp, they returning to the camp on Sept. 30, 1858. They found large camps of Lakotas, Cheyennes, and Arapahos at the agency and had been well "received as friends by everyone, especially the whites." However three Lakota warriors rode up to them and "each hit them once over the chest with a whip - a sign of hatred and hostility." The people were also puzzled that Twiss requested that not the whole camp but only 20 men go on to visit the agency. All obviously signs of mounting tension.
Frustratingly, the Schmidt diary then goes silent. I'm unclear whether the camp continued to Deer Cr., perhaps not. Schmidt did accompany Twiss back to the States that fall, and from their conversations understood that Twiss projected for 1859 personally mediating a renewed peace between the Lakotas, Cheyennes, Arapahos and the Crows. This certainly didn't happen, as hostilities escalated following the killing of Black Shield's son.
But so fascinating to try and read history like people live it, looking forward not back, misreading events as foregone conclusions!
Post by kingsleybray on Jun 13, 2012 6:56:31 GMT -5
Alex Adams says that his uncle came to Fr Laramie when Alex was 12, sometime in 1857, and took him north to join the Northern Oglalas. He says that the Oglala proper (or Hunkpatila), the Slouchy Attitude (Oyuhpe), and the Bad People (Shikshichela) bands had all united in one village, and that when Alex and his uncle arrived they found that a large tribal war-party had gone against the Shoshones. Uncle and nephew then hurried to catch up with the party which they did, getting into a big fight with the Shoshones near the "Shoshone Moun tains", obviously western Wyoming. The Shoshones set the prairie on fire and the battle was fought in fire and smoke! Young Man Afraid of His Horse [aged c. 21] made one of his first war exploits here, killing and counting first coup on a brave Shoshone.
Ok, how I see this fitting in is that Alex is recalling the Sun Dance village of the N. Oglalas, this is c. June 1857, the location somewhere near the heads of the Cheyenne river, Pumpkin Buttes, and that after the ceremony as planned a tribal war-party went against the Shoshones, nb NOT the Crows at this stage.
What I suggest is that during the absence of the war-party with most ofthe active men, the Crow war-party referred to by Twiss, mounted in reprisal for the killing of the Crow woman by Miniconjou, drives through the region to the N. Platte, frightening the village, c. 200 lodges, which then fled eastward, reaching Rawhide Butte (Upper Platte Agency) at beginning of July. It then dispersed, some going down the Niobrara, some down to the lower N. Platte.
The tribal war-party returns home. Then He Dog's war-party, maybe the same as that detailed by Long Soldier to Beckwith, then goes after the Crows, striking into the Bighorn Mtns in reprisal. I suggest then (late summer-early fall) Twiss manages to patch things up temporarily.
What strikes me as interesting is that, after the killing of the Crow woman, all the war parties and/or horse stealing parties seem to have come from the Crows. Obviously with the noted exception of the Oglala expedition in August.
Were the Oglala & Miniconjou headmen, maybe driven by Twiss, more inclined to uphold the peace in 1857-1858?
Now, we can't know for sure horse stealing was not done by the Oglala & Miniconjou in this period, but evidence points to the Crows being more active: - Fall (?) 1857: two Crow men were discovered in a Miniconjou village stealing horses, one was killed - Winter 1857: ten Crows were discovered stealing Miniconjou horses, and all were killed - January 1858: Crows steal Lakota horses on the headwaters of the Cheyenne river - August 1858: Crow steal Oglala horses at UP agency - Sometime in 1858: Yellow Robe, a Crow scout in advance of a main party, is killed by Oglalas (although the sources differ on the Lakota tribe)
Post by kingsleybray on Jun 14, 2012 10:48:07 GMT -5
That's right, Carlo. The cliche of the aggressive Lakota bullying smaller tribes looks a little off in this case. It must be connected to the fact that by c. 1856 of the three Crow divisions, only the smallest - the Kicked in the Bellies - supported the Lakota alliances. The River Crows and to a lesser extent the Mountain Crow disapproved of the truce forged by the KitBs and perhaps were only too happy to resort to hostilities. I get the feeling that the Oglalas in June-July 1857 were stunned by the immediate Crow reprisals for the woman killed by the rogue Miniconjou warrior. So we get the He Dog-attested raid, late July-August, but then the chiefs seem to hold the line while Twiss tries to retrack diplomacy. One thing we haven't considered is the Bear Butte/Belle Fourche council that attracted many Teton (especially northern Teton) bands in August (July-August?), and which clearly took a strong line against the Crows. More to think about ....
