Leadership, Accomplishment and Cultural Celebration

Red Cloud

The Paths of Great Sioux Leaders

10-cent Red Cloud stamp
This stamp, part of the Great Americans series, was designed by Robert D. Anderson based on photographs in the Smithsonian Institution collection. It was issued in Red Cloud, Nebraska, August 15, 1987.

Red Cloud (Makhpiya Luta)

Chief of Oglala-Lakota

Defender, Negotiator, and Educator

A flood of American settlers was moving west over the Plains by 1866. Red Cloud fought a war to keep the wagon trains from trespassing on Oglala lands and destroying the buffalo herds, forcing the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which was to guarantee the Lakota possession of their lands forever. The treaty was broken and his people were forced onto the Pine Ridge Reservation. Red Cloud now envisioned that the route to survival and prosperity for his people was education. He petitioned Washington, D.C. for a mission school where the Lakota youth would be equipped to walk equally in both the Lakota and white man’s worlds. A school continues in Pine Ridge as the Red Cloud Indian School, enhanced today by other educational institutions such as the Oglala Lakota College.

refer to caption
Headdress said to have belonged to Red Cloud.
22/7378 Courtesy, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.