An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
May 17, 2003 - Issue 87
Nay-na-ong-gay-bee - August Ender's Story
From the book 'History, Traditions and Adventures in the Chippewa Valley'
By William W. Bartlett (1929)
(Chapter 1 pages 64-66)
(August Ender, editor of the Rice Lake Chronotype, and himself a student of the early history of northern Wisconsin, contributes the following concerning a notable Chippewa chief and of the last encounter of any importance in this region between the warring Sioux and Chippewa tribes.)
credits: submitted by Timm Severud (Ondamitag)
of the great Chippewa Indian head chiefs in the Rice Lake country was
Chief Nay-na-ong-gay-bee, who had is headquarters on the point on Rice
Lake where the canning factory today stands and also had a tribal headquarters
on Long Lake.
some tragic twist of fate Chief Nay-na-ong-gay-bee and all three of his
sons met death by knife or bullets. The old chief was the last of the
Chippewa leaders to be killed and scalped by their ancient enemies, the
Sioux, the battle taking place close to the banks of the Hay River, near
Prairie Farm, and it is said that the chief and others killed in that
battle were buried near the high hill at Prairie Farm.
facing the more warlike members of his tribe in the great parley of 1854
at La Pointe, even though he knew they had knives under their blankets,
Chief Nay-na-ong-gay-bee, in his address, said the march of the white
man no longer could be stayed, and then in an eloquent appeal to Commissioners
H.C. Gilbert and David R. Harriman, sent by President Franklin Pierce,
asked that the White Father protect his poor children in their hunting
grounds and rice fields, and from the curse of the white man's firewater.
treaty was signed, allotments were made to the tribes from Minnesota and
Wisconsin and forever after there was peace with the Chippewas.
the fall of 1855 Chief Nay-na-ong-gay-bee was hunting in the vicinity
of Prairie Farm with a party of 50 Chippewas when they were attacked from
ambush by more than 100 Sioux warriors who had come up from Wabasha, Minnesota,
to avenge the killing of a part of Sioux two years before at Battle or
Plum Island, south of Durand, on the Chippewa River.
Nay-na-ong-gay-bee, past 60, carrying a heavy pack and one of the last
in line was the first killed, when the Sioux war whoop sounded. He was
scalped and other members of the party who did not escape, even squaws,
were tortured and killed in a horrible manner.
Chippewa's never recovered from the blow, and the wailings and lamentations
on their return to camp lasted many days. The Sioux war party hastened
to a place called Shoo Fly near Durand where they had a celebration lasting
three days, exhibiting the scalps of their enemies.
eldest son of Nay-na-ong-gay-bee, succeeded his father as a chief and
while not so popular with the whites as was his father, seemed to get
along quite well with his own people until bad blood developed between
him and an Indian named Bedud and his two sons.
a quarrel at the headquarters on Long Lake in the fall of 1879, Bedud
stabbed and killed Wabashish on the spot. Bedud had been drinking. John,
brother of Wabashish, was working in a logging camp of the Knapp, Stout
& Company camp on the east shore of Cedar Lake when he heard the news.
He hastened to Long Lake, and in spite of advice to throw away the bottle
of liquor and bide his time, he rushed to the hut of Bedud, and as he
lifted the flap, was shot through the chest. Staggering to his own cabin,
he shouted, 'I am dying,' and fell over dead.
the last surviving son of the chief, now became tribal leader and wisely
bided his time for revenge. Bedud and his sons had made their way to the
St. Croix Valley. In the fall of 1882 a great tribal gathering was held
at Lac Courte Oreilles, which Bedud attended. After the parley, and as
Bedud was leaving single file with five companions, he was shot from ambush
and killed by Joe. Things went along tranquilly until in 1894, when Joe
was shot and killed by a game warden near the old headquarters on Long
Lake when he and a party of other Chippewa were hunting deer out of season
in Washburn County.
the trial held in Shell Lake, 46 witnesses were called and after two weeks
the game warden was acquitted. Thus passed to the Happy Hunting Ground
the last of the male descendants of the old chief.
White, 73 years old, of Reserve, is the last surviving child of Chief
Nay-na-ong-gay-bee. The mother died soon after the tragedy at Prairie
Farm of a broken heart and was buried in the City of Rice Lake on the
north bank of the Red Cedar within a few feet of Highway 53. Chingwe,
second of the five daughters, had a white husband but left no children.
Minotagas has several part-white surviving grandchildren on the reservation
by the name of Grover, prominent in Indian affairs.
was the wife of William Dingley, who came of a distinguished Yankee family,
and one of her daughters became the wife of Chief Ira O. Isham, widely
known interpreter and tribal leader.
As-sha-way-gee-she-go-qua (the Daylight Beyond), eldest and most charming
daughter of Chief Nay-na-ong-gay-bee, had many suitors and was a great
favorite of her fathers, being fleet footed and often accompanied the
old chief on long journeys.
the suitors were Joe Koveo of Taylor Falls, Minnesota, mixed French and
Indian. She was given reluctantly in marriage to Koveo after promises
of fidelity and performance of the marriage rites according to Indian
traditions, which included holding hands through the ceremony, the making
of gifts and finally, a big celebration at the camp on Long Lake.
the princess returned how several months later with the news that Koveo
already had a wife before the marriage. The daughter born of this union
died at Reserve this year.
the princess was housekeeper for one of the headmen of Knapp, Stout &
Company, and also for his successor.
Several children are still living, including two daughters and two sons at Reserve and a married daughter at Dubuque, Iowa. After the princess' death, she was buried at the Point in Rice Lake, just a few rods southeast and across the river from the last resting place of her mother.
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