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Daniel Bear Paw Mitchell

Daniel Bear Paw Mitchell

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A profile of Dan Mitchell of Fort Peck. He was a plains hunter and interpreter.
A profile of Dan Mitchell of Fort Peck. He was a plains hunter and interpreter.

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Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on May 23, 2014
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Daniel E. Ma-To-Na-Pa "Bear Paw" Mitchell.

(1864 -1940)
By Margaret Robinson and Lawrence Barkwell
Margaret Robinson writes:
My ot!er" Rose Mary Mitc!ell (enrolled at #t$ %eck) &assed away in '008 and (
began working on o)r *aily !istory w!en s!e was ill$ +!e lo,ed o)r -ati,e
*aily !istory and it was always well known t!at .ol$ /a,id /awson Mitc!ell
was in o)r lineage$ 0owe,er" ( didn1t know t!e Metis *actor in o)r *aily !istory
)ntil ( started doing t!e researc!$ ( a so t!ank*)l t!at t!e Metis *aily lines were
sa,ed t!ro)g! scri& doc)ents$ ( a o* i2ed descent and w!en ( learned abo)t
t!e Metis ( *elt a real connection$ My ot!er was 3ssiniboine" .ree (as ( now
know) and %ai)te (on !er aternal side)$ +!e arried an (ris!an" y *at!er %a)l
.lark" so ( !a,e always !ad t!at d)al !eritage$ ( a t!ank*)l to !a,e t!e
o&&ort)nity to s!are o)r *aily !istory and in &artic)lar" y great grand*at!er"
/aniel 4/an5 Mitc!ell$
( disco,ered t!e .ree lineage bot! *ro /an1s aternal and &aternal sides$ /an1s
ot!er" (sabelle +t$ 6erain" was listed as a i2ed .ree (ndian in an 1886 (ndian
cens)s doc)ent as well as ot!er &laces$ +!e s&oke #renc! *l)ently$ 0is
grand*at!er" .ol$ /a,id /awson Mitc!ell" 4arried5 a woan naed Marie
/esc!a&s" also i2ed .ree$ 0er ot!er was a *)ll blood .ree woan known as
4Mot!er /esc!a&s5 (s!e was arried to t!e in*ao)s #rancois /esc!a&s)$

Mot!er /esc!a&s" .ree (rig!t) by 7arl Boder$ %!oto co)rtesy o* 8iki&edia#ile: 8oan o* t!e +nake
tribe and woan o* t!e .ree tribe$
1
/an Mitc!ell li,ed in #ort %eck ost o* !is li*e and ( )nco,ered a lot o*
interesting !istory abo)t !is li*e$ Be*ore o,ing to #ort %eck" /an li,ed wit! !is
*aily on t!e &lains o* Manitoba$ /an !)nted b)**alo 9)st like !is *at!er and
traded *or t!eir li,ing$ 3 *ellow sco)t describes /an: 40e was like all t!e ot!er
breeds at t!at tie and was r)nning b)**aloes" !e was li,ing wit! !is *at!er at t!at
tie" /a,id Mitc!ell$5 0is *at!er" /a,id aka 4Bloody 7ni*e"5 described !is
occ)&ation in a scri& doc)ent as a &lains !)nter$ 3not!er *riend says !e knew
/an *ro t!eir c!ild!ood in +t$ #rancois" Manitoba$
8!en /an was '1 years old" !e enlisted in t!e Royal .anadian Mo)nted %olice
(R.M%) as a sco)t and inter&reter$ ( disco,ered t!ro)g! .anadian arc!i,es t!at
t!ere was a long battle between /an and t!e .anadian go,ernent o,er w!et!er
!e ser,ed as a sco)t and inter&reter in t!e R.M% towards t!e end o* t!e Lo)is
Riel o,eent$ :!e .anadian go,ernent co&ensated soldiers and sco)ts t!at
ser,ed d)ring t!e )&rising wit! eit!er oney or land ;Bo)nty +cri&<$ /an" like
any o* !is *ellow sco)ts" so)g!t co&ensation$ :!e go,ernent claied !e
ne,er ser,ed" and /an claied !e did$ :!e corres&ondence itsel* was &retty
interesting and re*lected !ow t!e go,ernent t!o)g!t o* Metis &eo&le$ #or
e2a&le" in a re&ort written by =$ %$ .aeron (R.M%)" !e writes" 4>t!ere is a
c!ance t!at Mitc!ell" w!o a&&ears to be abo,e t!e ental standard o* t!e ot!er
breeds" ay !a,e been dece&ti,e in !a,ing t!ese breeds gi,e *alse stateents$5 (
also wondered w!et!er y great grand*at!er !ad a con*lict wit! ser,ing and
&atrolling t!e bo)ndary line aong !is own &eo&le$ (n t!e end" t!e go,ernent
did not recogni?e !is ser,ice des&ite t!e )lti&le witnesses and doc)entation !e
&ro,ided$
/aniel 4Bear %aw5 Mitc!ell was born on #ebr)ary '8" 1864 at 8inni&eg" Manitoba$ /an
is t!e son o* /a,id =ose&! 4Bloody 7ni*e5 Mitc!ell (b$ May 1841" Misso)ri" died circa
1900) and (sabelle +t$ 6erain$ :!ey arried on 3)g)st 18" 186' in +t$ #rancois @a,ier"
Manitoba$ (sabelle was t!e da)g!ter o* #rancois +t$ 6erain (b$ 1A81) and Lo)ise
+a)cier dit .!atea)$ (sabelle +t$ 6erain was born on =)ne 14" 1841 in +t$ #rancois
@a,ier" and died on 3&ril B" 19'9 in Roose,elt .o)nty" Montana$ (sabelle was *irst
arried to #rancois La#reniere in 18C9$ +!e t!en arried /a,id =ose&! Mitc!ell" t!e son
o* /a,id /awson Mitc!ell and Marie /esc!a&s on 3)g)st 18" 186' at +t$ #rancois
@a,ier$ +)bseD)ently s!e arried Robert B)rton on #ebr)ary ''" 190B at 8ol* %oint"
Montana$
/aniel Mitc!ell enlisted in t!e Royal .anadian Mo)nted %olice 3&ril 1" 188C$ 0e t!en
enlisted in t!e E+ 3ry on =)ne 18" 1894$ 3*ter !is .anadian ser,ice" /an !ad o,ed to
t!e #ort %eck area and arried an 3ssiniboine woan" L)la 6ar*ield$ 0e becae a E$+$
.iti?en and eber o* t!e #ort %eck 3ssiniboineF+io)2 :ribe$ /an Mitc!ell carried
!isel* as an 3ssiniboine and was enrolled at #ort %eck" b)t ( only see t!e MetisF.ree
lineage$ (1 not s)re i* !e was ado&ted in t!e tribe by arriage to !is 3ssiniboine wi*e G
'
or &er!a&s t!e .ree linage was closely related to t!e 3ssiniboine .ree +&eakers Band
w!ic! !e claied to be associated wit!$
/an Mitc!ell1s *irst arriage was to Lo)isa or L)la 8a ya wa wi yan 6ar*ield in 1888 in
8ol* %oint" Montana$ 0e t!en arried 8inona 7oon 8inn Mitc!ell on 3&ril 8" 191B in
%o&lar" Montana Roose,elt .o)nty$ 0e arried Mary or Hli?abet! /a)&!ine on Ictober
4" 19'B in %o&lar" Roose,elt .o)nty" Montana$
:!is &!oto circa 1910 was &ro,ided by Margaret Robinson
1
$ /an Mitc!ell (on le*t)" is s!own wit! !is
ot!er" (sabelle +t$ 6erain B)rton (centre)"and !is sister +ara! Mitc!ell .o)rc!ene (rig!t) !olding baby
Roseary .o)rc!ene$
/an and !is *aily settled co*ortably into t!e #ort %eck area and !e ser,ed in
t!e E$+$ 3ry as a &ri,ate in a co&any o* (ndian sco)ts in t!e /akota territories
