Red Cloud was born close to the forks of the Platte River, near the modern-day city of North Platte, Nebraska. His mother, Walks As She Thinks, was an Oglala Lakota and his father, Lone Man, was a Brulé Lakota chief. These were two of the major seven Lakota divisions.
As was traditional among the matrilineal Lakota, in which the children belonged to the mother's clan and people, Red Cloud was mentored as a boy by his maternal uncle, Old Chief Smoke (1774–1864). Old Chief Smoke played a prominent, major role in the boy's early-mid life and brought him in to the Smoke household when his parents died around 1825. At a young age, Red Cloud fought against neighboring Pawnee and Crow, gaining much war experience.
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