Matilda Galpin, "Eagle Woman"

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Matilda Galpin

Lakota: Wambdi Autepe Win .
Also Known As: "Eagle That Everyone Looks At Woman", "Eagle That Looks At Woman", "Eagle-Woman-That-All-Look-At", "woman that-eagles-look-at", "Matilda Picotte-Galpin"
Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: mouth of Chain-de-Roche (Missouri River), South Dakota Indian Territory
Death: December 18, 1888 (64-72)
Cannonball Ranch, Cannon Ball, Morton County, North Dakota, United States
Place of Burial: Fort Yates, Sioux County, North Dakota, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Tow-cow-sa-no-pa, the Two Lance and Rosy-Light-of-Dawn
Wife of Honore Picotte and Maj. Charles E. Galpin
Mother of Marie Louise Van Solen; Zoe Lulu Harmon; Samuel E. Galpin; Robert Galpin; Alma Jane Parkin and 3 others
Sister of Two Lance, II
Half sister of Two Hawk and Chatanskah White Hawk

Occupation: Trader
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Matilda Galpin, "Eagle Woman"

"Eagle Woman," Sioux name Wambdi Autepewin (“Eagle Woman That All Look At”) also called Matilda Picotte Galpin (born 1820, near Big Bend of the Missouri River [in what is now South Dakota], U.S.—died December 18, 1888, Miles City, Montana) Native American peace activist who was a strong advocate of the Teton (or Western Sioux) people.


From Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Eagle Woman", accessed November 04, 2016,

Born along the banks of the Missouri River, Eagle Woman That All Look At spent her early years on the western plains of modern-day South Dakota, far from contact with white civilization. However, the influx of whites into the Great Plains during the 1830s and ’40s had a profound effect on Eagle Woman and her people. Following the death of her parents, she married Honore Picotte, a general agent for the American Fur Company. They had two daughters, Lulu and Louise, and were married for 10 years. In 1848 Picotte left Eagle Woman to return to his white wife in St. Louis, Missouri, and in 1850 she married Charles Galpin, also an employee of the American Fur Company.

With Eagle Woman’s help, Galpin used his Sioux connections to become a prominent trader at the Grand River Agency. Together they resolved many tense conflicts between Native Americans and white traders. Eagle Woman even risked her life on several occasions to mitigate violence. Eagle Woman’s courage and diplomacy made her a well-respected figure in both the Native American and white communities, though some Sioux leaders disagreed with her methods of compromise with the whites. Her second marriage resulted in two more daughters, Annie and Alma Jane, and three sons, Samuel, Robert, and Richard.

Following her husband’s death on November 30, 1869, Eagle Woman assumed her husband’s role as a trader on the Sioux reservation, one of the first women to assume that position. Although she was noted for her generosity, she was also committed to seeing her people sustain themselves independently of the white population. Above all she believed that the Sioux had to live peacefully with the whites or face annihilation. Her commitment to peace caused her to shun trade in arms and ammunition.

When gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874, the influx of prospectors threatened the fragile peace that existed between the Sioux and the whites. Eagle Woman worked tirelessly to maintain peace between her people and the invading whites, who were in violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, which she and Galpin had encouraged native leaders to sign in 1868. When the Sioux War broke out in 1876, the government refused to supply provisions for the Sioux reservation until the tribe agreed to cede the Black Hills. Government commissioners attempted to force the Sioux to accept a new treaty that would have ceded the disputed lands to the United States. Although Eagle Woman played a role as a translator for her people during those negotiations, she did not support the Standing Rock treaty. When the Sioux War ended in the early 1880s, Eagle Woman again played an instrumental role in easing the transition to reservation living for her people. She died peacefully at the home of her daughter Alma.

--- Vanessa Anne Gunther



Father: Two Lance of the Two Kettle Band [SIC: The Two Kettle Band formed after his death in 1833] and Mother: Rosy Light of Dawn-Hunkpapa Band [died 1837]

Chief Two lance I and his wife Iron Woman had three children: [NB: Two Lance had (8?) children by two wives. Eagle Woman was the youngest child, by wife Rosy Light of Dawn]

  • Two Hawks
  • Two Lance II,
  • Eagle woman.

