, Little-Crow
(Bet 1730/1740-1827)


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1. Unknown

, Little-Crow 1

  • Born: Bet 1730 and 1740, Mendota, MN
  • Marriage (1): Unknown
  • Died: 1827, Mendota, MN

bullet   Other names for Little-Crow were Petit Corbeau and Red Wing.


bullet  General Notes:

The name Petite or “Petit” Corbeau is the french translation of “Little Crow”. He was also known as Red Wing. His firstborn son was Cetanwakumani (Hawk That Hunts Walking), and his 1st born was Wakinyan Tanka (Big Thunder), whose 1st born was Taoyate Duta (His Red Nation or People). All of the above named firstborn sons carried the name of Little Crow, the most famous being Taoyate Duta (His Red Nation or People); this is the famous Little Crow, known for leading the eight week war of resistance (also known as the Great Sioux Uprising) of 1861-1862 in present day Minnesota. This name has also been spelled as Carbeau, Corboneau, Charboneau and Corbet in various historical and genealogical documents.
The original Petit Corbeau was a signatory to two (2) treaties, one in 1805 during Zebulon Pike’s explorations on behalf of U.S. President and another as an elder in 1825, known as the “International Treaty” (which, incidentally, shows that the U.S. government recognized Native American tribes as sovereign nations!), though this may have been his son, Cetanwakumani aka Cetanwakanmani, who also used the french name Petit Corbeau (Little Crow).
Petit Corbeau aka Little Crow I was known not only as a chief but also a powerful "wicasa wakan", holy man or "medicine man." Mystic Lake Sioux, pgs. 78-79 discuss this, "The eldest (Little Crow), a man of considerable age, died in 1827, the death being reported by the Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro in the following fashion: 'Petit Corbeau (Little Crow) great medicine man died last night.'"
(According to Minn. Historical Society documents, Vol. 1). By the time of Pike’s visit in 1805, the french had already been trading with the Sioux for approx. fifty years, and there was already a river established after his name, the Rriviere de Corbeau (p. 388). There was also a village named for him.
These are from the Minn. Historical Society records, Vol. 1 (pages are listed):
1) page 199
At the breaking out of the, last war with Great Britain, Col. Dickson was employed by that Government to hire the warlike tribes of the North-West to fight against the United States. Renville received from him the appointment and rank of Captain in the British army, and with warriors from the Wabasha, Kaposia, and other bands of Dakotas, marched to the American frontier. In 1813, he was present at the siege of Fort Meigs. One afternoon, while he was seated with Wabasha and the renowned Petit Corbeau , the grandfather of the present chief of the Kaposia band, an Indian presented himself and told the chiefs that they were wanted by the head men of the other nations that were there congregated. When they arrived at the rendezvous, they were surprised to find that the Winnebagoes had taken an American captive, and after roasting him, had apportioned his body in as many dishes as there were nations, and had invited them to participate in the feast. Both the chiefs and Renville were indignant at this inhumanity, and Col. Dickson being informed of the fact, the Winnebago who was the author of the outrage was turned out of the camp.
2) page 200
In 1815, he accompanied the Kaposia chief to Drummond's Island, who had been invited by the commandant of that post, to make him a visit. On their arrival, they were [p. 200] informed by the officer, that he had sent for them to thank them in the name of his Majesty for the aid they had rendered during the war. He concluded by pointing to a large pile of goods, which he said were presents from Great Britain. Petit Corbeau replied that his people had been prevailed upon by the British to make war upon a people they scarcely knew and who had never done them any harm. "Now," continued the brave Kaposia chief, "after we have fought for you, under many hardships, lost some of our people and awakened the vengeance of our neighbors, you make peace for yourselves, and leave us to get such terms as we can, but no, we will not take them. We hold them and yourselves in equal contempt."
page 378
Sept . 22d,Sunday.--Employed in the morning, measuring the river; about three o'clock Mr. Frazer and his peroques arrived, and in three hours after, the Petit Corbeau , at the head of his band, arrived with one hundred and fifty warriors. They ascended the hill, in the point between the
page 379
Sept . 23d,Monday.--Prepared for the council, which we commenced about twelve o'clock. I had a bower, or shade, made of my sails, on the beach, into which only my gentlemen (the traders) and the chiefs entered. I then addressed them in a speech, which, though long and touching on many points, had for its principal object the obtaining of a grant of land at this place, (the Falls of St. Anthony), and at St. Croix, and the making peace between them and the Chippeways. I was replied to by Fils De Penichon, Le Petit Corbeau , and L'original Leve . They gave me the land required, about one hundred thousand acres, (equal to & dollar; 200,000 in value,) and promised me a safe passport for myself and the chiefs I might bring down; but spoke doubtfully with respect to the peace. I gave them presents to the amount of about & dollar; 200, and as soon as the council was over, I allowed the traders to present them with some liquor, which, with what I gave, was equal to 60 gallons. In half an hour they were all embarked for their respective villages.
