By Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa)
The early life of Little Wolf offered many examples of the dashing bravery characteristic of the Cheyenne, and inspired the younger men to win laurels for themselves. He was still a young man, perhaps thirty-five, when the most trying crisis in the history of his people came upon them.
As I know and as Doctor Grinnell's book amply corroborates, he was the general who largely guided and defended them in that tragic flight from the Indian Territory to their northern home. I will not discuss the justice of their cause: I prefer to quote Doctor Grinnell, lest it appear that I am in any way exaggerating the facts.
"They had come," he writes, "from the high, dry country of Montana and North Dakota to the hot and humid Indian Territory . They had come from a country where buffalo and other game were still plentiful to a land where the game had been exterminated. Immediately on their arrival they were attacked by fever and ague, a disease wholly new to them. Food was scanty, and they began to starve.
The agent testified before a committee of the Senate that he never received supplies to subsist the Indians for more than nine months in each year. These people were meat-eaters, but the beef furnished them by the government inspectors was no more than skin and bone. The agent in describing their sufferings said: 'They have lived and that is about all.”
"The Indians endured this for about a year, and then their patience gave out. They left the agency to which they had been sent and started north. Though troops were camped close to them, they attempted no concealment of their purpose. Instead, they openly announced that they intended to return to their own country.
We have heard much in past years of the march of the Nez Perce under Chief Joseph, but little is remembered of the Dull Knife outbreak and the march to the north led by Little Wolf. The story of the journey has not been told, but in the traditions of the old army this campaign was notable, and old men who were stationed on the plains forty years ago are apt to tell you, if you ask them, that there never was such another journey since the Greeks marched to the sea.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Chief Little Wolf
Posted by James at 10:28 AM