White Cap/White Warbonnet (Wapahaska) (born?; died of tuberculosis in 1889)
White Cap - by Otto Buell, around the time of his trial in 1885
Following the Dakota uprising in Minnesota in 1862, Whitecap (Wapahaska) was one of several Santee leaders, including the elder Standing Buffalo, who took their people, largely Shooters at Trees Sissetons in his case, to Canada along the Souris River, initially living in the Fort Ellice and Fort Qu’Appelle areas, living peacefully alongside those traditional enemies of the Sioux, the Assiniboin, then in the early 1870s, moving south of Moose Mountains in present day southeast Saskatchewan and mixing with the Yankton and Yanktonais who frequented that area and hunting both sides of the Canadian/US border.
Little Crow (left) and White Cap, refugees of the Minnesota massacre. No date and no artist, unfortunately. Assuming this is THE White Cap, surely this isn't meant to portray THE Little Crow? He looks too old considering he was killed in July 1863 and his clothing doesn't match the description of what he wore when he was in Canada and met officials at Fort Garry (according to Anderson's book on Little Crow); equally, White Cap looks too old for the picture to have been drawn at such an early date. The clothing would suggest this was drawn (if from life) in the 1870s or 60s, unless it was at some ceremonial occasion later. I wonder if it's the man known as the Crow, who, along with White Cap and Standing Buffalo, met with Canadian Minister of the Interior Alexander Morris in September 1874.
The elder Standing Buffalo, by Whitney, 1858?
Another photo identified as one of Standing Buffalo, possibly taken in 1860
The Canadian government fearing that a united Sioux effort would halt settlement of the prairies, tried to induce White Cap and young Standing Buffalo (his father having been killed while rading into Montana in 1871) to move to Manitoba; although they visited Winnipeg in July 1873, they were not persuaded and wanted to continue the hunting life with their Métis allies. However, they were concerned when the government began to negotiate Treaty Number Four with the Cree, Assiniboin and Ojibwa and wanted to know if they could continue to live under British protection. Eventually, they were allowed to select reserves, as long as they were not to near the border in case they were used as a refuge for ‘American’ Sioux.
The younger Standing Buffalo, ca. 1875
In 1876, Standing Buffalo chose land along the Qu’Appelle valley and the government, not recognising that there were two distinct bands, agreed that the Sioux could live there; it was 1879 before White Cap was granted a reserve along the South Saskatchewan River – and only after he lived in the region for a year after leading his people away from Qu’Appelle.
Another photo of White Cap taken during his captivity
White Cap's band and their captors, from the Illustrated War News, 1885
His band initially continued to live the traditional lifestyle and when the buffalo herds disappeared, they settled at Moose Woods in 1881, the present site of the Whitecap Indian Reserve, where they farmed and worked as wage labourers in Prince Albert and the surrounding area; indeed, their relations with the local whites were so good that White Cap is credited with helping John Lake set up his agricultural and temperance colony which eventually became Saskatoon. He is also recognised for protecting the young community by securing the Métis’ promise not to attack in return for his joining them at Batoche. To this day, he is remembered as the “father” of Saskatoon and White Cap Park is named after him.
Hans Holtkamp's 2008 sculpture of White Cap and John Lake's 1882 meeting at present-day River Landing, Saskatoon
Two years before the Riel Rebellion, a friendly White Cap poses with some whites on his reserve. Another source suggests this was actually taken in 1885 and was reproduced as an engarving in the Illustrated War News and represents him pledging his friendship to his white neighbours.
White Cap was unwillingly swept into the 1885 Resistance and following Riel’s surrender, he was tried for treason-felony at Regina. His presence was noted as a member of the Métis council at Batoche and one witness saw him with a gun in the rifle pits, although the defence counsel questioned how easy it would have been to pick one man out of close to 150 fellow Indians in the heat of battle. He later claimed to have fled and one witness, Doctor Gerald Willoughby, testified that he had met the Santee leader at this time and he had complained that he had been forced to attend the Métis council under duress (although George Woodcock, in his book on Gabriel Dumont, gives the impression that White Cap could not be persuaded to turn back by the 'Orangemen' of Saskatoon).
White Cap and his family. He is seated at the centre, front; his son, Black Bird, stands at the left; taken during the period of their captivity, 1885
Three of White Cap's band captured by the NWMP, sketch by F W Curzon, Illustrated War News, 1885
He was acquitted after 15 minutes, unlike Cree leaders Poundmaker and Big Bear who had actually refused to participate yet were imprisoned. The conclusion could drawn that the Canadian government were more interested in using these trials as an opportunity to break the power of the Cree chiefs who had continually presented an influential and united front in terms of treaty demands.
White Cap at the time of his captivity, 1885
After the rebellion, White Cap’s people made their way back to the reserve and switched to raising cattle. Gradually, they developed one of the largest and most efficient slaughter and breeding-stock herds in the district, and expanded to include dairy cattle and draught horses. When the price of cattle fell in 1905, they opened possibly the first commercial feedlot in Canada, wintering cattle on consignment for settlers, and finishing slaughter animals for meat buyers and packers. After World War Two, they were unable to remain competitive in this area and many sought employment away from the reserve.
Lloyd Pinay's 2006 statue of White Cap, in Whitecap Park, Saskatoon; he holds an eagle fan to symbolise peace, a rifle as a symbol of war, and a medal that represents the Dakotas' loyalty to the Crown in past conflicts
White Cap by Lt. Valentine Francis Rowe of the Royal Engineers, while serving on the North American Boundary Commission in 1874. Rowe was thrown from his horse in June of 1874 and recuperated at Wood Mountain while the rest of the Commission headed west where they named a peak after him.
The clothing and headdress look similar to the sketch from the Glenbow archives, above. Rowe's painting was used to illustrate an article, which I'm unable to paste here; you'll find the link below.
I don't think that the two images referred to STANDING BUFFALO (Tatanka Najin) are of the same chief. He was born in 1833 and died 5 June 1871 in battle against the Assiniboine in Montana. In the image of 1858 is a man of 25/30 years old. In the image of 1860 is a man of almost 50 years old. Which is the correct Standing Buffalo? He fought in the 1862 Santee uprising and then fleed with 500 people in Canada (Manitoba). He never surrended. I don't know at which band of the Sisseton belonged him.
I think that the date of the first photo of Standing Buffalo (1858) is correct. At that time, he was 25 years old and his father Wamdenica (Orphan) passed the leadership to him. In the portrait of Joel E. Whitney, S.B. wears an ancient type of tribal headdress, to confirm his new position of chief. The style of the headdress was common in the "No Flight" war society, and the many eagle plumes indicate that S.B. was a very distinguished warrior. I believe that he belonged to the band named "Wita Waziyata Otina" (People of the North Island", but I'm not sure. I also have read that in the battle of Wolf Point (Montana) he died suicide! Other info about him? And who was the other chief portraited in the second image dated 1860?
Post by kingsleybray on Oct 31, 2012 11:36:22 GMT -5
I think the chief in the 1860 photo' was Standing Buffalo's father, The Orphan, also called Star Face. He died of smallpox in 1867.
There's a fantastic book by Mark Diedrich, THE ODYSSEY OF CHIEF STANDING BUFFALO AND THE NORTHERN SISSETON SIOUX (Coyote Press, 1988). All Mark's books are must-reads if you have an interest in Dakota history, this one may be his best.