By Gwenyth Swain
A compelling biography for younger readers that strains the lifetime of the Dakota chief Taoyateduta (Little Crow) and his function within the U.S.–Dakota clash of 1862.
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Additional resources for Little Crow. Leader of the Dakota
But they couldn’t have been happy when Taoyateduta continued to sell whiskey to other Dakota along the Minnesota River. To Taoyateduta, it made perfect sense. The government annuities did not give the Dakota enough food and money to survive. Game near Kaposia was scarcer than ever, what with white settlers hunting, too. Farming, although it suited some of his relatives from Lac qui Parle, like Lorenzo Lawrence and Paul Mazakutemani, was not for Taoyateduta. Like most Dakota, he saw farming as women’s work, whether the corn was planted in small mounds of dirt or in big plowed fields.
As soon as the wild strawberries turned red, during the month Wozupi wi, Chaska’s mother and the other women of Kaposia started planting corn. Among the Dakota, farming was women’s work. But boys were expected to help in the fields, especially late in summer when red-winged blackbirds tried to peck at the ripening ears of corn. The boys helped their mothers and grandmothers build wooden platforms in the fields. Then they sat on top to keep watch for flocks of blackbirds, letting out cries and whoops when the birds tried to come near the corn.
Or he might float down the muddy green Mississippi to Lake Pepin and Wabasha’s village beyond. Wherever he went, Taoyateduta brought more than just his grandfather’s or his father’s words. He brought news of the fort, growing bigger each year on the bluff where the two rivers met. He brought news of the Wasicu with their guns and endless supplies of food. He told about great boats that belched steam and made their way upriver without a single paddlestroke. More of these steamboats were riding up the Mississippi River each year.