Joseph Ritchot was born in 1812 at Red River settlement in what is now the Saint-Vital district of greater Winnipeg, Manitoba. His father was Joseph-Michel Ritchot—a French Canadian voyageur who was the descendant of Jacques Nason dit Ritchot (1680-1729), who was born in a small village now known as Elliott, Maine. At the age of 8, Nason was abduced by a party of Abenaki Indians and French militiamen led by Hertel de Rouville. He was taken to the Mission St-Francois, on the banks of the Yamaska river and raised in the Crevier family of St-Francois-du-Lac. His mother Josephte Maillou, was the daughter of Antoine Maillou and a Sarcee woman. He married Marguerite Martel (ca. 1832), the daughter of voyageur Jean Baptiste Martel and Marguerite Dion, who was the daughter of Joseph Dion (of unknown parentage) and a Cree woman.
They lived a rather nondescript life, raising children and remaining in the area around Red River settlement throughout the early part of the century, being enumerated on the Red River settlement censuses in 1840 and 1843.
Joseph made application for scrip under the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe in 1871 while living at Saint Joseph, North Dakota, and he and Marguerite were enumerated on the 1880 US census for Pembina County.
In 1881, Joseph took scrip under the terms of the 1863 Red Lake & Pembina Treaty as a half-breed, receiving patent #342 for land north of St. Vincent, Minnesota. He also applied for North West half-breed scrip in 1885, stating that he had always lived in Manitoba before 1870.
He died in 1893 at Leroy, North Dakota, and is buried at the old St. Joseph cemetery there.
Joseph Lafournaise was born in 1826 in the vicinity of what is now the Fond du Lac Ojibwe Reservation near Duluth, Minnesota, to North West Company voyageur Joseph Lafournaise dit Laboucane and Susanne Leclair (or Leclerc), daughter of an unnamed Leclerc and an unnamed Tsuutʼina (Sarcee) Indian woman from Alberta. He married Suzanne Vallee (b. 1833), daughter of Louis Vallee and Louise Martel, in 1852 at Pembina, Dakota territory.
Joseph spent much of his life hunting on the prairies and living between Pembina and Wood Mountain. He was reputed to have taken part in the 1851 Battle at the Grand Coteau as part of the Pembina contingent. He rarely showed up on any censuses, but was witness to various births, baptisms, and burials at places like Pembina, St. Joseph, Labret, Qu’Appelle, and St. John (ND). He himself was not known to be very religious, as he avoided confirmation into the Catholic church until 1872, when he was 46 years old and living at Wood Mountain.
He had a half-breed scrip application in 1885, but it was disallowed due to his status as a US Indian. Nonetheless, he and his wife Suzanne participated in the 1885 Metis Resistance and are listed among resistance families. Following the resistance, he and Suzanne returned south of the medicine line and were enumerated in the census in 1885 at Turtle Mountain Reservation.
At Turtle Mountain, Joseph became active in tribal politics, serving as a leader for the half-breed community and pledging his allegiance to principal chief Little Shell. In 1887, while in the midst of a mass starvation due to a severe winter, the county sought to levy taxes on half-breeds living outside of the reservation. Little Shell wrote letters to known Indian sympathizers, and in a letter dated February 24, to Dr. G. W. McConnell, a pro-Indian lobbyist in Washington, Little Shell told that the off reservation Indians were being provoked, and complained that the taxes implemented by the county were “unfair.” The signatures on the letter to McConnell identify the highest-ranking council members, including Little Shell, Jean Baptiste Lenoir, Francois Dauphinais, Francois St. Germain, Joseph Bomcaux, Antoine Brien, Joseph Lafournaise, and Pierre Grant.
During the McCumber Agreement, Joseph was part of the deliberations and was a participant in the Grand Council of January 29, 1892. He was enumerated under his “Indian name”, Kay-bay-ogemah (Everlasting Chief).
Joseph passed away in 1920, but his and Suzanne’s many descendants can still be found among the Turtle Mountain Ojibwe community.
Louis Lacerte was born ca. 1780 at Ruperts Land to a Quebecoise trader named Louis Vacher Lacerte and an unknown Cree woman. He married (according to the custom of the country) Marie Martin, the daughter of Simon Martin and Louise (a Cree woman), before 1810.
During his early career, Louis worked for the North West Company, serving at Lake Winnipeg, Red River, and at Fort des Prairies between 1811-1821, until he transferred to the Hudson’s Bay Company after the merger. He was known as a “…grumbling fellow, who does his duty well”, but otherwise was a good voyageur. By 1835, he was living at Grantown, when he and his family were enumerated on the census. He was also listed on the 1838 and 1843 census for Red River settlement.
Louis was notably a participant in the Battle of Seven Oaks, serving as a warrior for Cuthbert Grant. He was accused of looting the body of Governor MacDonell, and was later seen wearing a silk sash and carrying a pocket watch owned by him.
It is unknown when Louis died, but one of his sons, also named Louis Lacerte, was later a member of Louis Riel's "Convention of Twenty-Four" and "Convention of Forty" and served in the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia.
