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Notable Native Americans - Page 5

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Old Man Afraid of His Horse (1808-??) - A noted Ogallala warrior, Old Man Afraid Of His Horse was also known as Tasunka Coquipah. He was born in Lakota Territory in 1808 and married Medicine Woman in about 1856. He witnessed the Treaty of Fort Laramie when Dull Knife signed the document in 1868. This treaty guaranteed the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills, as well as more land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.


This region was to be henceforth closed to all whites and ended Red Cloud's War. However, when gold was found in the Black Hills, more and more white settlers invaded the territory which led to the Black Hills War.


Opechancanough (1552?-1644?) - A Powhatan chief, he was the brother of Chief Powhatan and upon his brother's death in 1818 took control of the Powhatan Confederacy. His name meant "He whose Soul is White" in the Algonquian language. When the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia was established in 1607, Opechancanough was known as a much-feared warrior and headed a band of Powhatan who lived along the Pamunkey River near the present-day town of West Point, Virginia.


Known to be strongly opposed to the European settlers, he captured John Smith of Jamestown and brought him before Chief Powhatan, where Pocahontas was said to have intervened and saved Smith's life. Some time after his release, Smith, in order to change the temper of the Indians, who jeered at the starving Englishmen and refused to sell them food, went with a band of his men to Opechancanough's camp under pretense of buying corn, seized the chief by the hair, and at the point of a pistol marched him off a prisoner.



Old Man Afraid of His Horse, Ogallala Sioux Warrior

Old Man Afraid of His Horse

This image available for photographic prints  and downloads HERE!




His band soon brought boat-loads of provisions to ransom their chief, who thereafter entertained more respect and deeper hatred for the English. While Chief Powhatan lived Opechancanough was held in restraint, but after his brother's death in 1618 he became the dominant leader of the nation, although his other brother, Opitchapan, was the nominal head-chief.


He plotted the destruction of the colony so secretly that only one Indian, the Christian Chanco, revealed the conspiracy, but too late to save the people of Jamestown, who at a sudden signal were massacred, on March 22, 1622, by the natives who had earlier deemed to be friendly. In the period of intermittent hostilities that followed, duplicity and treachery marked the actions of both whites and Indians. In the last year of his life, Opechancanough, taking advantage of the dissensions of the English, planned their extermination. In the spring of 1644, Opechancanough led one last uprising, killing some 300-500 colonists. This time, however, he was captured. While imprisoned at Jamestown, he was shot by a guard and later, died of his wounds.


Chief PowhatanPowhatan (1545-1618) - Known as Wahunsunacawh to the Powhatan tribe, he founded the Powhatan Confederacy in Virginia, assembling  a total of about 30 tribes by the early 17th century. The confederacy was estimated to include 10,000-15,000 people. He lived in Tenakomakah, which is now Tidewater Virginia, when first encountered by white settlers. When the English settled Jamestown in 1607, he was in his 60's and described as having a dignified bearing, and reserved and stern disposition. His first attitude toward the whites was friendly although suspicious, but he soon became embittered by the exactions of the newcomers. On the treacherous seizure of his favorite daughter, Pocahontas in 1613, he became openly hostile, but was happily converted for the time through her marriage to Rolfe. He died in 1618, leaving the succession to his brother, Opitchapan, who however was soon superseded by a younger brother, the noted Opechancanough, who hated the white settlers and would destroy any peace that Chief Powhatan had earlier made. Powhatan was the father of Pocahontas.


