Thomas Wakeman

Last updated
Thomas Wakeman
Wowinape (to take refuge)

Sioux Reservation
DiedJanuary 13, 1886(1886-01-13) (aged 39–40)
Spouse(s)Judith Minnetonka
Parent(s) Little Crow

Thomas Wakeman (Sioux: Wowinape) (1846 January 13, 1886) was a Native American who organized the first Sioux Indian YMCA. [1] [2] Over the years, 66 Sioux associations have been founded with over 1000 members. [1] As of 2000, the Sioux YMCAs, under the leadership of a Lakota Board of Directors, operate programs serving families and youth on the 4,500-square-mile (12,000 km2) Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. [2]

Sioux is a Siouan language spoken by over 30,000 Sioux in the United States and Canada, making it the fifth most spoken indigenous language in the United States or Canada, behind Navajo, Cree, Inuit languages and Ojibwe.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii and territories of the United States. More than 570 federally recognized tribes live within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while "Native Americans" are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. The US Census does not include Native Hawaiians or Chamorro, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

YMCA Worldwide organization founded in 1844 on principles of muscular Christianity

The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) [pronounced why-em-see-ay], sometimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, with more than 64 million beneficiaries from 120 national associations. It was founded on 6 June 1844 by Sir George Williams in London and aims to put Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy "body, mind, and spirit".



Chief Little Crow (Sioux: Thaóyate Dúta; English: His Red Nation) of the Sioux had a son named Wawinape (Sioux: Wówinaphe English: Place of Refuge) in 1846. [1] [2] [3] Little Crow and Wawinape survived the Dakota War of 1862. They lived at Devil's Lake in Dakota territory. On June 10, 1863, they left to make a raid into Minnesota to get horses for their family. On July 3, 1863, Little Crow and his son were in the "Big Woods" picking strawberries. A settler named Nathan Lamson saw them and shot and killed Little Crow. His son Wawinape escaped and fled back to Devil's Lake. He was later captured, tried and sentenced to hang. He was sent to a prison camp in Davenport, Iowa. [3] [4] There he converted to Christianity and took the name Thomas Wakeman. [1] [3] He was pardoned in 1865 and settled in Dakota Territory. [3]

Little Crow 19th century Dakota chief

Little Crow was a chief of a band of the Mdewakanton Dakota people, who were based along the Minnesota River. His given name translates as "His Red Nation,". He was known as Little Crow because of a mistranslation by Europeans of his grandfather's name, Čhetáŋ Wakhúwa Máni.

Sioux Wars conflicts between the US and subgroups of the Sioux people from 1854–1890

The Sioux Wars were a series of conflicts between the United States and various subgroups of the Sioux people which occurred in the later half of the 19th century. The earliest conflict came in 1854 when a fight broke out at Fort Laramie in Wyoming, when Sioux warriors killed several American soldiers in the Grattan Massacre, and the final came in 1890 during the Ghost Dance War.

Minnesota State of the United States of America

Minnesota is a state in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and northern regions of the United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. The state has a large number of lakes, and is known by the slogan the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord.

Wakeman married Judith Minnetonka in January 1874. [3] They had four sons and two daughters: Solomon, Ruth, John, Jesse, Ida, and Alex. [4]


On April 27, 1879 Thomas Wakeman and his friends started the Koskadan Okodakiciye, a Young Man's Association, at Flandreau, Dakota Territory. [2] [3] In 1885, it was recognized by the national YMCA and its name was changed to Sioux Young Men's Christian Association. [2]


Wakeman contracted tuberculosis and died at Redwood Falls, Minnesota on January 13, 1886. [3] His son Jesse succeeded his father at the YMCA. [4]

Redwood Falls, Minnesota City in Minnesota, United States

Redwood Falls is a city in Redwood County, located along the Redwood River near its confluence with the Minnesota River, in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The population was 5,254 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat.


  1. 1 2 3 4 YMCA in America (1851–2001), A History of Accomplishment Over 150 Years. YMCA of the USA. 2000. p. 6.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Cheyenne River Reservation Sioux YMCA". Archived from the original on 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-03-24.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Cindy K. Coffin. "Thomas Wowinape Wakeman" . Retrieved 2013-12-11.
  4. 1 2 3 "Famous Native Minnesotans: Little Crow" . Retrieved 2008-03-24.
Redwood County, Minnesota County in the United States

Redwood County is a county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 United States Census the population was 16,059. Its county seat is Redwood Falls, along the Redwood River near its confluence with the Minnesota River.

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