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Assassination of Hole in the Day

Anton Treuer

Publication Year: 2010

On June 27, 1868, Hole in the Day (Bagonegiizhig) the Younger left Crow Wing, Minnesota, for Washington, DC, to fight the planned removal of the Mississippi Ojibwe to a reservation at White Earth. Several miles from his home, the self-styled leader of all the Ojibwe was stopped by at least twelve Ojibwe men and fatally shot. Hole in the Day’s death was national news, and rumors of its cause were many: personal jealousy, retribution for his claiming to be head chief of the Ojibwe, retaliation for the attacks he fomented in 1862, or retribution for his attempts to keep mixed-blood Ojibwe off the White Earth Reservation. Still later, investigators found evidence of a more disturbing plot involving some of his closest colleagues: the business elite at Crow Wing. While most historians concentrate on the Ojibwe relationship with whites to explain this story, Anton Treuer focuses on interactions with other tribes, the role of Ojibwe culture and tradition, and interviews with more than fifty elders to further explain the events leading up to the death of Hole in the Day. The Assassination of Hole in the Day is not only the biography of a powerful leader but an extraordinarily insightful analysis of a pivotal time in the history of the Ojibwe people. “ An essential study of nineteenth-century Ojibwe leadership and an important contribution to the field of American Indian Studies by an author of extraordinary knowledge and talent. Treuer’s work is infused with a powerful command over Ojibwe culture and linguistics.” —Ned Blackhawk, author of Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press


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Title page, Copyright page

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pp. viii-x

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pp. xi-xx

I first developed an interest in Bagone-giizhig (Hole in the Day) as a small child. Traveling with my family throughout Minnesota’s lake country, I listened to my father’s stories about the father and son chiefs, Fort Ripley, and other people and places of importance. As an adult I returned to those stories, people, and places determined to fill in the missing pieces...

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pp. 3-8

Bagone-giizhig the Younger, also known as Hole in the Day the Younger, acquired many enemies during his reign as a principal chief of the Mississippi Ojibwe (Chippewa) in central Minnesota. From the time he assumed his father’s name and chieftainship until his assassination more than two decades later, Bagone-giizhig relied on his many friends and followers to keep his enemies at bay. He shrewdly cultivated relationships with Americans and with Dakota and Ojibwe leaders to make himself an important treaty...

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Chapter 1

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pp. 9-34

The assassination in 1868 of Mississippi Ojibwe chief Bagone-giizhig the Younger, one of history’s best-known Ojibwe leaders, was one of the most intriguing stories of the nineteenth century. Many people had motive and the triggermen were known. But the conspiracy was a well-kept...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 35-62

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pp. 84-102

Hole- in- the- Day was the only man in the nation who was feared by the traders and Government officers. I do not mean that they feared personal injury, or were in danger of coming into personal conflict until the late 1830s, American officials lacked the military power and diplomatic groundwork to seize Indian lands in Minnesota. But the declining fur trade put pressure on Indian communities to find other ways to acquire trade goods. Fort Snelling ...

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pp. 103-137

In his home [Bagone- giizhig the Younger] had many white servants native style with a touch of civilized elegance, wearing a coat and leggings of fine broadcloth, linen shirt with collar, and, topping all, a handsome black or blue blanket. His moccasins were of the finest much to his personal appearance. He was fond of entertaining and ...

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pp. 138-165

In 1862, irate ojibwe took dozens of white prisoners and destroyed white churches, trading posts, and houses at Leech Lake, Crow Wing, and ottertail City. These events have been overshadowed by the more widespread concurrent violence of the u.S.–Dakota Con-flict in southern Minnesota. exploring how the u.S.–ojibwe Conflict developed and why it stopped without large- scale loss of life brings to life relations between American settlers, the ojibwe, the Dakota, ...

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pp. 166-203

Though it may cost me my liberty, it is my duty, and I will continue to speak and act also, till the wrongs of my people shall be righted.If we did kill anybody them days, it was no crime; you couldn’t hang The events of 1862 had serious long- term consequences for the ojibwe in Minnesota. The Dakota and the Ho- Chunk were removed, the united States increased its military presence, and the pace of white settlement escalated dramatically.3 For a time ...

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pp. 204-230

...easier for the agents to get along with these Indians after Hole- in- the- Day’s death, as he was the smartest Indian chief the Chippewa never stoops the soaring vulture on his quarry in the desert, on the sick or wounded bison, but another vulture, watching from his high aerial look- out, sees the downward plunge, and follows; and a third ...

Appendix A

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pp. 231-232

Appendix B

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pp. 233-235

Appendix C

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pp. 236-237

Appendix D

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pp. 238-242

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pp. 243-245

I began researching Bagone- giizhig in earnest as a graduate stu-dent at the university of Minnesota in the early 1990s. While I was there this project was blessed by the guidance of many people, especially Jean o’Brien- Kehoe, russell Menard, John Howe, sistance of numerous ojibwe and Dakota cultural carriers, elders, and tribal historians who contributed their knowledge about tribal seph Auginaush, richard “Dick” Barber, Thomas Beardy, edward ...


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pp. 246-283


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pp. 284-307


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pp. 308-318

E-ISBN-13: 9780873518017
E-ISBN-10: 0873518012
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873518437
Print-ISBN-10: 0873518438

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 20 b&w photographs, notes, index, appendix, bibliography
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 794698863
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Assassination of Hole in the Day

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Ojibwa Indians -- Government relations.
  • Ojibwa Indians -- History -- 19th century.
  • Ojibwa Indians -- Kings and rulers -- Biography.
  • Indian leadership -- Minnesota -- History -- 19th century.
  • Minnesota -- Race relations -- History -- 19th century.
  • Ojibwa language.
  • Oral history ‡x Study and teaching.
  • Hole-in-the-Day, -- Chief, 1828-1868 -- Assassination.
  • Ojibwa Indians -- Treaties.
  • Minnesota -- History -- 19th century.
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