Chargers Camps ~Cheyenne Agency 1891 - 1959
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
N 45° 01.717 W 100° 17.850
14T E 397788 N 4986948
The new location chosen for our Agency "town" was the site of Chief Martin Charger's permanent campsite located at a point midway between the Cheyenne and Moreau rivers on the west bank of the Missouri river.
Waymark Code: WM1M13
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 05/29/2007
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
Views: 32

Chief Martin Charger was the Itazipco warrior who in 1862 led a small band of brave young Itazipco men on a rescue mission to secure the release of what history now refers to as the Shetak Captives. These captives were a group of nine women and children who were captured near Lake Shetak in Minnesota during Little Crow's-(Ta-oya-te-duta) War of 1862 (Brown, 1970).

(AUTHORS NOTE)-Charger was a Itazipco Lakota. Some historical accounts concerning him and the rescue mission he led have cited him as being a Oo'henumpa Lakota but his descendants living here on Cheyenne River dispute his being labeled a Oo'henumpa. The descendants insist Martin Charger was Itazipco and so were all of his young followers. (Rufus Charger, 1993).

Of their own volition Martin Charger and all his young followers who accompanied him; now known as-THE FOOL SOLDIERS-took it upon themselves to gain the release of these captives from a Dakota band of "Freedom Fighting" Isanyeti-(Knife Makers).

History does not record which of these bands of Isanyeti actually held the captives.

Of the warriors who accompanied Martin Charger; two of them, Mato Topa-(Four Bear) and Zintka'la Kalu'za-(Swift Bird), would later on in their lives become renowned Itazipco chiefs themselves. Here on Cheyenne River both of these men would have communities named after them in their honor. For those remaining young men who risked their lives as well by joining Martin Charger in his rescue attempt, their names are:

Kills Game and Comes Home
Mad Bear
Pretty Bear
Sitting Bear
One Rib Strikes Fire
Red Dog
Charging Dog

Taken as a gesture of goodwill and to honor Chief Martin Charger for the role he played in rescuing the Shetak Captives, the Agency officials almost took the name (Charger's Camp) as their new name designating the new location of the Agency. But due to reasons now lost in history, the name Charger's Camp was never officially or unofficially adopted by them. Instead the new site came to be know as simply-CHEYENNE AGENCY.

Up until 1935 the Agency/Charger's Camp, was more commonly referred to as Owo'wicak'u-(ration distribution point) by the people living here. Since the adult majority of our people still spoke Lakota, the English name of Cheyenne Agency, was seldom if ever used by tribal members. Only the young people who were forced to learn in English in school, ever called Charger's Camp the Agency.
Not until December 27, 1935; when the federal government under the newly implemented INDIAN REORGANIZATION ACT (48 Stat 984) which empowered Indian tribes to adopt their own constitution and by-laws; did Charger's Camp become commonly referred to as the Agency.
From this point on when our tribe organized itself under the IRA ACT; the Agency functioned as the official governmental seat of our newly established tribal government. Our reservation was divided up into (13) separate districts whose proportions were set in such a way as to reflect the campsites of the Chiefs of the Four Bands. Although not every district took the name of the Chief living there, each district was in fact based on what the federal government considered a "chiefdom" whose territory was recognized as belonging to such (Karen Nitzschke, 1993).
Marker Name: Chargers Camps ~Cheyenne Agency 1891 - 1959

Marker Type: Roadside

Marker Text: Not listed

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