Chief David Bald Eagle dies at 97

Chief David Bald Eagle has died aged 97.     He started life in South Dakota on the reservation of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe on the 8th April 1919.   He was born in a tipi.     Raised on the prairies, he grew up fluent in his native Lakota language and lived a life within his tribe’s traditional culture.   He is the grandson to  White Bull, known for his involvement the Battle of the Greasy Grass.   His English name might be David Bald Eagle but his Lakota name translates as Wounded in Winter Beautiful Bald Eagle.

Despite gaining much attention for his role in the motion picture Dances with Wolves he did much more than acting.   During his life, he spent time on tour as a musician, worked as a stunt double and even enjoyed life as a rodeo cowboy.

As a soldier, he became a war hero, winning a Silver Star in Italy when he fought in the landings at Anzio.     German fire as he parachuted into the fray during the Normandy Invasion severely wounded him.

After spending time recovering from his wounds, he started a career in the music industry as a drummer for Cliff Keyes Big Band out of Minnesota.    This eventually led him to become a champion ballroom dancer after striking up a successful partnership with Penny Rathburn who he went on to marry. Fate struck an awful blow though because while they were still newlywed and Penny was expecting their first child she was killed in a car crash.    His time in Holywood, first as a stunt double to Errol Flynn and then performing in over 40 different movies, saw his life change forever.   He was friends with Marilyn Monroe and many other stars but because of tiresome tinsel town politics he returned to his roots.

He became a champion dancer again, this time in his cultural tradition before heading back into rodeo.

David William Bald Eagle / Wounded in Winter Beautiful Bald Eagle born 8th April 1919, died 22nd July 2016,   He is survived by his wife Josee, and his many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

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