Standing Rock Agency records are not nearly as detailed
for the Minneconjou and Sans Arc (as they are for
the Hunkpapa and Blackfeet) since they did not remain
at the agency long. Each of the tribes were divided
into two components based on where they originated
at, shipped there in the summer of 1881. They were
then transferred out in the spring of 1882.
Minneconjou were divided in the records into Fool
Heart's band, coming from Fort Buford, and Hump's
band, coming from Fort Keogh. In the Sept. 1881 census,
Fool Heart includes 26 families (112 people) while
Hump's band consisted of 142 families (714 people).
They were transferred to Cheyenne River Agency in
Sans Arc were also listed in two groups, based on
their point of origin. Those coming from Fort Buford
were listed under Circle Bear; and those from Fort
Keogh under Spotted Eagle. Unfortunately, Spotted
Eagle and part of his band (139 individuals) were
transferred to Spotted Tail Agency between July and
Sept. 1881 just before the census, so we do not have
a list of their names. Part of Sans Arc from Fort
Buford however joined Circle Bear and they are counted
in the census, 85 families or 351 people total.
early 1882, the remaining Sans Arc at Standing Rock
are split between two bands, Circle Bear (with 97
people) and Black Wolf (with 245). Black Wolf and
his band were transferred to Cheyenne River in April
1882; but it appears that Circle Bear remained behind
at Standing Rock though his numbers continued to dwindle.
By July, he was down to only 40 people. I will have
to follow him through the census records to see what
eventually happened to him.
you may already know, no agency records come close
to the detailed material that we have for Standing
Rock. For the Hunkpapa, we can follow each of the
bands for 10 to 15 years, showing changes in their
composition and size. Cheyenne River Agency records,
on the other hand, are mostly missing. We have the
1876-77 Army register but then nothing until the regular
agency census begin in 1886. Regrettably, this is
an important period for which we currently do not
have documentation for the Minneconjou and Sans Arc.
But I am still looking!
Bear Face (interview 1931 in Mekeel Mss.) noted that
there were four shirt-wears among the Sans Arc:
1. Black Eagle of the Scarlet Cloth Earring band
2. Elk Head of the Bad One's band
3. Looks Up of the Bull Manure band
4. Blue Coat of the Eat Dried Venison Band.
by the first three name all appear in the Sept 1881
Standing Rock Agency census, all listed within Circle
Bear's band. This would seem to be support the idea
that the grouping represents several combined bands.
the period ca. 1880 missionary S. R. Riggs obtained
the order of bands in the Sans Arc camp-circle. Starting
at the south side of the east-facing camp-entrance
(tiyopa) and running round clockwise to the north
side or horn (hunkpa), the order is this:
Mini sala, Red Water, or Itazipco-hca, Real Sans Arc
[formerly two separate bands]
2. Sina luta oin, Red Cloth Earring
3. Woluta yuta, Ham Eaters
4. Maz pegnaka, Metal Hair Ornament
5. Tatanka Cesli, Bull Dung
6. Siksicela, Bad Ones
7. Tiyopa Canupa, Smokes at the Entrance.
established this, I'm going to come at the Great Sioux
War from the other end. The Stanley Vestal material
indicates that in June 1876 the Sans Arc village on
the Little Bighorn included the following leaders
[with my hunch about their status in the village organization
Spotted Eagle [War Chief?]
2. High Horse [Wakicunze, or Decider?]
3. Black Eagle [ " " ?]
4. Blue Coat [ " " ?]
5. Two Eagles [ " " ?]
affiliations: the Mekeel material cited by Ephriam
explicitly identifies two of these leaders (Black
Eagle and Blue Coat) with named bands: Black Eagle
(surrendered at Ft Buford January 21, 1881) is explicitly
identified with the Red Cloth Earring band. Spotted
Eagle (surrendering at Ft Keogh October 31, 1880)
was identified with the Bull Dung band in a contemporary
Army report, as was Red Bear (leader of the main Sans
Arc group to flee to Canada from Spotted Tail Agency
in fall 1877). Blue Coat (surrendered at Cheyenne
River Agency November 30, 1876) was identified with
the Ham Eaters band.
the other leaders, I've noted that Vestal often links
High Horse and Two Eagles with a third Sans Arc headman,
Brown Thunder. My own contacts at Cheyenne River have
identified Brown Thunder with the Metal Hair Ornaments
band, and High Horse and/or Two Eagles may have belonged
to that band. I'm continuing to research these matters,
so treat this all as a work-in-progress.
