Native Americans are the original habitants of America, before Columbus discovered it in 1492. They were simple nature loving people who sustained their lives on hunting. But after their continent was discovered by the Europeans, they moved to America and formed colonies there, capturing the land these Native people owned for generations. Not only that, these native people were called Indians, and their language and cultures were overpowered by the Europeans. Even today we see the flawed representation of these people as Cowboys in popular media. However, the Native Americans struggled in the past and have still been struggling to make an identity for themselves in today’s world. In this long history of struggle for survival we must acknowledge these five Native American leaders who changed the course of history for mankind. Read more to find out who they were…
Chief Joseph was the Wallowa leader of the Nez Perce. Unlike all the Native American leaders and chiefs, who are renowned for their ability to combat resistance, Chief Joseph’s efforts were to live peacefully with the white settlers. They had an agreement with the US government to live within the limits of Oregon and Idaho. But in 1877, there was a threat of a US Cavalry attack on his tribe. At that time, he led his people to resist such an attack and defend themselves.
Red Cloud was a prominent enemy of the US Army during 1866-1868. He led a victorious campaign known as the Red Cloud’s War. That campaign resulted in taking control over the Wyoming and southern Montana territory. This victory also led to the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. This way his tribe got back the ownership of the Black hills.
Crazy Horse was the leader of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He was a great fighter and protector of his tribe’s culture. He was so dedicated to his motherland that while other Lakota leaders fled to Canada, Crazy Horse remained in the US and fought the US government. The most spectacular contribution of Crazy Horse was in the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.
He was the chief of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux tribe, and was one of the contributors in the Battle of Bighorn in 1876. He was the contemporary of Crazy Horse. He had become the symbol of resistance against the US government’s discriminatory policies. In 1890, he was suspected to be planning an escape with the White Dancers who had been trying to put an end to White Expansion in America. The police attempted to arrest Sting Bull. However they ended up shooting at him, which caused his death.
Geronimo was a leader of the Apache tribe. He had conducted several raids against the Mexican and US invasion and protected the land of his tribe. He made life difficult for the Mexicans, especially after his family was killed by them. He was such a fierce fighter that the white settlers considered him to be the “worst Indian who ever lived”. However, he surrendered to the US troops in 1886. On his deathbed he confessed his regret to his nephew saying that he should have fought till he was the last man alive.
Native Americans are not just some cool Cowboys, they are the living examples of how European colonization destroyed cultures and identities. Don’t you think the ‘Indian’ leaders of America had something in common with the Indian freedom fighters? They both loved their people, their culture, and their land so much that they did not give in to European Dominance. Let me know what other similarities you can find in them...