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 • Dakota (Sioux) Memorial - 1862
 • Mankato
 • Blue Earth County
 • Minnesota
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His People Oyate Tawa
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Birth: unknown
Death: Dec. 26, 1862
Blue Earth County
Minnesota, USA

Dakota warrior who fought in the US-Dakota War of 1862. Also known as Oyate Aku, "He Brings the People", and Wy-a-tah to-wah. He was one of 38 Dakota convicted and condemned to death for war crimes or atrocities committed during the US-Dakota War of 1862.

He was charged with killing or participating in the killing, and therefore causing the killing, of a white man named Francis Patoille, somewhere between Fort Ridgely and New Ulm, on or about Aug. 18, 1862.

Shortly before their execution, the prisoners made statements to the Rev. Stephen Riggs as to their participation in the war. Oyate confessed to participating in the killing of Francis Patville [Patouile], and to participating in three battles. He said he was at the attack on Captain Marsh's company, and also at New Ulm. He and another Indian shot a man at the same time and he did not know whether he or the other Indian killed the white man. He was at the battle of Birch Coulee, where he fired his gun four times, and at the Battle of Wood Lake, firing his gun twice.

When being questioned by the military tribunal, Oyate Tawa testified as follows:

It was never my intention to kill any one, but what I did was done under the influence of evil spirits. This outbreak was commenced by three Indians of different bands and I was led into it by force by them. It was never my intention to do anything bad, but what I did was done under the influence of evil spirits. My chief told me to stay here, and the Government would deal fairly by me.

Wabasha is my chief. I have seen Patoille often. I know when he was killed. I was present. There was a lot of Indians coming from below and I was with them. I saw the Indians fire at Patoille. I shot at him, but don't know whether I hit him or not. I was near when I shot at him. A good many shot. I aimed at the crowd when Patoille was shot. I shot at the crowd when they were in the wagon.

Three of the Indians are arrested and 3 were killed. The Negro was of the party. I never saw the Negro man kill any whites. I have been in 3 fights at New Ulm, Birch Coulee, and Wood Lake. I fired 2 shots at New Ulm, 4 at Birch Coulee, and 2 shots at Wood Lake.

I have a bad gun. I always kept a good ways off. I don't know that the Negro killed anybody. I was wounded at the battle of New Ulm in the breast.

The past seems to me like a dream. The powers above made my eyes dark. Wahpe Duta, Maza Bomdu, Waka-han-du-
yai, Ptan Duta, and Godfrey were of the party
[that killed Francis Patouile] .

After Francis Patouile was shot and killed, the three young women who had been riding in his wagon were taken captive. Mary Anderson died in captivity; Mary Schwandt and Mattie Williams survived. Mattie Williams was a witness at Oyate Tawa's trial and testified that she did not recognize him as one of the Patouille murderers. At his trial, there was no proof but his own confession that he was of the party that had killed Francis Patoile. Nevertheless, the military commission, "after due deliberation," found him guilty and sentenced him to death.


Heard, Isaac V. C. and Whipple, Henry Benjamin. "History of the Sioux War and Massacres of 1862 and 1863, pages 279-280.

Whiting and Ruggles Report, Case No. 5. Wy-a-tah to-wah. Confesses to have participated in the murder of Mr. Francis Patville, and to have been engaged in three battles.
Dakota (Sioux) Memorial - 1862
Blue Earth County
Minnesota, USA
Created by: Cindy K. Coffin
Record added: Feb 05, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47605795
<i>His People</i> Oyate Tawa
Added by: Cindy K. Coffin
<i>His People</i> Oyate Tawa
Added by: Cindy K. Coffin
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- Cindy K. Coffin
 Added: Feb. 14, 2010

- Sarah Quinn
 Added: Feb. 5, 2010

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