Rosie Red Top

Rosie Red Top and Young Bad Wound

Rosie Red Top and Young Bad Wound

My indatsay, John, shows me a sepia photograph of his family at their home on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The place bears the indelicate name of Stinking Water Creek.

Relatives stare at the camera while a white-haired elder sits on the ground in front of the house.

Who is that, I ask.

The wrinkled woman in braids is Rosie Red Top, whom John calls Unci (grandmother or aunt).

She came to live with the family after her husband passed away in 1924.

Unci refused to sit in a chair or sleep in a bed, John recalls.

She would make her own pipe tobacco by pounding willow bark and chaw into a paste and smoking it.

Her husband’s name was Bad Wound, just like his father, and was also known as Luke and Young Bad Wound.

Unci and Luke joined the delegation that went to Washington DC in Spring 1875, along with such notables as Sitting Bull, Spotted Tail, He Dog, Crow Dog and American Horse.

The delegation hoped to persuade President Ulysses S Grant to honor broken treaties and staunch the flow of settlers into the Black Hills.

Sioux delegation of 1875

Sioux delegation of 1875

But the negotiations failed.

The military continued to covet the Black Hills, and, a year after their trip East, Sitting Bull, American Horse and He Dog joined hundreds of their relatives to rout George Custer and his men at Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn).

It would take more than 100 years for the United States to renounce its claim to the Black Hills, with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Sioux Nation to control its own lands in 1980.

Photos of the 1875 delegation and Rosie Red Top with Young Bad Wound are in the public domain and were found at the amertribes website; photo of the Lessert family courtesy of John Artichoker

Rosie Red Top with relatives

Rosie Red Top with relatives


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in american indian, authenticity, Francis Parkman, Henri Chatillion, Lakota, native american, Native Science, science, science communication and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rosie Red Top

  1. J Mush says:

    thumbs up

    Leaf Mushrush

    Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2013 18:17:47 +0000 To:


  2. J Mush says:

    would you send me Rosie and the Lesserts so I may print for my Mom?if I read correctly…the other photos may be found on ameri???

    Leaf Mushrush

    Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2013 18:17:47 +0000 To:


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