Albert Afraid of Hawk was born in 1879, the third son of Emil Afraid of Hawk and his wife, who was known as White Mountain. Albert was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe.

In about 1898, Albert became a member of the Buffalo Bill Wild West traveling program. Prior to departing with the show he was present at the American Indian Congress in Omaha, Nebraska, where all known photographs of Albert were taken.

Historically, Albert’s father was with Chief Sitting Bull on June 25, 1876, at the Battle of the Greasy Grass, also known as the Battle of the Little Big Horn or Custer’s Last Stand.

Albert’s oldest brother, Richard, was one of more than 300 Lakota traveling from Standing Rock Reservation south into Pine Ridge, under the leadership of Chief Spotted Elk. This group was forced to camp at Wounded Knee Creek by the U.S. Army Cavalry on the evening of December 28, 1890. On the following morning the infamous massacre took place. Richard was one of the survivors of this action, having found refuge in the creek banks.

In 1900, Albert was traveling along the east coast with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. While traversing Connecticut, several members of the cast became ill from food poisoning. On Thursday, June 28, 1900, the show was presented in Danbury at the fields then located on White Street. About a dozen members of the troupe were too ill to perform, including Albert.

After the show was completed, Albert was found to be gravely ill and suffering considerably. He was attended by a local physician and was subsequently taken to the Danbury Hospital. Before leaving, Albert bade farewell to his fellow tribe members, knowing that he would probably die.

After suffering for many hours, Albert succumbed to his illness early on Friday, June 29, 1900. He was buried in the Wooster Cemetery later that same day. A boyhood friend from Pine Ridge, identified as David Bull Bear, was in attendance. The burial and its expenses were arranged by the Buffalo Bill show.

Albert’s remains lay in an unmarked grave until records were discovered in 2008 which documented his demise and the location of his grave. In early 2009, members of Albert’s family were located in South Dakota and the lengthy process of repatriation was begun.

Removal of Albert’s mortal remains took place during August 2012, and he was reinterred with full Lakota honors on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in September 2012.

Albert Afraid of Hawk - circa 1898

Photo - Library of Congress

Fanny Afraid of Hawk, Albert’s sister - circa 1913.

Photo - Library of Congress