Run for Your Life

recounted by L. C. Draper


The following story is attested to be fiction. The question is, Did it come from the Big Knives, the Sioux, or the Hočągara?


"There has repeatedly, during the past dozen or fifteen years, appeared in the papers an article purporting to be An Indian's Race for Life. It stated, that soon after the Winnebago difficulties in 1827, that a Sioux Indian [Dakota] killed a Winnebago Indian while out hunting near the mouth of Root River; that the Winnebagoes were indignant at the act, and two thousand of them assembled at Prairie du Chien, and demanded of Col. Taylor, commanding there, the procurement and surrender of the murderer. An officer was sent to the Sioux, and demanded the murderer, who was given up; and finally was surrendered to the Winnebagoes, on condition that he should have a chance for his life—giving him ten paces, to run at a given signal, and twelve Winnebagoes to pursue, each armed only with a tomahawk and scalping knife—but he out-ran them all, and saved his life."1


Commentary. This addendum was offered by Mr. Draper: "Gen. H. L. DOUSMAN and B. W. BRISBOIS, old and well known residents of Prairie du Chien, declare that no such incident ever occurred there, and that there is 'not one word of truth in the statement.' This note is appended here that future historians of our State may understand that it is only a myth or fanciful story."


Comparative Material. ...


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Stories: mentioning the Sioux (Šąhą): The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, Origin of the Name "Milwaukee," Little Priest's Game, Berdache Origin Myth, Great Walker's Warpath, Potato Magic, The Masaxe War, White Flower, The Man who Fought against Forty, First Contact (vv. 2-3), The Omahas who turned into Snakes, The Love Blessing, Introduction; mentioning the Big Knives (white Americans): The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, Little Priest's Game, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, A Prophecy, The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Cosmic Ages of the Hočągara, Turtle and the Merchant, The Hočągara Migrate South, Neenah, The Glory of the Morning, First Contact, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Migistéga’s Magic, Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon; mentioning Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin (Niučjeja): The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter, How Jarrot Got His Name, Oto Origins, Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, Gottschall: Debate and Discussion.


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Notes

1 Lyman C. Draper, "Note on the Winnebago War," Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 5 (1868): 158.