d)ring 1894$ 8e were told !e ser,ed as a sco)t *or 6eneral Miles w!ile in t!e
E$+$ 3ry$ 0e later ser,ed as c!ie* o* t!e #ort %eck (ndian &olice and agency
inter&reter on t!e reser,ation$
1
Margaret Robinson notes: 0is ot!er" (sabelle +t$ 6erain is Metis" s!own in t!e black o)rning dress$
+!e was born in 1841 at +t$ #rancois @a,ier" Manitoba$ +!e was arried to /an1s *at!er" /a,e Mitc!ell
4Bloody 7ni*e5$ /a,e Mitc!ell was t!e son o* well-known 3erican .ol$ /a,id /awson Mitc!ell"
+)&erintendent o* (ndian 3**airs in +t$ Lo)is$ .ol$ Mitc!ell !ad a *ew 4co)ntry5 wi,es and *at!ered
c!ildren w!ile in t!e *)r trade$ I)r line coes *ro t!e /esc!a&s *aily o* Manitoba" .anada$ .ol$
Mitc!ell 4arried5 Marie /esc!a&s" t!e da)g!ter o* t!e in*ao)s #rancois /esc!a&s w!o killed
.anadian go,ernor Robert +e&le in t!e Red Ri,er assacre o* 1816$ /esc!a&s *led to t!e Misso)ri and
was in t!e *)r trade w!ere !e et .ol$ Mitc!ell at #ort Enion$
B
/an1s *at!er and wi*e" /a,e and (sabelle Mitc!ell" also *lo)ris!ed in t!e #ort
%eck area &ro,iding a good li*e *or t!esel,es cattle ranc!ing$
:!e *ollowing is an H2cer&t *ro Treasured Years Roose,elt .o)nty:
3not!er early ranc!er was /a,e Mitc!ell$ 0e was &art (ndian and !is wi*e was
#renc! (ndian$ Mr$ Mitc!ell was a tra&&er" !)nter and (ndian trader all o* !is li*e$
Harly in t!e *all" Mr$ Mitc!ell wo)ld load !is sleds wit! *ood and ot!er
&ro,isions" take !is dog teas and start *or t!e nort! co)ntry" tra&&ing and
bartering wit! t!e (ndians$ 8!en s&ring cae !e wo)ld load !is sleds wit! *)r
&elts and start !oe$ /)ring t!ese e2&editions !e )s)ally acD)ired a *ew !ead o*
!orses$ :!ese !e wo)ld dri,e !oe" t)rn o)t to gra?e )ntil sleek and *at$ :!en !e
wo)ld start on a trading e2&edition to .anada$ (n tie !e started trading !orses
*or cattle w!ic! !e dro,e !oe to t!e #ort %eck Reser,ation$ (n t!e early 1880s"
Mitc!ell began !is cattle ranc!ing o&eration in earnest$ :!e Mitc!ell ranc! was
b)ilt )& abo)t two iles east o* 8ol* %oint on t!e bank o* Little 8ol* .reek$ 0e
)sed t!e brand J/MJ on t!e le*t side$ M)c! credit is d)e !i *or t!e e**ort !e
ade to interest t!e (ndian &eo&le in ranc!ing$
(n 1908 =aes 6ar*ield" t!e .!airan o* t!e 3ssiniboines at #ort %eck" was acco&anied
by /an Mitc!ell" t!e 3gency (nter&reter" on a tri& to 8as!ington /$.$ :!e &)r&ose o*
t!is ,isit was to cons)lt wit! t!e (ndian /e&artent abo)t a +enate Bill t!at wo)ld allot
A0 acres o* irrigable land and '00 acres o* gra?ing land to t!e &eo&le o* t!e #ort %eck
reser,e and a large n)ber o* t!e Band1s Mic!i* ado&tees t!at were to be co,ered by t!is
arrangeent$ In 3&ril 6" 1908 t!ey were in*ored t!at t!e Bill !ad &assed in .ongress
gi,ing eac! (ndian at #ort %eck B'0 acres$
'
'
7ennet! +!ields =r$ et al$ History of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian
Reservation Montana 18!"$ 0elena: Montana 0istorical +ociety %ress: '008: 196-19A$
4
