The Oglala Lakota chief Red Cloud saw the disintegration of resistance against the United States Cavalry on the Great Plains at the end of the 19th century.
Nelson, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux, explores in the first-person voice of Red Cloud a pivotal series of events in the United States’ relations with Native American nations. Nelson’s ink, watercolor, and colored pencil drawings, done in the style of late-19th-century ledger art, accompany the compact, clear text. His lively illustrations tell the story while interspersed archival photographs offer small windows through the camera’s eye. Red Cloud was both a gifted military strategist and a pragmatic leader. Nelson covers three treaties signed at Fort Laramie securing U.S. interests such as safe passage for white settlers and access to mineral rights. Red Cloud was a reluctant signatory only to the last, a short-lived treaty that established a vast, separate Sioux reservation. Nelson acknowledges the violent nature of war, describing both the Sand Creek Massacre, “bluecoats…brandishing the scalps, severed fingers, and other body parts of the slain innocents,” and skirmishes during Red Cloud’s campaign during which “with angry hearts we scalped [U.S. soldiers] and cut off their arms and legs.” Well-organized backmatter provides a timeline, extensive sources, and notes along with an author’s summary for older readers.
An impressive amount of information movingly and handsomely conveyed. (Biography. 9-12)