Waa Na Taa, The Foremost In Battle, Chief of the Sioux tribe

Waa Na Taa
The Foremost In Battle
Chief of the Sioux tribe

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History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs . . . By Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall. Philadelphia, F. W. Greenough [etc.] 1838-44.

"The sketch of this celebrated chief was taken in 1825 when he was in command of the Sioux tribe who inhabit a vast extent of territory on the Upper Mississippi in the northwest part of the United States of America.

The occasion of meeting was at the great treaty held at Prairie du Chien, a small town on the Mississippi between a large body composed of Chippewas, Winnebagoes, Pottowattomies, Sioux, Sacs, Foxes, and other Indian tribes when the commissioners on the part of the United States were the Honorable Lewis Cass, at present minister plenipotentiary from this country to the court of France, and Governor William Clark of Missouri.

Of the birth or parentage of this distinguished chief but little knowledge could be obtained by the author. The principal events of his life and which have gained him great distinction amongst the native tribes transpired during the late war between the United States and Great Britain, in which he aided the cause of the latter.

At the time this sketch was taken, he wore on his head nineteen small red sticks, emblematical of the number of scalps which he had taken during this war; his breast was scarred by numerous wounds, and he showed the mark of a bullet which had passed through his arm. He was then apparently fifty years of age, but retained all vigor and alacrity of youth with very fine muscular as well as mental powers.

In time of peace, his employment consists chiefly in hunting the wild buffalo. In this hazardous employment, mounted on a fleet Indian charger and armed with bows and arrows, he would sally undaunted into the middle of the wildest herd where, planting his arrows promiscuously, he would again rapidly retreat, leaving the victims of his unerring aim quietly to perish, weltering in their gore.

The dress in which he was enveloped, as represented in the sketch, and highly characteristic of his favorite pursuits, consists of a buffalo skin dressed and ornamented with dyed porcupine quills. On his head he wears a plume of eagle's feathers with the pieces of red sticks before mentioned from which descend large strands of horse hair, dyed red. In his right hand he holds a gun, decorated with feathers and in his left a fan, composed of black horse hair. On his feet are moccasins, to which were attached foxes' tails. His height exceeded six feet and his appearance in his native costume was both singular and magnificent."

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