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Dahcotah, Or Life and Legends of the Sioux around Ft. Snelling

The materials for the following pages were gathered during a residence of seven years in the immediate neighborhood nay in the very midst of the once powerful but now nearly extinct tribe of Sioux or Dahcotah Indians. Fort Snelling is situated seven miles below the Falls of St. Anthony, at the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Peter’s rivers built in 1819, and named after the gallant Colonel Snelling, of the army, by whom the work was erected. It is constructed of stone; is one of the strongest Indian forts in the United States; and being placed on a commanding bluff, has somewhat the appearance of an old German castle, or one of the strongholds on the Rhine. The then recent removal of the Winnebago was rendered troublesome by the interference of Wabashaw, the Sioux chief, whose village is on the Mississippi, 1800 miles from its mouth. The father of Wabashaw was a noted Indian; and during the past summer, the son has given some indications that he inherits the father’s talents and courage. When the Winnebago arrived at Wabashaw’s prairie, the chief induced them not to continue their journey of removal; offered them land to settle upon near him, and told them it was not really the wish of their Great Father, that they should remove. His bribes and eloquence induced the Winnebago to refuse to proceed; although there was a company of volunteer dragoons and infantry with them. This delay occasioning much expense and trouble, the government agents applied for assistance to the command at Fort Snelling. There was but one company there; and the commanding officer,...

Haokah Ozape, The Dance to the Giant

The dance to the Giant is now rarely celebrated among the Dahcotahs. So severe is the sacrifice to this deity, that there are few who have courage to attempt it; and yet Haokah is universally reverenced and feared among the Sioux. They believe in the existence of many Giants, but Haokah is one of the principal. He is styled the anti-natural god. In summer he feels cold, in winter he suffers from the heat; hot water is cold to him, and the contrary. The Dahcotah warrior, however brave he may be, believes that when he dreams of Haokah, calamity is impending and can only be avoided by some sort of sacrifice to this god. The incident on which this story is founded, occurred while I resided among the Sioux. I allude to the desertion of Wenona by her lover. It serves to show the blind and ignorant devotion of the Dahcotah to his religion. And as man is ever alike in every country, and under every circumstance of life as he often from selfish motives tramples upon the heart that trusts him so does woman utterly condemn a sister, feeling no sympathy for her sorrow, but only hatred of her fault. Jealous for the honor of the long-reverenced feasts of the Dahcotahs the “Deer Killer” thought not for a moment of the sorrow and disgrace he would bring upon Wenona, while Wauska loved the warrior more than ever, triumphing in his preference of her, above her companion. And Wenona A cloud came o’er the prospect of her life, And evening did set in Early, and dark and deadly. But...

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