Red Cloud was a strong leader for Native Americans


Allen & Ginter, CC0 | Wikimedia Commons

Faeyah Muhammad

Native Americans have been living in the Americas since over 15,000 years ago, with practices and teachings that are still celebrated today all over the world. The culture and distinct history of Native Americans is beyond reputable and is deserving of recognition.

The community is known for having had some of the most strategic and influential leaders and individuals who have paved their way onto history books and are still spoken of to this day. Red Cloud Sioux Chief, otherwise known as Mahpiua Luta, is one of these influential leaders.
Born in 1822, he emerged as a natural leader despite not having a hereditary title of his own. To protect Native American hunting grounds, Red Cloud, and other reputable Natives American leaders such as Sioux Cheyenne and Arapaho engaged in warfare

“Red Cloud’s War” refers to the years of harassment by the United States government seeking to build a road on the hunting grounds. Red Cloud held army construction troops hostage for over two weeks, refusing to compromise. He also did not hand over any more land to the United States government because the nation had already stolen so much land from Native Americans.

Ultimately, the United States agreed to abandon all posts and not to build any roads on the native land. Red Cloud then signed the Second Treaty of Fort Laramie on April 29, 1868, which closed the Bozeman trail and guaranteed exclusive tribal occupation of extensive reservation lands, including the Black Hills.

This victory over the United States government, as well as the victory at the Fetterman Massacre of December 1866, received many different reactions. Some believed that by signing the treaty Red Cloud was abandoning the Natives and siding with the “white man.”

The United States eventually overran the land despite the treaty, resulting in more resentment toward Red Cloud, but he continued to push for peace between natives and Americans.

As a diplomat, Red Cloud visited Washington with other leaders to meet with President Ulysses Grant who then again tried to convince Red Cloud and the other leaders accompanying him to give up their rights to hunt for $25,000, but they all refused.

Overall, Red Cloud proved to be a strong leader who fought for the rights of his people to no end. Upon his death, it was evident all he wished to pursue was peace for Native Americans.

Though the United States has overrun so much native territory, these stories of hard work and determination live with us to this day.