In 1868, Red Cloud, a respected Oglala chief, led an intertribal war against the U.S. Army and won.
Waters’ adaptation reiterates the subtitle’s claim that it's an untold story (“his story has long been forgotten by conventional American history”), though this is far from the first book about him, and contemporary tribal nations honor his legacy. Unfortunately, this book’s outsider perspective is all too evident. In the text, Lakota men and women are labeled as “braves” and “maidens” and the Lakota Sun Dance ceremony as “fearsome,” when it was an annual sacred ceremony to honor the Great Spirit. Often the tone is condescending. When the Mormon Trail opened in 1847, readers are told “the Lakota, in particular the Oglalas, were initially helpless in the face of this onslaught,” eliding the fact that the Oglalas were well-trained warriors. Further, Red Cloud is often portrayed as brutish: “Sometimes it just felt good and natural to go out and steal horses. If he took some scalps in the process, so much the better.” Finally, there is a glaring chronological error: in 1868, when Gen. Philip Sheridan closed Fort Laramie, the Lakota were told “if they wished to trade, they were free to do business at Fort Randall on the Missouri River in distant southeast South Dakota, about as far from [their Black Hills homeland] as one can travel and still be in the state.” South Dakota did not achieve statehood until Nov. 2, 1889.
This adaptation will diminish Red Cloud’s legacy, perpetuate negative stereotypes, and provide incorrect information to young readers: skip. (afterword, acknowledgments, timeline, glossary, historical sites, further information, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)