Milk River Metis Families

In 1882, U. S. Army troops encountered a group of “half breed” families, numbering about 1 people, li!ing along the "il# $i!er. %he troops proceeded to burn out their homes and force the families bac# into &anada. Apparently, the confrontation started 'hen the leaders of the mi(ed)blood families #idnapped a local sheriff 'ho 'as trying to collect ta(es from them. *uring his capti!ity, the sheriff made a list of the 2 indi!iduals, identified as the “principal men of the settlement” +,ealy -.1882/. ,e identified Ale( 0rien +0rillen/, one of the petitioner1s ancestors, as the “chief” of the “half breed” settlement2 he described another as “chief ad!isor.” 3nly 14 of the names on the document 'ere legible, and 1 of these indi!iduals 'ere the petitioner1s ancestors. %hey 'ere5 • • • • • • • • • • Ale(ander 0rien +b. 184 2 database reference 6 482-/, 7eon 7a!erdure, +b. abt. 18--2 68228/, Ale( 9isher +b. abt. 18212 6: ;:/, Ale( 9isher Sr.+b. abt. 18-12 :12</, St. =ierre "orin +b. abt 18-42 6:;82/, &harles >oseph "orin +b. 18-<2 6: 88/, Ale( ?ardipee +b. 18-22 6<<;8/, =ierre St. *enis +b. bef. 18-22 48 1/, @illiam Alyne +b. 18-:2 6;; 8/, and 7ouis 0elgarde +b. abt 18812 6-4-4/.

An analysis of the 1 men sho'ed they originated from the "Btis settlements of =embina &ounty in Corth *a#ota, or St. 0oniface and St. 9rancis =arishes in "anitoba. Se!en of the men or their spouses had mi(ed)blood =embina 0and ancestry, and many 'ere li!ing in the "Btis settlement area of =embina &ounty from the 18- 1s to the 18< 1s. "ost of them !entured into "ontana from the late 18; 1s to early 188 1s from their 'intering area of @ood "ountain in Sas#atche'an during buffalo hunting forays. 9our of these men and their families returned to "ontana after the Army e(pelled them, and one of those applied for &anadian "Btis scrip in 1884, suggesting he !ie'ed himself as part of a much larger ethnic group. In si( instances, either they or close relati!es 'ound up at the %urtle "ountain $eser!ation of Corth *a#ota in the 188 1s and 18: 1s suggesting a later affiliation 'ith that group rather than a “7ittle Shell &ommunity ?roup” in "ontana. 9our of them remained in &anada, mainly in Sas#atche'an, and t'o of those applied for &anadian "Btis scrip. In the fall of 1888, U. S. Army troops also rounded up and deported se!eral camps of small sets of “half breed” families in northern "ontana that had stolen and #illed some cattle. %hey probably numbered about 14 families, 'ith 1< men, 2- 'omen, and ;1 children +from about 1 intermarried families. %hey 'ere 0elgarde, Amyotte, *ecouteau, $ain!ille, =oitras, Alyne, =elletier, 3uellette, ,oule, and 7afournaise./