Louison (Louis) Vallee was born circa 1801 on the prairies of Manitoba to a man named Vallee and an unnamed Cree Indian Woman. He married Louise Martel, daughter of Jean Baptiste Martel and Marguerite Dion, before 1829. They were enumerated in the census in 1832 and 1833 at Red River Settlement. At least one account of his life lists his name as Wiin-doon, meaning “Fat Bull”.
From various accounts it can be reported that he was an excellent hunter and guide, later residing at Pembina and St. Joseph, in what later became North Dakota. Prior to his death, he served as guide to the Charles Larpenteur expedition to the Missouri River. Larpenteur noted in his narrative:
“I got another first-rate guide, by the name of Louison Vallée. This guide was one of the best hunters I ever saw for buffalo, as well as for small game; he was near fifty, about six feet three, built in proportion, a very powerful man, and a tremendous walker. He made us live on ducks and geese at the start, and, when we got in among buffalo, on the fat of the land. His killing so many fine fat ducks I believe saved my life.”
Louis died in 1861, when he was shot by the Dakota Sioux on the prairies near Pembina. He was buried at St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba.
After the death of Louis, Louise received scrip as a half-breed under the Treaty with the Chippewas of Lake Superior (1854), and also applied for scrip as a half-breed under the 1863 Treaty with the Pembina and Red Lake Bands. She died in 1871.
Many of Louis and Louise’s descendants can be found at the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota.
Seneca snakeroot (Polygala senega L.) is a member of the milkwort family and a known medicine to the Anishinaabe people. The Ojibwa call Seneca snakeroot bi'jikiwuk'. The name translates, literally, as “ buffalo medicine” but since the coming of white men and their cattle it is now referred to as “cattle herb medicine.”
When made into medicine among the Ojibwa the dried root of this plant is used to treat coughs, colds and asthma. It is also used by some healers in the treatment of diabetes. It can be found growing in moist prairie and at the edges of aspen groves.
After European contact, fur traders and settlers learned about this plant and its qualities from watching the Natives, and many used it to make cough syrup and cough drops. During the fur trade and up to the late 1800s, many of the regional tribes engaged in picking the root as a wage-earning activity. Families would travel to good gathering spots and spend days at a time in the summer to pick the root.
Because of its price per pound, a family could easily supplement their income by picking Seneca root.
The BLM provides a free database to search for Federal Land Patents of GLO records. This resource offers inquiring minds the ability to source information on the initial transfer of land titles from the Federal government to individuals, including Native Americans who received land under various Treaty, allotment, or homestead authorities.
The Official Land Records Site for the United States, the GLO site has a searchable database of more than five million (1820-present) Federal land conveyance records, including scanned images of those records. There are also images related to survey plats and field notes, dating back to 1810. The site does not currently contain every Federal title record issued for the Public Land States.
It's a great genealogical resource. CLICK HERE to enter the site and start finding documents like the one provided below...
Powwow Sweat' Promotes Fitness Through Traditional Dance.
In Indian Country, a gym membership is not a cultural norm and the incidence of heart disease and obesity are high. Native Americans are 60 percent more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites. The Coeur D'Alene tribe, whose headquarters is in northern Idaho, is trying to combat the problem by incorporating culture into fitness programs.
The tribe has created an exercise routine — called "Powwow Sweat" — based on traditional dancing. The program features a series of workout videos that break down six traditional dances into step-by-step exercise routines. Check out some of the videos at the links below..
This game is usually played for the purpose of gambling, played either by two individuals, or by two sets of people often wagering all they have.
A large, rather shallow, symmetrical, nicely finished hemispherical bowl is one of the requisites; the others are the dice and the counting sticks.
The bowl is made from a large, round nodule of maple root, and is consequently a rare and expensive article for its size. It fashioned solely with the aid of an axe and a knife. A specimen at hand measures nine inches in diameter at the top and is two inches in depth. It is nearly one inch in thickness at the bottom, but gradually tapers to about one-fourth of an inch at the rim.
The dice consist of eight thinly cut pieces of deer-horn (or bone). These are marked with rather deep criss-cross grooves on one side which is also stained black, the other side being left its natural color. Four of these are round and about three-fourths of an inch in diameter. All of the dice are less than one-sixteenth of an inch in thickness. Two of the dice are knife-shaped, one and one-half inches in length, and one-fourth of an inch in width. Another is shaped like a gun, is one and one-fourth inches in length, and one- fourth of an inch in width. Another consists of the crude image of a person and has eyes and mouth marked on the unpainted side. It is one and one-half inches in length, the width being about one-half inch at the shoulders.
The counting sticks are eighty in number. They are about a foot in length and one-fourth inch in thickness. They are usually made of trimmed sticks of spruce or other wood, though twigs are sometimes used. Half are colored black, and the remainder red. The sticks are placed between the players in two piles when the game is about to be played, one pile belonging to each side; or sometimes the sticks are placed all in one pile. In the first case, the winner draws directly from his opponent's pile for every count he gains. In the second case, both players draw from the central pile till it is used up; then the winner draws from his opponent's pile until it is all taken. The player (or set of players) who gets the eighty counting sticks in his possession has won the game.