the interpretation, as I did with the Hunkpapa band
data supplied by Glenbow, I feel that the Sans Arcs
also comprised two primary divisions: the Red Water
division had a more easterly distribution closer to
the main stem of the Missouri River. It probably comprised
band numbers 1, 2, 3, and 7. Band numbers 4 and 5
comprised a second division, to whom the name Saoni
may have been in older times attached. The Real Sans
Arcs may also originally have been identified with
this division, which by the mid-19th Century had a
more westerly distribution than the Red Water. The
band name Plenty Horses, not otherwise recorded, was
applied to this division by F. V. Hayden in ca. 1857
- a name reflecting western contacts to the world
of horse trading (with the Cheyennes via the Oglalas
and Miniconjous) and raiding (against the Mountain
Bad Ones band fits in the camp-circle between these
two primary bands. This is consistent with the account
of one of my Sans Arc informants, who stated that
the Bad Ones were originally a break-off faction from
the Kiyuksa band among the Oglalas and Brules (Southern
Tetons). Therefore they would have been guests in
the Sans Arc hoop, assigned a camping place between
the two primary host bands. Other Bad Ones offshoots
were found among the Hunkpapa (see the Hunkpapa band
thread) and the Miniconjou. —
is a listing of the major Miniconjou bands, in the
order they took in the tribal camp circle. This is
the list provided by No Heart to Rev. H. Swift in
1884. Once more band no. 1 is next to the east facing
entrance or tiyopa, occupying the southeast segment
of the circle. The other bands follow round to the
north side of the tiyopa:
Unkche yuta, Dung Eaters.
2. Glaglaheca, Untidy, Slovenly, Shiftless.
3. Shunka yute shni, Eat No Dogs.
4. Nige Tanka, Big Belly.
5. Wakpokinyan, Flies Along the River.
6. Inyan ha oin, Musselshell Earring.
7. Siksicela, Bad Ones.
8. Wagleza-oin, Gartersnake Earring.
9. Wanhin Wega, Broken Arrow.
Eagle gave a similar list/circle in 1880, but omitting
no's 4 and 9 as being extinct.
historical documents and information given me by Lakota
consultants, we can match several of these bands up
with chiefs and headmen in the period 1850-80.
Dung Eaters - not explicitly identified with a chiefly
family; however I suspect that this is the band identified
with the father and son chieftainship of White Hollow
Horn and Little Bear. These men were present at Cheyenne
River Agency through September 1876, being registered
in the agency census on Sept. 24, but "all left
to join Hostile Camp on Sept 25th". The main
part of their band was therefore not at the Little
2. Glaglaheca is identified with the White Swan dynasty
of Miniconjou hereditary chiefs. Most of this band
was resident at Cheyenne River Agency by 1876. It
would not have been collectively present at the Little
3. Shunka yute shni was seemingly divided into agency
and non-treaty factions after 1868. The No Heart dynasty
of chiefs was identified with the agency faction.
Modern day elders all consistently identified Hump
with the Shunka yute shni. As a key non-treaty leader,
Hump's segment of the band was present in force at
the Little Bighorn. My research strongly indicates
that this band and the extinct Broken Arrow band were
offshoots of a single parent band.
4. Big Belly band - if it was not already "extinct",
the 1876 whereabouts of this band are not known. There
is a possible link to the headman Roman Nose. He was
present at Cheyenne River Agency through the summer
of 1876, being one of the five Miniconjou leaders
who left "immediately preceding" the census
taken on Sept. 24.
5. Wakpokinyan - this is the band associated with
the hereditary dynasty of the One or Lone Horn family.
Lone Horn himself had died near the agency probably
in the first few weeks of 1876. As the summer progressed
leadership focussed on his son Touch the Clouds, who
like Roman Nose was present at the agency until shortly
before Sept. 24. Believing (correctly) that their
ponies were about to be impounded, these two headmen
and their bands plus those of Long Neck (Red Skirt
No. 1), Bull Eagle, and Red Skirt No. 2, all left
the agency to more or less reluctantly join the non-treaty
alliance that had defeated Crook and Custer. A second
leadership family in the Wakpokinyan was that of Lame
Deer. The band had polarised in 1868 over the issue
of that year's treaty. Lame Deer continued in 1876
to lead the non-treaty faction, and his followers
were present in strength at the Little Bighorn.
