Thomas <I>Wowinape</I> Wakeman

Thomas Wowinape Wakeman

Death 13 Jan 1886 (aged 39–40)
Burial Redwood Falls, Redwood County, Minnesota, USA
Plot Division 4
Memorial ID 32739206 · View Source
Suggest Edits

A son of Dakota Chief Taoyateduta ("His Red Nation"), known as Chief Little Crow. His American Indian name, Wowinape (or Wawinape), means "Place of Refuge."

His father was spokesman and leader of the Dakota during the US-Dakota War of 1862. When the Dakota were defeated by U. S. soldiers, his father fled to Canada as a fugitive. He was not allowed to continue living there and returned to Devil's Lake in Dakota Territory. He went with his father on June 10, 1863 to go on a raid in Minnesota to get some horses for their family. On July 3, he was picking berries with his father near Hutchinson when they were spotted by Nathan Lamson, a farmer and settler who lived in the area. By this time, the Dakota people had been expelled from Minnesota and a bounty could be collected on any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state. Nathan Lamson immediately shot at the two Dakota men and and wounded Little Crow; Lamson's son Chauncey then fired and mortally wounded Little Crow. Wowinape, unharmed, fled from the area. He was later found by some soldiers, wandering on the prairie. He was captured, tried, and sentenced to hang for allegedly taking part in the US-Dakota War. He was imprisoned at Davenport Iowa, where he became a Christian and changed his name to Thomas Wakeman. In 1865, he was pardoned and returned to Dakota Territory.

In January of 1874, he married Judith Minnetonka. They had two daughters and four sons: Solomon, Ruth, John, Jesse, Ida, and Alex.

He and his friends started a Young Men's Association, "Koskada Okadiciye" in 1879. In 1885, the organization changed its name to "Sioux Young Men's Christian Association" after it was recognized by the national Y.M.C.A.

After contracting tuberculosis, he returned to the home of his youth near Redwood Falls. He died there at only 40 years of age.

He had spent most of his life working to bridge a wide gap between two cultures that clashed in terrible destruction and misunderstanding. Wounds on all sides of the US-Dakota War ran very deep. Over 150 years later, Dakota people are still profoundly and directly impacted by the causes and aftermath of the war. New generations of bridge builders work to educate non-Indians about the Doctrine of Discovery and promote understanding of how it unjustly impacts US law and drives US Indian Policy to this day. American Indian tribes, including the Dakota, work continuously to preserve and protect their culture, language, customs, and sacred sites. Around the world, people from many tribes and nations advocate for the civil and human rights of indigenous people.

Family Members



Near this spot lie the remains of Wowinape (Place of Refuge), a survivor of this Dakota War of 1862. Wowinape was the son of Taoyateduta (His Red Nation), known to whites as Little Crow, spokesman and leader of the Dakota in that tragic war. In July, 1863 Wowinape was with his father when he was killed. He fled to Dakota Territory but was captured, tried and sentenced to hang. Reprieved and in a prison camp, he became literate in the Dakota language, a Christian convert, and took the name Thomas Wakeman.

Pardoned in 1865, he went to the Santee Reservation and later homesteaded with other Dakota at the bend of his Big Sioux River in Dakota Territory. Thomas Wakeman married Judith Minnetonka in January, 1874. He farmed and carried the U.S. mail. Impressed by the Y.M.C.A., he worked with friends to found the first Indian chapter at Flandreau, Dakota Territory, on April 27, 1879.

Ill with tuberculosis, he returned to boyhood scenes and died at Redwood Falls, Minnesota on January 13, 1886. In his lifetime, he made a path between the Dakota Indian and Euro-American worlds.

  • Created by: Cindy K. Coffin
  • Added: 7 Jan 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32739206
  • Candy's History
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Wowinape Wakeman (1846–13 Jan 1886), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32739206, citing Redwood Falls Cemetery, Redwood Falls, Redwood County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Cindy K. Coffin (contributor 47084179) .