A 1901 Report by the Indian Agent at Devils Lake
In 1901, the Indian Agent for Devil's Lake, which included the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, wrote to the Secretary of Indian Affairs regarding Metis who were present at Turtle Mountain. According to the Agent, following the dispersal of the Metis after the 1885 uprising, the Turtle Mountain Band had absorbed about 30 families of Canadian Chippewa half-breeds who had settled the area prior to 1892, but who had been rejected by the McCumber Commission of 1892. Despite being rejected by the Commission, these families who had grown over the years and had intermarried with the Turtle Mountain Band refused to remove from the reservation and no steps were taken by the Department of Indian Affairs to remove them. While the Canadian half-breeds were not drawing rations as Indians, surviving by farming on certain lands they were able to obtain, or by working for white farmers as hirelings, they still were being allowed to obtain wood and hay from the Indian reservation.
The Agent also noted that during the past year, the Canadian government had been issuing scrip to certain Canadian Metis born within their borders between certain dates. Many of the 30 families were participating, and other Turtle Mountain Chippewa families were also proving their claims to their right to draw scrip for many of their children. In working with the Canadian half-breed Commissioner, J.A.J. McKenna, the Agent provided a roll of the Turtle Mountain band. In addition, McKenna visited the Devil's Lake Agency and visited the Fort Totten School. McKenna made a proposition to drop all Turtle Mountain Metis who originated from Canada from the Canadian roll, and to issue no scrip to either members of the Turtle Mountain band or to any who had participated in the rights, privileges, and benefits of United States Government schools, thus heading off practically all of the Cree and Chippewa half-breeds at Turtle Mountain from participation in the 1901 Canadian scrip rights.
These individuals were later included in the Davis roll prepared for the Turtle Mountain Agreement of 1904.
The Agent finally noted that the Turtle Mountain Band should never be considered as a true band of Indians. Rather, he noted, that "They are half-breeds, quarter breeds, etc...it is quite impossible for a casual observer to tell that any degree of Indian blood exists among the majority of them."
Adapted From Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1902. Government Printing Office.
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities