Star tribune, this was meant to be free for the people.
TAWASUOTA- MANY HAILSTONES.AKA MANY HAIL.
His Dakota name, Tawasuota, roughly translates to “Many Hailstones.” But it was just one shot that blasted his name into the history books as the warrior who, most scholars agree, fired the first deadly bullet in the U.S.-Dakota War.
Starving, tired of broken treaties and frustrated by delayed government payments, Dakota leaders decided to go to war in southern Minnesota 158 years ago this week. Tawasuota’s shot came after a violent outburst on Aug. 17, 1862, when four young Dakota hunters killed five white settlers in a dispute that began over a farmer’s eggs in Acton Township in rural Meeker County.
The next day, following Chief Little Crow’s orders, Tawasuota carried a double-barreled shotgun into the reservation store at the Lower Sioux Agency 40 miles northwest of New Ulm on the Minnesota River and fatally shot Kentucky-born trader James Lynd, a man the Dakota considered a friend.
Almost immediately, Tawasuota regretted killing an unarmed man, according to an account published 45 years later. As war erupted in the Minnesota River Valley, the warrior made a secret trek to Faribault, where his wife and two sons had fled with other Indians willing to adopt white people’s ways.
“Tawasuota took each boy in his arms, and held him close for a few moments,” Charles Eastman wrote in “Old Indian Days,” a book published in 1907. “He smiled to them, but large tears rolled down his cheeks. Then he disappeared in the shadows, and they never saw him again.”
Tawasuota rejoined the war raging in the 4-year-old state of Minnesota, the bloodiest six weeks in state history. When it ended, an estimated 600 white soldiers and settlers were dead, along with more than 100 Dakota fighters. Gov. Alexander Ramsey insisted that the vanquished Dakota “must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state,” which had been their home for centuries. In the largest mass execution in U.S. history, 38 Dakota were hanged in Mankato four months after Tawasuota fired that first deadly round.
“There was no glory in it for him; he could wear no eagle feather, nor could he ever recount the deed,” Eastman wrote. “It was dreadful to him — the thought that he had fired upon an unarmed and helpless man.”
Stacks of books have been written about the war, but few mention Tawasuota’s role. “Old Indian Days,” in which Eastman devotes a 3,500-word chapter to Tawasuota, was one of 11 books he wrote in the early 1900s.
Eastman’s story “humanizes and adds nuance to the complicated and complex decisions made during the chaos of war,” said Kate Beane, a distant Eastman relative with a University of Minnesota doctorate who directs Native American initiatives for the Minnesota Historical Society.
Eastman, born in a tepee near Redwood Falls, was only 4 when the U.S.-Dakota War broke out. His family fled to Canada, where he got the name Ohiyesa, or Winner. He eventually followed his father into white society and took the name Charles Alexander Eastman, graduating from Dartmouth College and earning a medical degree in Boston. He became a reservation physician in South Dakota and supervised YMCA programs for Indians in the western United States and Canada.
Beane said Eastman published the stories he’d heard from relatives and told his kids through the years. His wife, Elaine Goodale, a white teacher and writer, “helped shape the narratives to appeal to a white audience,” Beane said. “It’s not historical fiction because these things actually happened, but as with anything, the stories might be embellished.”
Eastman’s story portrays Tawasuota as more than a violent, impulsive instigator of an awful war. Like many Dakota displaced by the war, Tawasuota escaped to Canada, where years later he acknowledged his role in the conflict. He died in 1902 near Birdtail Creek in southwestern Manitoba, according to Mitchell Cody Hunter, 33, another Eastman descendant who lives in Brandon, Man., amid Dakota whose elders fled north in 1862.
“Tawasuota was a great warrior who had earned the respect of his tribe. They even chanted his name,” said Hunter, who has extensively researched his Dakota roots. “Tawasuota lived and died an enemy of the United States, but he was doing what he thought was best for the Oyate [the people].”
Eastman’s account shows a merciful side of Tawasouta, adding a wrinkle to the story of Andrew Myrick. He’s the white trader who reportedly said, “Let them eat grass,” when Dakota leaders requested credit to buy food until their late annuity payments arrived in 1862.
Eastman wrote that a “nearly nude” Myrick jumped from the roof of a store after the shooting broke out. Tawasuota could have killed him, but he took an errant shot and yelled at him to “run, run!” They’d been on good terms, but other Dakota fighters shot Myrick as he fled. His corpse was found later with grass stuffed in his mouth.
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Jan 10, 2020 17:30:51 GMT -5
krys: Does any one know of an official site where I can get info on Jacob Eastmen many lightnings from when he was a boy his father, mother etc and who they were. Thank you
May 21, 2020 6:30:10 GMT -5
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Jun 28, 2020 5:42:35 GMT -5
chadmaloy: Hello, I am new here and wondering of anyone can help with verifying if the information I found is accurate....
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chadmaloy: Wabasha II Necohundah Lefeuille One Eye married to Sister of Ho-Chunk Chief Winneshiek
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himes001: I am researching William Baine. He married Maggie Holy Face and possibly someone named Susan. I big on having documentation and haveyfound any for Susan. Any suggestions.
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wyomingcowboy: Hello nightwolf. Did you find answers to your questions? I, also, am a great great grandson of Thomas Flood. My grandmother is Cornelia Louise Stead Penn and is also buried in Rosebud. I would like to connect with you if you're still around.
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himes001: I also need help verifying information that I have found for the William Baine family?
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Sominex: Sorry for the late reply! Are you still there OrangeDeluxe? I don't have much on her (Tateaicagewin), but I do have a few documents I can share with you. Email me at Lori_WalkingEagle@hotmail.com
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