Sioux Chief


This picture was painted by Charles Bird King, 1824.

Sleepy Eyes (Esh-ta-hum-leah; Eshtahumbah),ca. 1780-ca. 1860.

Sisseton Dakota was born near present-day Mankata, Minnesota, and died at Roberts Couty, South Dakota.

Sometimes given as a Warrior and sometimes as a Chief, Sleepy Eyes was a member of the 1824 Sioux delegation to Washington led by Chief Little Crow (Chetan wakan mani), 1765-1770--1833-1834 (Mdewakanton Dakota).

This Little Crow was the father of Little Crow (Ta-oyati-doota),1810-1863 (Mdewakanton Dakota) who led the Sioux Uprising of 1862.

His name can be found on the Prairie du Chien treaties of 19 August 1825 and 15 July 1830 and the 30 November 1836 St. Peters Treaty.

Born in 1780 at Swan Lake in Nicollet County, Chief Sleepy Eyes was said to be a kind and friendly person, large, muscular, six feet two inches tall.

Known as the most important Chief at the signing of the Treaty of Traverse Des Sioux in 1851, Chief Sleepy Eyes was one of four Ojibway leaders who visited president Monroe in Washington DC in 1824.

While in Washington DC, President Monroe Commissioned him a Chief.

After 1857, Chief Sleepy Eyes and his band moved away from his birthplace Swan Lake and set up permanent homes beside Sleepy Eye lake which formerly was called "Pretty water by the big trees".

Sleepy Eyes was also known as friend to the white man. It was said that if he had not died in 1859, the uprising or "Times of Trouble" would never have happened.

Chief Sleepy Eyes was buried on an island in Bullhead Lake by his friend Red Eagle.

He died in his tepee. He was buried in one of his new buckskin suits, together with his pipe, a mirror, his tobacco pouch and some other small things.

He described as follows: "In person, he is large, and well proportioned, and has rather a dignified appearance. He is a good natured, plausible person, but has never been distinguished, either in war or as a hunter."