Now the boy was rich, and he married the beautiful daughter of the head chief, and when he became older he was made head chief himself. He had many children by his beautiful wife, and one day, when his oldest boy died, he wrapped him in his spotted calf robe and buried him in it. He always took good care of his old grandmother, and kept her in his own lodge until she died. The dun horse was never ridden except at feasts and when they were going to have a doctors’ dance, but he was always led about with the chief wherever he went. The horse lived in the village for many years, until he became very old, and at last he died.
A little more than half a century ago the many bands of the great Sioux nation hardly knew anything of the civilization of the whites in any part of the continent; none of their chiefs had ever visited the capital of the nation, or, for that matter, any American settlement. They knew nothing of the English language. The few whites they had ever met were those employed by the great fur companies. They regarded them to be a wise sort of a people, a little inferior, however, to themselves, living in lodges like their own and subsisting on the buffalo and other wild game constituting the food of the Indians.
When that relatively great exodus from the States commenced, beginning with the Mormon hegira, closely followed by emigrants on their way to Oregon, this tide, with its great number of oxen, wagons, and other means of transportation, at first so astonished the Sioux, who had never believed for a moment that the world contained so many white men, that they were completely dumbfounded. When, however, they saw the wanton slaughter of buffalo by this army of men, their amazement turned to hatred and a desire for revenge, and then commenced that series of wars and skirmishes, with their attendant horrible massacres, ending with the battle of Wounded Knee.
In the summer of 1846 there was a pall of sorrow and disaster hovering over all of the bands of the western Dakotas; the year previous they had met with great reverses. Many large war-parties had been sent out from the various villages, the majority of which were either badly whipped or entirely cut off. The few warriors who returned to their homes were heartbroken and discouraged; so that the whole nation was in mourning.