The name translates as either Red Cloud or Red Sky
Born around 1819 near the forks of the Platte River he died December 10, 1909 at Pine Ridge Reservation. His father Lone Man (Brulé Sioux) died when he was 13 and he was raised in the lodge of his uncle Chief Smoke.
As a young warrior, Red Cloud built a reputation as a fine fighter and led his first war party in 1842 the year that he married Pretty Owl (aka Mary Good Road). Twelve years later he took part in the infamous Grattan Massacre. It was not long before he became War Chief of the Oglala Sioux.
In 1866 he strongly opposed the invasion of the white man throughout the whole of the Powder River Region and this confrontation led to the Fetterman Massacre of December 21, 1866 when he led a combined force of Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho and Gros Ventre, totalling over two thousand warriors against the 81 man of Captain William Judd Fetterman who is famously quoted as saying 'Give me eighty men and I will ride through the Sioux Nation.' Unfortunately for Fetterman he got his wish.
In what was to become known as Red Cloud's War the continued hostilities between the US Army and the powerful Sioux Nation ended with the signing of the Laramie Treaty of 1868 and the burning of the three forts, Phil Kearney, Reno and J C Smith.
To the Sioux it is known as The Battle of Hundred Slain to the white man The Fetterman Massacre.
Red Cloud took no further part in the continued hostilities that would plague the Powder River region for the next thirty years which finally culminated in the Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890.
He was a wily politician and journeyed to Washington to continue the fight against the white man on many occasions. He took no part in the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Custer's Last Stand) although his son Jack Red Cloud did, nor did he engage in the infamous Ghost Dance although the authorities suspected he was involved as he allowed many of the followers of this religious ceremony to hide away on his reservation. However there was no proof.
Whose voice was first sounded on the land? The voice of the red people and who had but
bows and arrows.....What has been done in my country I did not want, did not ask for it:
white people going through my country....
When the white man comes in my country he leaves a trail of blood behind him......I have
two mountains in that country - the Black Hills and the Big Horn Mountains. I want the
Great Father to make no roads through them
I have told these things three times: now I have come to tell them the fourth time.