page 379
"But two chiefs appear to have signed the Grant; that is to say, Le Petit Corbeau , who is identified as the grandfather of the present chief, Little Crow . He was the Great Crow of all. His Dakota name was Tchah-tan-wah Koo-wah-mah-ne , or "The Hawk that chases Walking." The other signing chief is called Le Fils de Pinichon --i.e., "The Son of Pinichon ." This chief is identified as the father of the deceased chief, Good Road , whom most of our citizens must well recollect as the head chief of the band or village at Oak Grove, nine miles up the Minnesota above Fort Snelling. His Indian name is given by Pike as Wyh-genage , but as appended to the treaty, is spelled Way-ago-enagee . Properly, it should be written Wah-yah-gah-nah-zheen , or, "He sees standing up." The reason that these two chiefs only signed the grant, is probably because their bands claimed exclusive possession, and were conceded by the others to have the immediate right to dispose of the lands embraced by the military reserve.
page 384
Sept . 25th,Wednesday,--I was awakened out of my bed by Le Petit Corbeau , (head chief) who came up from his village, to see if we were all killed, or if any accident had happened to us; this was in consequence of their having found my flag floating two or three miles below their village, (fifteen miles hence) from which they concluded that some affray had taken place, and that it had been thrown overboard. Although I considered this an unfortunate accident for me, I was exceedingly happy at its effect; for it was the occasion of preventing much bloodshed among the savages. A chief called the Outard Blanche, had his lip cut off, and had come to the Petit Corbeau , and told him, "that his face was his looking glass, that it was spoiled, and that he was determined on revenge." The parties were charging their guns, and preparing for action, when lo! the flag appeared; like a messenger of peace, sent to prevent their bloody purposes. They were all astonished to see it; the staff was broke. When the Petit Corbeau arose and spoke to this effect: "That a thing so sacred, had not been taken from my boat, without violence; that it would be proper for them, to hush all private animosities, until they had revenged the cause of their eldest brother; that he would immediately go up to St. Peters, to know what dogs had done that thing; in order to take steps to get satisfaction of those, who had done the mischief." They all listened to this reasoning and he immediately had the flag put out to dry, and embarked for my camp. I was much concerned to hear of the blood likely to have been shed, and gave him five yards of blue stroud, [p.384] three yards of calico, one handkerchief, one carrot of tobacco, and one knife, in order to make peace among his people. He promised to send my flag by land to the Falls, and make the peace with Outard Blanche . Mr. Frazer went up to the village, and we embarked late, and encamped at the foot of the rapids. In many places, I could scarce throw a stone over the river. Distance three miles.
page 412
April 12th,Saturday.--Embarked early. Although my interpreter had been frequently up the river, he could not tell me where the cave (spoken of by Carver ) could be found; we carefully sought for it, but in vain. At the Indian village, a few miles below St. Peters, we were about to pass a few lodges, but on receiving a very particular invitation to come on shore, we landed, and were received in a lodge kindly; they presented us sugar, etc. I gave the proprietor a dram, and was about to depart when he demanded a kettle of liquor: on being refused, and after I had left the shore, he told me, that he did not like the arrangements, and that he would go to war this summer. I directed the interpreter to tell him, that if I returned to the St. Peters with the troops, i would settle that affair with him. On our arrival at the St. Croix, I found the Petit Corbeau with his people, and Messrs. Frazer and Wood . We had a conference, when the Petit Corbeau made many apologies for the misconduct of his people. He then presented me with a beaver robe and pipe, and his message to the general. That he was determined to preserve peace, and make the road clear; also a remembrance of his promised medal. I made a reply, calculated to confirm him in his good intentions, and assured him that he should not be the less remembered by his father, although not present. I was informed, that, notwithstanding the instruction of his license, and my [p.412] particular request, Murdoch Cameron had taken liquor and sold it to the Indians, on the river St. Peters; and that his partner below had been equally imprudent. I pledged myself to prosecute them according to law: for they have been the occasion of great confusion, and of much injury to the other traders. This day met a canoe of Mr. Dickson's loaded with provisions, under the charge of Mr. Anderson, brother of the Mr. Anderson at Leech Lake. He politely offered me any provision he had on board, (for which Mr. Dickson had given me an order) but not now being in want, I did not accept of any. This day, for the first time, I observed the trees beginning to bud, and indeed the climate seemed to have changed very materially since we passed the Falls of St. Anthony.

