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Pretty Weasel

Itunkasan Waste




Pretty Weasel (Itunkasan Waste) was a long time member of He Dog's band called the Cankahuhan (Soreback) Band, where he was a prominent member of that band's akicita. His age varies widely in the agency census records, but he appears to have been born sometime between 1845 and 1850. Agnes already included several references to him from the Hinman interviews. Pretty Weasel was at the Little Big Horn. He probably surrendered at the Red Cloud Agency with Crazy Horse in May 1877, though his name does not appear in the Crazy Horse surrender ledger (possibly gave a different name). He escaped into Canada with He Dog in January 1878 and eventually returned to surrender at Fort Keogh either 1879 or 1880. He was transferred to Standing Rock in 1881 where he is listed in the census. Transferred to Pine Ridge Agency in 1882, Pretty Weasel settled in the White Clay District. One of his warrior stories is preserved in Beckworth (1930). According to Colhoff, Pretty Weasel died about 1938 on Grass Creek, though I have not yet confirmed that in agency records. — Ephriam Dickson

I was reading the report, Seizure Location & date [1] Summary of Departmental adjudication, March 26, 1891 (I.D. 42-1891), of claims for value of ponies seized in 1876 by military authorities at Camp Robinson, Nebraska, from Indians of the Red Cloud and Red Leaf Bands of Sioux, Act of March 2, 1889 (25 Stat. 888, 899), and noticed that Good Weasel is listed as one of the claimants.

( http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~mikestevens/SiouxPropertyClaims.htm)

Now, supposing that this is the same man, would this mean it's less likely that Good Weasel was at Little Bighorn, especially considering he's not mentioned in the Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger? — Grahame Wood

I think the evidence for Good Weasel/Pretty Weasel being at the Little Bighorn is fairly strong, though admittedly it is circumstantial. He was a member of the Soreback Band (Oglala) and was at the Battle of the Rosebud as noted by Short Bull. I gave a history of the Soreback band and a reconstruction of its members at the Little Bighorn in an issue of Greasy Grass [magazine]. Witnesses did not specifically mention Good Weasel as being present, given his leadership position within the Soreback Band (who were at the LBH) and his close affinity with Crazy Horse (also at the LBH), I find it improbable that he was absent from the LBH.

But you to bring up a good point that I think needs additional digging to see if the Good Weasel identified in the Pony Lists is the same man. Please note that the list to which you refer includes both those who lost ponies when the army surrounded Red Cloud's and Red Leaf's villages in the fall of 1876 (marked with a "1" in the first column) and those who lost ponies at Standing Rock and Cheyenne River to the army's surrounds of those villages (marked with a "2"). The list you refer to indicates that Good Weasel lost his horses at Standing Rock or Cheyenne River, not at Red Cloud.

I have a later document in which the claims are further examined. I can not find Good Weasel listed in this later document, raising the possibility that his claim was later rejected.

The Pony Files are perhaps one of those last great sets of documents that have not yet been mined for their information on the Great Sioux War and I think will offer a great deal in reconstructing who was out during the summer and fall of 1876. I understand that each claim is backed up by an affidavit from the individual together with three witnesses who attest to how many horses he lost. These files also include claims that were rejected because the individual had been out with the "hostiles". Should have lots of great information. I am looking forward to digging into these on my next trip to the National Archives and will keep an eye out for Good Weasel's file.

Given that the ponies were seized at Cheyenne River or Standing Rock, I checked the census records for both agencies for the 1876-77 period.

A man named Pretty Weasel is listed at Standing Rock in Thunder Hawk's band (Hunkpapa) from 1877 through 1887.

There is also a Pretty Weasel among the Blackfeet Lakota at Cheyenne River in 1876, listed as "a woman" (uncertain whether this was her name or her husband's name). — Ephriam Dickson


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