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Council Rock, Chief Drifting Goose, Abigail Gardner Photo

Council Rock, Chief Drifting Goose, Abigail Gardner

This region has a noble history that was first documented by Lewis and Clark in their journals. They recorded annual Indian tribal councils and trade fairs held at the Council Rock site. The Council Stone site was first occupied by a people who constructed a village of dirt lodges. The James River, called Whitewoods by the Indians, served as a natural boundary as well as a convenient waterway for travel. The Yankton and Yanktonai bands of Sioux later located villages in the vicinity.

One famous leader, Chief Joseph Drifting Goose of the Hunkpati band of Yanktonai, occupied Armadale Island, located a few miles north of Fisher Grove on the James River. His confrontations with early white settlers are legendary.

To settle the Drifting Goose problem, a 69,000 acre reservation was established in this vicinity. Subsequent appeasements allowed Drifting Goose's band to move to Fort Thompson on the Missouri River. The James Valley area was then opened for white settlement.

Also of historical significance is the release of Abigail Gardner just north of Redfield.
Following an Indian massacre in 1857 near Spirit Lake, Iowa, four women were taken captive by a band of renegade Indians. Of the four women, only two survived. Abigail was held captive for 84 days. She was then purchased by the Yankton Sioux and her freedom was then bought by the government. The cost of her freedom was "two horses, 12 blankets, two kegs of powder, 20 pounds of tobacco and 70 yards of cloth", Abbie wrote in her book.

She was released at a site northeast of Redfield along Turtle Creek.

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