Bear, a/k/a Tom Frosted, was a chief of the Lower Yanktonais
at Standing Rock. He and his family is listed there in the
1876 census. The name Mato Ska/White Bear also appears in
the 1885 records. There he is listed in Chief Eagle That Scares
band of the Lower Yanktonais.
Tom Frosted was photographed by Frank Fiske in 1901.
Donovin Sprague stated in one of his books that he was a hereditary
chief, so his father might very well been also a chief of
the Lower Yanktonai.
Sioux County Pioneer-Arrow
Ft. Yates, ND
Friday, Dec 23, 1932
Vol 22. No. 11
Old Chief Passes Away Early Tuesday Morning
Last of Heriditary Yanktoni Chieftains, White Bear or Thos.
Frosted, South Happy Hunting Grounds After Active Government
The last of the heriditary Yanktoni Chieftains, Mato-ska,
or White Bear, better known to white men as Thomas Frosted,
passed away at his spacious log cabin on the banks of the
meandering Porcupine creek, six miles north of Fort Yates.
He sought out the Happy Hunting Grounds early Tuesday morning
after a lingering illness which consumed the old Chieftains
health to the very marrow. Frosted has lived a very interesting
life in the land of the once powerful Sioux. Born and reared
on the prairie among his people he led the life of a Sioux
until early manhood at which time he became a friend of the
whites and lived thereafter near the agency here. He served
the "Grandfather" (Uncle Sam) in the role of Indian
Policeman for more than two score years and at the time of
his resignation was chief of that organization. White people
must credit with due respect such a man who would join the
white man and become a police official over his brothers who
were for the most part at that time at war with the government.
The deceased chieftain was born at Long Lake, Dakota Territory
in 1859, making him 73 years of age at the time of his death;
his father was known as Standing Bull and his mother, Singing.
He vividly recalled on frequent occasions the well known and
much written about battle of Kildeer Mountains, in which General
Sibley's troops participated. Frosted was then but a boy.
As a boy in his late teens he attended Hampton Institute in
Virginia where he learned the occupation of a carpenter and
on his return here was for many years assistant carpenter
at the agency. He built many structures, including school
buildings and churches for the Indian People. In 1880, White
Bear married a beautiful young Sioux woman, Orntopawin. The
marriage took place in the Catholic church with the Rev. Fr.
Hug, officiating. The Frosted's were blessed with two children,
but both have gone now to their rewards. The Frosted's took
into their care seven other children. They are: John, August,
Mary Brought Plenty, the latter deceased; Mary Standing Crow;
and Asa, Susan and Francis Winters. In 1890, during the Sitting
Bull trouble, Frosted was a scout for the military but took
no active part in the actual arrest. In 1891 he began his
career as an Indian policeman and served in this capacity
until his resignation in 1915, at which time he had risen
from the ranks and held the honored position as Chief of the
Indian Police at the Standing Rock Reservation. In 1912 he
held the distinction of being a special delegate to Washington
to confer with authorities concerning Indian affairs. In 1914,
when Sioux county was organized as a separate unit from old
Morton county and given a full set of officials by appointment
of the then Governor, L.B. Hanna, Frosted became one of the
first constables. During the World War he was active in securing
recruits among the Indian boys to serve the colors and sent
his two adopted sons, August and John Brought Plenty, both
of whom saw active service, the former with the 1st Div and
the latter with the 33rd. Another patriotic gesture on the
part of the chief which should be admired by the whites, for
at that time the Indians were not considered citizens and
had no duty to perform. White Bear, as chieftain, has presided
at many notable ceremonies during which titles, Indian names,
etc. have been conferred. Among the outstanding people who
have received Indian names at Frosted's hands are: 1928-Ernest
Thompson Seton, famous naturalist became Mahto-ska, and received
a war bonnet. 1930-O.L. Bodenheimer, then National Commander
of the American Legion, received a war bonnet and was named
Flying Cloud. In 1930 the deceased chieftain presided at ceremonies
which adopted a number of Bismarck folks into the Sioux tribe.
Chief of Police Chris J. Martineson became Charging Eagle,
his son Willard, Walking Warrior, D.E. Shipley, state official
became Brown Eagle; Mrs. Alfred Zuger, chairman of Women's
Fed of Labor, Red Deer; and Irene Engler, Red Bird. Funeral
services were held Wednesday afternoon from the St. Peter's
Catholic Church with Father Bernard, Frosted's old counselor
and long time friend, reading the last rites. Internment was
made in the Catholic cemetery. Pall Bears were: D.S. Hatch,
Benj. White, Ed Afraid of Hawks, Louis Endres, J.R. Harmon
and Eli Swift Eagle. Honorary Pall Bears were:
F.B. Fiske, E.D. Mossman, Chris Martineson, F.B. Zahn and
Victor Zahn. The Indians have lost a man who was considered
one of their foremost leaders in all matters concerning their
welfare. The whites have lost a true friend among the red
the Chandler-Pohrt wintercount of the Yanktonais these two
years are interesting:
1854: White Bear´s father was killed.
1872: Two Bears went to Washington . Came back. Went to war.
Standing Bull got killed by another Wiciyela [Yanktonai] or
Hohe [Assiniboin] maybe. Clashed over policy to whites. [Blue
Thunder variants also state that Standing Bull was killed
by a fellow Yanktonai, but do not give a motive.]
Buffalo or Standing Bull was a Yanktonai. This Standing Buffalo
or Standing Bulls brother is Fearless Bear(Crow Creek). His
wife's name was Singing. I think his father might have been
the older Chief White Bear (Yanktonai) a treaty signer since
Fearless Bear is the grandfather of Oscar Howe(Crow Creek).
Not looking for the Sisseton Standing Buffalo. Standing Buffalos
(Yanktonai) children are Thomas (Tom) Frosted (Arewanke) or
Matoska (White Bear) enrolled at Standing Rock. His other
son who is my great grandpa is Louis Chase-in-Winter (Crow
Creek) who married Nancy Tattooed or Blue Lips (Standing Rock).
— Timothy Hunts-in-Winter