Home | Introduction | Links |  Message Boards | Tribal Circles | Photographers | Questions? | Search
Tribes of the Great Plains: Arapaho | Arikara | Cheyenne | Crow | Dakota | Lakota | Nakota | Osage | Ponca
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs:
Wasco | Tenino | Paiute




Three Bears

Oglala Lakota



Three Bears, a leader of the Kiocses or Kiyuksa (Cut Offs) band of the Oglalas. There is a photograph of Three Bears in 'The Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger' and it seems to be the same man. Three Bears was part of the anti-Crazy Horse faction after the Lakota surrender in 1877. According to Olson ('Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem'), the Lakota delegation visited Washington in September 1877 when Three Bears and others met President Hayes. — Gary

He was an outstanding war leader of the Kiyuksas. He might had been to the Southern Oglalas what Crazy Horse had been to the Northern Oglalas or Spotted Eagle to the Sans Arc.

I think I read somewhere he was in Little Wound's band, but I am not sure. Perhaps he was even related to him (nephew?). Three Bears also often affiliated with the tiyospaye of Fire Lightning and Two Lance (see Catherine Price: “The Oglala People”). He had come to the (Red Cloud) agency in summer 1873 (or 1874) with nine lodges, accompanied by Two Lance with thirteen tipis. He soon became a scout for the army and a member of the agency Indian police. He rose to first sergeant of the Sioux contingent at Pine Ridge.

In 1874 he had his role in protecting Emmet Crawford´s detachment at the agency, when agent Saville tried to erect a flagstaff at the agency ground and Sioux warriors tried to revolt against it. In 1876 he was with the Indian scouts who helped destroying Dull Knife´s Cheyenne village and in 1877 he fought at Slim Buttes with the U.S. army. He was in opposition to Crazy Horse when he settled at Pine Ridge in 1877 (see “Crazy Horse” by K. Bray), even threatening him in council one time.

John G. Bourke, staff member of General Crook, wrote about Three Bears:

Three Bears (“Mato yamani”), a warrior fierce in battle and humane to the vanquished. I remember his coming into my tent one dismally cold night, while we lay on the Belle Fourche, on the outskirts of the Black Hills, after wiping out Dull Knife´s village. Three Bears´s eyes were moist, and he shook his head mournfully as he said, “Cheyenne papoose heap hung´y”.

You can find his picture in all those delegation photographs of 1877 in Washington. As Gary said, D.S. Mitchell also photographed him. — Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Here is a Godkin photo of Three Bears:



©2008-2016 Diane Merkel & Dietmar Schulte-Möhring
All contributors retain the rights to their work.
Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written consent is prohibited.