Sioux Chiefs & US Commissioners
: the photograph of the Sioux Commission of 1888 in Washington DC
US & Sioux delegations in Washington DC 1888
Photograph of "U.S. commissioners and delegations of Sioux chiefs visiting Washington, October 15, 1888."
by CM Bell, US Library of Congress: CM Bell Collection, LC-USZ62-92959

US Government's purpose of the Sioux visit: to discuss implementation of the Dawes' General Allotment Act on the Great Sioux Reservation - the division, rationing and allotment of tribal lands to Sioux individuals, followed by sale of 'excess' lands to white settlers, in order to extinguish "communal [Indian] title to their land and for the dissolution of the tribal governments, with the object of making the tribes a constituent part of the United States"; and to "deplete[] the land base, [thus] ending hunting as a means of subsistence".

Location: Old U.S Capitol Building, East façade, now gone. Columns from the central portico of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol Building were removed when that area of the capitol was redesigned and extended between 1958 and 1962 and now compose the "Old U.S. Capitol Column Sculpture" of the United States National Arboretum in Washington DC, erected in 1988.
"The East Front of the Capitol building was rebuilt in 1904, following a design of the architects Carrère and Hastings, who also designed the Senate and House office buildings."

The western Sioux had 22 million acres of land, far more than they needed. If they sold half of it, the government would make it available to homesteaders ..." (The Plains Sioux and U.S. colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee, Jeffrey Ostler 2004)

The world will never know whether it was Craft's counseling, McLaughlin's coaching, or Crook's leadership, that brought the 1889 Sioux bill to a successful conclusion for the government,
but this much is certain: with those three aligned against them,
the Lakotas had no chance of keeping their lands

- Thomas W. Foley, Father Francis M. Craft, Missionary to the Sioux 2007 p 69

the Great Sioux Reservation - 1888 DOI map Indian Reservations within the limits of the United States 1888 Oberly, Commissioner of Indian Affairs; Wm. H. Rowe, draughtsman; from Oklahoma State University Libraries
the Great Sioux Reservation in 1888 - map detail
from 1888 Map showing the location of the Indian reservations within the limits of the United States and territories, compiled from official and other authentic sources,
under the direction of the Hon. Jno. H. Oberly, Commissioner of Indian Affairs; Wm. H. Rowe, draughtsman: online at Oklahoma State University Libraries

Historical context:
1874 discovery of gold in the Black Hills
1878-1887 - "Great Dakota Boom"/ "Dakota fever" - American desire for Dakota land
1884 March - Dawes' Sioux Bill introduced
1887 General Allotment Act aka Dawes Act - allotment/privatizing of tribal lands policy
1888 April 30 - Dawes Sioux Bill, established a commission to negotiate the purchase of 11,000,000 acres of Sioux land at 50/acre
1888 July 21 - August 7 - US Commission chaired by Richard Henry Pratt ("the Pratt Commission") visited Standing Rock to promote the land sale; then visited Crow Creek and Lower Brule; did not visit Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge or Rosebud believing it to be futile.
1888 September 24 - council of Sioux chiefs from the six reservations at Lower Brule Reservation, called by Pratt
1888 October - council of Sioux chiefs from the six reservations at Washington DC, called by US Interior Secretary Vilas; offered price of Indian land to be $1/acre for three years, then 75/acre for two years, then 50/acre ever after. US Government sold its lands at $1.25/acre.

US & Sioux delegations in Washington DC 1888

text transcription:

U. S. Commissioners and Delegations of Sioux Chiefs Visiting Washington October 15, 1888
Copyright by C. M. Bell [photographer], Washington, D.C.

text of 1888 Sioux Commission photo

  1. Capt. R. H. Pratt,           }
  2. Rev. Wm. J. Cleveland, } Commissioners.
  3. Hon. John V. Wright,     }

  4. Hon. Jno. H. Oberly, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
  5. Gov. L. K. Church, of Dakota.
  6. Hon. Edmond Rice, Minn.
  7. R. V. Belt, Indian Department.
  8. Col. R. S. Gardner, Inspector.
  9. Col. S. F. Tappan.
10. G. L. Stevick.

