David William Beautiful Bald Eagle
“WANIYETU OPI” – translated means Wounded in Winter Beautiful Bald Eagle
Chief Bald Eagle wore many hats in his long, extraordinary life. He was in Dances With Wolves, which won an Oscar; he was a champion dancer, both ballroom and Lakota style, a musician, a rodeo cowboy, a tribal chief, an actor, a stunt double, a war hero, a racecar driver, played professional baseball. He also was a leader of his tribe and also of the United Native Nations.
As a child, he heard stories from survivors of the Battle of Little Bighorn. He saw the West when a person could ride across the state and never have to open a gate.
He was 5 before America extended citizenship to indigenous people. He only spoke Lakota until he was 12 when he went to school.
He enlisted in the horse cavalry, but a few years later his horse was swapped for a motorcycle. He was discharged on Dec. 7, 1941, but when he heard about Pearl Harbor, he reenlisted as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne.
After the war, he married an English dance teacher. He said he became suicidal after she and their unborn child were killed in a car crash. That was when he took up dangerous pursuits. He later married again and they not only had a large family, but also adopted many others.