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Spirit Lake Massacre

Around July, 1856, settlers began moving into the Spirit Lake area. This area had been controlled by the Sioux and was old, sacred hunting ground. The local Native Americans and the white settlers in this area tended to get along fairly well, this was until the spring of 1857. In the early spring of 1857, a Sioux leader named Inkpaduta and his band of Native Americans came to the Spirit Lake area, their old land. Due to the harsh winter, the Native Americans were hungry and very cold. Inkpaduta and his band also furiously hated the white settlers. This was due to a white settler killing Sidominadota, Inkpaduta's Chief and blood brother. On March 7, 1857, Inpaduta and his band of Native Americans attacked the white settlers in the Spirit Lake area. They clubbed, shot, and scalped many of the settlers. The ones that they didn't kill, they took prisoner. There were four prisoners total: Mrs. Thatcher (killed by being thrown into a lake, beaten, shot, and drowned), Mrs. Marble (Sold to another tribe), Mrs. Noble (killed for not obeying orders), and Abbie Gardner (age 14, sold to another tribe, but lived to tell her experiences). After the massacre, the Inkpaduta's band ransacked and looted the settler's cabins, as well as butchering the livestock for food. In total, around 32 to 42 men, women, and children died during this fatal attack. (The death toll is debated heavily). (iagenweb.org) The Native Americans who were involved in this massacre then fled the Spirit Lake area. Other Iowan settlers heard of this attack and sent a small band of armed men to attack these Native Americans, but it was too late. Inkpaduta's band was already gone. The group of armed settlers, battling the cold and snow, decided to go to the cabins in the Spirit Lake area and bury the dead. These men then headed back home only losing two men who froze to death on the way back. (historynet.com) For any use other than instructional resources, please check with the organization that owns this item regarding copyright restrictions.
U.S. Chronology
Iowa History Eras
Relational Notes
Object is related to the following library resources, which can be found by searching the catalog number in the advanced search section: Catelog #: 2018.045.079 2018.045.033
Iowa County
Early & Late Date
1856 to 1857
Resources & Additional Info
This story can be used to teach a lesson that corresponds with a number of standards: Standard SS-US.9-12.2 Iowans Influence US History: A lesson could be made about how Inkpaduta influenced settlers' views toward Native Americans. Also how the Spirit Lake Massacre made hostilities worse between Native Americans and settlers moving west. Standard SS.3.25. Explain probable causes and effects of events and developments. A lesson could be made about why this massacre occured, or the effects it had on Iowans at that time. Standard SS.4.21. Analyze conflicting perspectives on historical and current event/issues. A lesson about analyzing or understanding the motives of Inkpaduta's band could be created. Standard SS.6.21. Explain how and why perspectives of people have changed throughout different historical eras. This standard could be tied into a lesson about how settlers viewed Native American culture at that time. Standard SS.6.22. Explain multiple causes and effects of events and developments in the past. This standard could be tied into a lesson about the different causes of the Spirit Lake Massacre and how it effected the state of Iowa or Iowa's history. This information came from the following sources. To find out more information, please view these sources: Iagenweb Resource and Additional Information: Click Here Britannica Resource and Additional Information: Click Here Historynet Resource and Additional Information: Click Here Book: History of the Spirit Lake Massacre And Captivity of Miss Abbie Gardner