There appears to have been at least two Chiefs known as Red Thunder. Red Thunder I was born 1740-41 & died in 1822. he was probably the Red Thunder that was noted as visiting the new fort (Ft.Snelling) at the head of the St.Peter's River (Minnesota River) in jun.1821, estimated as 80 years old. This is probably the same Red Thunder that Zebulon Montgomery Pike listed on his "Abstract of the Nations of Indians on the Mississippi..." as Wuckiew Nutch - Tonnerre Rouge - Red Thunder with the remark "first chief of all the Sioux". (Pike defines the divisions of the "Sioux" as Minowa Kantong, Washpetong, Sissitons, Yanktons & Tetons - with Red Thunder as a Sissiton). Pike met Red Thunder on 21 apr.1806, "Upon my return I was sent for by Red Thunder, chief of the Yanctongs, the most savage band of the Sioux. He was prepared with the most elegant pipes and robes I ever saw, and shortly declared, That white blood had never been shed in the village of the Yanctongs, even when rum was permitted; that Mr.Murdoch Cameron arrived at his village last autumn; that he invited him to eat, gave him corn as a bird; that Cameron informed him of the prohibition of rum, and was the only person who afterward sold it in the village." ["The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike"; edited by Elliott Coues]
Excerpts from a "Personal Narrative of Capt.Thomas G.Anderson" from
the "Collection of the State Hist.Soc.of Wisc." [vol.IX] - (1808-1811 wintering
on Minnesota River); "Red Thunder or Wack-haw-en-du-tah was on of the most
universally respected, chiefs among all the numerous Sioux bands....An
Ottawa Indian, from L. Mich.,had, by some means, wandered away from his
own country, and joined Red Thunder's band, where he received the kindest
hospitality; but his tribe, in Mich., were at war with the Oma-haw Indians
on the Missouri.......two hundred lodges each of Sioux and Omahaws
encamped on the great plains.....a party was immediately sent to bring
the Ottawa, dead or alive......(Red Thunder) said, "Since you will not
permit me to keep the Ottawa, you shall not kill him, but I will," and
shot him, the same ball accidently killing a young Omahaw......in order
to avert the impending outbreak, early the next morning the Sioux chief
mounted his horse, and rode alone to the Omahaw camp, singing his death
song, and with his knife, as he rode among their lodges, cut pieces of
flesh from his thighs, and throwing them to the dogs, saying: "My
friends, I fed my dogs with your flesh yesterday, and am now come to feast
your dogs on my poor flesh, in hopes that we may continue brethren." Red
Thunder.......his wounds dressed; and in time, he was loaded with presents
and sent home,....."
Red Thunder I, was probably the Red Thunder with Col. Robert Dickson at the siege of Ft.Meigs in 1813 and also probably the father-in-law of Robert Dickson (Mascotapah or Red Haired Man) whose wife was Helen Totowin (b.abt.1781 near Big Stone Lake). She was referred to as the sister of Red Thunder/Wekinyanduta, Chief of the Cut-Head band of Yankton. (reference to her father's name as Wanoti - head Yankton Chief). Robert Dickson was the British trader that Pike met on his expedition up the Mississippi River who at that time had both Ojibwe territory posts & Dakota territory posts and no doubt supplied Pike with some of his tribal information.
Red Thunder II was born about 1770 in the area of Big Stone Lake (Minnesota or North Dakota) & probably died before 1825.
Wannata/Charger in 1822 became Chief of the Yankton and/or
the Sisseton on the west shore of Lac Traverse upon the death of Red Thunder
[he was said to have been related to Gabriel Renville & a cousin to
Tatankamanazin (Standing Buffalo)]. He may have been a son of Red Thunder
II and was born about 1795.
...updated 3-6-99 - more to come later...
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