In 1889, Rolette County officials illegally attempted to force the Turtle Mountain people to pay taxes on cattle issued to them by the US Government under treaty obligations. The county Sheriff and his men had entered the Turtle Mountains and had confiscated several cattle for payment of taxes, but since this taking was illegal, the Turtle Mountain people finally refused and told the officials that they would not allow any more of their cattle to be taken and that they would not pay taxes on their own property.
The Sheriff did not take kindly to be told what to do by the Indians, and he was determined to force them to comply with his orders. He made a request to Major McKee of Dunseith, for the National Guards to aid him in his efforts. The Major ordered all of his citizen soldiers from Troop A to report to the armory at Dunseith in January. He rallied the troops under his own accord, not having received orders from the Governor.
In total the Major brought together about 50 men and equipped them to march into the hills. The soldiers spent one night in the armory and then, after breakfast the next morning, they started to march to the north of Dunseith. Before they have proceeded very far, they were met by the local Indian Ageny H.W. Brenner. Brenner had a telegram from Governor John Miller, calling back the troops.
It was fortunate for the soldiers that they were stopped by the Governor and the local agent, because the Indians and half-breeds were well prepared for them. There were approximately 700-800 Turtle Mountain men prepared for war, and they were positioned to ambush the troops once they entered a long coulee during their march. It was said that each of the Turtle Mountain warriors had chosen a specific soldier for their target. They were planning to let the soldiers enter the ravine, then when they were all within the walls of the ravine they would be ambushed from both sides and from behind with no way to defend themselves from the sharpshooters.
In an effort to de-escalate the conflict, the Agent Brenner, Major McKee, and the local Episcopal minister went in peace to the home of Mr. Lambert on the edge of the hills and had a conference with the Turtle Mountain men who were promised that there would be no further attempts to levy taxes on them or to take their livestock.
Read more at:
(1923) O.G. Libby. Collections of The State Historical Society, Vol. V. Bismarck, ND
During the early 1840s, the Pembina Band, under Chief Red Bear, was camped on the Red River about a mile and a half north of the location of present-day Pembina, on the west side of the River. A contingent of Mandan on a war party arrived at the Pembina River and hoped to launch a sneak attack against the village. To cross the river, the Mandan built a makeshift raft and placed their clothing and provisions upon it. They then crossed the river and took up their arms, proceeding towards where the Ojibwe camp was situated.
Along the way to the camp, the Mandan encountered some children playing and digging wild carrots along a slough to the south of the camp. Among these children was a little girl, a daughter of Red Bear. The Mandan dashed forward to capture the children. The children saw the Mandan and started to run back towards camp, but the daughter of Red Bear, who was very young, could not keep up and she was captured by the enemy warriors. Grabbing the small girl, they proceeded to scalp her on each side of her head, and then they released her thinking that she would soon die from blood loss.
Shortly, the children who had fled the enemy entered camp and cried that the enemy was coming! The Ojibwe men were currently holding a council of the warriors, and they were immediately roused and grabbed their weapons to prepare for battle. They moved in the direction from where the children had fled, and on their way they found the daughter of Red Bear, profusely bleeding and staggering in confusion and pain. Among the warriors were two sons of Red Bear - Sky (Sha-we-ne-kezik) and Great Walker (Na-ta-wish-kung). They quickly assessed their young sister and then sped on in pursuit of the enemy, with the rest of the warriors.
As they reached the north bank of the Pembina River they saw the Mandan warriors disappearing over the bank. As they reached the top of the bank they saw a Mandan stand up. Immediately both of the brothers raised their guns and fired, their guns sounded like a single shot and the Mandan dropped dead where he stood. The rest of the Mandan started to flee in a panic, plunging into the river to swim for their lives at the overwhelming number of Ojibwe warriors. The Ojibwe came to the top of the river bank and started to fire at will at the swimming Mandan, who were mostly shot dead before they reached the opposite bank.
Years afterward, when the two tribes were at peace, the Ojibwe learned very few of this forty-man Mandan war party ever made it home.
The little girl who had been scalped did not die. She suffered greatly, but she lived to grow up and was married, although she later drowned when her canoe tipped over in the river.
Read more at:
(1923) O.G. Libby. Collections of The State Historical Society, Vol. V. Bismarck, ND
One of the most reliable sources for defining the territory of the Pembina/Turtle Mountain Ojibwe in what is now North Dakota comes from the 1858 peace agreement, forged between the chiefs and headmen of the band and the Sisseton and Yankton Dakota, called the “Sweet Corn Treaty”. The Sweet Corn Treaty sought to establish peace and to define hunting and territorial boundaries so that there was no cause for warfare and so that resources would be shared without animosity.
