A native American from the Cherokee tribe, he consistently defies easy labeling. He fought on the side of the confederacy, and he owned slaves, yet he came from an arguably more oppressed group, native Americans.
An smart man, he wrote for the local paper, and involved himself in politics from a young age, fighting for the rights of his people, against state, local and federal policies.
I won’t go over all of Stand’s trials and tribulations here. He lived a complex, checkered, immoral, and human life. He faced adversity from every possible angle you could think of but ultimately he was a man of his time.
Was he a good man? Who am I to say? I just find him horribly fascinating. A man who himself was the victim of institutionalized federal racism willingly enforcing that racism on others. A man who fought to preserve his tribe yet, fought for a government that most likely would have turned on him eventually for being non-white.
To me he stands as the perfect example that history is never simple, never clean, and ultimately is the story of humans in all their flawed glory.