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Thomas Wakeman (Sioux: Wawinape) (1846 – January 13, 1886) was a Native American who organized the first Sioux Indian YMCA. Over the years, 66 Sioux associations have been founded with over 1000 members. Today, the Sioux YMCAs, under the leadership of a Lakota Board of Directors, operate programs serving families and youth on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.


Chief Little Crow (Sioux: Thaóyate Dúta; ) of the Sioux had a son named Wawinape (Sioux: Wówinaphe ) in 1846. Little Crow and Wawinape survived the Dakota War of 1862. They lived at Devil's Lake in Dakota territory. On June 10, 1863, they left to make a raid into Minnesotamarker to get horses for their family. On July 3, 1863, Little Crow and his son were in the "Big Woods" picking raspberries. A settler named Nathan Lamson saw them and shot and killed Little Crow. His son Wawinape escaped and fled back to Devil's Lake. He was later captured, tried and sentenced to hang. He was sent to a prison camp in Davenport, Iowamarker. There he converted to Christianity and took the name Thomas Wakeman. He was pardoned in 1865 and settled in Dakota Territory.

Wakeman married Judith Minnetonka in January 1874. They had four sons and two daughters: Solomon, Ruth, John, Jesse, Ida, and Alex.

On April 27, 1879 Thomas Wakeman and his friends started the Koskada Okadiciye, a Young Man's Association, at Flandreau, Dakota Territory. In 1885, it was recognized by the national YMCA and its name was changed to Sioux Young Men's Christian Association.

Wakeman contracted tuberculosis and died at Redwood Falls, Minnesotamarker on January 13, 1886. His son Jesse succeeded his father at the YMCA.


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