Mrs. Rondeau Talks About Father Belcourt

Mrs. Catherine Rondeau Tells Activities of Father Belcourt.

Taken from a newspaper article approximately 1935 - Pembina, North Dakota By in !" orkin# Pembina, ND - This historic bor$er %illa#e boast a real &merican princess" 'he is (rs" )atherine *ena +on$ea,, -. year ol$ #ran$$a,#hter of *ittle 'hell, note$ )hief of the T,rtle (o,ntain )hippewa, in the early half of the nineteenth cent,ry" /n a$$ition to her $istin#,ishe$ linea#e the Pembina princess has many claims to $istinction" 'he was born in a teepee on the site of D,nseith, ND, 0,ly 1-, 1-19, an$ her life has spanne$ the lon# perio$ from the late exploration era to the present2 she li%e$ the life of an /n$ian mai$en ,ntil she was well alon# in her teens an$ in that time her $iet was confine$ almost excl,si%ely to pemmican" hile these facts cloak her early life with romance an$ make her memory a rich storeho,se of information abo,t that perio$, a more important contrib,tion is her recollection of the celebrate$ frontier priest, 3ather 4"&" Belco,rt, in whose ho,se she li%e$ at alhalla an$ tra$e$ at 3t" 4arry" hen (rs" +on$ea, was a #irl, /n$ians an$ mixe$ bloo$s sol$ f,rs at 3ort 4arry" innipe# $i$ not exist then an$ they co,l$ obtain little in the way of s,pplies, chiefly #,ns an$ amm,nition, altho,#h many /n$ians still ,se$ bows an$ arrows" Trips to 3ort 4arry were ma$e with oxcarts an$ tra%ois, the latter bein# poles, one en$ attache$ to a pony5s si$e an$ the other $ra##in# on the #ro,n$" 3rei#ht to be carrie$ was attache$ to the poles hi#h eno,#h to clear the #ro,n$" 3ather Belco,rt was recalle$ to 6astern )ana$a in 1-59 an$ the chieftain5s #ran$$a,#hter ret,rne$ to the /n$ian camp" & few years later she accompanie$ her parents to 3ort &mbercrombie where the won$ers of ci%ili7ation were ,nfol$e$ before her in startlin# array" (rs" +on$ea, explaine$ that this season5s styles $i$ not interest /n$ians mai$ens of her time" 'he sai$ the women an$ #irls in the camp where she li%e$ wore waist an$ skirts an$ sometimes a one-piece #arment of woolen cloth wo%en in a form similar to blanket material" The /n$ians knew nothin# of the art of knittin# an$ women5s stockin#s were le##in#s ma$e of the blanket-like material" &t first the le##in#s were wrappe$ with strips of hi$e or cloth an$ later b,ttons were obtaine$ from the whites" (occasins an$ bea$s complete$ the cost,me, except on certain occasions when #aily $ecorate$ skin s,its were worn" There was a yo,n# 3rench %oya#er at the fort from (ontreal" The comely )hippewa princess fo,n$ fa%or in the eyes of this yo,n# %oya#er an$ after a s,itable co,rtship they were marrie$ at the fort 0,ne 5, 1-.., by 3ather 0enny an$ went to li%e on a claim taken by the yo,n# h,sban$ on the )heyenne +i%er abo,t 89 miles west of 3ar#o" &fter a few years the h,sban$ became blin$" 3ifty-ei#ht years a#o the co,ple mo%e$ to Pembina an$ there (rs" +on$ea, s,pporte$ her h,sban$ an$ 18 chil$ren by washin# an$ performin#