The following is from: “George William Featherstonehaugh, A Canoe Voyage Up the Minnay Sotor, Part Two: CHAPTER XXXVIII.
page 17
Once more launched upon la bonne aventure, we paddled along with vigour, and about noon reached the village of Le Petit Corbeau, and at half-past three passed the mouth of the St. Croix. By this time the weather had become piercing cold, and my feet were so benumbed as to be insensible; it was a very difficult thing to keep my young charge warm; the poor little fellow chattered with cold, and, afraid of injuring him, I stopped rather earlier than usual to encamp, at a well-wooded place about forty miles from the fort, the current having helped us along excellently well. A good fire and a warm cup of tea soon restored us all, and, taking possession once more of my comfortable tent, I covered the young lad well up with blankets and bear-skins, of which I had a great quantity. He was highly [p.17] delighted at the idea of sleeping on the ground in a tent, in that wild sort of way.
From: Henry Schoolcroft, Travels In Minnesota and Wisconsin, 1821
page 308
The Minakanton, or people of the waters, are located at St. Peter's and along the banks of the Mississippi towards Prairie du Chien. They reside in four principal villages, distinguished by the names of their respective chiefs; Chatawaconamie (Cetanwakanmani), or La Petit Corbeau--Talangamane, or the Red Wing--Tatamane (Tatemani), or The Wind That Walks, and Wabashaw.
page 312
As an instance of the generosity of this nation, the following anecdote is related. La Petit Corbeau, chief of a small band of Sioux, located upon the banks of the Mississippi, towards the confines of the Chippeway territories, going out one morning to examine his beaver trap, found a Sauteur in the act of stealing it. He had approached without exciting alarm, and while the Sauteur was engaged in taking the trap from the water, he stood maturely surveying him with a loaded rifle in his hands. As the two nations were at war, and the offence was in itself one of the most heinous nature, he would have been justified in killing him upon the spot, and the thief looked for nothing else, on finding himself detected. But the Sioux chief walking up to him discovered a nobleness of disposition which would have done honour to the most enlightened of men. "Take no alarm, said he, at my approach; I only come to present to you the trap of which I see you stand in need. You are entirely welcome to it. Take my gun[p.312] also, as I perceive you have none of your own, and depart with it to the land of your countrymen, but linger not here, lest some of my young men who are panting for the blood of their enemies, should discover your foot steps in our country, and fall upon you." So saying, he delivered him his gun and accoutrements, and returned unarmed to the village of which he is so deservedly the chief.

