Famous Native Americans
Native Americans for Kids
There are many Native American Indians who had a great impact and influence on society. Here is a list and description of just a few of these great leaders and famous people:
Sioux Leader Sitting Bull
Squanto (also called Tisquantum ) lived an interesting life. As a teenager he first met a group of Europeans led by Captain Weymouth. He learned the English language and traveled back to England with them. After a while he became homesick and eventually traveled back to his homeland. However, he didn't stay in America long as he and 19 other members of his tribe were taken captive by Captain George Weymouth, brought back to Europe, and sold as slaves. Years later, Squanto once again found his way back to his homeland. However, when he finally got home, he found out that his entire village had died from disease. Squanto joined another tribe and lived with them.
Around a year later, the Pilgrims arrived and settled in Plymouth near the Squanto's tribe. Since Squanto could speak English he helped establish a treaty between the local Native Americans and the Pilgrims. Squanto helped the Pilgrims learn how to catch fish, grow local crops, and survive through the winter. The Pilgrims would likely have not made it without Squanto's help. Despite all the bad things that had happened to Squanto, he still wanted peace and to help others.
Pocahontas was the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan tribe which lived near the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. She ended up saving the life of Jamestown leader Captain John Smith when he visited her village. She also helped to warn the settlers of an attack from her father and his warriors. Later, Pocahontas would be captured and held for ransom by the settlers. She was treated well, though, and soon fell in love with English settler John Rolfe. After marrying John Rolfe, Pocahontas traveled back to England with Rolfe and became a famous celebrity. Unfortunately, she died in England at the young age of 22.
Sequoyah was a member of the Cherokee tribe. He invented the Cherokee alphabet and a way to write down the Cherokee language. He did this amazing feat all on his own.
Sequoya invented the Cherokee alphabet
Black Hawk (1767-1838)
Black Hawk was a capable and fierce war Chief. He led the Sauk tribes in assisting the British in the War of 1812. Then he fought to save his people's land from the settlers. However, he eventually was captured and his people lost their lands.
Sacajawea was a princess of the Shoshone Indian tribe. When she was a girl her village was attacked and she became a slave. Later she was sold to a trapper named Charbonneau who married her. She was living with Charbonneau when explorers Lewis and Clark arrived. They asked for Sacajawea to help them travel as she could translate with the Shoshone. She went along with them on their journey and helped them travel all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Geronimo was a leader of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. Geronimo led the Apache in stiff resistance for many years against both invaders from the west and from Mexico. His name means "one who yawns".
Apache Chief Geronimo
Sitting Bull (1831-1890)
Sitting Bull was a famous leader of the Lakota Sioux Plains Indians. He is most known for having a premonition that the Sioux would win a great battle against the white man. Then he led a combined group of warriors from the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe tribes into battle. This famous battle was called the Battle of Little Big Horn and was fought against General Custer. In this battle, sometimes called Custer's Last Stand, Sitting Bull completely destroyed Custer's army killing every last man.
Jim Thorpe (1888 - 1953)
Jim Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma. He is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. He played professional baseball, basketball, and football. He also won Olympic Gold Medals for the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Olympics.
Great athlete Jim Thorpe
Other famous Native Americans you may want to read about include Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, Will Rogers, Pontiac, Tecumseh, Maria Tallchief, Cochise, Red Cloud, and Hiawatha.
Take a ten question quiz at the Famous Native Americans page.
For more Native American history:
Back to Native American history for Kids
Back to History for Kids