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Genesis of the Turtle Mountain Band

Genesis of the Turtle Mountain Band

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A short history of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Cree Michif Band.
A short history of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Cree Michif Band.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on Mar 18, 2011
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09/25/2013

 
Genesis of the Turtle Mountain Band
Compiled by Lawrence BarkwellCoordinator of Metis Heritage and History ResearchLouis Riel Institute
It is the intent of this article to trace the genesis of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa/Cree/ Metis as an offshoot of the Pembina Band of Chippewa.In the fur trade era Alexander Henry the Younger was situated at Pembina and tradingwith Chief Tabashaw, Little Shell, Old Wild Rice and others from 1801 to 1804. Many of his French Canadien and Metis voyageurs intermarried with these Chippewa peopleduring that time. Henry himself married the daughter of Ah-ne-him-ish (Cottonwood) in1801.Roland Eugene Marmon
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reports:The first time Ais-saince or Little Shell I appeared in the pages of recordedhistory is in the journals of an English Northwest Fur Company trader Alexander Henry the Younger (the son of Alexander Henry the Elder.). This journal is adetailed account of his experiences while establishing fur trading posts for the Northwest Fur Company along the Red River from the years 1800 to 1810.According to Henry Jr., Little Shell and forty other Saulteurs (Chippewa) menwere waiting for him and his voyageurs when they arrived in 1800 at the fork of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The combined force of Ojibway and Europeanmen then descended the Red River to exploit fur resources there.Henry gave this diverse group of men the name, “The Red River Brigade,” andgave a complete listing of the names of everybody involved in the expedition,including theOjibway.
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 Henry listed the Ojibway in his brigade as coming from two different home lakes:Leech Lake and Red Lake.
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Henry listed Little Shell in the Leech Lake category.In the listing, Henry translated the Ojibway name to French and English. Ais-
1
“Last Card Played: a History of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and the Ten Cent Treaty of 1892.”University of Arizona, Ph.D. thesis, 2009: 20-22.
2
Alexander Henry,
Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territoriesbetween the years 1760 and 1776 
. Boston: Brown Publishing, 1901: 24.
3
Ibid., 121.
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saince can be translated to Petite Coquille, Henry’s French translation, and LittleClam (which would later change to Little Shell in Henry’s journal), the Englishequivalent.
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Of the forty Ojibway men waiting for Alexander Henry in the spring of 1800 atthe forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, seven are listed as being from the“Red Sucker of Beavers, inhabitants of Red Lake, which they abandoned in1790.” The remaining thirty-four Ojibway men including Little Shell are listed as being from “two bands of O-ge-bois (Ojibway) or Saulteurs, inhabitants of theMississippi, Leech Lake, etc., and have since left their lands since the years 1789-90.”If accurate, Henry’s account means Little Shell and other Ojibway may have beenroaming in that part of the country (Red River) for at least a decade, away fromtheir home locations in present day central and northern Minnesota. During thistime it was very probable that this group of Ojibway were involved with the fur trade.Alexander Henry the Younger married the daughter of an Ojibway chieftain of theRed River Brigade named Liard (translated as Cottonwood) in about 1803. Liardwas Aissaince’s brother, which meant Alexander Henry became Little Shell’s brother in-law,according to European custom. Henry even noted it in his journal he consideredAissaince his brother and had great respect for Liard his father-in-law.
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Chiefs:
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Little Shell I: Little Clam Shell, Aisainse, or La Petit Coquille, died in 1813.
Black Duck: Chief from time of Little Shell’s death in 1813 to 1824.
Little Shell II: Was also called Tacgitcit or Split rump, the son of Little Shell I,Chief from 1824 to his death circa 1868.
