Dave Bald Eagle

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David Bald Eagle
Waniyetu Opi[1]
A photo of David Bald Eagle in 2003 By Phil Konstantin
A photo of David Bald Eagle in 2003 By Phil Konstantin
Lakota leader
In office
First Chief of the United Indigenous Nations of The Americas[2]
Personal details
David William Beautiful Bald Eagle

(1919-04-08)April 8, 1919
Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota
DiedJuly 22, 2016(2016-07-22) (aged 97)[3]
Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Resting placeBlack Hills National Cemetery
44°22′13″N 103°28′28″W / 44.370389°N 103.474356°W / 44.370389; -103.474356
  • Penny Rathburn[4]
  • Josée Kesteman[4]
Mother tongueLakota
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1936–1944
Battles/warsWorld War II:
AwardsSilver Star medal.png Silver Star medal (Anzio)

David William Bald Eagle (April 8, 1919 – July 22, 2016[3]), also known as Chief David Beautiful Bald Eagle, was a Lakota actor, soldier, stuntman, and musician.

Life and work[edit]

Dave Bald Eagle was born in a tipi on the west banks of Cherry Creek, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota.[5]

Bald Eagle first enlisted in the Fourth Cavalry of the United States Army and served out his enlistment. During World War II, he re-enlisted in the 82nd Airborne Division ("All American Division") where he fought in the Battle of Anzio, being awarded a Silver Star, and in the D-Day invasion of Normandy at which time he received a Purple Heart Medal when he was wounded.[6][7]

After the Second World War, Bald Eagle worked in a number of occupations including drummer, race car driver, semi-pro baseball player, and rodeo performer before beginning a career in Hollywood films. He was the grandson of famous Lakota warrior White Bull.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Rooks, David (29 July 2016). "On a Scaffold to His Ancestors: Chief David Beautiful Bald Eagle Walks On". Indian Country Today Media Network.com. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  2. ^ Miller, Steve (17 October 2011). "Chief Beautiful Bald Eagle, 92, shares storied life". Rapid City Journal. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b Domonoske, Camila, "David Bald Eagle, Lakota Chief, Musician, Cowboy And Actor, Dies At 97", NRP, 27 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "Dave Bald Eagle", The Times, 30 July 2016
  5. ^ Senator Tim Johnson (April 28, 2009). Tribute To Chief David Bald Eagle (Speech). South Dakota State Capitol. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Dances with Wolves actor Chief David Bald Eagle dies at 97". BBC News Online. BBC. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  7. ^ "David Bald Eagle, Lakota Chief And Actor: Military Service in WWII". Soldier of Fortune. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  8. ^ Chad Coppess, Dances with Wolves' actor dies, CNN, retrieved 29 July 2016
  9. ^ David Seals (13 May 1991), "The New Custerism", The Nation: 634–639, When Kevin Costner was shooting Dances with Wolves in 1989 in South Dakota, where I live, a full-blood Lakota elder gave me a copy of the screenplay to read. David Bald Eagle lives way the hell out in the middle of the South Dakota Prairie ... recalling the day a helicopter landed out by his place, bringing the script of Wolves for his perusal and assessment. He was flattered by the attention ... Dave Bald Eagle was eager to rush out and get a job on Dances With Wolves because that was an economic necessity, but he also saw the foolishness of the thing and joked about how he always tried to stay in the background in the crowd scenes so maybe no one would notice him in the movie.

External links[edit]