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.
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