Inkpaduta (Nonfiction)

Paul N. Beck, University of Oklahoma Press, $24.95, Hardcover.
Paul N. Beck, University of Oklahoma Press, $24.95, Hardcover.

Egad! This is an annoying book; half-good and half-bad. Beck does not exactly coat the Santee chief with whitewash, but he asks us to “redeem” him. Beck correctly deplores the hysterical demonizing of Inkpaduta by later historians (like Doane Robinson). The chief was blamed for many atrocities committed by other Indians, mainly because he remained at large for so long. He was not captured nor was he killed like Little Crow, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. He died—unpunished—of pneumonia in Canada at a ripe old age. But Beck is full of baloney when he asks us to forgive Inkpaduta for his sins. After all, he was only guilty of mass murder in the Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857, killing 39 men, women and children. He kindly spared four young women for raping.

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