6. Musselshell Earring - according to my consultants
was the band of White Bull (Stanley Vestal's key informant)
and his father Makes Room. The majority of this band
was identified with the non-treaty faction of Miniconjous,
and was present at the Little Bighorn.
7. Bad Ones - leadership not clear, although some
statements may again align Roman Nose with this band.
8. Gartersnake Earrings - not explicitly identified
with any chiefly family, but my hunch is that this
band ties up with contemporary leader Flying By (not
to be confused with Walter Camp's Miniconjou informant
of the same name, born 1850, who was one of Lame Deer's
sons). One of my consultants has identified Dog Backbone,
the Miniconjou killed on Reno Hill on June 26, with
what she called the "Wagleza-wila". I think
that this band was also present in large force in
the non-treaty coalition at the Little Bighorn.
9. Broken Arrow - this band was very important in
the early 19th Century. It broke up about 1840, its
members shifting to other bands and divisions (e.g.
the Two Kettle). The residual members seem to have
been extremely 'hostile' and were probably present
in large numbers at the Little Bighorn. —
“Warpath” White Bull said “the Minniconjou Sioux were
governed by six hereditary chiefs or Scalp-Shirt Men.
In 1866 these were Brave Bear, Makes-Room, White-Hollow-Horn,
Black Shield, One Horn and White Swan. Lame Deer and
Fire Thunder were then vice-chiefs.”
White Bull also said that White Swan hated the whites
the most. He had fought them often and when he died
he requested that his followers had to kill all white
men. I wonder if and why his son, White Swan the younger,
had neglected this mission, for he was at the agency
I think Roman Nose was the son of One/Lone Horn and
so the brother of Touch-the Clouds. Their bands must
have had close ties. No wonder they were together
at the agency. Lame Deer was also related to the Lone
Horn family, being Lone Horns brother. But I remember
his band shifted to the warlike Hunkpapa of Sitting
Bull in the 1860s.
A third son of Lone Horn was Spotted Elk (later called
Another headman at LBH was the Miniconjou Red Horse.
— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring
Bull (in James Howard, The Warrior Who Killed Custer
p. 31-32) lists the chiefs of the Mnicoujou, including
all the names mentioned above by Kingsley and Dietmar
except one. White Bull mentions six hereditary chiefs
including their sons, then notes that there were two
who rose to prominence as war leaders, much as Red
Cloud did among the Oglala. These were Lame Deer and
Black Moon (not to be confused with the Hunkpapa leader
by the same name).
Mnicoujou Black Moon (c1821-1893) had a small band
at the Little Bighorn (Vestal, Sitting Bull, p. 143).
He may have been with Lame Deer in May 1877 when that
headman was killed. He led his band into Canada in
1877 and was one of the last to leave. My impression
is that his band broke up during the 1880-82 period.
As many of the northern or non-treaty bands came in
and surrendered, Black Moon held out though many of
his followers did not. His daughter married one of
the Mounties at Fort Walsh, perhaps added incentive
for him to remain. Black Moon finally left Canada
with 11 lodges in April 1889. After being intercepted
by troops, he made it to the Standing Rock Agency
that July. He and his family were transferred to Cheyenne
River to join other Mnicoujou in October 1890. Most
of his family left Cheyenne River with Big Foot and
ended up at Wounded Knee -- Black Moon's wife, daughter
and son were killed there; another son and other family
members were wounded. Black Moon remained at Cheyenne
River for the remainder of his life. He does not appear
to have been a band leader during this later period.
I still cannot match Black Moon's band to any of the
known bands listed by Kingsley above.
Unfortunately, as I noted earlier, the Cheyenne River
Agency census records are not much help. I did find
a few more records so that we have moderately good
coverage of the Mnicoujou families from the fall of
1876 (with the Army's detailed census) through 4th
Quarter 1881. These later records are just issue records.
Unlike the 1876 census, the families are not listed
in bands; rather, from 1877 forward the agent at Cheyenne
River listed everyone alphabetically by tribe, thus
erasing any evidence of band structure. The first
full census for Cheyenne River came in 1886, but if
you look closely at its structure, it preserves the
alphabetical listing from the 1877-81 records with
some additions inserted -- again, no evidence of band
structure. So while Standing Rock, Pine Ridge and
Rosebud census records provide some important clues
as to the relationship of bands, the Cheyenne River
Agency census records are disappointingly not very
helpful. — Ephriam
take the White Bull list of Miniconjou chiefs in detail.