%he officer in charge of the Army detachment pro!ided a list of the names for 8 adults +all but t'o 'ere men/. 3ne e(ample of an ancestor included in the petitioner1s %urtle "ountain data sho'ed the dispersed nature of the migration and settlement patterns of these indi!iduals. %heodore 0rien 'as born about 18;: in "alta +along the ,ighline/ in =hillips &ounty. ,is father 'as Ale(ander 0rien, born in the %urtle "ountain region of Corth *a#ota around 18- . ,is mother Adelaide St. *enis 'as born in 1848. ,er place of birth 'as un#no'n, but may ha!e been in St. 0oniface or the St. 9rancis Da!ior =arishes. %he 0rien family 'as intermarried 'ith the AEure and =elletier families. %hese three families had connections to the "Btis settlements of St. 0oniface and St. 9rancis Da!ior =arishes in "anitoba, and in =embina &ounty in Corth *a#ota. In the 18< 1s and 18; 1s, members of all three families 'ere documented on =embina scrip and annuities, and during the 188 1s and 18: 1s 'ere recorded on %urtle "ountain $eser!ation censuses. %he St. *enis family 'as more closely connected to St. Corbert and St. 0oniface than =embina, but they did trace to a >erome family 'hich had one member identified as a =embina 0and of &hippe'a mi(ed)blood on annuities in the 18< 1s. %heodore 0rien1s father 'as listed on the 184 =embina &ounty census, but he spent most of his time mo!ing bet'een there and the %urtle "ountain region until the early 18; 1s 'hen he married his 'ife at @ood "ountain, Sas#atche'an. %hey had four children bet'een 18;8 and 18;:, one born in Sas#atche'an, t'o in "ontana, and one in an un#no'n place. Adelaide 0rien died in 188 in Falley &ounty, "ontana. %heodore 0rien1s father married his second 'ife ,elene 7andry, originally from the %urtle "ountain region, in 188 on the "il# $i!er in "ontana. 0et'een 1882 and 1: 8 they had 11 children. %he first four 'ere born +1882)18: / in Corth *a#ota near %urtle "ountain, si( of the last se!en +18:2)1: 8/ in "ontana, mainly in Falley or =hillips &ounty, 'hile one 'as born in Sas#atche'an. %here are many descendants in the modern membership through both 'i!es. After %heodore 0rien 'as born, his father, grandfather, and their families continued to mo!e bac# and forth in the region of the %urtle "ountain $eser!ation and the "il# $i!er in "ontana, 'ith e(cursions into Sas#atche'an. Some portions of the e(tended 0rien and AEure families 'ent to the %urtle "ountain region, 'hile some e!entually settled in "ontana. %he descendants of this 0rien line in the modern membership come from either %heodore 0rien or Gust t'o of his half)siblings. %heodore 0rien1s family probably spent much of the 18: 1s roaming around "ontana, most li#ely 'ith periodic stops at the %urtle "ountain $eser!ation. ,e married his 'ife, $ose ,oule, on the &ro' $eser!ation in southern "ontana in 1:12. She 'as born in St. >oseph in 18:<. %he ,oule 9amily 'as originally connected to the "Btis settlement areas at =embina &ounty and St. 9rancis Da!ior =arish, and portions of it 'ere later documented at the %urtle "ountain $eser!ation.


0et'een 1:12 and 1:2;, %heodore 0rien and his 'ife had si( children. %he first 'as born in Corth *a#ota. %he ne(t t'o 'ere born in 1:14 and 1:1; on the &ro' $eser!ation in southern "ontana. A third 'as born in 1:28 at @olf =oint $eser!ation in north eastern "ontana in $oose!elt &ounty. %he fourth 'as born in 1:2- at an un#no'n location. %he final child 'as born in 1:2; in S'eet ?rass, %oole &ounty, in north central "ontana on the &anadian border, but baptiEed in ,ingham in &ascade &ounty on the edge of the 9ront $ange near ?reat 9alls. 3ne year later, %heodore 0rien died in "alta in =hillips &ounty along the ,ighline. ,is 'ife $ose remarried a non)Indian. She had one child in 1:8< in ,a!re in ,ill &ounty along the ,ighline. She died sometime after 1:8< in the same place, and has only a fe' descendants from her second marriage in the modern membership. %he 9ederal census data from 1: to 1:8 sho'ed that %heodore 0rien or his close family members 'ere found in "alta +1: / in Falley &ounty along the ,ighline, then in @ilder +1:1 / in 9ergus &ounty, then bac# to "alta +1:2 /, and finally +1:8 / in 0o( Hlder +1:8 / in &hoteau &ounty, ,arlem in 0laine &ounty, and @olf =oint in $oose!elt &ounty, all of 'hich 'ere on the ,ighline. "ost of these settlements 'ere made up of large populations of non)Indians of !arying ethnicities. In most cases, the 0rien relati!es 'ere li!ing among small collections of e(tended family members, sometimes among small groupings of other people of "Btis ancestry. Iet the number and ma#eup of the 0rien family members and relati!es, and the "Btis li!ing near them, changed dramatically from one census year to the ne(t. %he a!ailable e!idence did not sho' the migration and settlement pattern of the 0riens 'as group based. $ather it indicated the migration and settlement 'as !ery indi!idualistic and 'idely dispersed. Source5
Summary under the &riteria and H!idence for 9inal *etermination Against the 9ederal Ac#no'1edgment of the 7ittle Shell %ribe of &hippe'a Indians of "ontana. Indian Affairs, 3ctober 2;, 2 :.

&ompiled by 7a'rence 0ar#'ell &oordinator of "etis ,eritage and ,istory $esearch 7ouis $iel Institute