Inkpaduta, leader of the Wahpekute Santee Sioux, was left out of the 1851 treaty that transferred northwestern Iowa from the Dakota Nation to the United States and he therefore refused to recognize the treaty and its provisions. Late in the severe winter of 1857, Inkpaduta led his starving band into Iowa, where on March 8 he launched a series of raids on white settlers in the Spirit Lake area; a total of 38 people were killed in what became knowns as the "Spirit Lake Massacre".
During the Civil War Inkpaduta was one of the leaders of the Santee Sioux at the 1863 Battles of Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake and Whitestone Hill. The following year, however, the Sioux resistance was broken at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain on July 28, 1864 and Inkpaduta was forced to flee to Canada. In 1877, 12 years after the end of the Civil War, Inkpaduta was among those who defeated George Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Inkpaduta passed away in Canada in 1881.