Below is a request by the Indian Agent asking for guns and ammunition for the "Friendly" Indians of the Missouri River. At the time, there was a general prohibition on ammunition, and the Red River Metis were selling ammunition to the River Tribes. Those who bought the ammunition were considered "Hostile".
During my recent trip to Fort Sully and Fort Rice, I found the universal complaint of friendly Indians to be regarding the prohibition of the sale of ammunition. Under the date of 15th September last, I wrote the Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs upon the subject. I have the honor to again draw attention of the Commissioner to that communication.
I have advised with all the military, and I have advised with all the others within this agency from Crow Creek to Fort Rice, and I have not yet found one not in favor of setting this order aside. The Indians who gather at these different points are friendly to the government and enemies to the hostile Indians. and fear them as enemies. They say they are willing to help protect the whites if they can only be permitted to purchase the means with which to do it. The Indians inimical (hostile) to the government procure all the ammunition they desire from traffic with the Red river half-breeds. This the friendly Indians understand, and tell me this prohibition has driven many of their young mean into the hostile camp; and again, it is now approaching the season of the year when the Indians, settled along the Missouri river, must subsist to a great extent upon such small game as cannot be successfully hunted with bows and arrows.
Justice to these Indians requires that the order be immediately abrogated. I think it a very dangerous order to enforce among these Indians. At this place, Fort Sully and Fort Rice the Indians of known friendship should be permitted to purchase ammunition in small quantities, sufficient for hunting purposes. An arrangement as to the quantity and manner of purchase can easily be made between the commander of the district, with whom I have conferred upon this subject, and the agent. I trust this subject may be regarded of sufficient importance to command immediate attention.
J. R. HANSON,
United States Indian Agent of the Upper Missouri Sioux.
"Letter of Secretary of the Interior Communicating, in Compliance with a Resolution of the Senate of the 8th Instant, Information Touching the Origin and Progress of Indian Hostilities on the Frontier" Date: Jan 01, 1867 - Dec 31, 1867
Cree women were the keepers of the lodge fires. They were known as the "iskwêw" (or iskwêwak, plural). The keepers of the lodge fires were the givers of life who kept the family warm and who ensured that there was a warm meal for their people to eat.
Enhanced & colorized by Dibaajimowin (08/07/2020)
Gabriel Dumont was a Métis hunter, merchant, ferryman, and political and military leader who was instrumental in the 1885 resistance against the government of Canada.
He was born in December 1837 at Red River Settlement, Manitoba, the second son of Isidore Dumont and Louise Laframboise. He married Madeleine Wilkie in 1858 at St Joseph (Walhalla, North Dakota).
During the North-West Resistance his military tactics scored some blows against the Canadian forces, and he was known for his great intelligence and skill.
Following the resistance he fled to the United States where he was harbored by friendly Métis at Turtle Mountain and Walhalla, North Dakota. He traveled to the east coast and was reputed to have been with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show for a brief time.
He was eventually granted clemency by the Canadian government and he returned to Canada, where he died, May 19, 1906 in Bellevue (St-Isidore-de-Bellevue) Sask.
Enhanced & Colorized by Dibaajimowin (07/26/2020)
Ayabe-Way-We-Tung, Chief Little Shell III (1896).
Photo taken during the delegation to Washington, DC.
It was reported that Little Shell and his delegates traveled by foot from Turtle Mountain to Devils Lake in the dead of winter to go to Washington. During the 80 mile walk in the middle of winter, temperatures were -40 windchill.
During the 1950s, a North Dakota State Senator recounted how, when he was a child, he and his family were sleeping in their homestead house. They heard some people enter the house in the middle of the night. They were too afraid to investigate, so they waited until morning. In the morning his father found Little Shell and his men busy cooking bacon. They enjoyed breakfast before heading back out in the cold and finishing their trek to Devils Lake.
Enhanced & colorized by Dibaajimowin (07/21/2020)
TERM OF LEADERSHIP: 1872-1903
After the passing of his father in 1872, Ayabe-way-we-tung became the third Little Shell Chief.
His first order of business as chief was to negotiate with Washington, hoping to secure an amenable treaty for his people for their lands in North Dakota, and for the establishment of a reservation that would serve them as a permanent homeland against the encroachment of white settlers. During his delegation of 1876, Little Shell and the other leaders of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa made a petition to the US Government asking for a settlement of their issues. They made several key points and concessions, and asked for considerations for their request to cede over 9-million acres of land in North Dakota. Among their main points were to define their territory formally with the government, to lodge a complaint about the establishment of the Sioux reservation at Devils Lake, and to ask for the establishment of a formal reservation of 50 by 60 miles in the area surrounding the Turtle Mountains. Unfortunately, the government refused to act upon their petition and soon thereafter a smaller reservation was established by Executive order in 1882. This reservation was further diminished in 1884 to the present-day size of 6 by 12 miles. The reduction of the reservation remained a bone of contention for Little Shell throughout all future negotiations with the government.
