Historical accounts of Chief Solomon Iron Nation are scant. However, the available information depicts him as a chief living his life trying to ensure that the Lower Brule Tribe would survive and its members would lead a good life. His life covered seventy-nine of the most tumultuous and disastrous years that the Lower Brule people, and most other Native Americans, have ever endured.
Iron Nation was born February, 1815, just nine years following completion of the Lewis and Clark expedition into a West unknown to America’s white society. His life spanned the Dakota Territory transformation from an isolated, unknown frontier to a growing territory and on to South Dakota’s 1889 statehood. By all historical accounts, Chief Iron Nation, referred to as “The Red Man’s Moses”, was a positive force during this transitional period for South Dakota.
Chief Iron Nation is the most notable historical figure from the Lower Brule Tribe and is best known for his signing of the significant Dakota Territory treaties of the 1800’s, to include the 1851 Ft. Laramie Treaty, the 1865 Ft. Sully Treaty and the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868.
Chief Iron Nation died as the tribe’s last Head Chief on November 14, 1894, in the Iron Nation District of the Lower Brule Reservation. The people of Lower Brule erected a nearly 7ft. tall granite monument over his grave. This was the first monument to be erected over the grave of a Lakota (Sioux) Chief in the history of South Dakota.
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