When the U.S. government made it clear that Native Americans would be required to live on designated reservations, the Eastern Shoshone—unlike most tribes in the United States— were allowed to choose the location of their permanent home. They opted to settle in the “Warm Valley of the Wind River,” which was their traditional wintering area and an important hunting grounds. Protected by surrounding mountains and watered by alpine streams, the Wind River Valley is still known for the mild winters and abundant wildlife that made it an attractive home for the tribe more than 150 years ago.
Before the reservation was established, however, it wasn’t obvious which tribe would control Wind River Country. In those turbulent years, the West was becoming crowded with whites settlers and prospectors, and game had begun to be scarce on the Great Plains. Several tribes—including the Crow—were forced onto the Shoshone’s traditional hunting grounds in the Wind River Valley in search of food.
In 1866, the Crows were camped along the Wind River not far from Crowheart Butte well within the bounds of what the Shoshone considered to be their territory. The Shoshone chief, Washakie, sent a warrior and his wife with a message to the Crow saying they were welcome to hunt in the territory of the Owl Creek Range if they left the Wind River Mountains to the Shoshone people.
Chief Big Robber, the Crow leader, considered his tribe equal or more powerful than the Eastern Shoshone, and was not interested in being told what to do by Washakie. He responded to the offer by killing the warrior and sending a message back with his wife stating that the Crow were prepared to go into battle and they would hunt wherever they pleased.
Washakie immediately sent word of what had taken place to the Shoshone’s allies, the Bannocks, who were camped along the Popo Agie River a few miles south. The Bannocks joined the Shoshone in a surprise attack of the Crow camp. The ensuing battle raged for five days, with both sides evenly matched. Many warriors were lost and it was finally agreed that Washakie and Big Robber would fight a duel to reach some kind of conclusion. The victorious chief would have the right to claim the Wind River Valley.
The battle raged back and forth, but ultimately Washakie overcame Big Robber. In victory, the story goes, Washakie was so impressed with the bravery of Big Robber that instead of taking his scalp, he cut out his heart and placed it on the end of his lance as a sign of respect. Crowheart Butte was named after this act.
Among the local Indian tribes, the battle between Washakie and Big Robber settled once and for all who would control Wind River Country. In 1868, Washakie signed a treaty with the United States government formalizing this agreement and establishing the Wind River Reservation’s boundaries in Wyoming. Ten years later, the government moved a band of Northern Arapaho from Colorado into the Wind River Valley and onto what had been Shoshone tribal lands. Traditional enemies, neither tribe was happy with this arrangement, but the government assured them it was temporary. As was often the case with such promises, this one was not kept and 50 years later the Arapahoe were still living on the reservation. Finally, in 1928, the two tribes made their peace, and the Shoshone were compensated for the loss of land by the government. Today the Shoshone and the Arapaho share the reservation and govern it jointly.
I was recalling this story being also printed in a publication by the Shoshone Tribal Cultural Center (Fort Washakie, WY) in July 1994, under the title "Crowheart Butte Battle 1866". Title of the booklet is "Washakie 1798 - 1900", telling the known facts of the life of Chief Washakie.
Interesting additional information to find in that booklet:
In victory, Chief Washakie was so impressed with the bravery of the Crow Chief that he had cut out the heart of his antagonist and displayed it on the end of his lance until after the dance of victory held by the Shoshone warriors that night.
One of the Crow girls (Aha-why-per) captured during this battle was later to become the wife of Chief Washakie.
Just something I was remembering regarding that story.
Mr. Bray and Carlo,
thanks for that very interesting informations on the Crow - Lakota relations of that time period. I was following it and was trying to find out in which posting to find more details on the killing of that Crow woman by a Minneconjou warrior, that being apparently the starting point of the renewed hostilities among the two tribes. I did find only brief mention of that incident, so seemingly I overlooked it somehow. Do we have some details as for why this Lakota man was killing this Crow woman, or how that happend ?
The above is a link to my article 'Lone Horn's Peace: A New View of Sioux-Crow Relations, 1851-1858', published in NEBRASKA HISTORY magazine in 1985. In it I treat the killing of the Crow woman by the Miniconjou warrior White Robe. That fact is taken from the Lone Dog group of Winter Counts. See the endnotes in the article for the exact source.
thanks a lot for sharing that source, I was just reading the entire article. (Hope it is ok to call you just Kingsley, like you signed). Very interesting to learn about what happend at that time. I read the Tetons even thought to include the Yanktons in the reprisals if neccessary, tough they are close relatives. Well, I understand the given reasons as mentioned in the article. Now I noticed that we find two statements,one that the Sioux killed Big Robber, while second also the Shoshone say that Washakie killed him. Maybe hard to find out who really did, after almost 150 years.