Rosebud Agency Delegation.
11. Ugly Wild-Horse.
12. Pretty Eagle.
13. He-Dog.
14. Good Voice.
15. Quick Bear.
16. Black Wolf.
17. Swift Bear.
18. King Thunder.
19. Two Strike.
20. Gray Eagle-tail.
21. Sky Bull.
22. Red Fish.
23. Yellow Hair.
24. Eagle Horse.
25. Thos. Flood, Interpreter.
26. Col. L. F. Spencer, Agent at Rosebud.

Standing Rock Agency Delegation. [16 men] 1885 Standing Rock heads of families
27. Sitting Bull.Tatanka IyotakeUncpapa chief 352
28. Steph Two-bears. Mato Nonpa Lower Yancktonnai chief1
29. Bear's Rib. Broken Bear Rib? Mato Cuwiyuksa  Uncpapa chief 27
30. Thunder Hawk. Cetan WakiyanUncpapa chief1
31. High Eagle. Wanbli Wakantuya Uncpapa chief 47
32. Big Head. Nasuna Tanka Upper Yancktonnai chief 1
33. Mad Bear. Mato Knaskiyan Lower Yancktonnai chief 129
34. Gray Eagle. Wanbli Rita Uncpapa chief240
35. Hairy Chin. Iku Hinsman Lower Yancktonnai261
36. Walking Eagle. Wanbdi ManiLower Yancktonnai chief204
37. High Bear. Mato WakantuyaUncpapa chief153
38. Fire Heart. Cante PetaBlackfeet79
39. John Grasse.Mato Watakpe / Charging Bear Blackfeet chief1
40. Gaul. Pizi [Gall]Uncpapa chief 216
41. Louis Primeau, Interpreter. Blackfeet174
42. Maj. Jas. A. McLaughlin, Agent at Standing Rock.
7 Uncpapa
4 Lower Yancktonnai
1 Upper Yancktonnai
3 Blackfeet

Pine Ridge Agency Delegation.
43. Dog Back.
44. Standing Soldier, 1st Lieut. Police.
45. Yellow Bear.
46. Little Hawk.
47. Little Wound.
48. Little Chief (Cheyenne).
49. Pretty Lance.
50. Standing Elk (Cheyenne).
51. Fast Thunder.
52. No Flesh.
53. American Horse.
54. Capt. Geo. Sword, Police Force.
55. Plenty Bears.
56. Benj. Rowland, Interpreter.
57. Philip Wells, Interpreter.
58. Col. H. D. Gallager, Agent.

Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, and Lower Brule Delegations.
59. White Ghost.
60. Drifting Goose.
61. Bowed Head.
62. Little Bear.
63. Spotted Elk.
64. Crow Eagle.
65. White Swan.
66. Charger.
67. Spotted Eagle.
68. Swift Bird.
69. Little No-heart.
70. Narcisse Narcell.
71. Wm. Larabee, Interpreter.
72. Dr. C. E. McChesney, Agent at Cheyenne River
73. Mark Wells, Interpreter.
74. Capt. Wm. Carpenter
75. Maj. W. W Anderson, Agent Crow Creek and Lower Brule
76. Capt. Fire-thunder, Police force.
77. Alex. Recontre, Interpreter.
78. Medicine Bull.
79. Bull Head.
80. Wizi.

