Black Coyote

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Black Coyote
DiedDecember 1890
NationalityMiniconjou Lakota

Black Coyote was a Lakota man who refused to give up his weapon at the battle of Wounded Knee and is believed to have unintentionally triggered the massacre.[1][2][3]

Wounded Knee[edit]

In an account from an Indian, Turning Hawk, who was present at the massacre and was sympathetic to the U.S. Government, claimed that Black Coyote was "a crazy man, a young man of very bad influence, and in fact a nobody." (New York Times, February 12, 1891 "Indians Tell Their Story" - retold in 1975[4])

Another account from 1LT James D. Mann detailed the massacre, and the following unattributed supplement was added to the journal after his death (Mann died two weeks following the Wounded Knee Massacre of wounds he obtained at the Drexel Mission Fight):

... Mann failed to mention ...Black Coyote, a youth who was later recalled by his own people as a troublemaker. He stood waving his rifle, declaring that he had given money for it and no one was going to take it unless he was paid....

This historical figure portrayed by David Midthunder appeared in Hidalgo. The Into the West miniseries suggests that Black Coyote (Tokala Clifford) was deaf. This claim was supported in the Native American history Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, who appears to be quoting an eyewitness account by survivor Dewey Beard.

The book "Wind on the Buffalo Grass: The Indian's Own Account of the Battle at the Little Big Horn River, & the Death of Their Life on the Plains" by Leslie Tillett states that "One Indian's gun was fired by accident. I heard that later it belonged to Sitting Bull's deaf-mute son, who couldn't hear the order to disarm. After that shot, the soldiers let loose with everything they had." This account was also given by Dewey Beard.


  1. ^ Meagher, Ed (March 10, 1973). "Indian Massacre Recalled". The Spokesman-Review. p. 1. Retrieved August 6, 2009 – via Google News.
  2. ^ Early, Tracy (October 13, 1975). "U.S. Settling Indians' Claims". The Ledger. p. 28. Retrieved August 6, 2009 – via Google News.
  3. ^ Kyff, Robert S. (December 29, 1990). "Remembering the Horror of Wounded Knee". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 4. Retrieved August 6, 2009 – via Google News.
  4. ^ Charlton, Linda (December 30, 1975). "Army Denies a Wounded Knee Massacre". New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. 16. Retrieved August 6, 2009.