In 1892, negotiations between the government and the tribe were arbitrarily commenced in order to settle the title to 10-million acres of land yet unceded by Little Shell and the Turtle Mountain Band. The negotiating committee was headed by P. J. McCumber, and became known as the McCumber Commission. Even though Little Shell was the hereditary chief of the Band, the McCumber Committee refused to negotiate with him and his council – forcing Little Shell to walk out of the negotiations in protest. Taking advantage of this, McCumber instead undercut Little Shell by dealing with a “Committee of 32” which had been elected the previous year to deal with some internal problems within the tribe. The result of this negotiation was the so-called “Ten Cent Treaty” by which the Turtle Mountain Band, under the Committee of 32, agreed to cede their claims to their nearly 10-million acres of land for one-million dollars. This “treaty” was quickly contested by Little Shell and his council, who spent the next twelve years in a legal battle with the US Government. As a result, the Ten Cent Treaty was never ratified by Congress.
Little Shell III passed away in 1903 and Congress quickly ratified an amended McCumber Agreement (the Davis Agreement) in 1904.
Enhanced & Colorized by Dibaajimowin (07/20/2020)
This unique village existed until the early 1900s under chiefs Cobenais and Mickinock who maintained several camps along the Roseau River in northern Minnesota. The main village was located on the shores of Roseau Lake, which has since been drained for agriculture in the early 20th century.
Mickinock was famous for quelling a settler panic during the Ghost Dance phenomenon, when local white settlers heard a rumor that there would be an Indian uprising. The settlers fled their homes, leaving their livestock. Mickinock, Cobenais, and others fed and watered the livestock of several farms until word could be sent that there was no uprising. This saved the livestock from starvation.
There was also a legend of a windigo that supposedly lived in the muskeg around the lake. One day, it was reported that the windigo could be seen walking near the village and the next day Mickinock's wife died.
This photo, taken in 1887, shows Cobenais (wearing a green blanket around his waist) and Mickinock (holding a rifle), their wives and other relatives. The man standing with the little girl is a Metis man named Billy McGillis. He was originally from Red River settlement, but was forced to flee when he was accused of a murder. He wound up south of the Medicine Line at Mickinock's village and stayed - becoming their interpreter as he knew English.
Today, there is a stone monument designating where the village once stood.
Photo Enhanced & Colorized by Dibaajimowin (07/19/2020)
Told by James James (Man-standing-still-on-the-sky)
A party of Mandans, who were out on a war expedition in what is now north east North Dakota, arrived at the Pembina River. Having built a raft and deposited all their extra clothing and provisions upon it, they thus effected a crossing over the river. Leaving all their supplies on the bank of the stream they proceeded north towards the Ojibwe camp.
Some children were playing and digging wild carrots along a slough some distance south of the camp. As the Mandan crept cautiously along, they came in sight of the children playing along the slough. Among these children was a little girl, a daughter of Misko Makwa, or Chief Red Bear. Immediately the Mandans dashed forward to capture the children, but as the children were fleet and did not have far to go they all escaped except the daughter of Red Bear. She was very young and could not run fast enough, and so was taken captive. After being captured she was immediately scalped on each side of her head and let go.
Meanwhile, in the Ojibwe camp, a certain medicine man or 'jessikad' of the tribe, Mishequt, who was also chief, by his magic art had divined that something unusual was about to happen and had called together a council of the warriors. While this council was in progress, one of the children, a little boy who was the first to reach camp, burst in upon them with the cry, “The Sioux! The Sioux!,” mistaking the Mandans for their dreaded enemy the Sioux. Immediately all was commotion, the Ogichidaag rushed to their wigwams for their arms and started after the enemy.
On the way to the slough they met the little girl staggering toward the camp, her scalp gone and her head covered with blood. The foremost among the warriors were two sons of Red Bear, older brothers of the little girl, and thus were the first to meet her. Stopping for a moment to kiss their little sister, they sped on in pursuit of the enemy, leaving the rest to follow. As they reached the north bank of the Pembina River they were just in time to see the last of the Mandans disappearing over the bank to escape from defeat in battle.
Source: Hesketh, John. 1923. “History Of The Turtle Mountain Chippewa.” Collections Of The State Historical Society - , O. G. Libby, Editor. Grand Forks, North Dakota
A recent mapping project by Dibaajimowin has led to a comprehensive map showing historical Metis communities and settlements across most of the Metis Nation homeland. Presented in ArcGIS format, this mapping application can be accessed by Computer desktop or on a mobile device. The application is available HERE.