(stamp)Library of Congress, Copyright Jul 27 1889 Washington.

white men

6th row from bottom (on right) 73, 74, 75
5th row from bottom (on right) 70, 71, 72
4th row from bottom (on right) 56, 57, 58
3rd row from bottom (on right) 42
2nd row from bottom (on right) 26
1st row (bottom) 10, 9, 8, 7, 3, 2, 1, 4, 5, 6

    U.S. Commissioners
  1. Capt. Richard Henry Pratt, U.S. Army, superintendent of Carlisle Indian School 1879-1904
  2. Rev. William J. Cleveland, Episcopal missionary at Rosebud Sioux Reservation 1870-1897
  3. Judge John V. Wright, former Confederate colonel of Tennessee, chairman of the Northwest Indian Commission 1886
  4. John H. Oberly, US Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1887-1889
  5. Louis K. Church, Governor of Dakota Territory 1887-1889
  6. Edmund Rice, U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota's 4th district 1887- 1889
  7. Robert V. Belt, Assistant Commissioner 1897- , Acting Commissioner, Indian Department 1890; attorney for the Eastern Band of Cherokees 1900.
  8. Robert S. Gardner, US Indian Inspector 1882-93, of West Virginia
  9. Col. Samuel F. Tappan, (of Colorado,) of the United States Indian Commission; 1868 Peace Commissioner to the Navajo with Lt. Gen. W.T. Sherman; with Major John M. Chivington in 1862 against Sibley at Glorieta Pass
  10. Guy LeRoy Stevick (1865-1955), attorney, son-in-law of Capt. Pratt, graduate of Dickinson College 1885, Carlisle PA; University of Pennsylvania 1888

26. Col. L. F. Spencer, Agent at Rosebud Agency
42. Maj. James A. McLaughlin, Agent at Standing Rock Agency
58. Col. H. D. Gallager, Agent at Pine Ridge Agency
72. Dr. C. E. McChesney, Agent at Cheyenne River Agency
75. Maj. W. W Anderson, Agent at Crow Creek and Lower Brule Agencies

74. Capt. William Carpenter, Crow Creek Police Force

25. Thomas Flood, Interpreter, Rosebud Lakota (1864-1907)
41. Louis Primeau, Interpreter, Blackfeet
56. Benjamin Rowland, Interpreter, Pine Ridge
57. Philip Wells, Interpreter, Pine Ridge
70. Narcisse Narcell, interpreter, Cheyenne River
71. William Larabee, Interpreter, Crow Creek
73. Mark Wells, Interpreter, Crow Creek
77. Alex. Recontre, Interpreter, Lower Brule


Capt. R. H. Pratt, founder and superintendent of the Indian School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania (later general, later removed from the school by presidential order, June 1904)
Ft. Marion, this 30th day of September, 1876, from 1st. Lt. R.H. Pratt, 10th Cavalry, in charge of Indian Prisoners, U.S. Army / R.H. Pratt, 10th U.S. Cavalry, in charge of Indian Prisoners, Actg. Indian Agent. Indian POWs under 1st. Lt. R.H. Pratt, 10th Cavalry, June 1877
Prisoner of War-related Correspondence.
Lt. R.H. Pratt, 10th Cavalry, in charge of Indian Prisoners, U.S. Army, ... R. H. Pratt to Adjt. General of the Army, Washington, D.C. Fort Marion, ...


Source: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System - SIRIS
Title: Delegation to Washington, October 14, 1888 under James McLaughlin, photographed on the steps of the Capitol Oct 14 1888
Contained in:  Glass Negatives of Indians (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology) 1850s-1930s
Phy. Description: 1 8x10 in photograph
Black and white copy film negative
Summary: From the Wrenne list and the list from the South Dakota Historical Society have been compiled a list for distribution which combines the identifications from the two lists.
Mr Anderson used a copy of the Wrenne list, submitted to him by the BAE, and made corrections and added the Agency names from the South Dakota Historical Society photograph.
The South Dakota Historical Society list did not contain the Indian names; these are all from the Wrenne list.
The tribal identifications and other comments in parentheses are by Harry Anderson.
Note: In January 1965 an original print was located in the U. S. National Museum. (Division of Ethnology) collection which has the individuals numbered and a printed list of names attached to the mount. Presumably this is like the one from which Anderson worked at the South Dakota Historical Society. A new typed list was made, January '65, crediting the N. M. print as the source (and correcting some previous mis-readings of Anderson's writing) of the English names.

