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Fascinating Photos of the Sioux Native American Leaders & Warriors

Katie Vernon

The Sioux are one of the many Native American nations that lived in the Great Plains. There are many smaller tribes united in the Sioux tribe and are often referred to as the Seven Council Fires.

They were all known for their hunting and warrior culture, and for fighting fiercely against the U.S. Army. In the past, they lived on the territory of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois, and Nebraska.

Black Foot, Standing Bear, Big Eagle – photographer Frank A. Rinehart. Photo by Boston Public Library  CC BY-SA 2.0

Black Foot, Standing Bear, Big Eagle – photographer Frank A. Rinehart. Photo by Boston Public Library  CC BY-SA 2.0

Chief Bone Necklace an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1899

Chief Bone Necklace an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1899

Afraid Of The Bear Ma To-Ko Kepa

Afraid Of The Bear Ma To-Ko Kepa

The war for their homeland began in the 17th century when Frenchman Jean Duluth moved into their territory and occupied their land. In that fight for their land, there were some notable Indian chiefs and warriors who exceeded in their bravery and wisdom. Some of the most famous names were Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Lone Horn, Flying Hawk, Crazy Horse, and Spotted Elk.

Thanks to photography, their portraits remain with us to this day, to remind us of their history, struggle, and love for their home. There are many names that deserve to be on the list, but here are some of the most essential characters in the history of the Native Americans.

One of the most important leaders of the Sioux Indian Tribe was Chief Red Cloud, war leader who became an important part of history for fighting in the battle between the U.S. government and the Native Americans during the 19th century. He is most known for his two-year-long standing opposition to the Bozeman Trail through the territory of Montana, a period known as Red Cloud’s War.

Lost Medicine-Wancan-Ya-Kea. Oncapapa, Sioux

Lost Medicine-Wancan-Ya-Kea. Oncapapa, Sioux

Whirling Hawk, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Whirling Hawk, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Shooting Pieces, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Shooting Pieces, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Sammy Lone Bear, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Sammy Lone Bear, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Sammy Lone Bear, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Sammy Lone Bear, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Kills Close to the Lodge, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Kills Close to the Lodge, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Another famous member of the Sioux Tribe was Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota leader and medicine man who also led his people during years of resistance to United States government policies. He is remembered for defeating the federal troops under George Armstrong Custer in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Crazy Horse was a celebrated warrior, the son of an Oglala Sioux shaman, known for his resistance against the planned removal to a reservation in the Black Hills.

He stood in the center of many decisive battles, bringing a great victory to the Lakota tribe, and defeating Captain William J. Fetterman and his 80 men, embarrassing the U.S. military.

Flying Hawk was also an Oglala Sioux warrior, philosopher, educator, and historian. Besides his courage, Flying Hawk remains known for his written records of the Battle of the Little Big Horn and the Wounded Knee Massacre. Reportedly, in the period from 1898 to 1940, he traveled throughout the territory of Europe and America, presenting and spreading the authenticity of the Lakota culture.

Joe Black Fox, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Joe Black Fox, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Joe Black Fox, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Joe Black Fox, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Joe Black Fox, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Joe Black Fox, a Sioux Indian from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Iron White Man, a Sioux Native American from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Iron White Man, a Sioux Native American from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

Flying Hawk, Sioux American Indian

Flying Hawk, Sioux American Indian

Chief Little-Wound. Oglala Sioux photographed in Washington D.C., 1877

Chief Little-Wound. Oglala Sioux photographed in Washington D.C., 1877

Chief Goes To War, Chief Hollow Horn Bear, Sioux. Studio portrait photographed by Frank A. Rinehart. Photo by Boston Public Library CC BY 2.0

Chief Goes To War, Chief Hollow Horn Bear, Sioux. Studio portrait photographed by Frank A. Rinehart. Photo by Boston Public Library CC BY 2.0

Afraid of Eagle (Sioux). Photo by BPL CC BY 2.0

Afraid of Eagle (Sioux). Photo by BPL CC BY 2.0

Unfortunately, despite the effort and courage of all these wise and brave men, the Sioux Indian Tribe, just like most of the Native Americans, was forced away from their homelands.

However, to this day, this tribe shines in its glory of the past days, leaving a strong mark on American history and culture. Today there are three main groups of Sioux Indian tribe including Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota.

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