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Brule Participants at the Little Bighorn

He Dog (in Hammer, Custer in '76, p. 206) notes: "Good many Brules there. More than twenty lodges was reported to me. Flying Chaser -- Wakuya Kinyan was the head man of Brules but not a big chief."

I have not tracked down all the families yet, but no doubt most of them surrendered in spring of 1877 at the Spotted Tail Agency. Some did flee north into Canada with the Oglala in late 1877 and early 1878. After the surrender of the northern bands in 1881, a total of 41 families (206 people) were listed as Brule in the Sitting Bull Surrender Census. The headman of this group in 1881 was Bull Dog.

Another document which lists the name of Brule, many of whom may have been at the LBH, is a letter of transfer from Agent McLaughlin to the agent at the Rosebud Agency. He noted that 18 families (68) people had slipped away to the Rosebud Agency prior to July 1881 when the northern bands were transferred from the military at Fort Yates to the agent at Standing Rock Agency. These included:

1. Flying Alone [=Flying Above?]
2. White Whirlwind
3. Red Medicine Woman
4. Medicine ghost
5. Walking Bull
6. White Hawk
7. Shell Boy
8. Mollie
9. Bad Whirlwind
10. Crier
11. Lame
12. Soldier
13. Gey Cow Eagle
14. Little Wolf
15. Bear in the Woods
16. Looking Elk
17. Red Eagle
18. Eagle Woman

A total of 24 Brule families were transferred from the Standing Rock Agency to the Rosebud Agency in May 1882:

1. Bull Dog (chief)
2. Running in the Midst
3. Red Buck Elk
4. No Judgment
5. White Calf
6. His Horse Chasing
7. Came and Sat Above
8. Black Bull
9. Blue Haired Horse
10. Kill the Pawnee
11. Pretty Dog
12. Yellow Horse
13. Eagle Dog
14. Crows Head
15. Sitting Buck Elk
16. White Bull Cow
17. Ghost Head
18. Four Bears
19. Black Wolf
20. Man With Horns
21. Red Leaf
22. Red Around the Face
23. One That Strikes
24. Charging Hawk

— Ephriam Dickson

There were some Brule at LBH, but there was no really renown leader among them. The big chiefs like Spotted Tail, Two Strike, Swift Bear, etc. were all at the agency. — Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Interpreter Nick Ruleau named as the leader or chief of the Rosebud/Brule Sioux at the LBH one Flying Chaser (Ricker interviews).

The most prominent Brule - as far as I know - at the LBH was Hollow Horn Bear, son of Iron Shell, who later became a chief of his people. — Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

On Brules at the Little Bighorn:

Flying Chaser's band affiliation is unknown to me. Bull Dog (born ca. 1830) was a Wazhazha. He is listed in the Red Cloud Agency register as surrendering there on March 14, 1877, with or at the same time as the No Water outfit. The Wazhazha band had been enrolled at Red Cloud Agency since 1871, but in spring 1877 chief Red Leaf and the band council requested to be transferred to Spotted Tail Agency. On April 21-22 some 203 Wazhazhas were officially transferred from Red Cloud Agency (approximately 270 people, chief Day, chose to remain at Red Cloud Agency). Included in the transfers was the family of "Dog Bull". In the Spotted Tail Agency census conducted during May-June, "Dog Bull's" family continues to be listed in the Wazhazha band. However he does not appear in the new census conducted in December 1877, after the removal of Spotted Tail and Red Cloud agencies to new sites on the Missouri River. From this fact I opined (in "We Belong to the North") that Bull Dog was a leader in the fall breakouts to Canada. As Ephriam shows Bull Dog was considered the leader of the Brules surrendering from Canada, interned at Standing Rock in 1881, and transferred home to the new Upper Brule tribal agency of Rosebud in spring 1882.

Trying to establish Brule numbers and band identities at the Little Bighorn is something of a guessing game. The Spotted Tail Agency census of May-June 1877 does not specifically identify surrendering Indians. However if we assume that all the enumerated Miniconjous (489 people), Sans Arcs (512), and Hunkpapa (18) are surrenders, we have a sub-total of 1019 people. In his annual report military agent Lt. Jesse M. Lee stated that 1372 "hostiles" surrendered at Spotted Tail through May 31. As a working hypothesis I think it's worth considering the difference of 353 people to be Brules. By my 6 people: 1 lodge ratio that is about 60 lodges. Some Brules also surrendered at Red Cloud Agency - including as we saw Bull Dog. Weighing up the evidence I think maybe 22 Brule lodges were included in the Crazy Horse village surrender of May 6, a smaller number with previous Red Cloud Agency surrenders - so as a working guess I'd say 85+ lodges of Brules surrendered at the two White River agencies from December 1876 through May 1877. If a few Brule lodges did go directly to Canada without prior surrender (as per Ephriam's reconstruction above), then we may looking at a maximum 'out' figure of ca. 100 lodges in fall 1876. The number available at the Little Bighorn could have been less than that, if (as at other agencies) some people fled Spotted Tail Agency during fall 1876 due to the Black Hills crisis/pony confiscations/military takeover etc. etc.