The Sweet Corn Treaty was read into various congressional bills throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, and was later used in the official findings of the Indian Claims Commission. The language of the treaty stated:
We, Ojoupay (Sweet Corn, son of Ojoupay), second chief of the Sisseton and Yankton tribes of Dakotas, and Wahnatah (He-who-rushes-on), son of Wahnatah, first chief of the Sisseton and Yankton tribes of Dakotas, do hereby declare that we intend to abide by the articles of the treaty entered into by our fathers, represented by Chief Wahnatah with the Chippewas, represented by Chief Emaydaskah (Flat Mouth) at Prairie du Chine, about thirty-three years ago, by which treaty the boundary line dividing the lands of the two nations (the Chippewas and Dakotas) was established and agreed upon. We further declare that it is within our recollection that after the above treaty was agreed upon the boundary line has ever been known to us and our people to have been as follows: Commencing at the mouth of the River Wahtab, thence ascending its course and running through Lake Wahtab; from thence taking a westerly course and passing through the fork of Sauk River; thence running in a northerly direction through Otter Tail Lake and striking the Red River at the mouth of Buffalo River, thence following the course of the Red River down to the mouth of Goose River, thence ascending the course of Goose River up to its source; then taking the due westerly course and passing through the center of Devils Lake at Poplar Grove; after leaving the lake, continuing its westerly course to Maison du Chine [Dogden Butte]; from thence taking a northwesterly direction to its terminus at a point near the Missouri River within gunshot sound of the Little Knife River (US Department of Interior 1872).
This general territory was later granted congressional acknowledgement in an April 18, 1876, report of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which after considering a memorial from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa, reported a bill that authorized the setting aside of a reservation for the Turtle Mountain Band. In its report the committee stated:
The Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa Indians, and their forefathers for many generations, have inhabited and possessed, as fully and completely as any nation of Indians on this continent have ever possessed any region of country all that tract of land lying within the following boundaries, to wit: On the north by the boundary between the United States and the British possessions; on the east by the Red River of the North: on the south their boundary follows Goose River up the Middle Fork; thence up the head of Middle Fork; thence west-northwest to the junction of Beaver Lodge and Shyenne River; thence up Shyenne River to its headwaters; thence northwest to the headwaters of Little Knife River, a tributary of the Missouri River; and thence due north to the boundary between the United States and the British possessions (Indian Claims Commission 23-315).
Just a few years later (September 25, 1880), Superintendent James McLaughlin, agent at the Devils Lake Agency, wrote to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs concerning the plight of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. He reported that white settlers were trespassing on their lands, and recommended that a reservation be set aside for them. Specifically, Agent McLaughlin reported:
Inasmuch as the section of country west of the treaty line of 1863 running from Lake Chicot [Stump Lake] in a line nearly due west by Devils Lake and Dogs Den to the mouth of the Little Knife River on the Missouri, thence north to the "Roche Perce" or Hole in the Rock on the International line, thence east along the International line until its intersection with the treaty line of 1863, which tract is about 80 by 200 in extent, is recognized by all neighboring Indians as belonging to the Pembina and Turtle Mountain Bands of Chippewas, and as the same has never been ceded to the government, and the Indians being desirous to relinquish for a consideration to enable them to commence a life of agriculture, I would respectfully recommend it to the careful consideration of the Department (Indian Claims Commission 72-113).
Each of the points mentioned in the above descriptions correspond to a place of importance and/or settlement associated with the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. For example, Stump Lake was the location of the village of Black Duck (Mug-a-dish-ib), a powerful sub-chief of the Ojibwe; Poplar Grove (Graham’s Island) is the location of the village of Chief Little Shell I and was also the location of a Chippewa village attacked by the Dakota in 1852; Dogden Butte was an important hunting and camping area to the Ojibwe (Indian Claims Commission 23-315).
United States Indian Claims Commission (ICC)
(1970) Before the Indian Claims Commission. Indian Claims Commission Docket 23-315. United States
General Printing Office.
United States Indian Claims Commission (ICC)
(1970) Before the Indian Claims Commission. Indian Claims Commission Docket 72-113. United States
General Printing Office.
US Congress (Department of Interior)
(1872) U.S. Serial Set, Number 4015, 56th Congress, 1st Session, Pages 852 and 853. United States
General Printing Office.
During the spring of 1869, hostilities between the Ojibwe and the Dakota escalated and the White Earth and Leech Lakers were accused of several murders. The rising tensions between the tribes was worrisome to the government agents who were waiting to settle white men in the Red River valley, which would be difficult if there was a wholesale war happening. Father Genin, a Catholic priest with ties to the Ojibwe and Dakota communities took it upon himself to invite representatives from the various bands to come to Fort Abercrombie in August, 1870.
