Minnesota Historical Society

The Chiefs Wapahasha: Three Generations of Dakota Leadership 1740-1876

$ 26.95

Beginning with a talk with Wapahasha descendant Rod Steiner, this volume delves into the three generations of leadership provided to the Mdewakanton Dakotas by the Wapahasha chiefs. The first Wapahasha was a Dakota hero, who frequently traveled to Quebec from his homelands in present Minnesota to keep his tribe in favor with the French and British regimes in Canada. He fought alongside of the British in the American Revolutionary War, and was involved in the attack on St. Louis. In his latter years, he left his son with such prestige as to be accorded the title of first chief of the Dakota. Wapahasha II, a highly-skilled diplomat, joined in the Indian confederation plans of the Shawnee leader, Tecumthe, and aligned his tribe with the British to fight the Americans again during the War of 1812. Afterward, he and his Kiyuksa band lived for some 35 years at present Winona, Minnesota. His son, under the coercion of the U.S. government, signed treaties in 1851 and 1858, ceding all of Dakota land in present Minnesota. He eventually accepted acculturation and became a farmer and Christian, settling near Lower Sioux Agency. Although he opposed the Dakota War of 1862, he was exiled to Dakota Territory. Traveling to Washington a number of times, Wapahasha III sought justice and a reservation for his people, finally gaining the Santee Reservation of Nebraska for his descendants. Bishop Whipple called him the wisest Indian he knew.

  •  By: Mark Diedrich
  • Publisher: Coyote Books
  • Format: Paperback, 8.5 x 11 inches
"With The Chiefs Wapahasha, Mark Diedrich adds to his long list of works on Indians of the western Great Lakes region. In this study he focuses on three successive headmen named Wapahasha within the Lower Dakota bands. . . . Both Indian-white and inter-Indian relations receive attention as the author uses critical events such as the Santee Uprising of 1862 to frame and at times to compare the decisions made by each man. For Wapahasha III especially, Diedrich seeks to redeem the reputation of a leader who signed away large tractss of land and struggled to support his people in the aftermath of the 1862 conflict. . . ." --John P. Bowes, Annals of Iowa, Fall 2004

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