Red Hawk, Oglala Lakota Biography
Red Hawk. Oglala Lakota. Born 1854. First war-party in 1865 under Crazy Horse, against troops. Led an unsuccessful war-party at 22 years old against Shoshone. First coup when twelve horse-raiding Blackfeet were discovered in a creek bottom and annihilated. Led another party against Shoshone, but failed to find them; encountered and surrounded a white-horse troop. From a hill overlooking the first Red Hawk saw soldiers dismount and charge. The Lakota fled, leaving him alone. A soldier came close and fired, but missed. Red Hawk did likewise, a thump and “O-h-h-h!”. A Cheyenne boy on horseback rushed in and struck the soldier, counting coup. Engaged in twenty battles, many with troops, among them the Custer fight of 1876; others with Pawnee, Crow, Shoshone, Cheyenne and even with Sioux scouts.
Red Hawk fasted twice. The second time, after two days and a night, he saw a vision. As he slept, something from the west came galloping and panting. It circled about him, then went away. A voice said, “Look! I told you there would be many horses!”. He looked, and saw a man holding green grass in his hand. Again the voice said, “The will be many horses about this season”; then he saw the speaker was a rose-hip, half red, half green. Then the creature went away and became a yellow-headed blackbird. It alighted on one of the offering poles, which bent as if under a great weight. The bird became a man again, and said, “Look at this!”. Red Hawk saw a village, into which the man threw two long-haired human heads. Said the voice, “I came to tell you something, and I have now told you. You have done right”. Then the creature, becoming a bird, rose and disappeared in the south. Red Hawk slept, and head a voice saying, “Look at your village!”. He saw four women going around the village with their hair on the top of their heads, and their legs aflame. Following them was a naked man, mourning and singing the death-song. Again, he slept, and felt a hand on his head, shaking him, and as he awoke a voice said, “Arise, behold the face of your grandfather!”. He looked to the eastward and saw the sun peeping above a ridge. The voice continued: “Listen! He is coming, anxious to eat”. So he took his pipe and held the stem toward the rising sun. This time he knew he was not asleep, or dreaming: he knew he was on a hill three miles from the village. A few days later came news that of five who had gone against the enemy, four had been killed; one returned alive, and followed the four mourning wives around the camp singing the death-song. Still later they killed a Cheyenne and a Crow scout, and the two heads were brought into camp.
This biography was written by Edward S. Curtis in The North American Indian, Volume 3, Page 188.
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