Chief Red Cloud’s Address to the “Great Father” – 1870

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Chief Red Cloud’s Address to the “Great Father” – 1870

What did one of the Greatest Indian Chiefs of all time
have to say to U.S President Grant?


Chief Red Cloud - Chief Red Cloud's address to the the "Great Father" - 1870

Chief Red Cloud (1822 – 1899)
Oglala Lakota Sioux
Photo: U.S. PD


Included in the Second Annual Report of the Board of Indian Commissioners
to the Secretary of the Interior for Submission to the President for the Year 1870


“The Great Spirit has seen me naked; and my Great Father, I have fought against him. I offered my prayers to the Great Spirits, so I could come here safe. Look at me. I was raised on this land where the sun rises—now I come from where the sun sets. Whose voice was first sounded on this land? The voice of the red people, who had but bows and arrows. The Great Father says he is good and kind to us. I don’t think so. I am good to his white people. From the word sent me I have come all the way to his home. My face is red; yours is white. The Great Spirit has made you to read and write, but not me. I have not learned. I come here to tell my Great Father what I do not like in my country. You are all close to my Great Father, and are a great many chiefs. The men the Great Father sends to us have no sense—no heart. What has been done in my country I did not want, did not ask for it; white people going through my country. Father, have you, or any of your friends here, got children? Do you want to raise them? Look at me; I come here with all these young men. All of them have children and want to raise them. The white children have surrounded me and have left me nothing but an island. When we first had this land we were strong, now are melting like snow on the hillside, while you are grown like spring grass. Now I have come a long distance to my Great Father’s house—see if I have left any blood in his land when I go. When the white man comes in my country he leaves a trail of blood behind him. Tell the Great Father to move Fort Fetterman away and we will have no more trouble. I have two mountains in that country—the Black Hills and the Big Horn Mountain. I want the Great Father to make no roads through them. I have told these things three times; now I have come here to tell them the fourth time.

I do not want my reservation on the Missouri; this is the fourth time I have said so. Here are some people from there now. Our children are dying off like sheep; the country does not suit them. I was born at the forks of the Platte, and I was told that the land belonged to me from north, south, east, and west. The red man has come to the Great Father’s house. The Oglala’s are the last who have come here; but I come to hear and listen to the words of the Great Father. They have promised me traders, but we have none. At the mouth of Horse Creek they had made a treaty in 1862, and the man who made the treaty is the only one who has told me truths. When you send goods to me, they are stolen all along the road, so when they reached me they were only a handful. They hold a paper for me to sign, and that is all I got for my lands. I know the people you send out there are liars. Look at me. I am poor and naked. I do not want war with my government. The railroad is passing through my country now; I have received no pay for the land—not even a brass ring. I want you to tell all this to “my Great Father.” . . .

Red Cloud then said: “I forgot one thing. You might grant my people the powder we ask; we are but a handful, and you a great and powerful nation; you make all the ammunition; all I ask is enough for my people to kill game. The Great Spirit has made all things that I have in my country wild; I have to hunt them up; it is not like you, who go out and find what you want. I have eyes; I see all you whites, what you are doing; raising stock, etc. I know that I will have to come to that in a few years myself; it is good. I have no more to say. . . .”

Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud
Washington, DC – 06/08/1870
Chief from 1865 to 1909

For other information relative to Chief Red Cloud’s address to the the “Great Father” – 1870 on Old West Daily Reader:

References – Dictionary – “Great Father
Wk. 23, 06/04/1870 – Red Cloud’s DC visit
Wk. 33, 08/19/1854 – The Grattan Massacre
Wk. 51, 12/20/1856 – Fetterman Massacre – Battle of the Hundred in the Hand
Photo Gallery Index – Indian Photos – Red Cloud and American Horse (4th down)
Wk. 50, 12/10/1909 – Chief Red Cloud
Timelines Index – Timelines A-L – Indian Wars Timeline

OWDR-barbed-wire-divider2 - DictionaryEnd: Chief Red Cloud’s address to the “Great Father” – 1870

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