Rain in the Face Lakota
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Ité Omáǧažu Lakota (1835 - 1905)

Ité Omáǧažu (Rain in the Face) Lakota
Born in Dakota Territorymap
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Aberdeen, Brown County, South Dakota, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Nov 2014
This page has been accessed 5,535 times.
Rain in the Face Lakota was a Native American member of the Lakota tribe.
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This profile won Profile of the Week the Second Week of November 2014.

Chief Rain in the Face was born of the Hunkpapa band of Lakota in the Dakota Territory near the fork of the Cheyenne River in 1835. He was named this due to being in a fight with an older boy. This resulted in his face having blood spatters on it from the blood of the other boy as if rain had hit him.[1] Later this story was enhanced when he was in a battle during a rainstorm resulting in the red and black warpaint running down his face, giving an appearance of being streaked.

He was related to the great Chief Inkpaduta through his mother who was a Dakota, called Smoke Woman.[2]Once toward the end of his life, he told that neither his father nor grandfather were chiefs, but hunters.[3][4] In other words, he worked hard for his chieftainship.[5][6]

Battles with the whites were numerous. One was the Fetterman Fight, when Capt. Fetterman was protecting a detail that was to supply the wood for Fort Kearny and the Captain had orders not to pursue or attack Indians.[7] Crazy Horse was teamed up with Chief Rain in the Face. [8] Crazy Horse made a small attack against the wood detail, luring the soldiers out. Sure enough, Captain Fetterman pursued immediately, being lured into the trap. Several hundred Indians pounced upon the soldiers, killing all of the soldiers.[9] [10]

He killed several people, such as a veterinarian in 1873, an army private and a civilian. He was arrested by General George Custer's brother, Capt. Thomas Custer, then escaped or was released. [11] Lakota teamed up with Arapaho bands in the Battle of the Rosebud, destroying much of a General George Crook's army.

Later in 1876, the Chief Rain in the Face Lakota was with Chief Sitting Bull and his group, camping by the Little Bighorn River. Suddenly, they were attacked by General Custer who was supposed to be protecting railroad surveyors near the Little Big Horn river. [12] The Lakota called this Grease Grass battle but American History calls this the Battle of Little Big Horn River in which Rain in the Face is reported to have killed General Custer and his forces wiped out a lot of the U.S. 7th Cavalry. [13][14]

General George Custer was fighting in one area, and his brother, Capt. Thomas Custer fought in another area another, with two Medals of Honor.[15] Publicity after this battle varied from General George Custer's death to accusing the Chief of cutting the heart out of the general's brother, Capt. Thomas Custer. Others said the body of Thomas was badly cut up, but the heart was intact.

However, Chief Rain in the Face told Eastman that he most certainly did not mutilate Capt. Thomas Custer. Again, Chief Rain in the Face was imprisoned. An old soldier assisted the escape and later fired his gun. [16]

The poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about this, entitled "The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face".[17]

Chief Rain in the Face and others escaped to Canada, spending time there awhile. He eventually led the group back to surrender in 1880. He lived the rest of his years on Standing Rock Reservation. [18][19]

Rain in the Face died September 14, 1905, and was buried near Aberdeen, Brown County, South Dakota, USA. He said his spirit was gone when he put his weapons down. (paraphrased). [20] FindaGrave gives the date of burial as:

Sep. 14, 1905, Little Eagle Corson County, South Dakota, USA.



  1. [http://aktalakota.stjo.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8768 Itoηagaju Rain-in-the-Face] (Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center)
  2. https://www.quora.com/Who-was-Chief-Rain-in-the-Face
  3. http://www.authorama.com/indian-heroes-and-great-chieftains-8.html
  4. Charles A Eastman, Rain in the Face, Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains (Authorama.com)
  5. Rain in the Face (Wikipedia)
  6. Rain in the Face (Custerlives.com)
  7. History of Rain in the Face (U.S. History.com)
  8. Crazy Horse (Biography.com)
  9. The American West: Rain in the Face (Spartacus Educational)
  10. Rain-in-the-Face - Strategic Sioux Warrior (Legends of America - Native American Legends)
  11. Rain in the Face (Encyclopedia.com)
  12. Civil War - George Armstrong Custer Major General December 5, 1839- June 25, 1876
  13. Eye Witness to History - The Battle of the Little Bighorn, 1876
  14. Historynet.com - Battle Of Little Bighorn Facts, information and articles about the Battle Of Little Bighorn, a famous battle of the Wild West
  15. Bismarck Tribune.com - Thomas Custer won two Medals of Honor
  16. Pambies.Tripod.com - Rain-In-The-Face - A noted Sioux warrior
  17. Main Historical Society - The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face by HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
  18. Wikipedia - Standing Rock Indian Reservation
  19. Google Books - Standing Rock Sioux By Donovin Arleigh Sprague
  20. https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-raininface
  21. Find A Grave: Memorial #8157311 - Burial - Rain in the Face gravesite, Aberdeen, Brown County, South Dakota, USA

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Comments: 15

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Can we find sources that support the identification of his wives and children, please?
posted by Jillaine Smith
Jillaine, I found two sources, but not top-notch. One source on Rain in the Face's father is a dead link. The two I added to Rain in the Face, do not confirm mother's actual name, but her common name, Smoky Woman. Looks like a merge occurred so no help there.
posted by Mary Richardson
Mary, this is a lovely profile. Nice work. I see it was project-protected many years ago. To retain project protection now requires co-management by a project (in this case it could be the Native American project). If you think it needs protection moving forward, please add wikitree-native-americans-project@googlegroups.com as an additional profile manager and switch the NA sticker to a box. Feel free to delete this comment once you've decided. I think, as a project coordinator, you have the ability to remove project protection if it's no longer needed. Thank you, Mary!
posted by Jillaine Smith
Image:Profile_Photo_s-244.jpg December 7, 2014
posted by Paula J
I felt like one comment was not enough! Congratulations on this wonderful profile, Mary!! You really did an excellent job in every way!
posted by Paula J
And now the font is back to the standard wiki-Tree font. Thank you.
posted by Mary Richardson
Very nice profile!
Font issue can be the settings of the browser or an out of date browser. i can provide screen shots of how the Manager intends it to look and it looks fantastic
posted by Eric Daly
Congratulations; it looks like a fine profile. Unfortunately, I cannot read the text with the font being used.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Congratulations on a winning profile!
posted by Judy (Goodman) Wardlow
Yay Mary!! This excellent profile is only one example if the great work you have been doing on the American Indian project. Thanks for your dedication and hard work!!
posted by Paula J
Congratulations Mary! Excellent job! Very interesting profile!
posted by Berry Henderson Jr.

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