Scott County Historical Society donates Dakota rifle to Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

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Rifle that was once owned by Mdewakanton Dakota leader Sakpe II is now part of the tribe's permanent collection.

News Release

The Scott County Historical Society

The Scott County Historical Society and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community announced today that the society has donated a rifle to the tribe that was once owned by Mdewakanton Dakota leader Sakpe II. Originally on loan from the organization, this historic artifact is now part of the permanent collection and on public exhibit at Hoċokata Ti (ho-cho-kah-tah-tee), the tribe’s cultural center in Shakopee, Minn.

The unique four-barrel revolving rifle belonged to Chief Sakpe II, a Mdewakanton Dakota leader who lived in the region near Shakopee in the early 19th century. His name, Sakpe (pronounced Shock-pay), means “Six” in the Dakota language, as the first Sakpe leader had sextuplet boys. During his life, Sakpe II was a notable leader among the Dakota people and signed several treaties with the United States government. He is the namesake of the city of Shakopee.

The Scott County Historical Society has donated a rifle once owned by Mdewakanton Dakota leader Sakpe II to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The rifle is currently on display at the public exhibit in Hoċokata Ti, the tribe’s cultural center and gathering space located in Shakopee, Minn.
The Scott County Historical Society has donated a rifle once owned by Mdewakanton Dakota leader Sakpe II to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The rifle is currently on display at the public exhibit in Hoċokata Ti, the tribe’s cultural center and gathering space located in Shakopee, Minn.Photo courtesy of the Scott County Historical Society

“It is important that tribes have the opportunity to own their own significant artifacts, to tell their story and preserve their history,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Keith Anderson. “For so long, our history has been told through the eyes of others. Now, we have the ability to share our history with the community through the exhibit at Hoċokata Ti. We look forward to continuing to work with the Scott County Historical Society to honor our region’s history and culture.”

The rifle was in the care of the estate of Lawrence Taliaferro, a United States army officer and Indian agent, until Osborne Klavestad purchased it in 1922. From there, it was on display at the Stagecoach Museum in Shakopee until it was donated to the Scott County Court House in the summer of 1980. Renovations to the Scott County Court building in 1999 caused the rifle to be relocated to the Scott County Historical Society.

“The Scott County Historical Society is honored to be able to return Chief Sakpe’s rifle to the Mdewakanton Dakota people, and we are grateful for the chance to be a part of this chapter in the story of this artifact.” said Scott County Historical Society Executive Director Heather Hoagland.

The rifle is currently on display at the public exhibit in Hoċokata Ti, the tribe’s cultural center and gathering space. Mdewakanton: Dwellers of the Spirit Lake provides visitors with a cultural experience that enhances their knowledge and understanding of the Mdewakanton Dakota people and their history. Hoċokata Ti recently celebrated its first anniversary and was recently selected as a Top 10 Museum/Cultural Center by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums. It also received an award of distinction from the American Association for State and Local History in 2020.

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