Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
Ermineskin First Nation & History
They, along with the Louis Bull, Montana, Paul, and Samson Chippewa's, have links to Montana. Looking at maps of Alberta from the late 19th century and early 20th century, the Montana Reserve which the Ermineskin, Louis Bull, Paul, and Samson are a part of, does not show up until 1901. Even later for Paul. A land loss supposedly happened in 1901. In 1909, the Montana Reserve begins to show up regularly on maps of Alberta. The Montana Reserve has strong links to the Little Shell Chippewa's of Montana.
The history of the Montana Reserve which includes Ermineskin, Louis Bull, Paul, and Samson goes back to the 1896 deportation of the Chippewa's from around Great Falls, Montana and also from around the Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation which later on had it's name changed to Rocky Boy Reservation. Click here to read about the deportations. After the Chippewa's (they were from the Little Shell Chippewa's of Montana) learned they were going to be forced to leave the Great Falls, Montana region where most Little Shell Chippewa's live now, chief Buffalo Coat reacted by negotiating with white leaders. Supposedly chief Little Bear was to lead these Chippewa's but chief Buffalo Coat did. Keep that in mind when reading the newspaper article. A Chippewa leader (chief Little Bear) was chief Buffalo Coats leading adviser. Chief Little Bear had extremely good reasons to oppose the deportation. Also keep it in mind that the Cree are really Chippewa. Before 1896, the Bobtail Chippewa's originally were set aside a large Reserve where the Montana Reserve is now located. It included land to Buffalo Lake which is to the south. They were probably renegades from the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. Many joined other Chippewa's native to Alberta where the O'Chiese Chippewa's now live and those who honored the first treaties including the Foothills Ojibway Society of Alberta and the Nakcowinewak Nation. How did the deportation happen?
Chief Little Shell III and 1895
In May of 1895, several Chippewa leaders barricaded themselves in a fort. This fort was supposedly located in North Dakota. However, it was located in Montana. Chief Little Shell III and chief Red Thunder, were continuing to honor the treaty which set aside the vast Little Shell Chippewa's Blackfeet Reservation. Around 1892, they sent a letter to the government of the United States notifying them they would no longer negotiate about ceding the vast Little Shell Chippewa Indians Blackfeet Reservation. What followed by the United States was fraudulent. After barricading themselves in that fort, a force of white police officers were sent to the fort in early May of 1895. They refused to negotiate. The Chippewa leaders eventually surrendered. Shortly after, chief Little Shell III showed up with 150 Chippewa soldiers. However, after learning 87 year old chief Red Thunder and the other Chippewa leaders had surrendered, chief Little Shell III bravely surrendered. All were forced to leave Montana for the fabricated Turtle Mountain Reservation located in Rolette County, North Dakota. About a year later the forced relocations commenced. At Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation a war nearly erupted. The United States agreed to leave most of the Little Shell Chippewa's of Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation alone. Most of the Little Shell Chippewa's who were relocated to Alberta, were from the Great Falls, Montana region.
The 1909 Forced Relocations and Land Loss
In 1908 and 1909, the Little Shell Chippewa's of north central Montana, southwestern Montana, and western Montana were feeling unrest about the illegal land acts which stole their vast Reservation. After the Swan Valley Massacre of 1908, chief Rocky Boy negotiated with white leaders about having new Chippewa Reservations set aside in Montana and Alberta. Actually it was to find new homes for the terrified Chippewa's. Most were forced to relocate to the Montana Reserve in Alberta. The Montana Reserve was originally much larger. It extended south to Buffalo Lake, west past Buck Lake to British Columbia, and north to Wabamun Lake where the Paul Reserve is located. Pigeon Lake is within the original Reserve. Like the Montana Reserve, the Paul Reserve does not show up on Alberta maps until after 1901. The Montana Reserve covered far more than 31.5 sq. mi. Later on, some of the Chippewa's or Ojibwa's who honored the treaty which set aside the original Montana Reserve, agreed to the theft of much of their Reserve. They are the O'Chise-Sunchild. Below is a map of the original Rocky Boy Reservation. It was greatly reduced in size after chief Rocky Boy died in 1916. It was probably set aside in the 1880s.
The Little Shell Chippewa Indians Blackfeet Reservation
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