This biography of Spotted Tail traces the life of the famous Lakota leader who expertly guided his people through a pivotal and tumultuous time in their nation’s history as they fought and then negotiated with the U.S. government. Spotted Tail is remembered for his unique leadership style and deep love for his people. Today a university is named in his honor.
Throughout this detailed biography of Spotted Tail (1823–1881), debut author Weiden links conflicts from the Lakota warrior and mediator’s time to the present day. With remarkable bravery, Spotted Tail fought against the U.S. Army; after time in prison, where he learned English, he became a skilled negotiator. Weiden describes the lawsuit that emerged from the U.S. government’s theft of the Black Hills, sacred to the Lakota people, after gold was found there. Spotted Tail’s people were given a cash settlement, which their honor would not let them touch: “Currently,” Weiden concludes, “the money sits in a bank account.” After the subject’s children were promised an excellent education in a white-run school, he discovered that, in reality, they were being trained as menial laborers: “It wasn’t until 1978 that American Indian parents were given the right to stop their children from being taken to these schools.” Mixed-media artwork combines crisp photographs of Native land with art by Yellowhawk, including portraits and battle scenes done in the style of earlier Native art, painted on leaves from white settlers’ accounting ledgers. Ages 9–up (October 2019)