The Indians weary of fighting heeded his call. 1,800 chiefs, headmen, and warriors – 900 Ojibwe and 900 Dakota – showed up and attended a three-day negotiation that ended happily on August 15. The accord was signed by all the attending principal chiefs in the presence of the commanding officer of the Fort.
As part of the treaty, Chief White Cloud of the White Earth band agreed to hand over the murderer´s annuities to the relatives of the dead. White Cloud later visited Fort Totten for a similar peace council with the Devils lake Dakotas.
For his part, Father Genin raised a large white cross at the location where Ojibwe Chief Muk-a-dish-ib (Black Duck) and his men were killed during a battle near present-day Wild Rice, North Dakota, and from that day forward war parties were not seen in the Red River valley.
The treaty read as follows:
We the undersigned men of the Chippewa and Sioux Nations considering that it is an evil thing to have war amongst us and destroy each other contrarily to agreements previously taken according to the advice of government Agents and our President himself.
We have this day met at Fort Abercrombie, in presence of General L.C. Hunt, Mrs. Hunt, R. Father Genin, and of Lieut. John B. Rodman, for the purpose of making an everlasting peace and causing the Government officers to enforce the laws already in existence, providing for cases of trouble or war caused to one nation by the other, or to one band of a nation by some band, or bands of another nation.
We therefore want our President to know:
1st That we have this day became friends together forever and will keep our word good.
2nd That we wish the former law which attributes the pay of a murderer who breaks the peace existing among us, to the relatives of the murdered one to be put in force from this day and namely in the case of Nikampines, who last year destroyed the life of two Sioux Indians.
3rd. That we desire that the two Sioux Indians Huioyanke and Oncare 1st relations to the murdered ones be held up as great men on account of their readiness in forgiving the murderer for the good of peace.
Sioux (Signed by)
Ojibwe (Signed by)
Lipenier des Chefs
Lieut. Col. 20th Inf.
John B. Rodman
2nd Lieut. 20th Inf.
J. B. M. Genin
Missionnarie A Postilique
Fort Abercrombie, D.T.
August 14, 1870
Short biographies of some of the Dakota signers:
Ojupi (Sweetcorn): The signer of the treaty was not the original Sweetcorn, but rather his son, Wasuiciyapi (Hail Knocking Against Himself) who later took his allotment on the Lake Traverse Reservation.
Ecanajinka (Almost Standing Steady): A chief of the Snake River scout camp under the command of Gabriel Renville. He later settled on the Devils Lake Reservation. He died before allotment.
Paul Mazakutemani (Walking Shooting a Gun): Also known as Little Paul. He was a Christian convert who remained loyal during the Minnesota Uprising. He was Chief of the Twin Lakes scout camp. He took his allotment on the Lake Traverse Reservation.
Hupacokamaza (Iron Middle Wing): from Lake Traverse.
Visihu (?) Tizihu, Wizihu.
Wakanhdimaza (Iron Lighting): A Chief who eventually settled at Devils Lake.
Wasicuncatka (Left Handed Spirit): Also known as Hotonhowaste (Good Loud Voice).
Miniatahowaŝte (Good Voice at the Water): Later signed the 1872-73 Sisseton/Wahpeton agreement to sell the land between Devils Lake and Lake Traverse.
Wakanukita (Prove his Holiness): Chief Standing Buffalo’s First Soldier who later settled at Devils Lake.
Wakanadiduta (?) Wakanhdiduta: As called Scarlet Lighting. Later settled at Lake Traverse.
Hupahuna (Wing Bone): Later settled at Lake Traverse.
Icahtake (Touch): A signer of the 1872-73 Sisseton/Wahpeton agreement. He died before allotment.
Ŝunkawambdi (Dog Eagle): Later settled at Lake Traverse..
Aadiideya (Lighting Flash): Later settled at Lake Traverse..
Canteiyapa (Heart Beat): Signed 1872-73 Sisseton/Wahpeton agreement. Settled at Devils Lake.
Wambdiupiduta (Scarlet Eagle Tail): also known as Red Feather and Scarlet Plume. He was part of the 1858 delegation to Washington, DC. Later settled at Lake Traverse.
Pejikaġa (Making Grass or possibly Making Medicine): Later settled at Lake Traverse.
Wicanĥpi (Star or Tomahawk): Later settled at Lake Traverse.
Short biographies of some of the Ojibwe signers:
Wabanakwat (White Cloud): Chief of the White Earth Ojibwe.
Nebaneska (Comes Sleeping): A Chief. He died in 1874.
Nijakakijik (Double Sky or Sky that Touches the Ground or Crossing Sky II): A Chief at White Earth.
Okins (Little Bone)
Wapus (Rabbit): A Leech Lake Chief. There is a Waboose Bay in Leech Lake named after him.
Otchipwe (Ojibwe): A cousin of Chief Hole-in-the-Day.