page 319
Four miles below Carver's cave, we landed at the village of La Petit Corbeau, or the Little Raven. Here is a Sioux band of twelve lodges, and consisting of about two hundred souls, who plant corn upon the adjoining plain, and cultivate the cucumber, and pumpkin. They sallied from their lodges on seeing us approach, and gathering upon the bank of the river fired a kind offeu-de-joie, and manifested the utmost satisfaction on our landing. La Petit Corbeau was among the first to greet us. He is a man below the common size, but brawny and well proportioned, and although rising of fifty years of age, retains the looks and vigour of forty. There is a great deal of fire in his eyes which are black and piercing--his nose is prominent and has the aquiline curve, his forehead falling a little from the facial angle, and his whole countenance animated, and expressive of a shrewd mind. We were conducted[p.318] into his cabin which is spacious, being about sixty feet in length by thirty in width--built in a permanent manner of logs, and covered with bark. Being seated, he addressed Governor Cass in a speech of some length, in which he expressed his satisfaction on seeing him there, and said that in his extensive journey he must have experienced a good many hardships and difficulties, and seen a great deal of the Indian way of living, and of the country--all of which would enable him to see things in their proper light. He said he was glad that the Governor had not, like many other officers and agents of the United States who had lately visited those regions, passed by his village without calling. He particularly alluded to the officers of the establishment at St. Peter's, and said they had generally passed upon the other side of the river. He observed that he had attended several councils at St. Peter's, and given away a number of pipes, but got nothing in return. He acquiesced in the treaty which had lately been concluded with the Chippeways, and was happy that a stop had been put to the effusion of human blood. He then adverted to a recent attack of a party of Fox Indians upon some of their people towards the sources of the river St. Peter's, in which nine men had been killed. He considered it a dastardly act, and said if that little tribe, should continue to haunt their territories in a hostile manner, they would at length drive him into anger, and compel him to do a thing he did not wish. These were the principal topics of his speech; some minor points were adverted to, and he several times repeated his obligations for the honour of our visit. He spoke with deliberation, and without that wild gesticulation which[p.319] is common among savages. Two or three other persons afterwards spoke, but I was not struck with any expressions of much point. They repeated several things that had before been said, and delivered pacific sentiments in the most furious manner.

From: Minnesota Native Americans, 1823
page 289
…The party landed at a short distance above, to visit the cemetery of an Indian village, then in sight. The cemetery is on the banks of the river, but elevated above the water's level; it exhibits several scaffolds, supporting coffins of the rudest form; sometimes a trunk, (purchased[p.289] from a trader,) at other times a blanket, or a roll of bark, conceal the bodies of the deceased. There were, also, several graves, in which are probably deposited the bones, after all the softer parts have been resolved into their elements, by long exposure to the atmosphere. Returning to the boat, the party ascended and passed an Indian village consisting often or twelve huts, situated at a handsome turn on the river, about ten miles below the mouth of the St. Peter; the village is generally known by the name of the Petit Corbeau, or Little Raven, which was the appellation of the father and grandfather of the present chief. He is called Ch[???]-t[???]ñ-w[???]-k[???]-[???]-m[???]-n[???], (the good sparrow hunter.) The Indians designate this band by the name of K[???]p[???]j[???], which implies that they are deemed lighter and more active than the rest of the nation. As the village was abandoned for the season, we proceeded without stopping. The houses which we saw here were differently constructed from those which we had previously observed. They are formed by upright flattened posts, implanted in the ground, without any interval except here and there some small loopholes for defence; these posts support the roof, which presents a surface of bark. Before and behind each hut, there is a scaffold used for the purpose of drying maize, pumpkins, &c. The present chief is a good warrior, an artful, cunning man, remarkable among the Indians for his wit, and, as is said, for his courtesy to white men, endeavouring, as far as he can, in his intercourse with the latter, to imitate their manners.

page 385
4. Oanoska signifies great avenue. Wamendetanka, (War Eagle,) their chief was formerly a dependant on Petit Corbeau. He has but one village on the St. Peter; he hunts on the Mississippi, above the Falls of St. Anthony.

6. Taoapa . The chief of this party is called Shakpa, which means six. He inherited his station, and is a distinguished man, ranking in the nation third only to Wapasha and Petit Corbeau. He has but one village; it is situated on the St. Peter, between which river and the Mississippi he hunts.

From: “Midwest Pioneers: Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin”, Vol. 20
A Wisconsin Fur-Trader's
page 422
Tuesday 8th. Le Petit Corbeau died This morning at 4 o'clock. he was buried with The ordinary Ceremonies. I lent them a pickax Which I cannot find To make the grave. I was Obliged to give some Rum, I poured out 6 Fiolles, in the course of the Day; I gave two Pints to le Grand mâle who is not to ask me for any more until Next spring when he is to Pay his credit. I got from him a deer skin and two lynx skins on account. The savages are not Pleased with Mr. Sayer, who keeps the door of his fort closed. I got an avola from Ouaisza, paid for it a chopine of mixed Rum.

From: “British Influence on Wisconsin, 1763-1814”
page 515
My earliest knowledge of the father of Little Crow dates back to May, 1834, and comes from Mr. Samuel W. Pond, a lifelong missionary among the Dakotas. In a letter of his from Fort Snelling, dated May 25, 1834, he wrote: "I stayed last night with the famous chief, Little Crow, at Kaposia, where I went to help break up planting ground. I slept in his house and ate with him. He has two wives and a house full of children. He and his chief soldier, Big Thunder (note: Big Thunder was actually the grandson of Petit Corbeau, the original Little Crow. Which of the four men who used this name being referred to here is unclear), held the plow alternately, while I drove the oxen, and these two men were doubtless the first Dakotas who ever plowed a furrow. He is a man of fair intelligence, a warm friend of the whites, loved by his people, and not hostile to the approach of civilization."
(page 515) By invitation of this elder chief, Dr. Thomas S. Williamson in 1835 commenced his work as missionary at his village, where he remained for some years. Two of our Presidents, in recognition of his friendly services, had bestowed silver medals upon him. These he had preserved with the greatest care, and they were only worn on occasions of meeting government officials in council. They descended with the chieftainship to the later Little Crow.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

• Fact 1: Fact 1 Fullblood American Indian: Kapoja (travels light) band Mdewakanton/Santee Dakota. 2

• Fact 3: Fact 3 Petit Corbeau is French for Kangi Cikana or Little Crow/Raven.

• Fact 4: Fact 4 Great-grandfather of famous Little-Crow of 1862 Sioux War. 3

• Fact 5: Fact 5 Four of his descendants used name Little-Crow, but this is the original. 4

• Election: Chief of Kapoja/Mdewakanton Dakota Sioux. 5

• Occupation: Acknoweldged as skilled "medicine man." 6


Little-Crow married.



1 Chuck Benson (http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GED&db=:3092413&id=I0543). .... Minnesota Historical Society. .... Gary C. Anderson, Little Crow: Spokesman For The Sioux (Gary C. Anderson 1986; Minn. State Historical Society). .... Oral history of Emily Carbo Snedeker, great-great grandaughter of Petit Corbeau/Carbeau. .... Ancestry World Tree (Oglala Geneaology, Michael-Jacobs Stevens). .... Www.familysearch.org. .... Roy W. Meyer, History of the Santee Sioux, Roy W. Meyer (Revised Edition, 1967, 1993 U. of Nebraska Press).

2 Henry Schoolcraft's Journal of 1823.

3 Henry Schoolcraft's Journal of 1823, pp. 288-289. .... Gary C. Anderson, Little Crow: Spokesman For The Sioux (Gary C. Anderson 1986; Minn. State Historical Society), pg. 15.

4 Henry Schoolcraft's Journal of 1823, pp. 288-289. .... Oral history of Emily Carbo Snedeker, great-great grandaughter of Petit Corbeau/Carbeau. .... Gary C. Anderson, Little Crow: Spokesman For The Sioux (Gary C. Anderson 1986; Minn. State Historical Society), pg. 15.

5 Henry Schoolcraft's Journal of 1823. .... Gary Clayton Anderson, Little Crow by Gary Clayton Anderson. .... Explorations of Zebulon Pike. .... 1805 Treaty with U.S. (Zebulon Pike, rep.), 2. .... TREATY WITH THE SIOUX, ETC., August 19, 1825 Proclamation. Feb. 6, 1825 7 Stat., 272, 6. .... Upper Mississippi River Expedition of 1805 (notes), 3. .... Mdewakanton: Villages of the Algonquian, Siouan, and Caddoan Tribes West of the Mississippi, Released Dec. 1, 2003, 4. .... Henry Schoolcraft's Journal of Minnesota Travels, pp. 317-318 (Entry for August 2, 1820).

6 Gary C. Anderson, Little Crow: Spokesman For The Sioux (Gary C. Anderson 1986; Minn. State Historical Society), 197. .... Ruth Landes, Mystic Lake Sioux: Sociology of the Mdewakantowan Santee (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968), pgs. 78-79. .... Journals of (Mdewakanton Dakota-Sioux) Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro.

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