In previous accounts, the U.S. Army’s first clashes with the powerful Sioux tribe appear as a set of irrational events with a cast of improbable characters—a Mormon cow, a brash lieutenant, a drunken interpreter, an unfortunate Brulé chief, and an incorrigible army commander. R. Eli Paul shows instead that the events that precipitated General William Harney’s attack on Chief Little Thunder’s Brulé village foreshadowed the entire history of conflict between the United States and the Lakota people.
Today Blue Water Creek is merely one of many modest streams coursing through Sioux country. The conflicts along its margins have been overshadowed by later, more spectacular confrontations, including the Great Sioux War and George Custer’s untimely demise along another modest stream. The Blue Water legacy has gone largely underappreciated—until now. Blue Water Creek and the First Sioux War, 1854-1856 provides a thorough and objective narrative, using a wealth of eyewitness accounts to reveal the significance of Blue Water Creek in Lakota and U.S. history.
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About the Author
R. Eli Paul heads the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of Blue Water Creek and the First Sioux War, 1854–1856, coauthor of Eyewitness at Wounded Knee, and editor of the Autobiography of Red Cloud: War Leader of the Oglalas.