Wabasha III

Wabasha III or Wa-pa-sha (Joseph Wabasha) was born about 1800 near present-day Winona, MN. He was a leader within his Mdewakanton community, and participated in treaty negotiations in 1851 and 1858. Though opposed to the treaties, in 1853 Wabasha III moved to the Lower Sioux reservation and adopted Christianity and European American-style farming. During the 1862 war Wabasha III helped organize the "Peace Party," but was present at the battles of Fort Ridgely, New Ulm, Birch Coulee and Wood Lake. In May 1863 he and his community were forcibly removed to the Crow Creek Reservation, and later they moved to the Santee Reservation. In June 1868 Wabasha III testified for the Indian Peace Commission near Fort Rice in Dakota Territory, from which the selections on this page were taken.

As you read the excerpts from Wabasha III’s testimony, think about what the situation was in Minnesota during the summer of 1862.

Narrative Source:
Papers Relating to Talks and Councils Held with the Indians in Dakota and Montana Territories in the Years 1866-1869 (Washington, D.C.: Govrnment printing Office, 1910), 90-91.


Wa-pa-sha, a Sioux chief.


The last of the Fond du Lac Indian payments.

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