Collection: Indian Chiefs I have Known

Mattie, the Daughter of Chief Shenkah

Chief Shenka was a Paiute Indian like the first Chief Winnemucca, whom the white men, who early traveled over the Rocky Mountains, met on the broad prairie land of Nevada. He was one of Winnemucca’s young followers. Of noble appearance and always brave and trustworthy, Shenkah became the chief of a small tribe of the Paiute, after Winnemucca’s death. When the Piute were at peace with other Indians and with the white people, Shenkah was very friendly indeed, especially to the soldiers, and our officers were much pleased when they could, on marches in search of lakes and rivers round

Winnemucca, Chief of the Paiute

Like the great Montezuma of old Mexico, Chief Winnemucca, who was born and lived the most of his life beside Pyramid Lake, Nevada, had a thinking mind and a large, warm heart. He was chief of an Indian nation called the Paiute and before any white men came over the Rocky Mountains to disturb them, there were several thousand Indians, to whom he was like a father. He saw to it that they had plenty of good food to eat, nice furs and skins to wear, and handsome tepees (or wigwams) for their families to live in. He had a

Manuelito: A Navajo War Chief

You all remember how the Indian chiefs went with me to see the great American chief, President Grant, in Washington, and what a long ride we had before we took a train. Well, during that trip we rested for two days at Fort Wingate in New Mexico, and here for the first time I saw some Navajo Indians. They are cousins of the Apaches, and the language of the two tribes is so much alike that they can easily understand each other. Some people have said that the word Navajo comes from the Spanish word for knife, but probably it

Washakie, A Shoshone Chief, The Friend Of The White Man

The Shoshone Indians lived long ago in the Rocky Mountains, but they have gradually moved westward until now they live on the western side, where there are two wonderful springs which send water eastward and westward to flow into our two great oceans. The water from one flows through the Yellowstone Park to the Missouri River, the cascades, flows smoothly for one hundred and fifty miles till it reaches the Pacific Ocean. Because these Indians live long the banks of the winding Snake River, they are sometimes called “Snakes,” but Shoshone is their Indian name. As long ago as 1636

Lot, A Spokane Chief

The Spokane, when they were not off on a buffalo-hunt or camping here and there to store up the carcass roots for winter as the squirrels store up beechnuts, used to live along the banks of the Spokane River in Washington State. This river, with many falls and rapids, flows through great forests west to the Columbia. It is a beautiful land of wooded hills and fertile valleys, and the Indians clung to it with great fondness. here are found every sort of game. The deer run wild in the natural parks, and the speckled trout dart up-stream, shining in

Toc-me-to-ne, an Indian Princess

We called her Sarah Winnemucca, but her real name was Toe-me-to-ne, which means shell-flower. Have you ever seen these flowers growing in an old garden among their many cousins of the Mint family? Well, Toe-me-to-ne loved them of all flowers best, for was she not herself a shell-flower. Her people were Paiute Indians, and they lived in every part of what is now the great State of Nevada. Toc-me-to-ne had a flower name, so she was allowed to take part in the children’s flower festival, when. all the little girls dance and sing, holding hands and making believe that they

The Great War Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces, and his lieutenants, White Bird and Looking-Glass

Far in the Northwest of our country live the Chopunnish or Nez Perce Indians, a powerful tribe. Chopunnish is an Indian word, but Nez Perce is French and means pierced noses. The name comes from the fact that these Indians used to pierce their noses and wear rings in them, just as some ladies we know pierce their ears and wear fine earrings. The men of the tribe are large and tall and strong, and they are very proud and warlike. Every year they went far away, even one thousand miles, to hunt buffalo, while the women planted little patches

Sitting-Bull, The Great Dakota Leader

Two of our States, as boys and girls know from their geography, are called Dakota, one North Dakota, the other South Dakota, and this was also the name of Indian people of different tribes speaking the same language, who lived in the country north of the great Platte River, and between and along our two greatest rivers, the Missouri and the Mississippi. The word Dakota means united by compact, and there were several united tribes who called themselves the Dakotas. Sitting-Bull was a Dakota Indian. He was born near an old army station, Fort George, on Willow Creek, and his

Cut-Mouth John

I happened to know a Umatilla scout who bore the English name of Cut-Mouth John. The Umatilla tribe of Indians to which John belonged lived along the upper waters of the great Columbia River. This country, called the “up-river country,” is used also by the Cayuses, Walla Walla, and other Columbia River Indians. There were many of them on the lands called reservations, and many others roaming about everywhere, far and near, like herds of wild horses on the great prairies of the West where there were no fences to stop them. I was then living in Portland, Oregon, and

Red Cloud

Far away in Wyoming lived the Sioux Indians, a fierce and warlike tribe. They called themselves Dakotas; but their enemies said that when they fought they did everything in a mean, hidden way so that it was hard to know what to expect, and they called them Sioux, which means “snake-like-ones.” To this tribe belonged a young brave who wanted very much to become a chief. His father was a fierce warrior and had taught him how to fight, but he was not satisfied to follow the leaders of his tribe, for he wanted to lead other Indians himself. When