8alter .lark and /an Mitc!ell" /elegation to 8as!ington /$.$ 3&ril 1908 (&!otogra&! co)rtesy book
History of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation Montana 18!" by
7ennet! +!ields =r$ et al$ Montana 0istorical +ociety %ress: '008$)
+adly" d)ring t!e winter o* 1908" /an1s wi*e L)la becae ill and died$ +!e was
only B4 years old and died o* a l)ng-related ailent lea,ing be!ind se,en
c!ildren: 3l,ina" #red" Ers)la" :!eodore" Mary" L)cy and ado&ted son /aniel
Mitc!ell" =r$ 3 *aily story is told t!at is was .!ristas tie and t!e c!ildren
were waiting *or !er to coe *or .!ristas" b)t s!e ne,er cae !oe$ +!e was in
a sanitari) *or :B b)t ne,er reco,ered$ :!e c!ildren were sent o)t to relati,es
and go,ernent boarding sc!ools a*ter !er deat!$ My grand*at!er" #red Mitc!ell"
was sent to t!e #ort +!aw Boarding sc!ool$ /an rearried and was widowed
twice ore$ 0e died =)ne 18" 1940 at t!e age o* A6$
My ot!er wo)ld !a,e been ,ery s)r&rised to disco,er all t!e !istory re,ealed
d)ring t!is researc!$ +!e s!ared y lo,e *or genealogy and always enco)raged
e$ +!e &assed be*ore ( was able to s!are t!e b)lk o* t!is researc!$ 0owe,er" (
!a,e been able to s!are o)r new*o)nd Metis !istory wit! y *aily and ( !a,e
et any new relati,es as well$
C
L)la 6ar*ield Mitc!ell" /an1s wi*e" !olding baby Ers)la Mitc!ell$
%!oto co)rtesy o* Margaret Robinson
%!oto .o)rtesy o* Margaret Robinson
/an K !is c!ildren: L-R back row Ers)la (Bro&!y)" #red (y grand*at!er)" L)cy$ #ront row L-R Mary
(Lerdon)" :!eodore" /an and 3l,ina (0awley)
6
%ortrait (#ront) o* Mato--a&e or Ma-:o--a-%a (Bear %aw)" called /aniel Mitc!ell" =an)ary 19" 190C$
%!oto Lot 60: Bae Re* 3lb) C: +io)an 0'896600" -ational 3nt!ro&ological 3rc!i,es"
+it!sonian (nstit)tion
Ibit)ary o* /aniel Mitc!ell
/aniel Mitc!ell" one o* 6eneral Miles1 +co)ts" dies s)ddenly a*ter lingering illness$
/aniel Mitc!ell" A6" &assed away at t!e 3tkinson Meorial 0os&ital !ere early :)esday
orning a*ter an illness o* se,eral ont!s$ 3d,anced age was t!e ca)se o* !is deat!$ Mr$
Mitc!ell was one o* t!e *ew reaining old (ndian sco)ts in t!e nort!west and one o* t!e
*ew t!at co)ld boast o* t!e *act t!at !e ser,ed as a sco)t bot! in t!e Enited +tates ary
and in t!e royal o)nted &olice o* .anada$ 0e ser,iced as a &ri,ate in a co&any o*
(ndian sco)ts in t!e E$+$ ary in t!e /akota territories d)ring 1894" being gi,en an
A
!onorable disc!arge in -o,eber o* t!e sae year$ 3*ter !is disc!arge *ro t!e E$+$
ary !e enlisted in t!e Royal .anadian Mo)nted %olice" ser,ing as a sco)t and
inter&reter" wit! .a&tain Mac/onnell" at 8ood Mo)ntain" +askatc!ewan" .anada$
;Hditors: 3ct)ally" /aniel Mitc!ell enlisted in t!e Royal .anadian Mo)nted %olice on
3&ril 1" 188C$ 0e t!en enlisted in t!e E+ 3ry on =)ne 18" 1894$< 0is (ndian nae was
Bear %aw$ 3*ter being disc!arged *ro t!e E$+$ 3ry" !e cae to t!e #ort %eck (ndian
reser,ation w!ere !e was c!ie* o* t!e #ort %eck (ndian %olice *or a n)ber o* years$ 0e
