Eddie Little Sky

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Eddie Little Sky
Eddie Little Sky in the role of "Chief of Crow" in the 1965 western spoof The Hallelujah Trail
Edsel Wallace Little

(1926-08-15)August 15, 1926
DiedSeptember 5, 1997(1997-09-05) (aged 71)
Pennington, South Dakota, US
Years active1957–1979
Spouse(s)Dawn Gates (19??-19??); 5 children

Eddie Little Sky (August 15, 1926 – September 5, 1997), also known as Edward Little, was an indigenous North American actor of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He had parts in 36 feature films and over 60 television shows,[1] mainly westerns in the role of a Native American. He was one of the first Native American actors to play Native American roles such as his performance in the 1970 film A Man Called Horse.


Little Sky was born as Edsel Wallace Little on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Shannon County, South Dakota to Oglala Lakota parents Wallace Little, Sr. and Wileminna Colhoff. He attended the Holy Rosary Indian Mission school as a child. After leaving the United States Navy where he had served in the Pacific theater during World War II, he began working the rodeo circuit as a bull rider and bareback rider.[2]

Following his work on the 1955 film Chief Crazy Horse, Audie Murphy encouraged Little Sky to become a professional actor;[1] thus Little Sky, along with Jay Silverheels and Chief Dan George became one of the first Native Americans to play Native American roles in films. Hollywood normally used white actors wearing black wigs and dark make-up to play the parts of Native Americans. His first television role was in 1957 on the series Cheyenne in the episode titled The Iron Trail.

From that time onwards, Little Sky had numerous roles in many Western television series such as Gunsmoke, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, The Virginian, The Men From Shiloh (rebranded name of The Virginian), Bonanza, Daniel Boone and The High Chaparral.

He also played in many films such as The Light in the Forest, Paint Your Wagon, Duel at Diablo, Breakheart Pass, and The Hallelujah Trail, but he is mainly remembered[by whom?] for his performance as Black Eagle in the 1970 film A Man Called Horse which starred Richard Harris. He was also technical adviser for Soldier Blue. He made several appearances as a Pacific native on Gilligan's Island.

Later years/marriage[edit]

Upon his retirement from the film industry in the late 1970s, he worked as director of the Oglala Lakota Tribal Parks and Recreation Authority. He married Dawn Gates, who became an actress known as Dawn Little Sky; the couple had five children.[2]


Eddie Little Sky died on September 5, 1997, aged 71 in Pennington County, South Dakota from lung cancer. He was interred at the Little's Flat Family cemetery in Oglala, South Dakota.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1956 Westward Ho the Wagons! Pawnee Brave Uncredited
1956 Revolt at Fort Laramie Red Cloud
1957 Tomahawk Trail Johnny Dogwood
1957 Apache Warrior Apache
1958 The Missouri Traveler Red Poole
1958 Gun Fever 2nd Indian chief
1958 The Light in the Forest Little Crane Uncredited
1958 Tonka Spotted Tail Uncredited
1959 Tales of Wells Fargo Indian Leader Episode "Lola Montez"
1959 Escort West Indian Uncredited
1959 The FBI Story Henry Roanhorse Uncredited
1960 Heller in Pink Tights Indian Uncredited
1960 Hell Bent for Leather William
1960 Oklahoma Territory Cherokee Uncredited
1961 Cimarron Ben Red Feather Uncredited
1961 Buffalo Gun Sartu
1962 Sergeants 3 Ghost Dancer
1964 7 Faces of Dr. Lao George C. George
1965 The Hallelujah Trail Crow Chief Uncredited
1965 Daniel Boone Grey Eagle S1/E28 "Doll of Sorrow"
1966 Duel at Diablo Alchise
1966 The Professionals Jake's Prisoner Uncredited
1967 The Way West Sioux Warrior Uncredited
1967 The Last Challenge Indian Uncredited
1969 Paint Your Wagon Indian
1970 A Man Called Horse Black Eagle
1970 Soldier Blue Indian Scout Uncredited
1971 The Virginian (TV series) Grey Bull saison 9 episode 21 (The Regimental Line)
1972 Journey Through Rosebud Stanley Pike
1975 Breakheart Pass White Hand
1977 The Car Denson


  1. ^ a b Indian Country Today, retrieved on 21 June 2009
  2. ^ a b c Berumen, Frank Javier Garcia (2020). American Indian Image Makers of Hollywood. McFarland. pp. 192–193. ISBN 9781476636474.