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Tiwakan (Gabriel Renville)

Tiwakan or Sacred Lodge (Gabriel Renville) was born in 1825 to "mixed-blood" (individuals of both European and Dakota ancestry) parents but was raised by his stepfather Joseph Akipa Renville, a Dakota man. By 1860 he settled on a farm near the Minnesota River. When the war started, Tiwakan helped organize the "Peace Party" in opposition to the war, and worked to secure the release of the prisoners captured by Dakota soldiers. After the end of the war he and his family were sent to the internment camp for civilians at Fort Snelling, and from1863-1866 Tiwakan served as a scout for the Punitive Expeditions into the Dakota Territory. Tiwakan later became a leader on the Sisseton Reservation, eventually returning to Minnesota where he died on Aug. 26, 1892.

Tiwakan wrote of his experiences during the 1862 war, and this page contains several selections from his narrative. They were translated from Dakota into English by Samuel Brown and Thomas A. Robertson, and as you read them think about how Tiwakan’s experiences affected his perspective on the conflict.


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Gabriel Renville


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Captured Sioux Indians in fenced enclosure on Minnesota River below Fort Snelling.


Memories of War U.S. Military Non-Combatants Dakota "Peace Party" Dakota Soldiers