Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community

“Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Dakota Culture for Future Generations”

The MMDTC is a tribal community, not yet federally recognized. We are a Tribal 501C3 org.

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WHO IS Chief Standing Moose (Chief Tamaha)

Chief Standing Moose, Sometimes called Chief Rising Moose or more commonly as Chief Tamaha (c. 1776-image1860) was a Mdewakanton Sioux. Born near Winona, Minnesota, he lost an eye in an accident as a child so he was called “Tamaha” (“One eye”) in the Dakota language, which the French called him “Le Borgne”, or “One Eye.” English picked up the name as “the One-eyed Sioux.”

In 1806 and 1807, Tamaha became a friend of U.S. Army lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike and was one of the very few Sioux leaders who supported the United States in the War of 1812. He retained his loyalty even after his capture by the British, during which he refused to divulge information about the Americans on pain of death (a threat which turned out to be a bluff). Tamaha was known as a powerful orator and a diplomat of unusual ability. Wearing his trademark stovepipe hat, he managed to maintain amicable relations between whites and Indians until his death at age eighty-five in Wabasha, Minnesota, two years before the peace was shattered by the Dakota War of 1862.

At one time he was confined in a fort called McKay, where now stands the town of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. He had just returned from St. Louis, and was suspected of exciting his people to rebel against British subjects. His life was even threatened, but to this Tamahay merely replied that he was ready to die.