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Knife Chief




KNIFE CHIEF - Mina Naca or Mila Yatapika (c. 1837-1920). Oglala.

He married both of his wives, presumably sisters, about 1857 and together, they had a large family with either 18 or 19 children. Among his children were Eagle Bear and Fools Crow who told their versions of the Little Bighorn. Knife Chief was considered to be one of the great Oglala fighters. He was severely wounded at the Little Bighorn. According to another son, Thomas Steals Horses, the wounds were so severe that they "had to carry him off the battle field on a travois drawn by a pony."

The Knife Chief family surrendered with Crazy Horse at the Red Cloud Agency in May 1877 and that fall, slipped away from the agency with the other northern bands to join Sitting Bull in Canada. They probably surrendered at Fort Keogh in the summer or fall of 1880 and were transferred to the Standing Rock Agency in June 1881. The family was transferred to the Pine Ridge Agency in May 1882 where Knife Chief served as headman of the Wacunpa Band, one of the subdivisions of the larger Wajaje Tiyospaye that had settled among the Oglala (part of the Wajaje settled among the Brule at Rosebud).

Knife Chief died April 18, 1920.
— Ephriam Dickson

There is additional information on rootsweb:

Knife Chief (Holds The Eagle) was born 1850.

He married Stands By Him CA 1880. She was born 1850.

At 14 years of age he became the father of Runs For the Hill Runs For The Mountains 1864. He became the father of Eagle Bear 1870. My father was given two names, which he later bestowed upon me; Eagle Bear and Fools Crow. He was a big man, about six inches taller than I today, which would make hime at least six feet, four inches. He was very handsom, and had extremely long hair, which he always wore in braids. He was a quiet person who usually kept to himself. He lived the old Indian ways, and did not particiapate in many tribal activities, even though he was the Porcupine District leader. I compare him in some ways to the great war-leader Crazy Horse, who also spent much off his time alone. But unlike Crazy Horse, Eagle Bear never believed in hurting his fellow man, even if the person was of a different nationality. So he never fought in any battles against Indians or whites.

He served in the military during war time 1876 in Little Big Horn.

Knife Chief and Stands By Him had the following child:

Runs For The Mountains Runs For the Hill Runs For The Mountains was born 1864. She married Iron Cloud 1884. He was born 1857. He was the son of Saves The Bear and Follows. He died 8/20/1917 at 60 years of age.

She was listed as Iron Cloud's wife in a census 1886 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, USA. Runs became the mother of Emily Iron Cloud CA 1900.

Knife Chief had the following child:

Eagle Bear was born 1870.


In Frank Goodyear's book about Red Cloud (U. o. Nebraska Press) there is a group photograph of Knife Chief, Red Cloud, Jack Red Cloud and Baptiste Garnier. The inscription of that photo says Knife Chief was a Chief of the Indian Police at that time (ca. 1890s).

A photo of one of his sons, Andrew Knife, is in Donovin Sprague´s book "Pine Ridge Reservation"/Arcadia Publishing.
— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Here is the group photo with Knife Chief:

Knife Chief

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring


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