Portal:Indigenous peoples of North America/Selected biography

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The following selected biographies appear on the portal.


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Osceola

Osceola (1804 – January 30, 1838) was an influential leader with the Seminole in Florida. Osceola led a small band of warriors in the Seminole resistance during the Second Seminole War when the United States tried to remove the Seminoles from their lands. He exercised a great deal of influence on Micanopy, the highest-ranking chief of the Seminoles.

Osceola was named Billy Powell at birth in 1804 in the village of Tallassee, Alabama, around current Macon County. "The people in the town of Tallassee...were mixed-blood Native American/English/Irish/Scottish, and some were black. Billy was all of these."


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Chief Leschi

Chief Leschi (/ˈlɛʃ/; 1808 – February 19, 1858) was chief of the Nisqually Native American tribe. He was hanged for murder in 1858, but exonerated in 2004.

Leschi was born in 1808 near what is today Eatonville, Washington, to a Nisqually father and a Yakama mother. He was appointed chief by Isaac Stevens, first governor of Washington Territory, to represent the Nisqually and Puyallup tribes at the Medicine Creek Treaty council of December 26, 1854, which ceded to the United States all or part of present-day King, Pierce, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Mason, and Thurston Counties and stipulated that the American Indians inhabiting the area move to reservations.


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Geronimo

Geronimo (Chiricahua: Goyaałé, "one who yawns"; often spelled Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English) (June 16, 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars.

Goyahkla (Geronimo) was born to the Bedonkohe band of the Apache, near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River in the modern-day state of New Mexico, then part of Mexico, but which his family considered Bedonkohe land. His grandfather (Mako) had been chief of the Bedonkohe Apache. He had three brothers and four sisters.


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Mangas Coloradas or Dasoda-hae (known as Red Sleeves) (c.1793 – January 18, 1863) was an Apache tribal chief and a member of the Eastern Chiricahua nation, whose homeland stretched west from the Rio Grande to include most of what is present-day southwestern New Mexico. He is regarded by many historians to be one of the most important Native American and Apache leaders of the 19th century due to his fighting achievements against White intruders from the United States. The name Mangas Coloradas was given to him by Mexicans and is Spanish for Red Sleeves.

During the decades of the 1820s and 1830s, the Apaches' main enemy were the Mexicans, who had won their independence from Spain in 1821. By 1835 Mexico had placed a bounty on Apache scalps. After Juan José Compas, the leader of the Mimbreno Apaches, was killed for bounty money in 1837, Mangas became a war leader and began a series of retaliatory raids against the Mexicans.


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Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse (Lakota: Tȟašúŋke Witkó (in Standard Lakota Orthography), literally "His-Horse-Is-Crazy" or "His-Horse-Is-Spirited" ; ca. 1840 – September 5, 1877) was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S. Federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876. After surrendering to U.S. troops under General Crook in 1877, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a military guard while allegedly resisting imprisonment at Camp Robinson in present-day Nebraska. He ranks among the most notable and iconic of Native American tribal members and has been honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a 13¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.


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Crowfoot

Crowfoot (c. 1830 – 25 April 1890) or Isapo-Muxika (Blackfoot Issapóómahksika, "Crow-big-foot") was a chief of the Siksika First Nation. His parents, Istowun-eh'pata (Packs a Knife) and Axkahp-say-pi (Attacked Towards Home), were Kainai. His brother Iron Shield became Chief Bull. He was only five when Istowun-eh'pata was killed during a raid on the Crow tribe, and a year later, his mother remarried to Akay-nehka-simi (Many Names) of the Siksika people. The young boy was adopted by the Siksika, who gave him the name Kyi-i-staah (Bear Ghost), until he could receive his father’s name, Istowun-eh’pata.

Because of his brave performance and injury during the battle, he was finally given his adult name, Isapo-muxika, taken from a deceased relative. Crowfoot was a warrior who fought in as many as 15 battles and sustained many injuries. Despite this, he tried to obtain peace instead of tribal warfare.


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Sequoyah

Sequoyah (ᏍᏏᏉᏯ Ssiquoya, as he signed his name, or ᏎᏉᏯ Se-quo-ya, as his name is often spelled today in Cherokee) (circa 1767–1843), named in English George Gist or Guess, was a Cherokee silversmith who in 1821 completed his independent creation of a Cherokee syllabary, making reading and writing in Cherokee possible. This was the only time in recorded history that a member of an illiterate people independently created an effective writing system. After seeing its worth, the Cherokee Nation rapidly began to use his syllabary and officially adopted it in 1825. Their literacy rate rapidly surpassed that of surrounding European-American settlers.


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Jim Thorpe

Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk, translated to Bright Path) (May 28, 1888 – March 28, 1953) was an American athlete of mixed ancestry (mixed Caucasian and American Indian). Considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals for the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football (collegiate and professional), and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateurism rules. In 1983, 30 years after his death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored his Olympic medals.


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Allie Reynolds

Allie Pierce Reynolds (February 10, 1917 – December 26, 1994) was an American professional baseball pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). Reynolds pitched in MLB for the Cleveland Indians (1942–1946) and New York Yankees (1947–1954). A member of the Creek nation, Reynolds was nicknamed "Superchief". In his MLB career, Reynolds had a 182–107 win–loss record, 3.30 earned run average, and 1,423 strikeouts. Reynolds was a six-time MLB All-Star (1945, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954) and six-time World Series champion (1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953). He won the Hickok Belt in 1951 as the top American professional athlete of the year. He has also received consideration for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, though he has not been elected.


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