Published on January 24, 2011 by Amy
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Chief White Eagle (Pawnee)
His date of birth is not exactely known, but he died in 1879. White Eagle was a principal chief of the Skidi Pawnees in the middle of the 19th Century. His leadership of the Pawnee buffalo hunt was described in detail by Gene Weltfish in his classic study of the Pawnees.
As chief of the hunt, White Eagle was also in charge of the considerable logistics of moving camps of several hundred people. He was a Native healer (or “deer doctor”) and called upon supernatural aid for success in the hunt. White Eagle was leader of the Pawnee just as they were making contact with Europeans and their diseases–smallpox,cholera, and measles–which destroyed several Pawnee bands within two decades at mid-century. Between 60 and 120 Pawnee were massacred by the Sioux in 1871. After that, White Eagle and other Pawnee chiefs reluctantly accepted exile in Oklahoma. White Eagle built his last earth lodge near the present-day town of Pawnee, Oklahoma, where he died in 1879.