 Chief Pohibit Quasha, aka: Iron Shirt (18??-1858) - In the 1850's fearless bands of skilled Comanche warriors were busy raiding white settlements and Mexican ranches of Texas and Oklahoma at will. One of the marauding bands was led by Chief Pohibit Quasha, better known as Iron Shirt. Described by many to have almost supernatural abilities, the cunning and ruthless warrior was seemingly immune to bullets. Several pursuers told stories of how they had shot him numerous times with no effect. However, when the governor hired 100 new Texas Rangers in 1858, the the time was near for Iron Shirt. In what was called the Antelope Hills Expedition, led by John Salmon "Rip" Ford, a force of some 100 men began to go after the marauding Comanche bands. On May 12, Ford's Rangers, along with Anadarko and Shawnee scouts pursued the Indians into the Antelope Hills in what is now Oklahoma. Coming upon a Comanche village in the Canadian River Valley, they soon attacked the village and Iron Shirt was killed by an expert Indian marksman named Jim Pockmark. Carrying a .58 caliber Henry buffalo rifle, the Indian scout waited for his chance and shot Iron Shirt when his mount was turned sideways. Afterwards, it was found that Chief Iron Shirt didn't actually have any "Indian Magic" protecting him from the several shots he had received in the past, but rather had been wearing an old piece of iron chest armor from the early Spanish conquistador days. After the battle was over, the Rangers reported four casualties, killed some 76 Comanche, and took 18 prisoners.


Satanta (1820-1878) - See HERE

Scarface CharleyScarface Charley (1851?-1896) - A celebrated Modoc warrior and chief of the Modoc tribe, he is best known through his connection with Captain Jack, or Kintpuash, during the Modoc War of 1872-73. By his people, he was known as Chǐkclǐkam-Lupalkuelátko, meaning "wagon scar-faced," from having been run over by a mail stage when a child, hence the name by which he was known to the whites. Captain Jack spoke of him as a relative, but it is said also that he was a Rogue River Indian of the Tipsoe Tyee (Bearded Chief's) band and joined Captain Jack some years prior to the war of 1873, when 22 years of age. Scarface was among those who taunted Jack when, after the first attack and repulse of the white soldiers, he was disposed to enter into a treaty of peace.

When the Modoc became angered during Judge Steele's last visit to them in the lava-beds, Scarface and Captain Jack saved the life of Steele by guarding him during the night; and when Odeneal and Dyar visited the Modoc, January 27, 1873, on behalf of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Scarface would have killed them on the spot had he not been restrained by Captain Jack. He was also the first to fire on the troops when they attempted the arrest of Captain Jack's band the next day in what is called the Battle of the Lost River. After the execution of Kintpuash and three of his warriors for the murder of Major General Edward Canby and Reverend Eleazer Thomas, Scarface Charley was appointed by Colonel Frank Wheaton as chief of the Modoc who were to be sent to Oklahoma as prisoners of war. After a year in Oklahoma, Scarfaced Charley was replaced as chief by Bogus Charley, partly due to the latter's better understanding of English. Afterwards he developed a line of traditionally influenced domestic furniture. He died on December 3, 1896.

Setangya, aka: Satank, Sitting BearSetangya, aka: Satank, Sitting Bear (1810?-1871) - Setangya was a noted Kiowa chief, medicine man, and leader of the Kiowa honor society called "Koitsenk", or the "Ten Bravest Warriors." He was born in the Black Hills region about 1810. He became prominent at an early age, and is credited with having been a principal agent in negotiating the final peace between the Kiowa and the Cheyenne about 1840. His name heads the list of signers of the noted Medicine Lodge treaty of 1867, though he signed it with reluctance. When placed on the Fort Sill, Oklahoma reservation, he soon began resisting authority. In 1870 his son was killed by the white men during a revenge raid in Texas and he soon began to lead  attacks settlers himself. On May 17, 1871, in company with Satanta and Big Tree, he led the Warren Wagon Train Raid in Texas, in which 7 white men lost their lives. After making public boasts of the deed to the agent at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he, Satanta and Big Tree were arrested by military authority to be sent to Texas for trial. Setangya, however, refused to be a prisoner, and deliberately inviting death, wrenched the fetters from his wrists, drew a concealed knife, and sprang upon a guard. He was shot to death by other troops and was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

