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First Name: White Man

Last Name: Runs Him

Birthplace: Lodge Grass, MT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 1858

Date of Death: 02 June 1929

Rank: Private

Years Served:
White Man Runs Him


White Man Runs Him

Private, U.S. Army

Crow Scout, Seventh U.S. Cavalry

White Man Runs Him was born as Mahr-Itah-Thee-Dah-Ka-Roosh (means White Buffalo That Turns Around) in 1858, into the Big Lodge Clan of the Crow Nation, the son of Bull Chief and Offers Her Red Cloth. On 10 April 1876, at the age of about 18, he volunteered to serve as a scout with the U.S. Army in its campaign against the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne, traditional enemies of the Crow.

Army Service as a Scout

Originally assigned to the infantry, he was later transferred to Custer's Seventh U.S. Cavalry. He scouted for Lt. Charles Varnum's column in the days preceding the battle. On 25 June 1876, he accompanied Varnum and Custer to the Crow's Nest, a natural rock formation overlooking the Little Bighorn valley, to assess the situation. The Crow scouts, including White Man Runs Him, Goes Ahead, Curley, Hairy Moccasin and others, advised Custer to wait for reinforcements. Custer refused their advice, however, and prepared to attack.

Convinced they were about to die in battle, the scouts took off their uniforms and donned Crow war clothing. When Custer demanded to know why, they responded that they wished to die as warriors rather than soldiers. Custer was angered by what he perceived as fatalism and relieved them from further service about an hour before engaging in the final battle. White Man Runs Him retired to a ridge along with Goes Ahead, Hairy Moccasin, and Strikes That Bear to join Major Marcus Reno. They were engaged briefly in battle but survived the engagement. He then joined Col. John Gibbon's column.

Later Life and Legacy

After the battle, he lived on the Crow reservation near Lodge Grass, MT. He was the step-grandfather of Joe Medicine Crow, a Crow tribal historian who used his grandfather's stories as a basis for his later histories of the battle, and grandfather to Pauline Small, the first woman elected to office in the Crow Tribe of Indians. His status as a Little Big Horn survivor made him a minor celebrity late in life, and he even made a cameo appearance in the 1927 Hollywood movie, "Red Raiders."

White Man Runs Him lived the remainder of his life on the Crow reservation in the Big Horn Valley region of Montana, just a few miles from the site of the famous battle.

Death and Burial

White Man Runs Him died on 2 June 1929 at Lodge Grass, MT. He is buried at Custer National Cemetery at the Little Big Horn Battlefield in Crow Agency, MT.

Honoree ID: 3217   Created by: MHOH




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