On band identities most 'hostile' Upper Brules would have been drawn from the two bands who prior to the 1868 Treaty habitually hunted in the Powder River Country: the Wazhazhas and the Orphans. It's significant that two named Brules at the Little Bighorn - Hollow Horn Bear and Crow Dog - were of the Orphan band.

None of the major Brule chiefs were present at the Little Bighorn. The influence of Spotted Tail was so great that only a small number of Upper Brules was identified with the Northern non-treaty bands. Also, traditional Brule hunting grounds focussed south of the Black Hills, so only small numbers of Northern Brules - those Wazhazhas and Orphans I talked about in the above post - had an interest or claim in the Powder River Country.

This is reflected also in the fact that there seems to have been no formal Brule camp-circle at the Little Bighorn. The evidence is a bit scattered, but there seem to have been some Brules camped with the Oglalas, some with or near the Sihasapa (the latter tribal division also had a band called Wazhazha - Kill Eagle's band - so that may be the linkup), some straggling between circles - and also a small camp on the east side of the river upstream from Medicine Tail Coulee.

On the 1871-72 Lakota buffalo hunt on the Republican River, which hosted Grand Duke Alexis. According to Red Cloud Agency records the following bands left that agency on September 22, 1871, to spend the winter hunting on the Republican:

Spotted Tail 120 lodges Brules
Little Wound 120 lodges Southern Oglalas
Red Leaf 30 lodges Wazhazha Brules
Young Man Afraid of His Horse 20 lodges Payabya band Oglalas
Dull Knife 25 lodges Northern Cheyennes (departed Sept. 30)

The Oglalas seem to have appointed four Deciders (Wakicunze) to oversee the hunt and camp moves:
Little Wound - Kiyaksa band
Black Bear - Iwayusota band
Pawnee Killer - Spleen band
Trail Agent Frank D. Yates (known to the Lakotas as Cut Foot), placed in charge by Red Cloud agent Wham.

There were already some Southern Oglalas on the Republican (Whistler's band of Kiyaksa). Due to internal difficulties, this group seemed to have joined with the Brules in organizing hunts etc.

The Brules, accompanying Trail Agent Todd Randall, also appointed a village organization, recognizing the following "headmen" (probably both Deciders and akicita police):
Spotted Tail
Two Strike
Windy [Ass]
Black Crow
No Flesh
Crooked Foot (aka Shooting Tiger).

According to contemporary newspapers, Duke Alexis's party arrived on the Union Pacific at North Platte in the morning of January 13. They departed to join Spotted Tail's Brule village, located on Red Willow Creek (a northern tributary of the Republican) on the 15th. "Spotted Tail, Two Strike, Cut Leg, White Bear, Little Eagle, and other Sioux chiefs, with about 1,300 warriors [sic!], accompanied by their squaws and papooses, are now assembled on the Red Willow, waiting the arrival of the palefaces." The hunt climaxed on the 16th when Spotted Tail and "eight selected warriors" joined Duke Alexis, Phil Sheridan, G.A. Custer, Bill Cody and the rest in a grand buffalo chase. Two Lance, a brother of Southern Oglala chief Whistler, is known to have been among these hunters. — Kingsley Bray

Today I read again Leonard Crow Dog´s book "Crow Dog - Four Generations of Sioux Medicine Men".
I found a statement, that both Ghostdance leaders Short Bull and his friend Kicking Bear "had been with Crazy Horse at the Custer fight". If this is true, we have another Brule name!

In didn't find a definite statement about Crow Dog´s presence at the LBH, it seems in the book he was not.

But Leonard Crow Dog presented a interesting story about his ancestor when Sitting Bull went to Canada:
"Crow Dog and a few others went to join Sitting Bull there. They told the people on the reservation that they were going hunting. (...) They stopped at a place called holy Medicine Rocks, where Sitting Bull had held a sun dance just before the Custer fight. (...) It was near Medicine Rocks that Crow Dog ran into a party of white soldiers. (...) Crow Dog took two bullets, one in his belly near the groin... He had a fast horse and made it back to camp. There a medicine man named Sitting Hawk took care of him." — Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

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