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)
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