Something unusual happened in 1868. After trying to bend Native Americans in the Great Plains to their will, the U.S. government instead gave up, sued for peace, and conceded to their demands. This remarkable victory was due to Chief Red Cloud.
A Sioux leader, Red Cloud had watched with dismay as white settlers marched through his people’s land in search of gold. For two years, he resisted the U.S. government at every turn in what came to be known as Red Cloud’s War.
He succeeded in expelling U.S. troops, blocking white settlers, and securing tribal lands. But even though Chief Red Cloud won significant concessions from the government, it didn’t take long for the U.S. to renege on its promises.
Born in 1822, Chief Red Cloud — Maȟpíya Lúta — seemed marked for great things. He grew up near the Platte River in western Nebraska, the son of a Brule Sioux father and an Oglala Sioux mother. Because his parents died when he was young, he was raised by his maternal uncle, Old Smoke.
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