A Father's Grief - A Soldier's Honor -- Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Fort Laramie WY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 42° 12.244 W 104° 33.486
13T E 536479 N 4672527
A historical marker at the parking area at Fort Laramie tells the tale of Mni Akuwan (Brings Water Home Woman), daughter of Lakota Chief Sinte Gleska (Spotted Tail) who is buried at Fort Laramie
Waymark Code: WMY264
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 04/05/2018
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member JacobBarlow
Views: 1

The marker reads as follows:


“Some days since I received a messenger from [Sinte Gleska], had chief of the Brulé Sioux, saying that his daughter had died on the way here and had begged her father to have her grave made with the whites . . . Wishing to do him honor . . . I wrote out with several officers, and met him halfway between the fort and the Platte . . . I conducted him to the Fort and my headquarters.”

So began Colonel Henry Maynadier’s account of one of the most extraordinary and poignant events in the annals of Fort Laramie. On March 8, 1866, Sinte Gleska (Spotted Tail) arrived at the fort bearing the remains of his daughter, Mni Akuwin (Brings Water Home Woman), to be laid to rest on the ridge in front of you.

Sinte Gleska’s journey had its origin in the mid-19th century struggle between the Plains Indian nations and the US government for control of the land and its resources. While traveling to Fort Laramie to meet with commissioners to negotiate an honorable peace, his daughter died of tuberculosis in the Powder River Country.

Maynardier’s report continues . . . .
“[I told the Chief] ‘everything should be prepared to have her funeral at sunset, and as the sun went down it might remind him of the darkness left in his lodge when his beloved daughter was taken away; but as the sun would surely rise again, so she would rise, and someday we would all meet in the land of the Great Spirit.
The chief exhibited deep emotions during my remarks, and tears fell from his eyes . . . For some time he could not speak. After taking my hand he commenced with the following eloquent oration: ‘this must be a dream for me to be in such a fine room . . . Have I been asleep during the last 4 years of hardship and trial and am dreaming that all is to be well again, or is this real? Yes, I see that it is, the beautiful day, the sky-blue, without a cloud, the wind calm and still to suit the air and I come on and remind me that you have offered me peace.’

Preparations were then made for the funeral . . . Just before sunset the body was carried to the scaffold, followed by her father and mother and other relatives, with the chaplain, myself, and officers and many of the soldiers of the garrison, and many Indians. Amid profound silence . . . The chaplain delivered a touching and eloquent prayer . . . The hour, the place, the solemnity, even the restrained weeping of her mother and aunts, all combined to affect any one deeply.”

Sinte Gleska and Colonel Maynardier were men of courage and vision who dreamed of peaceful coexistence between nations, both red and white. They worked tirelessly to achieve a lasting peace “hece uyate kin nipe kte” (so that people may survive).

According to custom, four posts about 12 feet long were inserted in the ground, on top of which is scaffold was laid. . . For Indian women laid herein, covering her with the buffalo robe and depositing within, her wearing apparel with all the treasures she possessed. The Colonel deposited a beautiful pair of gauntlets to keep her hands warm during her journey . . . The coffin closed and a beautiful red blanket covering it was nailed fast to prevent the wind from removing it, it was razed to the scaffold . . . The heads and tails of her 2 white ponies were nailed to the posts, and the idolized daughter was prepared according to the faith to ride through those fair hunting grounds to which she had gone . . . –Post Chaplain Alpha Wright

“It is a beautiful day, the sky-blue, without a cloud, the wind calm and still to suit the errand I come on . . . Sinte Gleska

“I sympathize deeply in your affection and grief at the loss of your daughter and feel proud that you wish to have her remains left here near the Chief (Old Smoke), who sleeps on yonder Hill . . .
Col. Henry Maynardier

[photo of Sinte Gleska]
SINTE GLESKA, Sicangu Lakota Itancan (Spotted Tail, Burnt Thigh, Brulé Sioux Leader)

Born during the winter of 1823-1824, Sinte Gleska was one of the great leaders of the Sicangu Lakota. A noted warrior, he participated in many battles to defend his homeland against the encroachment and aggression of the wasicun (white man). By the mid-1860s, Sinte Gleska realized that the only chance to secure the survival of the Lakota people was to adopt a policy of limited toleration and adaptation to the white presence on the northern plains. Many historians consider the closing years of Sinte Gleska’s life as most significant as he sought to secure his people’s rights through peaceful means. Sinte Gleska paid a high price for his beliefs. He was assassinated by a member of his own Nation on August 5, 1881.

[Photo of Col. Maynadier]
5th US Volunteer Infantry

A native Virginian, Colonel Maynadier remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War. He was part of a small fraternity of Army officers who empathized with the native peoples of the planes. Mena D, moved by his meeting with Spotted Tail, wrote his wife, “after what I witnessed in the Council room in the graveyard I can never be willing to see these people, swindled, ill-treated and abused as they have been.” Maynadier understood the injustices the plains tribes and suffered. Yet, he also recognized that there was little that could be done to stop white encroachment on Indian lands, “so long has there is anything to be made in this country.” For the rest of his life, Colonel Maynadier remained a trusted friend of spotted tail.

MNI AKUWAN (Brings Water Home Woman) – Daughter of Spotted Tail

Mni Akuwan, born in 1848, was described as being tall, beautiful and “strong-willed.” Mni Akuwan witnessed the Grattan Fight in 1854 and was present in Little Thunder’s camp on Blue Water Creek when it was attacked by General Harney in 1855. Over the years, Mni Akuwan became fascinated with the ways of the wasicun and reportedly spent hours sitting in front of the Sutler’s Store watching the activity and military pageantry at Fort Laramie. Near death, she requested that her father take her to the Fort to be buried near her extended grandfather, Chief Smoke, who had died in 1864. Mni Akuwan also expressed her desire that her father work to establish a lasting peace with the wasicun. Her body reposed at Fort Laramie until June 20, 1876, when her father returned, collected her remains and took them to his agency near the Black Hills. At the bequest of her family, remains of Mni Akuwan were returned to Fort Laramie on June 25, 2005, where they are now interred. Mni Akuwan once again rests near her ancestors."
Marker Name: A Father;s Grief

Marker Type: Rural Roadside

Addtional Information:
Located at Fort Laramie NHS

Group Responsible for Placement: National Park Service

Web link(s) for additional information: [Web Link]

Date Dedicated: Not listed

Marker Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please post a photo of you OR your GPS at the marker location. Also if you know of any additional links not already mentioned about this bit of Wyoming history please include that in your log.
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Benchmark Blasterz visited A Father's Grief - A Soldier's Honor -- Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Fort Laramie WY 08/07/2013 Benchmark Blasterz visited it