other menial tasks" +on$ea, $ie$ 8- years a#o" :f the 18 chil$ren only fo,r are li%in#; (rs" *,cy Blon$in, (rs" )aroline Boyette, Thomas of Pembina an$ Dan of De%ils *ake" (rs" +on$ea, ha$ one brother, 3rank, who li%e$ in the /n$ian camp an$ three halfbrother, Theo$ore, 0oseph an$ *o,is" 'he is the only one of the chil$ren li%in#" T+/B6 <=NT6D B=33&*: >?es, / was born in a teepee ma$e of b,ffalo hi$e"> the Princess Pembina reco,nte$" >There was nothin# aro,n$ D,nseith when / was a little #irl" *ater / went to li%e with my #ran$father )hief *ittle 'hell, near alhalla, an$ from there / accompanie$ my parents an$ other mixe$ bloo$s an$ /n$ians on b,ffalo h,nts each fall" e ne%er ha$ to #o f,rther than +olla @+olla is A miles from Belco,rtB to #et all we wante$"> >(y mother, a $a,#hter of )hief *ittle 'hell, was a mixe$ bloo$" <er 6n#lish name was (a$eline, she ha$ an /n$ian name which / ha%e for#otten" (y father was Dan Pascal, a C,ebec 3renchman" (y father was away a #reat $eal h,ntin# an$ trappin# an$ workin# as a %oya#er" (other an$ / li%e$ in #ran$fathers lo$#e" /n the /n$ian camp we s,bsiste$ almost entirely on pemmican, altho,#h in the s,mmer we wo,l$ fin$ wil$ t,rnips an$ some other wil$ %e#etables an$ berries" The )hippewa ha$ li%e$ better many years earlier in (innesota, b,t were $ri%en o,t onto the prairies an$ into the T,rtle (o,ntains" They $epen$e$ on the b,ffaloes for foo$, clothin# an$ shelter as the 'io,x $i$"> B=/*T 3*:=+ (/** >/ ha$ not taste$ potatoes, tea, coffee, s,#ar, pepper, milk or b,tter ,ntil we went to 3ort &mbercrombie at the time of the )i%il ar, when / was 11 years ol$" 3ather Belco,rt set ,p a flo,r mill at alhalla in 1-5. an$ while / m,st ha%e eaten some of the brea$ ma$e from this flo,r, / $o not remember it" / know that the fine white brea$ we ha$ at 3ort &bercrombie seeme$ mar%elo,s to me"> (rs" +on$ea, thinks her #ran$father, *ittle 'hell $ie$ when she was abo,t fo,r years ol$" <e knew $eath was imminent an$ arran#e$ for his little princess to enter the home of 3ather Belco,rt" 3ort,nately her mother was able to accompany her as ho,sekeeper" >B,t there wasn5t m,ch ho,sekeepin# to be $one,> the princess ch,ckle$" >The priest li%e$ in a tiny lo# ho,se witho,t any floor an$ piles of b,ffalo robes an$ blankets ser%e$ as be$s" Near by was a lar#er lon# str,ct,re which ser%e$ as a mission an$ school" /t stoo$ on a sli#ht eminence D,st west of alhalla" There abo,t 59 mixe$ bloo$s an$ /n$ian chil$ren were ta,#ht catechism an$ there were some simple school lessons" / remember that 3ather Belco,rt was assiste$ by two n,ns" &ll three were 3rench an$ as there were many 3rench mixe$ bloo$s amon# ,s, most of ,s knew that lan#,a#e, b,t the priest an$ the two sisters ha$ mastere$ the )hippewa lan#,a#e also"> P+/6'T :P6N6D (/''/:N The recor$s show that 3ather Belco,rt abo,t this time erecte$ a mission b,il$in# 8- by 59 feet with a f,ll basement in which he li%e$" (rs" +on$ea, remembers this str,ct,re, b,t asserts the other also existe$" 'he was at alhalla at the time of the $eaths of the >(artyrs of 't" 0oe,> b,t was too yo,n# to be familiar with the $etails, except as she learne$ of them afterwar$s" The >martyrs> were protestant missionaries statione$ at

alhalla" They were; BenDamin Terry, kille$ in 1-58 by 'io,x, (r" )ornella an$ *eonar$ 'pencer also kille$ by 'io,x in 1-51 an$ (rs" Philena Barnar$ who s,cc,mbe$ to har$ships at the mission in 1-53" (rs" +on$ea, recalls 3ather Belco,rt as a kin$ly, acti%e man, who tra%ele$ abo,t a #reat $eal ministerin# to his /n$ian char#es" <e was keenly intereste$ in the welfare of his re$skinne$ bothers an$ se%eral times petitione$ ashin#ton in their behalf" &t that time there was little contact with the ol$er &merican settlements" 0oseph +olle an$ &nton 4in#r,s who ha$ opene$ a store at 't" 0oseph, near alhalla, Norman Eittson, )harles )a%ileer, " <" (oorehea$ an$ others ma$e trips to 't" Pa,l an$ 't" &nthony by oxcart or $o# team" There was no steam boat traffic on the +e$ +i%er ,ntil 1-59 an$ little ,ntil the 1-A95s"

)ompile$ an$ 6$ite$ by *awrence Barkwell )oor$inator of (etis <erita#e an$ <istory +esearch *o,is +iel /nstit,te

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