Wambdi Autepewin—"Eagle Woman That All Look At"—Matilda Picotte Galpin

  • 1st married Honore Picotte, General Agent of the American Fur Company out of Fort Pierre. ... He separated from her and returned to his white wife Theresa in St. Louis. But before he also had been married to two other women: **Tawanaspaskewin
    • Padianopapi, the daughter of Chief Struck by the Ree.
  • After Honore returned to his white wife, in 1850, she married a second time to Charles Galpin. Charles died November 30, 1869.

Three children are Honore Picotte's:

  • Louise married Charles DeGrey (Interpreter at Cheyenne River Agency, 1871-1872) who died June 1877; then married George L. Van Solen (sawmill-engineer at Fort Yates in 1879) who died 1895; two children, George and Lucille Van Solen
  • Zoe Lulu—born about 1847, married Lieutenant William Harmon; four children: Leo, Milan, William, Joseph Harmon
  • Charles Francois Picotte, Step-son from Yankton

Two Are Charles Galpin's:

  • Alma married Henry Parkin in 1879; Henry Parkin died in 1895.
  • Annie married John E. Kennedy on 2/20/1882; Kennedy died 1883. Annie died 6/14/1884. One son, Charles Louis Kennedy,born 1883; adopted by Alma after her sister's death.

— Ladonna Brave Bull Allard

name translation

"Eagle That Everyone Looks At Woman" is the usual translation of her name. Translation of names is tricky, so there are variations, such as "Eagle That All Look At Woman and (less strictly) "Eagle Woman That Everyone Looks At".


Mathilda Galpin, Mathilda Picotte, Eagle Woman That All Look At, Waŋblí Ayútepiwiŋ (Waŋblí=eagle, ayúta=to be looking at, pi=plural indicator, (1820-December 18, 1888)

historical notes

A treaty signed in 1882 and 1883 by representatives of many Dakota tribes created separate agencies within the Great Sioux Reservation. The only woman to sign the treaty was Eagle Woman. She signed the section creating Standing Rock Agency with her mark next to the name Matilda Galpin.

Lucille Van Solen, whose Indian name was ‘Iysoahinapewin’ meaning Rose-light-of-dawn, was the granddaughter of Mrs. Picotte Galpin whose Indian name was ‘wambliautapewin’ meaning the woman that-eagles-look-at, who was as great a woman as Sakaka-wea or Pocahontas. It was Wambliautapewin who saved the soldiers at Grand River Agency from being massacred. It was she who escorted Father DeSmet, in 1868 to Gall’s hostile camp on the Little Missouri. ....

life events include

From :

Birth 1820 • Pierre, South Dakota Per Once Their Home by Frances Chamberlain Holley, Donohue & Henneberry, Chicago, 1890 - Wambdi Autapewin means Eagle-Woman-That-All-Look-At (with respect) and she was born at mouth of Chain-de-Roche (Missouri River)

Marriage 1838 • Fort Pierre, South Dakota Per John S Gray "Honore Picotte, Fur Trader", Honore became general agent for Pierre Chouteau, Jr. and Co. in 1838 and promptly moved from Fort Union down to Fort Pierre for the next 4 yrs. Louise was born 1839.

Honore Picotte Takes Louise Away From Eagle Woman Jun 1843 • Fort Pierre, South Dakota Honore Picotte took Louise from Eagle Woman and placed her with the family of David Hardin, in Council Bluff Iowa

Marriage abt. 1850 • Fort Pierre, South Dakota to Charles E Galpin (1821–1869). This approx. date based on the fact that Honore Picotte retired during the summer of 1848 and returned to his family in St. Louis. Eagle Woman gives birth to first child with Charles Galpin in 1850. So obviously they were "married" no later than 1850.

Residence 1855 • Fort Pierre, South Dakota The military purchased Fort Pierre trading post, forcing the Galpins to relocate to a tipi. Honore Picotte helped place Lulu with the Lottinville family in Kankakee, IL to attend school in a safer area.

