Also See: Native American Heroes & Leaders
Manuelito (1818-1893) – A principal Navajo war chief, Manuelito was born near Bears’ Ears Peak in southeastern Utah about 1818. A member of the To’Tsohnii (Big Water) clan, he later he migrated to Arizona, where he joined Chief Narbona’s band and married his daughter. The over six foot tall, the young man quickly rose in prominence as a war leader, indiscriminately attacking Mexicans, U.S. army troops, and neighboring Indian tribes during the Navajo Wars of 1863-1866. He and his followers were the last to surrender to Kit Carson, who was rounding up the Navajo, forcing them to relocate to the Bosque Redondo Reservation near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Leading his people to Canyon de Chelly, they fought Carson’s forces for days before they were finally forced to surrender on January 16, 1864 and soon joined some 8,000 of their people in the tragic “Long Walk” across New Mexico to the Bosque Rendondo at Fort Sumner. During the years of confinement, Manuelito was a source of support and encouragement to his people and spent much of his time petitioning the government to allow them to return to their homeland. Finally, he was successful in 1868 and led his people back to Arizona. Once home, he was selected to be the head of tribal police. In his later years, he advocated education for his people in the hopes that they might improve their lives.
Metacomet (1639?-1676) – Also known as King Philip or Metacom, this war leader of the Wampanoag tribe was the second son of Chief Massasoit and led an alliance against white settlers to push them out of New England in what is known as King Philip’s War. See Article HERE.
Old Crow – A Crow Indian, who was allegedly one of the members of the Dull Knife band of Cheyenne, which left the reservation in Indian Territory and made the memorable raid across Kansas in September and October, 1878, killing 32 citizens and destroying much property. They were pursued, several were captured and confined at Fort Robinson, Nebraska for some time, when their wives succeeded in smuggling in to them a number of guns, which were used on the morning of January 21, 1879, in making a dash for liberty. Captain Wessells, at the head of a squad of troops, immediately gave chase and the next day fought a desperate battle in which the Indians were almost entirely exterminated with only seven men and 16 women and children surviving. Old Crow and six of his brother warriors were taken to Fort Leavenworth and later to Dodge City, their trial being set for June 24, 1879, in the District Court of Ford County, the charge against them being murder. A change of venue was asked for by the defense which was granted, the case being sent to the District Court of Douglas County for trial at the succeeding October term, at which time all the Indians were liberated. Army officers acquainted with Old Crow said that he had been employed by the government as a scout and had proven faithful, valuable, trust worthy and bore a good reputation. They said he belonged to the Crow tribe instead of the Cheyenne and could have had no hand in the depredations of the latter in Kansas the previous year. He claimed to be a Sioux and is said to have been an Indian of more than ordinary intelligence.
Old Man Afraid of His Horse (1808-??) – A noted Ogallala Sioux 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.
Quannah Parker (1845?-1911) – The last Chief of the Quahadi Comanche, Parker was both a major resistor to white settlers, as well as a leader in the tribe’s adjustment to reservation life. See Article HERE.
King Philip – See Metacomet.
Pocahontas (1595?- 1617) – A Powhatan Indian Princess, she was for having assisted colonial settlers at Jamestown and allegedly saving the life of the colony’s leader, Captain John Smith. See Article HERE.
Chief Powhatan (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.
Also See: Native American Heroes & Leaders