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Sit Glek (pronounced gleh-shka, Spotted Tail; born ca.

1823[1] died August 5,


1881) was a Brul Lakota tribal chief. Although a great warrior in his youth, and
having taken part in the Grattan massacre, he declined to participate in Red Cloud's
War.[2] He had become convinced of the futility of opposing the white incursions
into his homeland; he became a statesman, speaking for peace and defending the
rights of his tribe.

He made several trips to Washington, D.C. in the 1870s to represent his people, and
was noted for his interest in bringing education to the Sioux.[3]
Biography[edit]

Spotted Tail was born about 1823 in the White River country west of the Missouri
River in present-day South Dakota. During the previous 40 years, the Lakota or
Teton Sioux had moved from present-day Minnesota and eastern South Dakota to
areas west of the Missouri. They had differentiated into several sub-tribes or bands,
including the Sane, Brul and Oglala. During this time the people adopted the use
of horses and expanded their range in hunting the buffalo across their wide grazing
patterns. Spotted Tail's father, Cunka or Tangle Hair, was from the Sane band, and
his mother, Walks-with-the-Pipe, was a Brul. He was given the birth name of
Jumping Buffalo.[4]

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
headdress (sometimes called war bonnet). He took part in the Grattan Massacre.
Two of his sisters, Iron Between Horns and Kills Enemy, were married to the elder
Crazy Horse, in what was traditional Sioux practice for elite men. Spotted Tail may
have been the maternal uncle of the famous warrior Crazy Horse, which meant he
was a relative of the notable Touch the Clouds as well.[5]

Marriage and family[edit]

Wife of Spotted Tail


Spotted Tail married and had children. Eugene Ware, a Fort Laramie army officer,
wrote that Spotted Tails daughter, Ah-ho-appa (Fallen Leaf), ... was one of those
individuals found in all lands, at all places, and among all people; she was
misplaced.[citation needed] He suggested that she adopted some EuropeanAmerican practices, and that she was thought to be secretly in love with one of the
officers at the fort. When she was dying in 1866, Fallen Leaf made her father
promise that she would be buried on a hillside overlooking Fort Laramie. The entire
garrison at the post helped Spotted Tail to honor her request by arranging for a
ceremonial funeral, including a Christian service and Sioux ceremony. Many years
later, Spotted Tail had her remains transported to the Rosebud Indian Agency in
South Dakota and re-interred in a traditional Sioux way. He put up a monument to
her.[citation needed]

The Treaty of Fort Laramie[edit]

Spotted Tail agreed to the treaty, which in 1868 established the Great Sioux
Reservation in West River, west of the Missouri River. In 1871, the senior Spotted
Tail visited Washington, D.C. to meet the Commissioner of Indian Affairs Ely S.
Parker and President Ulysses S. Grant. While there, he met with Red Cloud, a chief of
the Oglala Lakota, and they agreed to work together on preserving Sioux rights and
land.[citation needed]

In 1881, following the Black Hills War, Spotted Tail was killed by Crow Dog for
reasons which have been disputed. According to the historian Dee Brown:
"White officials... dismissed the killing as the culmination of a quarrel over a woman,
but Spotted Tail's friends said that it was the result of a plot to break the power of
the chiefs...."[2]
According to Luther Standing Bear in his memoir My People the Sioux, Spotted Tail
was killed by Crow Dog after taking the wife of a crippled man. Perhaps more
significantly, he was said to have sold land not belonging to him. Although this
angered many of the Sioux leaders, Chief Standing Bear cautioned the others
against hasty action. Spotted Tail's flaunting of his presumed power was brought to
a head when he stole the wife of a crippled man. When told by a council of chiefs to
give the man his wife back, Spotted Tail refused. He said the United States
government was behind him. At this point, several men decided that Spotted Tail

should be killed but, before they could act, he was killed by Crow Dog on August 5,
1881.[