Massacre at Spirit Lake

Time Frame: 1854

Murder of a Sioux leads to revenge in 1854.
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“First People of the Prairies,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 1, Iowa Public Television, 1979.

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(gun shot)

In 1854 a trader by the name of Henry Lott had killed a Sioux by the name of Sintomnaduta and his family. Lott’s motive for the killing is not clear, but it did give the dead Indian’s brother, Inkpaduta, a reason to seek revenge against the white people. It was in the winter of 1857 that the conflict that had been simmering between settlers and Inkpaduta’s band of Sioux erupted into the famous massacre at Spirit Lake. Egged on revenge for insults they had received from settlers as well as poverty and hunger, Inkpaduta and his men went from cabin to cabin and murder 34 settlers at Spirit Lake. Four women were taken prisoners and two of them were later killed. It was the worst mass murder of innocent people by Indians in Iowa history. The Spirit Lake massacre cause panic on the Northwestern frontier and settlers feared further bloody raids by the Sioux.


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