Actually there are two such published lists:
(a) printed in Vestal, WARPATH, p. 51, reading as
Hereditary Chiefs or Scalp Shirt Men:
1. Brave Bear
2. Makes Room
3. White Hollow Horn
4. Black Shield
5. Lone Horn
6. White Swan
two "vice chiefs":
7. Lame Deer
8. Fire Thunder.
similar list was printed in Jim Howard's THE WARRIOR
WHO KILLED CUSTER: THE PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF CHIEF
JOSEPH WHITE BULL, pp 31-32. It reads:
Wichasa Itanchan (Chief Men):
2. Black Shield
3. Lone Horn
4. White Hollow Horn
5. White Swan
6. Comes-flying [i.e. Kinyan Hiyaye, Flying By]
two "renowned" men who were accordingly "treated
as chiefs . . . They wore shirts decorated with scalps":
7. Lame Deer
lists are identical except that Howard's list replaces
Brave Bear with Flying By, and Fire Thunder with Black
Moon. From the treaty commission minutes of 1865,
we know that Fire Thunder (recognized as one of the
ten chiefs of the Miniconjou by Gen. Harney in 1856)
had died by that year. Black Moon must have been seated
as his successor.
Dietmar's points, I have no proof, but my feeling
is that Black Shield (also known as Breast) was associated
with the Broken Arrow band or one of its split-offs.
truth there were several men named Fire Thunder (Wakinyan
Peta) among the Oglala and Miniconjou in this period.
A younger Miniconjou of the name was listed in Makes
Room's band (i.e. the Musselshell Earrings) in the
Cheyenne River Agency census for 1875. Given the strongly
hereditary nature of Miniconjou leadership, perhaps
his namesake (possibly father?) had belonged to the
Swan: the chief of 1876 was at least the third of
this name. His father was implicated in the planning
for the Fetterman fight, 1866, and died that same
year. White Swan III brought his band, counting approximately
20 lodges, to the just-established Cheyenne River
Agency in the fall of 1868. His Glaglaheca band augmented
the permanent peace faction of Miniconjous that had
been based around Ft Sully for several years: the
bands of headmen The Hard (Eat No Dogs band) and One
Iron Horn (not to be confused with Lone Horn). Apart
from a lengthy visit among the non-treaty bands or
winter roamers in the winter of 1869-70, White Swan
was a fixture at the agency from that time forward,
a key proponent of peace and a delegate to Washington
DC in 1870, 1875, and 1888.
Nose: Here begin problems with the standard secondary
sources. I don't believe that Roman Nose was a biological
son of Lone Horn. Take a look at the famous 1868 Ft
Laramie group shot including both men, and the age
difference is simply not possible! My wife, with no
detailed knowledge of the controversy, but by the
same token an objective reader of the pictorial evidence,
thought that Roman Nose looked the older of the two
men! I don't quite think that, but if Lone Horn was
born about 1814-15 (his own statement), I think Roman
Nose must have been born no later than the early 1820s.
This is consistent with family descent information
I'm beginning to accrue, which shows that he had children
born in the 1840s. OK, Lakota kin terms are more extensive
than ours - an ate (father) would include what we
would call paternal uncles, etc. etc. Perhaps Lone
Horn was even a hunka father to Roman Nose. I think
that Hardorff - a great gatherer or data - made a
misreading of a passage in George Hyde and considered
the successors to Lone Horn (Touch the Clouds, Spotted
Elk/Big Foot, and Roman Nose) as all Lone Horn's sons.
Against my reading it is only fair to say that Lone
Horn descendants today certainly do consider Roman
Nose as a son of Lone Horn.
Elk/Big Foot: again I don't think that Spotted Elk
was a biological son of Lone Horn. Census records
indicate his birth about 1826 - when Lone Horn was
11 or 12. It is worth noting that several Lakota accounts
- admittedly vague - indicate that Big Foot and Lone
Horn were not father and son, but brothers. Frustratingly,
I have not been able to clear up this problem with
family descendants. One interpretation that I think
is worthy of consideration is that one story about
Big Foot identifies him as a nine-year old orphan
on an Oglala war-party against the Pawnees - a raid
dated by the 1833 Leonid shower When the Stars Fell.