Little Shell III: Known as Ayabe-way-we-tung or Apitwewitu, or in short formWenis, meaning Long Voice, also Egec, became chief when his father died untilhis death in 1901.The historical record indicates that Chief Little Shell I was killed in a battle with theDakota at Devil’s Lake in 1808. His son, Little Shell II was too young to become chief atthat time. Subsequently, Makadeshib (Black Duck) becomes the chief.
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Black Duck 
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Ibid., 123.
5
Harold Hickerson, “The Genesis of a Trading Post Band: The Pembina Chippewa.”
 Ethnohistory
, Vol. 3, Number 4, Fall 1956 (Indiana University Press), 163, 260.
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Provided by Dr. Nick Vrooman.
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Michael K. Keplin of Turtle Mountain reports that: Black Duck had distinguished himself in warfareagainst Dakota Chief Wa-nah-ta at Red Lake. His daughter Okimahkwe "Great Woman" (Makadeshib) was born 1824. He notes that she was one of the wives of Little Shell III and was ten years older. She died before Aug 01, 1889 in the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation, Dakota Territory.
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village is reported to be located at Stump Lake, to the east of Devil’s Lake. Black Duck was active in north Dakota as well as in what is now Manitoba. On April 25, 1816 thetrader at Brandon House record noted that: 
Capt. Grant and Black Duck came here with a quantity of furs Traded part withthem & they took notes for 27 skins to be paid them at the Forks where they are going to next month they went away [I gave] them 2 gal mixed rum and a littlewheat, Barley and potatoes for seed as they have houses and gardens half way to Portage la Prairie.
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(HBCA B/22/a/19)
 The Plains Ojibway also resided in villages along the Assiniboine from White HorsePlains to Brandon House. These Ojibway were in fact all part of the White Horse PlainBuffalo hunt and entered the high plains to hunt together with the Half-Breeds. Thus,while Cuthbert Grant was using the young men among the Metis for his challenges to theHudson’s Bay Company, he was also drawing in young warriors from among the PortageBands.By 1815, Little Shell II had become chief and negotiated treaties for the group up untilhis death in 1874. His son, Little Shell III then assumed leadership of the group from1875 until his death in 1900. This group was intermarried with the Metis along Red River and the Assiniboine to Baie St. Paul (Saulteaux Village), St. Francois Xavier and FortEllice. A one point when Jean Baptiste Wilkie was the chief of the Metis group they hada fortified village at Woods End near Towner, North Dakota. This was subsequentlyattacked and destroyed by the Dakota. Wilkie had also built a mound south of Devil’sLake along the Sheyenne River to demark the border between the Chippewa/Metis andthe Dakota. The groups met numerous times in the vicinity of Devil’s Lake to negotiatetreaties which were continually being broken. The Metis/Chippewa group asserted itshunting rights when they defeated the Dakota at the Battle of the Grand Coteau near DogDen Butte in 1851.For decades these people had been hunting to the west along the Missouri Coteau, intothe Milk River region of Montana, and the Cypress Hills area of Saskatchewan andAlberta. They were also significantly intermarried with the Plains Cree and Assiniboine(Nakota) people.Kieth Richotte Jr., an enrolled member of Turtle Mountain Band, outlines the followingTurtle Mountain Band development:
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Throughout the nineteenth century the role of head chief more or less passed throughthe hands of one family, with each successive leader adopting the name of Little Shell
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The Ojibway and Metis women cultivated gardens including the ones at the Half Way Bank summer village on the Assiniboine River.
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Kieth Steven Richotte Jr., ““We the Indians of the Turtle Mountain Reservation…”: Rethinking TribalConstitutionalism Beyond the Colonialist/Revolutionary Dialectic.” University of Minnesota Ph. D.dissertation, 2009: 53-55.
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Samuel Poe added this note
The April 6, 1876 treaty negotiations are very important. What followed soon after, was the 1876-1882 Black Hills War and Nez Perce War. It was the Ojibwa's who fought those wars against the whites. Chief Big Bear signed the December 8, 1882 treaty which ended the war. On December 21, 1882 the vast Turtle Mountain Reservation was established. The information is there but is foggy.
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