was an Oglala soldier at the Old Red Cloud Agency in 1871.
Surely he wasn't present at the Little Bighorn. He was
rather an Agency Indian. In 1880 he traveled with the
delegation of Red Cloud to Washington D.C. Seven years
later he joined to the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and
toured in Europe also. He still lived in 1909.
a studio portrait of him from a Washington-delegation:
Charles M. Bell
— mort aux vaches
the early reservation period, there were three men named
Red Shirt living on Pine Ridge. Just a caution for the possibility
of confusing the various individuals.
Red Shirt appearing in the photographs and who traveled
with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show was, as already noted,
a member of the Wagluhe or Loafer Band, generally considered
to be a mixture of Oglala and Brule.
an interview in 1923, Red Shirt noted that he was born near
a fort on the Platte River in Wyoming, the name of which
he could not recall. Hans recently forwarded a reference
to me that indicated Red Shirt was born near Orin Junction.
For those of you not from Wyoming, Orin is roughly twenty
miles downstream from Fort Fetterman.
books have indicated that Red Shirt was the son of Red Dog.
This is incorrect. I have not been able to locate the original
reference for this information but it is possible that this
was a reference to one of the other Red Shirts (Remember,
Red Dog was a Hunkpapa who married into the Oyuhpe Oglala).
sources indicate that our Red Shirt was the son of a white
man and a Lakota mother. We do not yet know their names.
young man named Red Shirt was part of the 1870 delegation
to Washington D.C., though I can not say for certain that
this was him. By the time of the Great Sioux War of 1876-77,
he was a rising young man within one of the military societies,
an "up and coming" individual among the Wagluhe.
This band had been led by the prominent headman Big Mouth,
until he was shot and killed by Spotted Tail; Big Mouth's
brother Blue Horse by the mid-1870s was the most influential
member of this band. In the fall of 1876 as the army dismounted
and disarmed the agency bands, Blue Horse was arrested by
Gen. Mackenzie for not turning in northern Indians slipping
into his village. After that, Blue Horse seems to disappear
from prominence, perhaps he stepped back from active political
engagement. In this vacuum, several young men emerged as
leaders among the Wagluhe, most prominently American Horse
and Three Bears. Red Shirt seems to be most closely associated
with Three Bears during this period; perhaps kind of his
his association with the Loafers, I doubt that Red Shirt
was at the Little Bighorn, though we should note that a
number of young men had gone out independently from their
band. In later years, newspaper articles about the Wild
West Show specifically stated that Red Shirt was at the
Little Bighorn, but that should be taken with some skeptism,
given the Buffalo Bill Cody PR machine. No doubt it was
good for business for the Indians in his show to be advertised
as having been at the LBH. But the possibility cannot be
entirely discounted without further research.
Shirt became leader of a small band of Loafers on Pine Ridge
about 1878-79. In his 1923 interview, he showed commissioners
his chief's certificate dated 1879 signed by the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs and the Secretary of the Interior. In
1880, he traveled to Carlisle Barracks and on to Washington
D.C. with Red Cloud.
Shirt's leadership role appears to have only lasted a few
years. He soon became involved with the Wild West Shows
which seems to be his main economic support for the next
several decades. We will have to do some more research into
his final decade to know if he became involved again at
all in Oglala politics. He died in 1925 (I have the actual
date at home, but cannot recall it off the top of my head).
— Ephriam Dickson
Shirt was one of the leading Indians with Cody's Wild West
Show, but he left them in Barcelona in 1889 following a
quarrel with Rocky Bear in France. Rocky Bear then took
over as the leading Indian. One reason suggested for the
quarrel was jealousy. Apparently, Red Shirt had more luck
with the French women than Rocky Bear. Must have been that
hair - although I think I recall seeing seen a photo where
photo of him visiting Carlisle:
Red Shirt stands in the center with pipe. His hair looks
shorter. According to the description this photo was made
Here's another photo about Red Shirt with
a better view of his peace medal from 1904:
Red Shirt by Henry W. Wyman, St. Louis Fair,
Waghlue (I'm pretty sure that spelling is dead wrong) band
of the Oglalas was the "progressive" branch, located
at or around Red Cloud Agency. Loafers were the term used
by others on them. Red Shirt was as long away from the LBH
as he could be. — mort
Ephriam's information above I always thought that Red Shirt
was a son of Red Dog, not only because I read it somewhere
but also because he was in that 1880 delegation photo as
the youngest member and so he seemed like a son of one of
these chiefs to me:
are some more photos of him:
Red Shirt in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
Elliott and Fry Photo from London
yet another photo of our man. As you can see, it was taken
on a Wild West Show visit to London by Elliott and Fry of
more Godkin photo of Red Shirt:
Shirt in profile by Bell:
another photo of Red Shirt - this time with Cody's company
somewhere in Italy, 1889/1890. Front row: No Neck, Rocky
Bear, Black Heart, Georgie Duffy, Cody, Bessie Farrell,
Annie Oakley, Red Shirt. Others in back row: Buck Taylor
(fifth from right), Johnny Baker (fourth from right), Carter
Couturier (?), advertising agent (second from right), Has
No Horses (?) (far right):