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Gabriel Renville

(ca. 1824-1892)
Gabriel Renville

Gabriel Renville was born on the shores of Big Stone Lake in South Dakota in 1824. His father was a French/Sisseton Dakota fur trader. His mother was of Dakota and British ancestry.

Renville served as chief of scouts with General Sibley's expedition against the hostile Sioux from 1863-1865. In 1866, the war department appointed Renville as head chief of the Sisseton-Wahpeton tribe. The following year, after Lake Traverse Reservation was established, his people elected him head chief for life. At Fort Wadsworth, he became a diligent farmer as well as chief of scouts.

Renville helped his people make the transition to reservation living without forsaking all cultural traditions. Indians and non-Indians alike respected him for his great mental force and integrity.

He led his people until his death in 1892.

Volume 10 Number 4 of South Dakota History, the Journal of the South Dakota State Historical Society


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