Residence 1864 • Fort Rice, Morton, North Dakota Galpin moved his wife, daughters Annie, Alma and Lulu (who had returned from school at Kankakee) to Fort Rice where he was a trader and sutler at the fort for four years. Fort Rice was abandoned in 1878 when Fort Yates was built.

Meeting with Sitting Bull and Father De Smet Jun 1868 • Beaver Creek, Montana. The Galpins and 80 Sioux selected by Mrs. Galpin, accompanied Father Pierre DeSmet to seek out Sitting Bull and his hostile camp to ask that they give themselves up to living on reservations. Mrs. Galpin is credited with saving De Smet's life.

Sioux Treaty of 1868 2 Jul 1868 • Fort Rice, Morton, North Dakota Sitting Bull did not find the terms for peace acceptable. But out of respect for De Smet and the Galpins, he sent a delegation of lesser chiefs, including Gall. These chiefs signed a copy of the Fort Laramie Treaty which created a "Great Sioux Reservation"

Baptism 07/08/1868 • Fort Rice, North Dakota, USA see

Residence 30 Jun 1886 • Dakota Territory This 1886 Indian Census at Standing Rock shows Mrs. Galpin with her grandson, Chaske Kennedy-Parkin. Mrs. Galpin has now assumed a new Indian name "Iyutanyan". Per Lakota dictionary this means "to stretch, as Christ's body was stretched"(i.e. crucified)

Death 18 Dec 1888 • Cannonball Ranch, Morton, North Dakota From personal family diary of Eagle Woman's daughter Zoe Lulu Harmon: 12-2-1888 Arrived at Cannonball, found mother suffering; 12-6-1888 15 minutes past seven Mother looked around and said Washte shie yle ; 12-18-1888 9:15 pm passed away


