Born into the Crow tribe, he was also known as The First One, Goes First, The One Ahead, Comes Leading, Man With Fur Belt, and Child of the Stars. He volunteered to serve as a scout with the U.S. Army against the traditional enemies of the Crow, the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne along with fellow Crow warriors such as White Man Runs Him, Curley, White Swan, Half Yellow Face, and Hairy Moccasin.
The scouts sighted the encampment on the banks of the Little Big Horn River near the current site of Crow Agency, Montana. On June 25, 1876, Goes Ahead and the other scouts warned Custer not to attack but to wait for reinforcements. Custer refused their advice and prepared for an attack. Goes Ahead and the others took off their Army issued uniforms and put on traditional Crow clothing with eagle feathers to assist their flight to the spirit world should they be killed. When Custer saw this, he was enraged seeing the move as defeatism and he dismissed the scouts. Goes Ahead and the others joined Maj. Marcus Reno on the ridge overlooking the last stand. Attacked but not overrun, most of Reno’s men survived the engagement.
After the battle, Goes Ahead settled on the Crow reservation, married and raised a family. He was interviewed by historian and photographer Edward S. Curtis in the early 20th Century. His book was one of the first to present a balanced account of the battle to the general public, but even then, the more controversial parts of his story were not disclosed. The whole account of Curtis's interviews with Goes Ahead and the other Crow scouts would not become general knowledge until Curtis's notes became public in the 1990s, more than 40 years after his death.
Goes Ahead died in 1919 and was buried in the military cemetery at the Little Big Horn Battlefield. His widow, Pretty Shield, became a sought after source of information concerning the battle late in her life.
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