Tōšą́nąksépka was born about 1779. (Weinhold, 3)
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. (Weinhold, 6)
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. ("Black Otter's Warpath"; Sebeok, "The Ice Hole.")
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. (Weinhold, passim; "Black Otter's Warpath")
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. (Kinzie) He probably died in his village, Upper Baraboo Village #3, before the tribe was exiled from Wisconsin.
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