Spotted Elk ( Unpan Glešká , sometimes also reproduced as Oh-Pong-Ge-Le-Skah or Hupah Glešká ), sometimes also known as Big Foot (* 1820 - December 29, 1890 in the Wounded Knee massacre , South Dakota ) Chief of the Minneconjou - Lakota - Sioux .
He got his English name Big Foot from an American soldier in Fort Bennett, who called him disparagingly "Si Tanka" ( Sit ȟ Anka 'Big Foot').
Spotted Elk's year of birth is controversial. His father was the Minneconjou Sioux chief Lone Horn (Lakotah: Heh-won-ge-chat) (circa 1790-1877). There are also contradicting statements about his place of birth. He had three brothers who all held senior positions in the tribe. Spotted Elk was a cousin of Crazy Horse and half-brother of Sitting Bull . He is described as a feared fighter, but also a diplomat who often settled disputes within the tribes, and was a signatory to the controversial Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 . After the death of his father, he took over his chief position.
Spotted Elk, along with Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and others, inflicted a very heavy defeat on the 7th US Cavalry Regiment of the US Army at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 . General George Custer and a large number of his men were killed in the process. But the US Army fought back mercilessly. After several defeats, Spotted Elk and his tribe had to surrender.
Spotted Elks tribe was reluctantly settled in the Cheyenne River Reservation in what is now South Dakota , USA . The chief tried to make the best of the situation. He instructed his tribe members to farm and tried to establish schools in the reservation area. For this he also went to Washington to win support for his projects.
The Indian spirit dance movement towards the end of the 19th century led to uncertainty among whites and many Indians. The movement split the Lakota into a group friendly towards the whites and a group hostile to them (spirit dance followers). Spotted Elk tried to mediate with his people, but the US Army saw them as a threat and pursued them. On December 29, 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre occurred. Si Tanka and up to 300 men, women and children of his tribe, as well as members of Sitting Bull's tribe, who had joined Spotted Elk after his death, were killed by the 7th US Cavalry Regiment, even though they were traveling with white flags and showed no warlike intentions. Spotted Elk was diagnosed with severe pneumonia at the time. His body lay frozen in the snow for days before he was buried in a mass grave.
- Biographies of Plains Indians Big Foot - 1820–1890 (English)
- Indigenous Leaders: Spotted Elk (English)
- Chief "Bigfoot" Spotted Elk (English)
- His proper Lakota name was Unpan Gleska.
- Chief Big Foot was born between 1820 and 1825 into the Minneconjou - "Planters by the River" - subgroup of the Teton Lakota (Sioux). One of the seven subdivisions of the Teton Sioux, the Minneconjou lived in northwestern South Dakota with the Hunkpapa, another band of the Teton Lakota led by Chief Sitting Bull. Chief Big foot's Lakota name was Si Tanka, or Spotted Elk. He was the son of Lone Horn, and became the leader of his tribe at his father's death in 1874.
- from Lakota: Si = foot, Tanka = large
- He was known first by non- Native Americans as Chief Bigfoot due to some oversized boots he got up at Ft. Bennett when picking up treaty annuities. After he was killed George Trager photographed him and labeled it Chief Bigfoot and the name has since been popularized as the photo became iconic representing the end of the "Indian Wars."
- Executed on the part of the Minneconjou band of Sioux by the chiefs and headmen whose names are hereunto subscribed, they being thereunto duly authorized… OH-PONG-GE-LE-SKAH, his X mark, Spotted Elk.
- Frederic C. Wagner: Participants of the Battle of Little Big Horn. Second edition. P. 181.
- Spotted Elk-Bio : In 1876 Big Foot allied up with his brothers Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse to take action against the United States and go to war.
- He settled on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota and was the first on the reservation to successfully harvest a corn crop. He traveled to Washington to lobby for a school to be built on the reservation.
- After suffering many casualties and surrendering to the American's, the US placed Chief Spotted Elk and his tribe on the Cheyenne River in South Dakota for a new permanent residence. Big Foot did not necessarily want to move there but knew it was a fresh start for the people of his tribe so he encouraged them to follow his order and life would continue like it always had. Being on the river Big Foot made sure that his people were developing sustainable agriculture so they would not have to worry about starvation as much as other tribes.
- It has been estimated that nearly 300 of the original 350 men, women, and children in the camp were stain. Twenty-five soldiers were killed and thirty-nine wounded.
- In the end, at least 150 Sioux were dead, according to other estimates up to 290. Spotted Elk was shot dead at close range. The army left the corpses frozen in a three-day blizzard.
- Two weeks after Spotted Elk's death, the US Army murdered more than 200 Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee. This massacre finally broke the Sioux resistance.
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Spotted Elk; Big Foot|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Chief of the Minneconjou Lakota Indians|
|DATE OF BIRTH||around 1823|
|DATE OF DEATH||December 29, 1890|
|Place of death||Wounded Knee , South Dakota|