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Otherday, Wahpeton Indian Chief

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Otherday, John (Aagpetu-tokecha) A Wahpeton Sioux, son of Zitkaduta, or Red Bird, and nephew of Big Curly, chief of the Wahpeton at Lac qui Parle, Minn.; born at Swan lake, Minn., in 1801. It is said that when a young man he was “passionate and revengeful, and withal addicted to intemperance, and he lived to lament that he had slain three or four of his fellows in his drunken orgies” (Sibley). Yet at times he manifested the same devotion to his tribesmen as he afterward showed to the whites, on one occasion, in a battle with the Chippewa at St Croix river, bearing from the field “Onelegged Jim,” who had been severely wounded, and, during the same action, saving the life of another Indian called Fresniere’s Son. But he early became desirous of following the ways of the white men, adopting their dress, later becoming a devoted member of Dr Williamson’s church, and abandoning his intemperate habits. When in 1857 the wily Inkpaduta, “too vile to be even countenanced by the Sioux,” fell upon and massacred the settlers at Spirit lake, in the present South Dakota, and carried Miss Abigail Gardner and Mrs Noble into captivity, Otherday and Paul Mazakutemani volunteered to follow the outlaw’s trail, rescuing Miss Gardner, but arriving too late to save the life of the other captive. At the time of the Sioux outbreak of 1862, Otherday, who had married a white woman, resided on the reservation near Minnesota river, in a comfortable dwelling built for him by the agent. When he learned that hostilities were imminent, he hastened to the upper agency and there gathered 62 of the whites, whom he guided in safety through the wilderness to St Paul, then hastened back to the frontier to save other lives and to aid in bringing the murderers to justice. To him and the other Christian Indians who aided in the rescue the missionary party of 43 were indebted for their escape to an extent not then known (Riggs). In the military campaign organized to quell the outbreak Otherday was employed by Gen. Sibley as a scout, in which capacity he rendered valued service. He participated in the battles of Birch Coolie and Wood lake, taking with his own hands two horses from the enemy and slaying their riders. “He was often in their midst and so far in advance of our own men that they fired many shots at him in the belief that he was one of the foe. No person on the field compared with him in the exhibition of reckless bravery. He was clothed entirely in white: a belt around his waist, in which was placed his knife; a handkerchief was knotted about his head, and in his hand he lightly grasped his rifle” (Heard). Otherday signed the Sisseton and Wahpeton treaty at Washington, Feb. 19, 1867. Congress granted him $2,500, with which he purchased a farm near Henderson, Sibley co., Minn.; here he resided for three or four years, but not being successful as a farmer he sold his land at a sacrifice and removed to the Sisseton and Wahpeton reservation, South Dakota, where the agent built a house for him.

He died of tuberculosis in 1871, and was buried in a pasture on the north side of Big Coule creek, 75 ft from the stream, about 12 miles north west of Wilmot, Roberts county, South Dakota.

Consult further:

  1. Heard, Hist. Sioux War, 1863;
  2. Riggs in Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., iii, 1880;
  3. Doane Robinson (1) in Monthly South Dakotan, III, Oct. 1900,
  4. Doane Robinson (2) in S. Dak. Hist. Coll., II, 1904;
  5. De Lorme W. Robinson in S. Dak. Hist. Coll., I, 1902;
  6. Bryant and Murch, History of the Massacre by Sioux Indians, 1872.

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