Iron Hail

Wasú Máza

Tribal Affiliation: Minηicoηjou Lakota

ca.: ca. 1858 – 1955

Iron Hail, Wasú Máza, aka Dewey Beard a Minneconjou Lakota fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn as a teenager. After George Armstrong Custer’s defeat, Wasu Maza followed Sitting Bull into exile in Canada and then back to South Dakota where he lived on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

Iron Hail joined the Ghost Dance movement and was in Spotted Elk’s band. He and his family left the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation on December 23, 1890, with Spotted Elk and approximately 300 other Miniconjou and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota on a winter trek to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to avoid the trouble anticipated in the wake of Sitting Bull’s murder at Standing Rock Indian Reservation. He was present at the Wounded Knee Massacre, where he was shot and some of his family, including his mother, father, wife, and infant child were killed.

Iron Hail took the name Dewey Beard when he converted to Roman Catholicism. He was a member of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for 15 years.  When he died in 1955 at the age of ninety-six, Dewey Beard was the last known Lakota survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and the last known survivor of the Little Bighorn Battle.