In November 1865 Both Men Were Hung
~ rp leith


In the fall of 1864 American bounty hunters tracked

down and arrested Medicine Bottle (Mdewakantowan

Dakota Chief) and Shakopee II (Mdewakantowan

Dakota Chief) in Manotoba, Canada.  The bounty

hunters then illegally transported both Dakota chiefs

to Fort Snelling on the Mississippi River in what is

now Minnesota. 

In November 1865 both men were hung, executed by

the US Army on gallows especially built for them. 

There were no attorneys, hearings or trials for these

men; they were executed after the US President authorized the hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota for their participation in the Dakota Conflict of 1862.

The Dakota Conflict was the result of US violations of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux of 1837 and the Treaty of Mendota 1851.  The terms were set to compensate the Dakota Bands for the sale of millions of acres of land from Brown's Valley southwest along the Minnesota River to just northwest of New Ulm.

There were approximately 6,000 to 7,000 Dakota belonging to four distinct Bands living in the Minnesota territory at the time.  Shakopada (Little Six) was the Chief of the Rice Creek band, and Pazuta Zha (Medicine Bottle) was a member of the Lower Bands of Mdewakanton Dakota.  Medicine Bottle was also a Dakota Chief.

The Dakota Conflict also known as the Sioux Uprising began in the summer of 1862.  There were many casualties on both sides and many atrocities were committed on both sides.

In remembrance of this war many Dakota today will say "38 plus 2" in recognition of Shakopee and Medicine Bottle.  The original 38 Dakota were hung in Mankato on December 26th, 1865.  This mass execution was authorized by US President Abraham Lincoln via executive order.

After the Battle of Wood Lake, near the Yellow Medicine Agency, Medicine Bottle and Little Six travelled to Manitoba to seek the protection of the Canadian government, they referred to the Queen Elizabeth as Grandmother.  Although there were many other Dakotas who were imprisoned at Ft. Snelling and/or exiled to the Western Dakota territories, these two chiefs did not trust promises made by General Henry.H. Sibley.

As a result of their being in Canada, the US did not have a legal extradition authorization to bring them back for a military trial. Therefore they hired bounty hunters to work for them at the rate of $500.00 per captured man.  The chiefs were captured, bound, and gagged for the entire trip back to Fort Snelling.  When the US Army received custody of them, they were not allowed legal representation or a fair trial as required by the US Constitution.

In November 1865 when the Chiefs were hung they were alone, and they sung their death songs and prayed to Wakan Tanka (The Great Mystery).

To this day only the remains of Shakopee II have been returned.  A lengthy four day ceremony was held for Shakopee, and other repatriated remains, in the Dakota way of releasing the spirit at Sica (Bad) Hollow in Sisseton, SD.

The remains of Medicine Bottle have not been repatriated and the whereabouts of the Mdewakanton Dakota Chief remain a mystery.