He was one of the River Crow "head chiefs" trader WT Hamilton met in the Piegan village in October 1858; he calls him Old Yellow Bear, but that might just be a reference to his age. The other chief he met was Rotten Tail.
Studying Schmidt's diary, I found it exceedingly interesting to read about the internal tension caused by the discussion over Twiss’ invite to make peace with the Lakotas at Deer Creek. I feel this friction between the three Crow bands at this time deserves a closer look.
While the Mountain Crows did send a representation with the Kicked In The Bellies to Deer Creek, evidence from Schmidt confirms that the River Crows were all for war and very opposed to the Kicked In The Bellies going. Could the four River Crow men who joined the KitB mission have been sent by the RC leaders to ensure that the KitB did not overextend their efforts for peace or, even more intriguing, were they sent to dissuade the KitB leaders?
We don’t know for sure how the meeting between Twiss and the twenty Crow leaders went, but I would submit that they politely listened to Twiss, accepted his presents, and then left without either returning the stolen horses (Iron Bull gave back his medal for it) or making peace with the Lakotas. Was this partly due to River Crow political pressure, executed through the four River Crow men in camp?
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.
Kingsley, let's give this thread a little kick!
In R. Eli Paul (ed.), "Autobiography of Red Cloud", p119-124, one chapter sheds some interesting light on the summer/fall 1857 situation with the Oglalas. The book says the events transpired in the year 1856, but the evidence (eg. Young Man Afraid's raid against the Shoshones) points to a year later. This makes more sense, given the volatile 1857 summer as compared to the quiet 1856 summer. In any case, we learn of Crows stealing Oglala horses in the 1857 summer from a camp along the Little Missouri. Interesting to note is the comment that the Oglalas did not expect to be raided, having "lived in peace" and had let down their guard. Red Cloud led a group in pursuit, finding a small Crow village of 20 lodges on the Rosebud, and stealing a large herd from them.
Later, it seems in the fall, the Oglalas are again visited by the Crows, but a ruse led them to capture a string of 60 worn out pack animals rather than good horses. The ruse was set because "they rather preferred to be at peace" and didn't want to be forced to retaliate (had the Crows stolen their good horses). The Oglalas still seems to cling on to the peace pact, while the Crows have clearly started to raid again.
Then, later that same fall, the Oglalas decide to raid the Crows after all. Red Cloud takes one party, but is ambushed en route by a roving Crow war party and loses all his horses. At the same time, the raiding party led (?) by Young Man Afraid is successful against the Shoshones.
Some of these details tie in well with the events mentioned in the post quoted above, but the timing does not fully align. Also, no mention is made unfortunately of the Bear Butte council in August 1857.
Okay, so here's how I see that the events unfurled in the summer/fall of 1857:
May: The Miniconjou/Oglala truce with the Kicked In The Bellies/Mountain Crows is still alive.
Early June: Crows' peaceful visit to a Miniconjou camp (or was this the large northern Oglala village?), and a Crow woman is killed by White Robe, a Miniconjou warrior.
Late June: The Crows send a war party in retaliation, and steal horses from the northern Oglala Sun Dance village. Red Cloud leads the pursuit and captures horses from a Crow camp.
It is possible that the war party with YMAOHH against the Shoshones was already out by the time the Crows struck. Yet, in AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RED CLOUD, the timing of the war party actually seems to coincide with Red Cloud's expedition in the early fall.
July/August: An Oglala-Miniconjou war party is assembled, with Long Soldier and He Dog joining.
Note: could this actually have been the very same war party that pursued the Crow horse stealers in late June, led by Red Cloud?
August: Great Lakota Council at Bear Butte. Another Oglala-Miniconjou war party, this time against the Gros Ventres.
September (early fall): Villages break up for fall hunts, and the Crows steal Oglala horses. Red Could leads a war party in retaliation, but they lose their horses to Crow raiders. Twiss tries to patch things up with the Crows, handing out peace medals to the chiefs.
Fall: The raiding dies down again in the coming fall, so Twiss had some success with the Crows. One incident is reported: Two Crow horse thieves are discovered inside a Miniconjou camp and one is killed.
Then, from the winter onwards into 1858, the Crows are aggressively raiding the Oglalas and Miniconjous again. Twiss tries to restore the peace in the summer and fall of 1858, but fails.
So the loose ends would be the timing of the Shoshone expedition, and whether the Long Soldier/He Dog war party was the same as Red Cloud's first war party from June.
Post by kingsleybray on Mar 28, 2014 11:19:49 GMT -5
this has been a great thread, and this is a good summary, carlo. According to that newspaper account you posted on here, there was a big Miniconjou raid on the Crows to fit somewhere in 1857, a major victory for the Miniconjous unless its newspaper hyperbole!
The previous fall: the Kicked in the Bellies, on the upper Powder, and the Upper Miniconjous, on the headwaters Belle Fourche, had gone into winter camp near each other peacefully in Oct.-Nov. 1856. Twiss visited them, and then the respective head chiefs - Big Robber and Lone Horn - with sizeable parties of followers, had gone to Upper Platte Agency (Rawhide Butte) to counsel with Twiss and the Platte River Lakotas. One Oglala winter count (Charles Whistler) mentions under 1856 "One Horn prayed", and my feeling is that Lone Horn presided over a big hunka adoption ceremony in which Big Robber adopted a prominent Oglala as his ceremonial 'son'.
That's a very interesting theory about Lone Horn's ceremony, haven't thought of it that way but is certainly possible.
Re. the newspaper article, no doubt it was hyperbole (haven't seen too many newspaper accounts that weren't in those days!), and I believe that it referred to the Long Soldier/He Dog expedition, which seem to have been a joint Oglala-Miniconjou affair.
Btw, I'm intrigued how Twiss gets himself involved in all of this, must have been a quite frustrating time for the commercial minded agent!
Gentlemen. The Report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs of 1858 states that Big Shadow (Big Robber) was killed in battle that year. (p. 91) It states that there had been wars with the Flatheads, Nez Perce, and Sioux that year and in all of these encounters had lost a total of 30 warriors. The Lutheran Missionaries arrived at Fort Sarpy as I recall in early July and Big Robber had already been killed. Edwin Denig the fur trader at Fort Union also corroborates this in his writings. I believe Denig passed away in the fall of 1858 and had known Big Robber well. The battle with the Shoshone at Crowheart Butte took place in 1866 so the Crow Chief killed in that battle could not have been Big Robber. -medicinebear-
Hconroy, Yes, we established that Big Shadow was killed in the summer of 1858, and followed up by First Feather; see page 1 of this thread. A persistent error, unfortunately perpetuated by the internet, is that the battle at Crow Heart Butte took place in 1866; it actually took place eight years earlier in 1858. Crow oral history has Big Shadow killed in that fight, which may be possible if we discard the 1866 timeframe. Regardless of who killed him, it is a fact that he was killed in 1858. Carlo
This was First Feather Of The Tail, who replaced Big Shadow upon his death in the summer of 1858 as the principle headman of the KitB Crows. This however did not last long, as First Feather was himself killed by Lakotas in the fall of that same year. We briefly discussed him earlier in this thread, as I would have expected his name among those listed as Crow leaders. Carlo