Mathias Charette, also known as John Charette, was born about 1855 in the Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, to Jean-Baptiste Charette and Angelique Petit-Thomas. His mother passed away and his father later married Josephte Monette, granddaughter of the first Chief Little Shell.
His siblings were brothers: Alexandre Charette, Jean Baptiste Charette, Joseph Charette, William Charette, Francois Xavier Charette, Moise Charette, and Pierre Charette. His sisters were: Marquerite (Charette) Giroux, Marie Anne (Charette) Dupre, Adelaide (Charette) Frederick, and Eliza (Charette) Belgarde.
Mathias’ first wife was Virginie Ritchot, daughter of Joseph Ritchot and Marguerite Martel. Together they had two sons: Louis Victor Charette and Joseph Alfred Charette, who later moved to Montana and started families.
Mathias received scrip under the Manitoba half-breed scrip authority. On his application he stated, “I lived with my parents always on the plains and in red river settlement, and with them at Wood Mountain and Cypress Hills where they lived on the 15th of July, 1870. I now live at St. Joe (Walhalla) the past 6 years. I am told my father had lived at St. Joe before July 15th, 1870…I cannot say when myself.” He listed his occupation as “Hunter”.
He also received 160 acres of land under the provisions of Article 8 of the 1863 Old Crossing Treaty, which allowed half-breed members of the Pembina and Red Lake bands to select land in the Red River Valley as homesteads, but it is not certain what happened to his land there.
After the passing of Virginie, Mathias married Marie Ouellette in Walhalla. He spent the remainder of his life in Walhalla, Olga, Leroy, and at the Turtle Mountain Reservation.
Mathias died on November 2, 1937, in Belcourt, North Dakota.
Research by Gail Morin and Kade Ferris
Marguerite Lafournaise was born on March 1, 1860 at Pembina (Dakota Territory). She was baptized on March 2, 1860 at Assumption Church, daughter of Joseph Lafournaise and Suzanne Vallee. Her Godfather was her uncle Joseph Vallee and her Godmother was Marguerite Ritchot.
She married Onesime Octave Azure, son of Pierre Azure and Marie Marthe Breland, on January 15, 1882 at St. Claude Mission, in St. John, North Dakota. She and Onesime had one son, Joseph Arthur Azure.
When Onesime passed away, Marguerite married Magloire McLeod on April 14, 1888, at St. Claude Mission. Magloire was the son of Antoine McLeod and Marianne Versailles. Marguerite and Magloire had seven children: Elize, Veronica, Joseph, Virginia, St.Vidal, Marie, and Charles.
She was enumerated in numerous Indian census for the Turtle Mountain Reservation, Belcourt, North Dakota, and received Indian allotment land under the 1904 revised McCumber Agreement. Her Indian Name is listed as Waketakamakoquay (Swampy Woman).
Her parents Joseph Lafournaise and Suzanne Vallee were both involved in the 1885 Metis resistance before moving to the Turtle Mountain Reservation after the defeat at Batoche.
Marguerite died on July 15, 1952 at Belcourt, Rolette County, North Dakota, at age 92. She is buried in the St. Michael Cemetery south of Rolla, North Dakota.
In 1922, Joseph Clement Martell, a thirteen year old boy from Turtle Mountain, was ordered to cut bread at the Fort Totten Boarding school with a band driven cutting machine that was old and lacked safety measures that forced the user to push the bread in by hand. In feeding bread into the machine two of his fingers were caught by the knife and were amputated. A flurry of correspondence and a lawsuit followed.
It is undeniable that contact with whites seriously undermined the family social standards of most Indigenous communities who had the misfortune of having civilization foisted upon them. Problems such as disease, degradation of women, loss of economics, and other factors erupted quite rapidly when colonizers entered an area. But just how quickly could a society be destroyed by colonialism?
Writing about a community of Paiute living in Owens Valley, California, in 1859, Captain John Davidson was quite impressed by the serenity of their community, the chastity among the Indians, and the lack of venereal and other diseases amongst the people. However, just 3 and 4 years later when the US Army Fort Independence was built to "protect" the Paiute, the economy and morality of the tribe was almost completely disrupted by the intrusion of the white man and the introduction of their strange and immoral “civilization”.
White soldiers began taking advantage of the Indian women, and the Indian women were forced to offer themselves to the whites for food and protection when their own tribesmen were unable to provide for and defend them. By 1862, rampant prostitution and alcohol had severely damaged the social and familial structure and the local economy collapsed. Acts of rape and forced cohabitation, and resulting half-breed children further decimated the tribe’s community. A working, traditional culture was destroyed in less than a decade.
Shockingly, Fort Independence is a California Historic Landmark for its role in ending Indian "hostilities" in the region, allowing European settlers to expand and take the land from the Paiutes.
 Wilke, P.J. and H.W. Lawton (eds.) (1976). The Expedition of Captain J.W. Davidson from Fort Tejon to the Owens Valley in 1859. Ballena Press, Socorro.
 Cook, S.F. (1943). The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization. Ibero-Americana 21-24.