There are circumstantial details in the story that
match up with a raid recorded in the fall of 1835.
Since the elder One Horn was killed by a buffalo bull
in July 1835 at Bear Butte - could Spotted Elk have
been his orphaned 'son' subsequently raised by the
younger Lone Horn? On bands, one of my consultants
named Spotted Elk's band as the Hehepiya, meaning
something like At the Foot of the Hills. This may
be a reference to Big Foot's camp location on the
Cheyenne River in the 1880s. Josephine Waggoner's
brief profile names Big Foot's band as the Inyan ha
oin (Musselshell Earrings), but this seems unlikely
- at least in any sense of permanent residence.
Deer: Continuing in iconoclastic vein, Lame Deer was
not the brother of Lone Horn. They did belong to the
same band, and may have been related, but this assertion
is based on a misreading by Harry Anderson. Harry
- one of the great pioneers of lakota history - thought
that Elk Bellows Walking (indeed the elder brother
of Lone Horn) was the same man as Lame Deer. The 1865
Treaty Commission minutes establish that this is not
Horse: we don't know his band identity, although he
surrendered in Feb. 1877 with Spotted Elk. My hunch
would be that his outfit, and those of Red Skirt and
Bull Eagle, were part of the Gartersnake Earring band.
Moon: my research has thrown up a number of band names
in addition to the major bands listed in the camp-circle.
This probably reflects Miniconjou population attrition
through the 19th Century, with people steadily shifting
to the bigger Teton divisions (especially the Oglala
and Brule). A persistent name to crop up is Ashke,
Lock of Hair. This may have been a sub-band of the
old Broken Arrow band. Some of my consultants identified
elements of Black Moon's family with the Ashke.
the chiefs listed by White Bull, three of the Wichasa
both of the "vice chiefs", Lame Deer and
Black Moon, were listed by him as present at the Little
Bighorn. Of the others, Lone Horn was dead, White
Swan III and White Hollow Horn were at Cheyenne River
Agency. Assuming a Miniconjou population of 270-300
lodges in 1876, I think this is consistent with a
little more than half the tribe being at Little Bighorn
on June 25. I've tweaked the figure up and down during
writing my biography of Crazy Horse, but in the end
I think John S. Gray's estimate of 150 Miniconjou
lodges at Little Bighorn is pretty fair. As a round
figure estimate of total Lakota lodges present I favour
850-900 (not including Cheyennes), right around one-third
of the total Teton population. The other two-thirds
were living at the agencies of the Great Sioux Reservation.
— Kingsley Bray
Bear was a Miniconjou leader of this name active in
the 1870+ period. He was the son of one of the six
Wicasa Itancan or band chiefs of the Miniconjou, Helogecha
Ska, White Hollow Horn. According to the statement
of Lakota historian Josephine Waggoner Little Bear
belonged to a band known as Maka-mignaka, meaning
Skunk-Belt. This band name is nowhere else recorded.
Because the Miniconjou were declining in numbers throughout
the 19th Century, I suspect that this once autonomous
group was absorbed by one of the larger bands. My
supposition has been that White Hollow Horn's family
were identified with the Unkche Yuta or Dung Eaters,
one of the major bands of the Miniconjou tribe.
Bear was born about 1840. Beginning in 1875 he increasingly
takes centre-stage in band affairs. His band (like
Lone Horn's) was one that settled near Cheyenne River
Agency in January 1875, having left the hunting gounds
west of the Black Hills during the drought of the
previous summer. The old way of life was perceived
by such moderate bands as no longer sustainable in
the long term. He was a delegate to Washington in
May-June of that year, and represented them again
at the September council at Red Cloud Agency. The
band fled Cheyenne River Agency in Sept. 1876 when
the Army took over. In the October parleys with Col.
Miles White Hollow Horns gave himself up as a hostage,
and Little Bear surrendered at Cheyenne River on Nov.
White Bull gives an account (in Stanley Vestal's WARPATH)
of the investiture of a new generational cohort of
Wicasa Itancan at Cheyenne River Agency in 1880-81.
Little Bear was formally seated to succed his father,
invested with ceremonail shirt etc.
I am not sure when this Little Bear died. —