Highlighting the many Native resistance fighters from the 1500s to the 1800s who made a name for themselves in our country’s volatile history—ICTMN continues its list of historic notable Natives.
Chief Joseph (1840-1904)
Known to have been one of the first Nez Perce Indian chiefs to convert to Christianity, Chief Joseph worked to forge a new treaty and a new reservation in hopes of making peace with European settlers. After gold was discovered in Nez Perce lands the U.S. government took back millions of acres from Joseph and his people.
Chief Joseph denounced his white friends, destroyed his bible and refused to sign off on the new boundaries. When clashes caused the death of white settlers, Joseph led his people on what is considered one of the most remarkable military retreats in history. After a 1,400-mile march to Canada, victories against U.S. forces numbered more than 2,000 soldiers.
Chief Black Hoof (1740-1831)
Chief Black Hoof, of the Shawnee Indians of Ohio, is remembered for his fierce fighting against encroaching settlers. In 1831, the government negotiated to transfer Ohio land held by the Shawnee. When Black Hoof was later asked if he agreed to the sale, he replied “No.”
Black Hoof resisted the Indian removal policies implemented after the War of 1812 and claimed to have been present at the Battle of the Monongahela in 1755, which included the defeat of General Edward Braddock during the French and Indian War. Though some historians say he was born in 1740 others say 1722, which would have made him 109 years old at the time of his death.
Metacom/King Philip (1639-1676)
Metacom, also known as King Philip, was the Sachem leader of the Wampanoag prominent in the New England war that holds his namesake—King Philips War. As puritan colonies grew in 1674, he planned attacks and raids.
Fighting between the puritan colonists and Indians spread into Boston, Rhode Island and other New England territories. In the winter of 1675-1676, a colonial company led by Captain Michael Pierce was surrounded and defeated by Native Warriors. On March 29 1676, Metacomet’s men burned Providence, Rhode Island. Later that year Metacom was killed by a Native soldier who switched sides named John Alderman.
Chief Low Dog (1846 –1894)
Becoming an Oglala Sioux war chief at age 14, Low Dog or Xunka Kuciyedano joined Sitting Bull’s war party on Little Big Horn in 1876. In his history as a war chief he fought in the battle against Reno and Custer. Low Dog’s brother was killed in battle.
His account of the Battle of Little Bighorn is historically well-known: “I called to my men: ‘This is a good day to die: follow me.’ We massed our men, and that no man should fall back, every man whipped another man's horse and we rushed right upon them.
As we rushed upon them the [soldiers] dismounted to fire, but they did very poor shooting. They held their horse’s reins on one arm while they were shooting, but their horses were so frightened that they pulled the men all around and a great many of their shots went up into the air and did us no harm.”
Chief Gall/Pizi (1840-1894)
Born about 1840, Chief Gall received his name because as a hungry youth he tried to eat the gall bladder of an animal. As a young warrior, Gall fought many battles with Red Cloud. When the treaty of 1868 began enforcing the return of Indians to reservations, Gall refused to comply.
Adopted as a brother by Sitting Bull, Gall was later accused of a murder he didn’t commit and was bayoneted by soldiers and left for dead. He crawled to safety and later retaliated. He also took part in the Battle of Little Big Horn and assisted Crazy Horse and others in Custer’s defeat.
In his later years, Gall served as an envoy to Washington, D.C. on behalf of the Sioux. He became a reservation judge in 1889 and during his life supported reservation-farming programs and schools to specifically educate Indian children. He was sought out by Buffalo Bill Cody to participate in his Wild West Show. Gall refused stating, “I am not an animal to be exhibited before crowds.”
Born around 1804 among the Creek Indians in Georgia, Seminole leader Osceola fought against Andrew Jackson’s forces during the first Seminole Wars of 1817-1818. Fighting with fierce guerrilla tactics against government troops, Osceola later plunged his knife into a treaty he was asked to sign that would have moved his people. Osceola’s action precipitated the second Seminole wars that lasted seven years.
Osceola later was tricked into talking peace and was captured in 1837 while carrying a white truce flag.