Fur trader, Métis leader, farmer, office holder, justice of the peace, and politician, Cuthbert Grant was born around 1793 in Fort de la Rivière Tremblante (near Kamsack, Sask.). The son of Cuthbert Grant*, fur trader, and a Métis woman, probably of Cree and French descent; He married Elizabeth MacKay according to the custom of the country, and later married Madelaine Desmarais, and Marie McGillis in St Boniface in 1823. He had at least three sons and six daughters from these marriages. He died on 15 July 1854 in White Horse Plain (St François Xavier, Manitoba).
Grant’s physical prowess and the swiftness of his actions quickly earned him the respect of the Métis in his command and of the Indians, who named him Wappeston, meaning the white ermine. A renowned hunter, horseman, and warrior, Grant was recognized as the leader of the Métis buffalo hunters. During the fur trade war that followed in 1814, Grant was to become infamous as the man responsible for the deaths of the settlers at Seven Oaks. Throughout his brief but rancorous fur trade war, Cuthbert Grant and John McKay remained staunch friends. Elizabeth McKay had Cuthbert’s child, but they eventually separated as a result of the war and the animosity it created.
Grant went on to fame as the founder of Grantown (now Saint Francois-Xavier), a small village a few miles west of Winnipeg. He went on to become the Hudson’s Bay Company’s warden of the Plains after the merger of 1821, and, later, was appointed to the Council of Assiniboia, the Hudson’s Bay Company’s governing body in Rupert’s Land. In the late 1860’s, Grant lost his position of power and prestige among the Métis to a radical Métis politician, Jean Louis Riel, father of the famous Louis Riel. Grant’s loyalty to the Hudson’s Bay Company during the free trade struggles of the 1840s made him unpopular with the Métis, and he drifted into political obscurity. A wealthy but lonely man, Grant died in 1854 at the age of 61.
Excerpt taken from: metisstudies.dev.kcdc.ca/leaders/readings/reading1.html
From Metis to Ojibwe
Often the coupling of natives and European fur traders would result in the establishment of Metis lineages as these mixed-blood descendants eventually made their way to the Red River and the prairies. In other cases, these mixed-blood children might blend back into their native communities—retaining their ties to the native community and staying Indian.
In the case of Elizabeth Ance: She was born to Mary Ann Lessard, daughter of voyageur Antoine Lessard and Catherine “Quegegabo”, a Lake Superior Chippewa woman. Many of Antoine and Catherine’s descendants eventually made their way west and took scrip as Metis in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but their daughter Mary Ann Lessard was an exception. She stayed with her mother’s people at Mackinac Island and married Peter Ance, a chief of the band.
Emily Eagles, Elizabeth’s granddaughter, writes about her grandmother:
“Grandma Mellon was born 20 of June, 1853, the daughter of Peter Ances, Chief of the Mackinac band of Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indians and Mary Anne Lessard who was the daughter of Antoine Lessard and Catherine (a Lake Superior Chippewa).”
“Grandma Mellon was a very wonderful person and was very good to me as I was only a step-grandchild” “Family is a very important part of the Indian culture and Elizabeth’s heritage showed in her loving ways.”
Elizabeth Ance died on December 28, 1926 and was buried in Epoufette, Michigan.
The baptism of Baptiste Frederick, 1875
Jonas Thomas Frederick my son, is a miracle.
He is named after my grandfather, Baptiste Jonas Thomas Frederick, born Jan 27, 1875 in Pembina, North Dakota, to Cyril Frederick a buffalo hunter and Adelaide Charette.
Upon his birth his parents, both Pembina Chippewa/Metis with roots in the Cypress Hills and Wood Mountain regions of Saskatchewan, undertook an arduous winter journey to Lebret, Saskatchewan, with the newborn Baptiste and two other toddler children, on foot.
This journey was 300 miles in the dead of winter -- North Dakota to Lebret, done in 10 days in the harsh prairie winter -- to have Baptiste baptized in Lebret. His baptism took place on February 7, 1875.
The strength, determination, and faith of our ancestors should be what we remember this long winter we are starting. To have so much faith to take this journey in that cold, with three very young children on foot shows the strength of resolve our ancestors possessed.
That’s what we are made of.
Leonard Frederick, Pembina Chippewa/Metis (2017)
Born around 1820, son of Joseph Lafournaise of St. Eustache (MB) and Suzanne Leclerc, Métis (married in St. Boniface, MB), Gabriel married Suzanne Collin in 1842; he died in 1910.
He was a member (leader) in the 49th Rangers of the Boundary Commission of 1873-74, which consisted of 30 Metis half-breeds who served as guides, interpreters, hunters, and diplomats with the native tribes in the first survey of the Canada/US border from Red River to the Rocky mountains since the signing of Manitoba into confederation.
He was also a participant in the Battle at Batoch, along with several of his family members.
Gabriel was finally enrolled as a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa indians of North Dakota where descendants of his family still live to this day.
More information is available at http://shsb.mb.ca/en/node/2556
Dibaajimowin was created as a way to share interesting and unique stories and other information about the Metis and Ojibwe people (and others) so that these can be used by our guests to educate themselves and others about the history, culture, and language of the people.