The only incident of hostility between friendly tribes
By and large, the Mandan were a friendly tribe and were much respected by the Ojibwe people. They traded corn and horses to the Ojibwe, and the Ojibwe traded them guns with which they could defend themselves from Sioux attacks when the occasion arose. In all of time, there was only one known attack by the Mandan against the Ojibwe. This attack took place at Pembina in 1832.
It was reported by fur traders that during the day, there was an attack of a ‘hostile’ party of Indians, supposed to be Sioux, on the outskirts of the Pembina settlement. The hostiles crossed the Pembina River near the Red River on a raft, went down the Red about four miles, and concealed themselves in the vicinity of a trading house where there were several Ojibwe lodges. When they felt safe in doing so, the attackers grabbed and scalped a girl in broad daylight.
Word of the attack soon spread and the hostiles were soon pursued by a party of Ojibwe. They overtook the hostile force in the act of crossing a stream and a small skirmish took place. It was subsequently revealed that the attacking party were Mandan, and that the war party had consisted of forty men.
There were nine Ojibwe in the party that pursued the Mandans as they fled the scene. Three of the Mandan were killed. It was reported that this party was fallen upon by the Sioux, and all killed, except one man during their march back to the Missouri River.
This is the only instance of Mandan attacking the Ojibwe in the Red River country – a black mark on an otherwise amicable relationship that has lasted between the two tribes until the present-day.
Adapted from Wheeler-Voegelin, Erminie, and Harold Hickerson. 1974. “Red Lake And Pembina Chippewa.” American Indian Ethnohistory : North Central And Northeastern Indians. New York: Garland Pub. Inc.
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities