12 Facts About Spotted Tail


Spotted Tail made several trips to Washington, DC in the 1870s to represent his people, and was noted for his interest in bringing education to the Sioux.


General Anson Mills, who knew Spotted Tail well, called him "a fine-looking man, with engaging manners, perfectly loyal to the government, a lover of peace, knowing no good could come to his people from war," a man who had both a high respect for and confidence in US Army officers as well as a good sense of humor.


Spotted Tail was shot in the back and killed by Crow Dog, a Sichangu Lakota subchief, in 1881 for reasons which have been disputed.


Spotted Tail was born about 1823 in the White River country west of the Missouri River in present-day South Dakota.


Spotted Tail was given the birth name of Jumping Buffalo.


The young man took his warrior name, Spotted Tail, after receiving a gift of a raccoon tail from a white trapper; he sometimes wore a raccoon tail in his war bonnet.


Spotted Tail gained his first wife in 1842, after a deadly fight against chief Mahto Wakuwa, and, being the killed chief a famous warrior, young Spotted Tail's reputation probably grew greatly increased.


Many years later, Spotted Tail had her remains transported to the Rosebud Indian Agency in South Dakota and re-interred.


Spotted Tail agreed to the treaty, which in 1868 established the Great Sioux Reservation in West River, west of the Missouri River.


In 1881, while he was still carrying on his struggle to defend the reservations and Lakota's life on their soil, and to counter the power of Government Indian agents over the reservation of Lakota people following the Black Hills War, Spotted Tail was killed by Crow Dog for reasons that have been disputed.


Luther Standing Bear claimed Spotted Tail was murdered by Crow Dog for having sold land not belonging to him and for taking the wife of a crippled man.


Spotted Tail's death influenced critical Indian law principles, long after his death.