Ishtakhaba : biography
Ishtakhaba (Dakota: Ištáȟba), a.k.a. Chief Sleepy Eye, was a Native American chief of the Sisseton Sioux tribe. He was chief from sometime between 1822 and 1825, receiving a commission from the Bureau of Indian Affairs as chief in 1824, and remained chief until his death in 1860. His band, known as the Swan Lake or Little Rock Band, hunted "in southwestern Minnesota and southeastern Dakota ... between Swan Lake and Coteau des Prairies," until forced to move to reservation land near the Minnesota River in the wake of the 1857 Spirit Lake Massacre.
Ishtabkhaba tried to promote peace with whites in and around the state of Minnesota. He was a signer of at least four treaties with the United States government, including the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, and met with President James Monroe in Washington, D.C. in 1824. Chief Sleepy Eyes was known for his friendships with "explorers, traders, missionaries and government officials". However, his nephew, who also bore the name "Sleepy Eyes," was involved in the 1862 Sioux Uprising.
According to Warren Upham, "'Sleepy Eyes died in Roberts County, South Dakota, but many years after his death his remains were disinterred and removed to Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, where they were buried under a monument erected by the citizens.'"Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, Part II, 1910 The monument, close to the railway station, bears this inscription beneath the portrait of the chief in bas-relief sculpture: 'Ish-tak-ha-ba, Sleepy Eye, Always a Friend of the Whites. Died 1860.'"
In 1852, Sleepy Eye helped select the site which became today's Mankato, Minnesota. He advised traders not to build in low lying land near the Minnesota River, because it flooded, and suggested "the bluff" of Mankato's "present day Front Street" for a trading post instead.
A historical marker has been erected near the site which served as his main village between 1857-1859, at Sleepy Eye Lake "(then called Pretty Water By The Big Trees, Minnewashte Chanhatonka)."
His peace pipe was returned to the city of Sleepy Eye by his "fourth great-granddaughter" in 2011.
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