( Washicun Tashanka, Iron Shield )



Oglala Lakota Chief

1800 -1876


American Horse was one of the Lakotas principal chiefs, along with Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and others, during the Plains Indian wars of the last half of the nineteenth century.

He was a principal military leader at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

Following the Native victory over General George Armstrong Custer at the Little Bighorn in June 1876, the Sioux split up.

Crazy Horse's hand headed for the Little Bighorn Mountains, while Sitting Bull and his people headed for Canada.

A third group of fourty lodges, headed by American Horse, decided to go to an agency assigned by the United States.

As they traveled to the agency, American Horse's band crossed path with troops commanded by General George Crook at Slim Buttes.

Crook attacked despite the fact the Sioux were proceeding peacefully on land that was guaranteed to them by treaty.

A few escaped to join Sitting Bull's camp, but many in American Horse's camp were killed.

Near the end of the fight, American Horse, four warriors, and fifteen women were backed into a cave, but the five remaining warriors refused to surrender.

During the shooting, American Horse was mortally wounded by a shot through his bowels.

He died in excruciating pain as army surgeons struggled to save his life.

After the battle, Sitting Bull visited the site and was sickened by the sight of the women and children who had been killed.

One woman was killed suckling her baby; another (who somehow survived) dropped her newborn child in the terror.