In the 1800’s, several Indian tribes populated the southern Minnesota area. In the Chaska area
the Sioux and the Dakota had the greater populations.
The whites settler’s relationship with the Indians was one of trust and friendship. It was not uncommon
for the farmers, in the fields, to see the Sioux in the woods hunting. As good fortune pasted between
Indian and Settler, food was often shared. True friendships were developed. There were times, however,
when the settlers would hide their food to insure that they would have enough. Even the children had no
fear of the neighborly Indians.
The relationship between the Indians and the Federal Government was much different. Government Officials
and Indian Agents looked down on the Indians and only saw them as a source of gaining wealth.
The Indians were more often than not over charged for the essentials that they purchased at the Indian Agency
Stores and Trading Posts, the Agents and Post owners keeping the profit. Federal Officials would have the
Indians sign legal documents that the Indians were neither capable of reading nor were the documents read to them.
Many Indians that were owed annuities, for their land, were never paid or the payments were intentionally withheld.
The Trading Posts sold the Indians cheep liquor and encouraged their drunkenness. This was done with the
Purpose of controlling them, making them more easily defrauded. Entire Indian tribes were transferred from
reservation to reservation to reservation.
Tayoyateduta, also known as Little Crow, was the Chief of the Sioux. It was he that was selected to lead the
Indians into war. He was a reluctant leader and strongly voiced his opposition to the impending war. When the
warring was eventually initiated it was not his Kaposia tribe that took the first action. He did, however, fight in
several battles. It was Tayoyateducta that made the mistake of forcing the Christian Indians into his service, when
the battles started, they would refuse to fight. They would not fire their guns or they would fire them into the air
or ground. When the Indians surrendered after the battle of Wood Lake, Tayoyateduta escaped.
Mazasha, also so known as Red Iron, was the Chief of the Dakota tribe, and a Christian. He often spoke to state
officials telling them of the plight of the Indians, their cruel and unjust treatment and of the non-payment of what was
owed them. Mazasha refused to join the Sioux uprising and together with other Christian Indians often placed
themselves between the hostiles and the settlers in order to protect the whites.
Shapay was the Chief that was to initiate the war against the whites. However, he died before the war was started.
Shapay previously had been a good friend of the white settlers.
Hockokduta was the brother of Shapay. He inherited his brother’s tribe after Shapay’s death. Hockokduta lead
his braves into battle against the whites.
Akipa, the Chief of a small Christian band of Dakota Indians. He took an active part in freeing whites that had been
captured by the hostiles. The warring Chiefs called him a coward because he had not killed even one white settler.
He bravely spoke out against the cowardice of killing helpless women and children and would tell the other Chiefs
of their eventual defeat by the more powerful white armies.
Womditonkal, also know as Big War Eagle, was a Chief of a Dakota band. He strongly opposed the Sioux uprising
but he succumbed to the wishes of his braves and warred against the whites. His braves fought only in battles against
the U.S. Armies. They never took part in the killing of women and children.
It was predominately the Rice Creek band of Indians, having no Chief, that divided into small renegade groups
and committed the atrocities against the Settlers. They slaughtered regardless of their victims age or sex.