The English names are taken from an original print in the U. S. National Museum collection which has the individuals numbered and a printed list of names attached to the mount.
The Indian names below were supplied in 1937 by Vernon W. Wrenne, Rockford, Illinois, with the help of Indian friends and a missionary to the Indians, Mr Thomas Riggs of Pierre, South Dakota, then aged 90.
Tribal designations and other comments in parenthenses were supplied in 1960 by Harry Anderson, Assistant Secretary, South Dakota Historical Society, Pierre, South Dakota.

First Row, Left to Right: 1. G. L. Stevick - Teacher at Rosebud Agency; see BAE Photos Catalog Number 4574:(33). 2. Col. S. F. Tappen - Member of 1867-68 Peace Commission). 3. Col. R. S. Gardner, Inspector (Indian Department). - Possibly same as man at left in BAE Photos Catalog Number 4574:(13 ?) 4. R. V. Belt, Indian Department - Sometime acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 5. Hon. John V. Wright, Commissioner - Judge John V. Wright, Tennessee; see BAE Negative Number "Portraits" 13-b. 6. Rev. William J. Cleveland, Commissioner -Missionary at Rosebud Agency. 7. Capt. R. H. Pratt, Commissioner - Head of Carlisle Indian School. 8. Hon. John H. Oberly, Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 9. Gov. L. K. Church of Dakota Territory. 10. Hon. Edmond Rice, Minnesota.

Second Row, Left to Right: Rosebud Agency Delegation (All Brule Sioux) 1. Ugly Wild Horse (Bad Wild Horse) Sung-Wa-To-Gla Si-Ca, 2. Pretty Eagle (Good Eagle) Wan-Bli Wa-Ste, 3. He Dog, Sun-Ka Blo-Ka, 4. Good Voice, Ho Wa-Ste, 5. Quick Bear, Ma-To O-Han-Ke, 6. Black Wolf, Sun-K To-Ke-Ca Wak-Pa-Iya, 7. Swift Bear, Ma-To Luza-Han, 8. Ring Thunder, Wa-Kin-Yan Can Gle-Ska, 9. Two Strike, Nom Kahpa or Nom A Papi, 10. Grey Eagle Tail, Wandli Sinte Hota, 11. Sky Bull, Ta-Tan-Ka Ma-Hpi-Ya, 12. Red Fish, Ho-Gan Luta, 13. Yellow Hair, Hin-Zi, 14. Eagle Horse, Wan-Bli Sun-Ka, 15. Thomas Flood, Interpreter, 16. Col. L. F. Spencer, Agent at Rosebud.

Third Row, Left to Right: Standing Rock Agency Delegation. 1. Sitting Bull (Hunkpapa Sioux) Ta-Tan-Ka-Iyo-Tan-Ke, 2. Stephen Two Bears (Lower Yanktonai) Ma-To Non-Pa, 3. Bear's Rib (Hunkpapa Sioux), Ma-To Cu-Wi, 4. Thunder Hawk (Hunkpapa Sioux), Ce-Tan Wa-Kin-Yan, 5. High Eagle (Hunkpapa Sioux), Wan-Bli Wan-Kan-Tuya, 6. Big Head (Upper Yanktonai), Na-Su-La Tan-Ka or Pa Tan-Ka, 7. Mad Bear (Lower Yanktonai) (Brave Bear), Ma-To O-Hi-Ti-Ka, 8. Grey Eagle (Hunkpapa), Wan-Bli Ho Ta, 9. Hairy Chin (Hunkpapa) I-Ku Hin-La, 10. Walking Eagle (Upper Yanktonai), Wan-Bli Ma-Ni, called "Black Prairie Dog" in Lewis Crawford's Rekindling Campfires, Bismark, 1926, plate facing page 270 (showing Standing Rock delegation only), 11. High Bear (Upper Yanktonai), Ma-To Wan-Kan-Tu-Ya, 12. Fire Heart (Blackfoot Sioux), Can-Te Pe-Ta, 13. John Grass (Blackfoot Sioux) Pe-Ji (Si-Yo Wi-Ki, nickname), 14. Gall (Hunkpapa), Pi-Zi, 15. Louis Primeau, Interpreter, 16. Major James McLaughlin, Agent at Standing Rock.