SequoyahSequoya, aka George Guess (1767?-1843) - Inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, Sequoya was born in Taskigi, Tennessee about 1760. He was the son of a white man and a Cherokee woman of mixed blood, daughter of a chief in Echota. Besides his native name of Sikwayi, or Sequoya, he was known as George Gist, otherwise spelled Guest or Guess, the last name of his father, generally believed to have been a German trader. He has also been claimed as the son of Nathaniel Gist of Revolutionary note. Sequoya grew up in the tribe, quite unacquainted with English or civilized arts and became a hunter and trader in furs. He was also a craftsman in silverwork and a natural mechanic. In an early hunting accident, he became crippled for life.


The importance of the arts of writing and printing as instruments and weapons of civilization began to impress him in 1809, and he studied, undismayed by the discouragement and ridicule of his fellows, to elaborate a system of writing suitable to the Cherokee language. In 1821 he submitted his syllabary to the chief men of the nation, and on their approval the Cherokee of all ages set about to learn it with such zeal that after a few months thousands were able to read and write their language. Sequoya, in 1822, visited Arkansas to introduce writing in the Western division of the Cherokee, among whom he took up his permanent abode in 1823. Parts of the Bible were printed in Cherokee in 1824, and in 1828 the Cherokee Phoenix, a weekly newspaper in Cherokee and English, began to appear. Sequoya was sent to Washington in 1828 as an envoy of the Arkansas band and when the Eastern Cherokee joined the old settlers in the west, his influence was significant.


In his declining years, he withdrew from active political life, but visited tribes of various stocks in a fruitless search for the elements of a common speech and grammar. He sought also to trace a lost band of the Cherokee that, according to tradition, had crossed the Mississippi before the Revolution and wandered to some mountains in the west, and while pursuing this quest in the Mexican sierras he met his death. Sequoya died near San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in August, 1843.


Shawnee Chief TecumsehChief Tecumseh (1768-1813) - Tecumseh's given name was actually Tecumtha or Tekamthi, meaning Celestial Panther Lying in Wait. Born in 1768 at the Shawnee village of Piqua on the Mad River, southwest of the present day city of Springfield, Ohio, Tecumseh he grew up to be highly skilled warrior, orator, and statesman who advocated "civilized’ resistance." His father, who was also a chief,  was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. Tecumseh and his followers believed that their lands belonged to all the tribes in common and denied the right of the Government to make land purchases from any single tribe. The government refused to recognize this principle, and in 1795, Tecumseh refused to sign the Treaty of Greenville, which ceded much of present-day Ohio to American settlers. He then began to form a confederacy of tribes for the purpose of holding the Ohio river as the permanent boundary between the the white settlers and the Indians.


In 1808, he and his brother, Tenskwatawa, who was known as the "Prophet," established a "headquarters" for the confederacy on the banks of the Tippecanoe River, the site of present-day Prophet's Town, Indiana. On November 7, 1811, while Tecumseh was away, the alliance suffered a setback when Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison attacked and defeated the "Prophet" and his men at Tippecanoe. But, Tecumseh persisted, and when the War of 1812 erupted, he led his forces to the support of the British, and was rewarded with a regular commission as brigadier general, having under his command some 2,000 warriors of the allied tribes. He was killed in the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813.




© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated August, 2017.


Also See:


Ancient Cities of Native Americans

Frontier Skirmishes

Indian Outlaws

Indian Proverbs & Wisdom

Legends, Myths & Tales of Native Americans

Native American Quotes

Native American Tribes

Old West Legends

Totems & Their Meanings

Timeline of Events



Spotted Tail, Roman Nose, Old Man Afraid of His Horses, Lone Horn, Whistling Elk, Pipe and unknown

Spotted Tail, Roman Nose, Old Man Afraid of His  Horses,

Lone Horn, Whistling Elk, Pipe and an unknown Indian at Fort Laramie, Wyoming  in 1868.

This image available for photographic prints  and downloads HERE!



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