School Supervisor's report of 1917
The following are excerpts from a Report on Supervision of Turtle Mountain Day Schools, August 11-16, 1917, by W. W. Coon, Asst. Supervisor of Indian Schools. In this passage, Mr. Coon describes the ethnic makeup of the Turtle Mountain Reservation, showing that the vast majority of persons at Turtle Mountain were Metis and that the full-blood population was concentrated mainly around the area of what is now known as the Dunseith Day School.
Mr. Coon wrote:
“The Superintendent estimates that there are about 3,000 Indians under his care. He has no reliable statistics, just estimates. He says that perhaps there are about 2,000 living on the reservation, and about 1,000 living off the reservation mostly west of it in North Dakota and Montana. The 1,000 is supposed to be badly scattered except the full bloods living about two miles north of Dunseith and around Day School No. 5. This Day school is not on the reservation. Practically all the full bloods belonging to this jurisdiction live in the vicinity of Day school No. 5…"
"Nearly all the Indians on the [Turtle Mountain] reservation with whom I talked were born in Canada, or their parents were born in Canada, and in many instances both were born in Canada, although they say away-way back their ancestors were Chippewa who went from Minnesota to Canada and there married French and Scotch settlers.
The vast majority are proud of being mixed bloods…As stated before, many of these Indians are less than one-half Indian blood and in the majority of cases they are quarter bloods, eights and sixteenths…[but] all the mixed bloods call themselves "Metis", (pronounced ma-chief) which means halfbreed, regardless of the degree of Indian blood…
The reservation [itself] includes two adjoining townships, which includes an area of six miles wide, north and south, and twelve miles long, east and west. “
from A Report of W.W, Coon, Turtle Mountain Schools. 08/07/1917