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(animated stereo) Wakanozhanzhan (Medicine Bottle), 1865 | by Thiophene_Guy
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(animated stereo) Wakanozhanzhan (Medicine Bottle), 1865

To animate the image scroll down to the first comment below or view original size (900 x 900).


Details and History

The Wikimedia Commons website offers a multitude of historical images with no restrictions on use. This circa 1865 Charles Zimmerman photo of Wa-kan-o-zhan-zhan (Sacred Light or Medicine Bottle) was taken during his imprisonment at Fort Snelling from 1864-1865.


The 1851 treaties of Traverse de Sioux and Mendota defined boundaries and ceded territory in exchange for annual annuity payments. Repeated treaty violations, withheld payments, and drought decimated crops left the Dakota Sioux in a desperate position. Influential leader Little Crow (Thaóyate Dúta, Taoyateduta, or "His Red Nation), who had been instrumental in negotiating earlier treaties, was reluctantly convinced to war upon the newcomers to drive them out of the land. He was reported to warn fellow Sioux “You will die like rabbits when the hungry wolves hunt them in the Hard Moon. Taoyateduta is not a coward: he will die with you.” The six week Dakota War of 1862 claimed over 400 settlers' and soldiers' lives along with uncounted Sioux and led to the largest mass execution in US history.


Two Dakota military leaders, Sakpedan (Little Six) and Wakanozhanzhan (Medicine Bottle), escaped to Canada after hostilities. They were kidnapped, drugged, and returned to Fort Snelling in 1864. Both were executed in 1865. On climbing to the scaffold Sakpedan heard a steam train whistle and observed, “As the white man comes in, the Indian goes out.” Armed conflicts recurred until the 1890 incident at Wounded Knee creek, which was officially recognized as a massacre by commanding general Nelson Miles.


Read more at Wikipedia, the the Fort Snelling website, or at Minnesota Public Radio. The details of the trial are discussed by Douglas O. Linder, J.D., as part of his famous trials project.


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Copyright Advisory

This item is indicated as being in the public domain on its Wikimedia page: .

This image is also available with bibliographic notes from the New York Public Library's Digital Library under the digital ID .


Technical trivia

Image manipulations and animated gif generation done with StereoPhotoMaker, a freeware program by Masuji Suto & David Sykes.

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Taken circa 1865