later becae an inter&reter on t!e reser,ation$ Mr$ Mitc!ell retired *ro t!e (ndian
ser,ice in 19B6 wit! &etition$ 0e was an !onorary eber o* t!e 3erican Legion$
4/an5 will be greatly issed by bot! !is (ndian and w!ite *riends as !e !as been a
*ailiar and well know *ig)re on t!e #ort %eck reser,ation *or any years$ /aniel
Mitc!ell was born #ebr)ary '8" 1864" at 8inni&eg" .anadaM" to t!e &arents o* /a,id and
(sabelle Mitc!ell$ 0is grand*at!er was a !ig! ranking o**icer in t!e Enited +tates ary$ (n
1888 !e was )nited in arriage to L)la 6ar*ield at 8ol* %oint$ :o t!is )nion" eig!t
c!ildren were born$ :!ose s)r,i,ing are Mrs$ 3le2 Lerdon o* %o&lar" Mrs$ Lina 0awley
o* +&okane" 8as!ington" #reddie Mitc!ell o* Ba&c!)le" 3ri?ona" Mrs$ Ers)la Bro&!y o*
0ines Iregon and :eddie Mitc!ell o* %o&lar$
MIbit)ary said !e was born in 8inni&eg" b)t t!e book 4:!e 3ssiniboines5 said !e was born in 8!ite
Hart!" -/$
/aniel 4Bear %aw5 Mitc!ell" Ild :ie (ndian +co)t
%!oto co)rtesy o* Margaret Robinson
8
/aniel H$ 4Ma-to-na-&a5 (Bear %aw) Mitc!ell (1864-1940)" t!e son o* (sabelle +t$ 6eraine (b$ 1841) and
/a,id =ose&! 4Bloody 7ni*e5 Mitc!ell (1841-1900) o* +t$ #rancois @a,ier$ %!oto co)rtesy o* Margaret
Robinson$
Metis +cri& clais
Mitc!ell" (sabellaN *or !er deceased da)g!ter" #lorOstine Mitc!ellN address: 8ol*
%oint" MontanaN born: 18A6 at +t$ #rancois @a,ier" MontanaN died: 1889 at 8ol*
%ointN *at!er: =ose&! (/a,e) Mitc!ell (MOtis)N ot!er: (sabella +t$ 6erain
(MOtis and de&onent)N !eirs: /aniel Mitc!ell" scri& cert$: *or /" no$ 80' *or
PB4$'8N (sabella Mitc!ell" scri& cert$: *or /" no$ 804 *or PB4$'8N Marie Rose
Mitc!ell" scri& cert$: *or /" no$ 806 *or PB4$'8N 0yacint!e Mitc!ell" scri& cert$:
*or /" no$ 808 *or PB4$'9Q -ancy Mitc!ell" scri& cert$: *or /" no$ 810 *or
PB4$'9N +ara! Mitc!ell" scri& cert$: *or /" no$ 81' *or PB4$'9N Marie Lo)ise
.!ase" scri& cert$: *or /" no$ 814 *or PB4$'9N clai no$ '0$
+cri& a**ida,it *or /aniels" (sabellaN wi*e o* 8$ /anielsN born: 18C8N *at!er:
.olonel Mitc!ell (3erican)N ot!er: -ancy /esc!a&s (MOtis)N clai no$:
'9BBN date o* iss)e: May '8" 18A9
Mitc!ell" (sabellaN *or !er deceased da)g!ter" =ose&!ine Mitc!ellN address: 8ol*
%oint" MontanaN born: 6 Ictober" 18A8 at .y&ress 0illsN died: #all" 1899 at #ort
+!aw" MontanaN *at!er: =ose&! Mitc!ell (MOtis)N ot!er: (sabella +t$ 6erain
(MOtis and de&onent)N scri& iss)ed to /aniel Mitc!ell" a brot!er o* deceased" *or
'40 acresN clai no$ '1$
9
Mitc!ell" (sabellaN *or !er da)g!ter" Marie Lo)ise Mitc!ellN wi*e o* =o!n 7$
.!aseN address: 8ol* %oint" MontanaN born: 18A' near .y&ress 0ills"
3ssiniboineN *at!er: =ose&! Mitc!ell (MOtis" deceased)N ot!er: (sabella +t$
6erain (MOtis and de&onent)N scri& cert$: *or H" no$ 16CN *ile re*$ 1B080C3N
clai no$ 19$
.o&iled and edited by Lawrence Barkwell
.oordinator o* Metis 0eritage and 0istory Researc!
Lo)is Riel (nstit)te
10

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