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Sioux (Dakota) Indian, John Other Day Button. From the collection of Lon Ellis.

In my collection, I have had this neat pin for years and fairly recently obtained the postcard of Dakota Indian “John Other Day”. He was a Sioux (Dakota) Indian who was also known as “Anpetu-Tokeka”. Historically referred to as a ‘civilized’ indian, he is famous in Minnesota history and is considered a hero due to his efforts protecting white settlers from the slaughter by his own people in 1862. He was born near Swan Lake Minnesota in 1801. During the 1850’s, he married a white woman, converted to Christianity and became a farmer.

For many years, the Sioux Indians had been living in west-central Minnesota in harmony with the buffalo and other wildlife. However, white pioneers from Scandinavia and Germany were moving into the area from farther east encroaching on the indian’s way of life. In 1861, The Sioux Indians signed a treaty where they ceded 24 million acres of tribal land to the government. With white men taking over the region, about 7,000 Sioux Indians were confined to a much reduced quantity of land along the Minnesota River. 

As more and more white settlers moved into the area, these pioneers and the Sioux Indians began to clash. In 1862, the Sioux were nearing starvation, very short on food and clothing, and had not received their customary payment from the government (the government was two months behind in payment). So, on August 18th, 1862 the Sioux Indians led an uprising where they attacked the Lower Sioux Agency and other settlements in the New Ulm region. When the Upper Sioux Agency got word of this uprising and attack, John Other Day alerted the white settlers in New Ulm and gathered them together in a warehouse where he protected them overnight throughout the uprising. The next morning, Other Day led the group of 62 whites to safety by leading them over the Minnesota River to Shakopee. When the Sioux found out about what he had done, they burned his home and trashed his fields.

For his bravery helping whites, Other Day received $2,500 from the US government which he soon used to move and buy another farm where he and his wife could start over. He later moved to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In 1869, he died of tuberculosis.

A large granite monument, the Loyal Indian Monument was erected in 1899 that has John Other Day’s name inscribed on it honoring him and five other Dakota Indians who were known for helping protect government employees, immigrant settlers, missionaries, and soldiers during the US-Dakota Conflict of 1862.

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