When the players sit down to play, the bowl containing the dice is placed on a blanket between them. Bets are then made. Then the player who won the last game begins the game with a song. If no previous game has been played, lots are cast to see who will play first. Then, at a propitious moment, the player strikes the bowl on the blanket by lifting it slightly and setting it down with a quick jerk. This causes the dice to fly upward and fall back in various positions, some of the faces becoming reversed, which, of course, changes their counting values. As they settle to the bottom of the bowl, the result is watched with keen interest. The play is continued in this manner until the game is won.
The following are the rules for counting points:
Terms used in the game of bowl:
Albert B. Reagan and F. W. Waugh (1919) Some Games of the Bois Fort Ojibwa. American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1919), pp. 264-278
The Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 ( M595, 692 rolls) contains census rolls that were usually submitted each year by agents or superintendents in charge of Indian reservations, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, as required by an act of July 4, 1884 (23 Stat. 98). The data on the rolls vary, but usually given are the English and/or Indian name of the person, roll number, age or date of birth, sex, and relationship to head of family. Only persons who maintained a formal affiliation with a tribe under federal supervision are listed on these census rolls.
Jean Baptiste Charette (1804-1894) was born on the prairies near Pembina, North Dakota, to Jean Baptiste Charette Sr., a French Canadian voyageur from Quebec, and Charlotte Sansregret, an Indigenous woman (of Pembina Band Ojibwe ancestry) who was born in Manitoba.
He was first enumerated in the census in 1838 at Red River Settlement. Shortly thereafter he married Angelique Petit, daughter of Thomas Petit Thomas and Marguerite Daunais, circa 1839 at Red River Settlement. They were counted on the 1840 Census of the Settlement. By 1850, Jean Baptiste and Angelique were living in the vicinity of Pembina. They were counted on the 1850 census for Pembina County, Minnesota Territory.
Jean Baptiste had a rather large hunting range, going as far west as Wood Mountain and Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, where he spent several years as a hivernant (over-winterer), living as a hunter and trapper with his growing family and the hunting brigades of these areas who were mostly Pembina Ojibwe/Metis who also had ties to the Turtle Mountains and St. Joseph (Walhalla) and would occasionally return there for birth and baptisms (when possible).
During the Lake Superior Ojibwe Treaty of 1854 at Lake Superior, Jean Baptiste was issued scrip as a Pembina Band member. J.B. Bottineau testified that: “I think he is the same as John Bte. Charet (sic), who has and is now residing at Saint Joseph, Pembina County, Dakota; a mixed-blood of Pembina band, I think, and over 50 years of age.” During the 1863 Treaty at the Old Crossing between the Red Lake and Pembina Bands, Jean Baptiste was again issued scrip as a Pembina Band member, issued as Scrip Number 49, February 12, 1873, for 160 acres.
Following the death of his wife Angelique, he married Josephte Monet dit Belhumeur, daughter of Michel Monet dit Belhumeur and Josephte Sauteuse, on 13 Jan 1868 at St.Joseph, North Dakota. Josephte was reputed to be the granddaughter of the first Chief Little Shell, father of the signer of the 1863 Treaty. He later received Treaty annuities in 1871 at Turtle Mountain, under the Little Shell III band members list.
He applied for Canadian scrip as a Metis under the North West Half-Breed Commission. In his testimony, he stated his claim as follows: “I lived with my parents at Qu’Appelle River, Fort Ellice, Red River, and at Six Hills for 30 years. I then was married and became a plains buffalo hunter, living on the plains. On the 15th of July, 1870, I was living at Wood Mountain and continued as a resident of the territories until some 3 or 4 years ago where I was living on Plum River about three miles across the line.”
During the 1880 census, he and Josephte were enumerated as living at Pembina, and by 1886 they were living at Turtle Mountain Reservation and were counted on Indian Census rolls for the Band, including the 1892 McCumber half-breed rolls.
He died on 12 Oct 1894 at Belcourt, North Dakota, and is buried in the old cemetery behind St. Ann’s Catholic Church.
His children included the following individuals:
Alexandre Charette (1841–1930)
Jean Baptiste Charette (1842–1892)
Marguerite Charette (1845–1880)
Marie Anne Charette (1848–1878)
Joseph Charette (1850–????)
William Charette (1852–????)
Adelaide Charette (1852–1932)
Mathias “John” Charette (1855–1937)
Francois Xavier Charette (1857–1958)
Xavier Charette (1859–1860)
Moise Charette (1862–1930)
Eliza Charette (1863–1937)
His descendants today can be found among the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, Little Shell Band of Chippewa, and in Metis communities in Manitoba, North Dakota, and Montana.
Notes: Drawing of J.B. Charette comes from Cinq mois chez les Français d'Amérique: voyage au Canada et à la rivière Rouge (Five months among French Americans: trip to Canada and to the Northern Red River) by Henri Félix de Lamothe. Hachette et al. , 1880 - Canada.
Genealogical information by Gail Morin (https://www.amazon.com/Gail-Morin/e/B001K80U1U)