Ayabe (He who rests on the way, or Little Shell III): Chief of the Pembina and Turtle Mountain bands.
Pwanins (Little Sioux)
Cingwabe (White Weasel)
Kwesikut (Tree Cutter)
Nabeniash (also called Naytowash, He Who Stands Examining): A Chief.
Wemiikkons (Waving Little Beaver)
Manito (The Spirit)
Takawikijik (Rising day): A Cousin of Hole-in-the-Day. He was a government appointed Chief.
Makiikijik (Wounded Sky)
Kapiponske (Little Winter)
Ociksos (Little Wind)
Tedatan (Floating in Place)
Otinikans (Little Wind)
Nakanash (First Runner): A Chief.
For more information:
The Anishinaabek were always well acquainted with the world around them. They would find their directions using a variety of ways to navigate the forests and prairies where they hunted and lived.
During local travel around a new camping area, men out hunting might break branches along the way to mark their passage in a quick and easy way to facilitate their return travel. A woman going only a short distance from home to gather berries or other resources might break little twigs, one at a time along the way, and several at a turn in the direction in which she turned, so that she would know the way again.
When the Anishinaabek were in an area that they were not well acquainted with, they would mark their trail in order to make return possible, or would make marks so that others who followed them would know where to go. In doing this, the first ones would chip bark off the trunks of trees, often marking them with symbols (clan markings or general markings known to all), If the direction was to change, a tree might be marked on two sides, one chip in line with the direction from which the family came and the other in line with the direction to which they had turned. If the distance to be traveled was long, and it seemed unreasonable to mark trees along the way, a small piece of birchbark might be fastened to a tree with instructions engraved on the birchbark in a sort of map.
On the prairies where it was difficult to find brush, sticks might be driven into the ground and rags tied to the upper ends as a form of flag, while the position of the sun (Giizis) or of the North Star (Giiwedin'anung) were used to find general bearing directions on long-range travels.
Although it would rarely happen, sometimes people might become lost. In such cases a fire might be made on an elevated area and covered with a buckskin, thus smothering the flames and at the same time preventing smoke from rising. When the time was ready for signaling, the buckskin would be lifted and the smoke allowed to ascend. Immediately afterward, green grass would be thrown on the fire to smother it and it would again be covered and released, creating a large cloud of smoke that would be noticed. Such signals were usually based upon an agreed upon signal before families separated to hunt and gather in a new location.
W.J. Hoffman (1888) Pictography and Shamanistic rites of the Ojibwe. Smithsonian Institute
Hilger, Sister M. Inez. (1951) Chippewa child life and its cultural background. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin
If you have some time on your hands and you want to look for your ancestors on some of the Canadian Treaty Annuity Paylists, here they are.
This collection consists, primarily, of headquarters copies of treaty annuity paylists. Paylists had at least three copies: the agent maintained one and he then forwarded the others to Headquarters for verification and retention. As the Headquarters copies, the records in this series represent the main core of the Department of Indian Affairs holdings in this area. While, in theory, the information contained in field office copies of paylists should mirror that found in the Headquarters copy, researchers have found discrepancies. As a result, users may find it useful to compare the copy of the paylists found in this series with any extant field office copies.
While treaty annuity paylists have importance in their own right as proof of fulfilment of treaty obligations of the government, they are also used by many researchers as a genealogical tool, especially for the period prior to the establishment of the Indian Register in 1951. The value of paylists for genealogical research has some qualifications, however. Often, especially in the period prior to about 1940, paylists normally record by name the head of household only, with other family members recorded only as a number (e.g., 1 woman, 2 boys, 3 girls). This makes the tracing of women and girls particularly difficult as the head of household was commonly male. On the other hand, paylists often also contain very valuable comments about family relationships and about childrens' absences from the family home by virtue of their attendance at residential schools. Often they also indicate file numbers for correspondence about particular transactions that affect an individual's inclusion or not on a paylist (e.g., band transfers, commutations, loss of status by marriage, admissions of new adherents to treaty, etc.).
C-7138. Treaties 1, 2, 3, 5, 1898-1904 --
C-7145. Treaties 4, 6, 7, 1874-1882 --
C-7146. Treaties 4,6,7, 1883-1887 --
C-7147. Treaties 4,6,7, 1887-1890 --
C-7148. Treaties 4,6,7, 1891-1894 --
C-7149. Treaties 4,6,7, 1894-1897 --
C-7150. Treaties 4,6,7, 1897-1898, Treaties 4,6,7,8, 1899-1901 --
C-7151. Treaties 4,6,7,8, 1901-1903 --
C-7152. Treaties 4,6,7,8, 1904-1905, Treaty 4,6,8,10, 1906 --
C-7153. Treaties 4,6,7,8, 10, 1906-1909.
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities