There seems to be no accurate record of Running Eagle's birth, and even the date of her death is uncertain. Her young life was spent in learning the domestic chores of the women of her tribe and, even though she had no patience for this type of work, she did perform these duties whenever her mother became ill, or was not able to care for the family. Running Eagle's true talents were formed when her father, a warrior of some standing in the tribe, began teaching her to shoot a bow and arrow.
Her skills soon became good enough that she was allowed to go on buffalo hunts with the men and, indeed, she did kill her share of buffalo. On one such hunt, the group encountered an enemy war party. In their attempts to flee, Running Eagle's father's horse was shot from under him and he was killed. Running Eagle turned back, picked up her father, loaded the fresh buffalo meat onto her horse, and escaped to her village. She was given great praise for her fighting spirit and her bravery in the face of the enemy.
Very shortly after the death of her father, Running Eagle's mother died of a broken heart. This left her responsible for her brothers and sisters, and forced Running Eagle to make serious life choices. Since she had no love for domestic chores, she brought a woman who had been widowed into the household to care for the family, and Running Eagle took on the role of hunter/warrior/family head. She carried her father's rifle with pride.
Before long, Running Eagle had her first war experience with Crow warriors who had stolen horses from her village. Upon reaching the Crow camp, she and her cousin were responsible for reclaiming 11 of their horses. While the main party rested under cover on their way back home, Running Eagle kept watch from a nearby butte. She attacked two enemy riders trailing her main party — killed one warrior — took his rifle — and shooting both her rifle and his, chased away the remaining rider.
After this experience, Running Eagle was instructed by the village elders to go on a vision quest in order to learn her true destiny. During her ceremony, she received a vision and the power necessary to become a successful warrior in the tribe. She was never questioned again by her people, and was given the respect of one who has received special powers from the Spirit World.
Running Eagle went on to become a mighty warrior. She took part in
many raids, and was permitted to tell of her adventures in the Medicine
Lodge ceremonies. She became a member of the Braves Society of young warriors,
and successfully led many war parties. During a battle with a large party
of Flatheads near the Sun River, Running Eagle was clubbed from behind
and killed. The name of Trick Falls in Glacier National Park was originally
named Pitamakan in honor of the great woman warrior. After it was re-named
by whites, the name of Pitamakan/Running Eagle disappears from history.
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