Red Cloud was a warrior and a statesman. He was famous for his success in confrontations with the United States government this marked him as one of the most important Lakota leaders of the nineteenth century. His mother was an Oglala and his father, who died in Red Cloud's youth, was a Brulé Red Cloud, he was raised in the household of his maternal uncle, Chief Smoke. Red Cloud was born near the forks of the Platte River, Nebraska. He spent his early life at war against neighboring tribes. In 1841 he killed a neighboring clans chief which divided that tribe for 50 years. By doing this he obtained enormous respect within the Lakota nation for his leadership in territorial wars against neighboring ...view middle of the document...
On December of 1866, he won his most noticeable battle which was the crushing defeat of Lieutenant Colonel William Fetterman's column of eighty men just outside Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming. The garrisons feared further attacks through the winter. Red Cloud's strategies were so successful that by the end of 1868 the United States government had agreed to the Fort Laramie Treaty. The treaty stated that provisions were to be mandated from the United States, also to abandon its fort along the Bozeman Trail and guarantee the Lakota their possession of what is now the Western half of South Dakota, including the Black Hills,
The peace, of course, did not last. Custer's 1874 Black Hills expedition again brought war to the northern Plains, this would mean the end of independent Indian nations. Red Cloud did not join the other war leaders in the Lakota War of 1876-77. However, after the military defeat of the Lakota nation, Red Cloud continued to fight for the needs of his people, even if in less dramatic ways than waging war. Throughout the late 1800’s, Red Cloud struggled with Pine Ridge Indian Agent Valentine McGillycuddy over the distribution of government food and supplies.
The army’s presence filled the reservation with fear, Red Cloud refrained from endorsing the Ghost Dance movement, and unlike Sitting Bull and Big Foot, he escaped the Army's constant oversight. Afterword he continued to fight to kip the authority of a chiefs such as himself, opposed leasing Lakota lands to whites, and fighting of Indian reservations into individual tracts under the Dawes Act. He died in 1909, but his long and complex life was proof of the fight that the Indians gave to the US government.