no image
Privacy Level: Open (White)

Tōšą́nąksépka Black Otter (abt. 1779 - aft. 1832)

Tōšą́nąksépka Black Otter
Born about in Wisconsin, British North Americamap
Son of and [mother unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
Descendants descendants
Father of
Died after after about age 53 in Upper Baraboo Village #3, Wisconsin, United Statesmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 18 Jun 2020
This page has been accessed 250 times.
Tōšą́nąksépka was Ho-Chunk.




Tōšą́nąksépka was born about 1779.[1]


Tōšą́nąksépka, "Black Otter," is derived from tōšą́nąk, "otter"; sep, "dark, black"; and -ka, a definite article suffix used in personal names. Prima facie, it appears to be a Waterspirit Clan name; however, the direct paternal descendants of Black Otter are members of the Bear Clan. Therefore, it should be the case that "Black Otter" is a Bear Clan name.[2]

Legendary Early Life

Black Otter himself maintained that he had originated in the heavens as a Thunderbird, and that in his descent he had for a time lived with the Buffalo Spirits before being born among humans. When a small boy of about 4 or 5 years, he was sent to fetch water, but fell through the ice hole and was swept downstream under the ice. He miraculously emerged none the worse at another ice hole far downstream. His survival caused people to think that he was holy.[3]

Military Record

Black Otter went with his two brothers in a large warparty led by Dog Head (Teal) against a big Missouria village located on an island in the middle of the Missouri River. The warparty contained a very substantial contingent of Sauk warriors. The village was surrounded and nearly rubbed out. An older boy warrior named "Two Crows" tried to capture a canoe with a family trying to escape, but was killed with an arrow. Black Otter successfully captured a canoe that turned out to contain two children, a boy and a girl. The girl was taken away from him by Thunderbird, the brother of his sister-in-law. Nevertheless, he submitted his captive to Dog Head, and as the first to do so, he won the bone and bead belt given as the symbol of the First War Honor. The boy captive was sacrificed before the body of Two Crows.[4]


After having fasted rigorously, and after having won First War Honors on the great warpath of Dog Head, Black Otter created a Warbundle. This Warbundle was passed down from eldest son to eldest son, and still exists today.


He is recorded on John Kinzie's census rolls of 1832, so he passed away after that date.[5] He probably died in his village, Upper Baraboo Village #3, before the tribe was exiled from Wisconsin.



  1. Weinhold, 3.
  2. Weinhold, 6.
  3. "Black Otter's Warpath"; Sebeok, "The Ice Hole."
  4. Weinhold, passim; "Black Otter's Warpath."
  5. Kinzie.


Sponsored Search

Is Tōšą́nąksépka your ancestor? Please don't go away!
 star icon Login to collaborate or comment, or
 star icon ask our community of genealogists a question.
Sponsored Search by

No known carriers of Tōšą́nąksépka's DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.


Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.

B  >  Black Otter  >  Tōšą́nąksépka Black Otter

Categories: Ho-Chunk