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..