Fourth Row, Left to Right: Pine Ridge Delegation (All Oglala except two, as indicated) 1. Dog Back, Sun-Ka Tapetu, 2. Standing Soldier, 1st Lieut., Agency Police. 3. Yellow Bear, 4. Little Hawk, Ce-Tan Ci-Ka-La, 5. Little Wound, Ta-Opi Ci-Ka-La, 6. Little Chief, Cheyenne, 7. Pretty Lance (Good Lance), Wa-Kin-Kpe Wa-Ste, 8. Standing Elk, Cheyenne, 9. Fast Thunder, Wa-Kin-Yan Lu-Za-Han, 10. No Flesh, Co-Ni-Ca Wa-Ni-Ca, 11. American Horse, Wa-Si-Cun Ta-Shum-Ke, 12. Capt. George Sword (Indian Police), 13. Plenty Bears, Ma-To O-Ta, 14. Benjamin Rowland, Interpreter (for Cheyennes), 15. Philip Wells, Interpreter, 16. Col. H. D. Gallagher, Agent at Pine Ridge. (There were a number of Northern Cheyenne still living on Pine Ridge in 1888; Little Chief and Standing Elk were their head men. --H. H. A.)

Fifth Row, Left to Right: Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, and Lower Brule Delegations. 1. White Ghost (Lower Yanktonai from Crow Creek), 2. Drifting Goose (Lower Yanktonai from Crow Creek), 3. Bowed Head (Yanktonai from Crow Creek), 4. Little Bear (Cheyenne River), Mato Cikala, 5. Spotted Elk (Cheyenne River; this Spotted Elk is the "Big Foot" of the Wounded Knee incident), 6. Crow Eagle (Cheyenne River), Kan-Gi Wan-Bli, 7. White Swan (Cheyenne River), Ma-Ga-Ska, 8. Charger (Cheyenne River), Wa-A-Na-Tan, 9. Spotted Eagle (Cheyenne River), Wan-Bli- Gle-Ska, 10. Swift Bird (Cheyenne River), Zi-Tka-La Lu-Za-Han, 11. Little No Heart (Cheyenne River), Can-Te Wa-Ni-Ca Ci-Ka-La, 12. Narcisse Narcelle (Interpreter, Crow Creek Agency), 13. Wm. Larabee (Also spelled Larvie), Interpreter (Crow Creek Agency), 14. Dr C. E. Mc Chesney, Agent at Cheyenne River Agency.

Sixth Row, Left to Right: 1. Mark Wells, Interpreter (Crow Creek), 2. Wm. Carpenter, Capt. of Police Force (Crow Creek), 3. Fire Thunder, Capt. of Police Force (Lower Brule), 4. Medicine Bull (Lower Brule), 5. Bull Head (Lower Brule), 6. Wizi (Lower Yanktonai from Crow Creek). Seventh Row, Left to Right: 1. Major W. W. Anderson, Agent at Crow Creek and Lower Brule, 2. Alec Recontre, Interpreter (Lower Brule Agency), 3. Joe Campbell, Interpreter [Identification by Wrenne, not identified on original].

Organization: Item
Place of creation: D C Washington
Cite as: Negative 43563, Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives
Culture: Dakota
Dakota Upper Yanktonai
Dakota Lower Yanktonai
Dakota Brule
Dakota Hunkpapa
Blackfoot Dakota

Standing Rock delegation to Washington DC 1888

Standing Rock delegation to Washington DC 1888

Standing Rock delegation