  • page 138 of Lakota Portraits: Lives of the Legendary Plains People By Joseph Agonito
    • "in the 1830s, tragedy struck Eagle Woman's family. After her father died in November 1833, the year of the great meteor shower, relatives looked after the young girl and her mother. A few years later, her mother, Rosy Light of Dawn, contracted smallpox, which devastated the Plains Indians. Eagle Woman's brother, Two Lance, looked after his sickened mother for a few months, but had to leave her side for a period of time. Eagle Woman and Two Lance later learned that their mother wandered from the village and perished from cold and hunger. At age seventeen, the attractive, young Eagle Woman became an orphan."
  • "Eagle Woman: A Woman's Voice for Peace.". Chapter 7 of Lakota Portraits: Lives of the Legendary Plains Peopleby Joseph Agonito. Rowman & Littlefield, Aug 2, 2011 - Social Science - 352 pages link
  • John S. Gray, "The Story of Mrs. Picotte-Galpin, a Sioux Heroine." Montana, the Magazine of Western History, 36 (Spring 1986) 2-21; (Summer 1986) 2-21 link to PDF file
  • Once their home, or, Our legacy from the Dahkotahs : historical, ... Holley, Frances Chamberlain. link
  • "Eagle Woman: Mrs Matilda Galpin" at North Dakota Studies:
    • "When her parents died, she married Honore Picotte, a trader for the American Fur Company at Fort Pierre. Around 1850, she married Charles Galpin. She gave important assistance to both of her husbands. Through her family ties, she was able to help her husbands engage in trade with the Dakotas. She was also able to create peaceful relations between the traders and the Dakotas and later helped to bring several Dakota tribes to Fort Rice to talk peace. Her skills as a diplomat were recognized and respected by both the Dakotas and the officers of the Army.
    • "Eagle Woman was able to live and work in both cultures. She understood that life on the northern Great Plains was changing with the arrival of more and more white people. She also understood the power of the Army. Often described as a very intelligent woman, she did what she could to avoid war and promote peace.
    • "Eagle Woman was also a woman of great courage. One day, at the end of March 1865, she saw two Dakota men trying to set fire to Fort Rice. She approached them and ordered them to leave. The fort did not burn and the men were captured the next day.
    • "Another attack on the sawmill at Fort Rice on May 26, 1865 led to the wounding of Lieutenant Wilson, who supervised the log-cutting operations. Three arrows hit his arm, his leg, and his chest and caused him to fall from his horse, fracturing his hip bone. Mrs. Galpin (as she was usually known at the fort) saw his attackers riding toward him to take his scalp. She ran to help and protect Lt. Wilson. As she held him, she chased off his attackers by scolding them and shouting: “This man belongs to me now! You can not mutilate him or touch him! Begone, every one of you!” They fled. She then waved her shawl in the air to draw the attention of rescuers who carried Lt. Wilson to the post surgeon.
    • "In the fall of 1865, Charles and Matilda Galpin visited several tribes including the Blackfoot Sioux, Brulé, Hunkpapa, Miniconjou, Oglala, Sans Arc, Two Kettle, and Yanktonai villages to invite the leaders to participate in peace talks at Fort Rice. Most agreed to come, but a snowstorm prevented most of them from attending. The council eventually led to treaties in 1868 providing some of the tribes with reservations."
  • Eagle Woman Who All Look At - South Dakota Hall of Fame
    • [1] Frances Chamberlain Holley, Once Their Home, Or Our Legacy From the Dakotahs (Chicago, 1892), 284 - 289. NOTE: Although Holley states that Two Lance was Chief of the Two Kettle band, it is more likely he was a Miniconjou chief of the Broken Arrow band. The Two Kettle band separated from the Broken Arrow band around 1840 - after Two Lance's death.
    • [2] John S. Gray, The Story of Mrs. Picotte-Galpin, a Sioux Heroine: Eagle Woman Learns About White Ways and Racial Conflict, Montana The Magazine of Western History 36 (Spring 1986), 4.
    • [14] John Gray, The Story of Mrs. Picotte-Galpin, Part 2, 11.
  • "Matilda Picotte Galpin, bravest woman" By CURT ERIKSMOEN Jul 3, 2010
  • page 111 of Encyclopedia of Women in the American West, edited by Gordon Moris Bakken, Brenda Farrington. "Eagle Woman (1820-1888)"
  • page 66 of Gall: Lakota War Chief By Robert W. Larson. "Also present at the Fort Rice meeting were the trader Charles E. Galpin and his Sioux wife, Matilda or Eagle Woman; she being half Hunkpapa and half Two Kettle made Galpin an effective intermediary in dealing with the northern Lakota tribes." [18]
  • Reference: Ancestry Genealogy - SmartCopy: Nov 4 2016, 5:52:46 UTC
  • Reference: Ancestry Genealogy - SmartCopy: Nov 4 2016, 8:34:42 UTC*
  • Reference: Ancestry Genealogy - SmartCopy: Nov 4 2016, 18:38:46 UTC
  • Reference: Find A Grave Memorial - SmartCopy: Nov 4 2016, 4:48:43 UTC
    • "Died at the Cannonball Ranch owned by her daughter Alma Galpin Parkin. Matilda was buried near her home on Porcupine creek. Later she was re-interred along with her husband, at the Cemetery at Fort Yates."
  • for 3 November 2016:
    • LaDonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp, “They parked their armored cars on the graves of Matilda Gaplin, Eagle That Looks At Woman, and her ... daughters Louisa DeGrey Van Solen and Alma Parkins who once owned the Cannon Ball Ranch. Next to her is her husband Charles Parkins, and 11 babies. These are famous people for us here in Indian country. Matilda was the only woman to sign the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Louisa was the first school teacher on Standing Rock. I am deeply hurt to see the desecration of their graves.”
view all 15

Matilda Galpin, "Eagle Woman"'s Timeline

South Dakota Indian Territory
December 21, 1839
Age 19
Dakota Indian Territory
March 4, 1846
Age 26
North Dakota Indian Territory
Age 31
South Dakota, United States
Age 33
Fort Pierre, Stanley County, South Dakota, United States
August 20, 1856
Age 36
Dakota Indian Territory
Age 38
Fort Pierre, Stanley County, South Dakota, United States
April 10, 1861
Age 41
Dakota Indian Territory