Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

January 2, 1881 Battle of Poplar River

This battle is quite suspicious. According to historians, large numbers of Ojibways were persuaded to surrender in late 1880. Poplar, Montana was established in 1880 or around same time of this battle. Battle of Poplar River was a part of Mullan Road War. A list of Mullan Road War battles is above. What actually happened in very early January of 1881, was another large group of Ojibways from Turtle Mountain Reservation, were forced to relocate to Fort Peck Reservation. I suspect third Blackfeet Reservation was eradicated in 1868. Fourth Blackfeet Reservation, Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Reservation and Fort Peck Reservation were actually set aside in 1868. There was already an American military presence in northeastern Montana at that time and there could be a cover-up concerning events of this battle. Historians claim that those Ojibways who surrendered at Poplar became very uncomfortable. It led to American Soldiers stationed at Poplar calling for reinforcements. A force of over 180 American Soldiers left Fort Keough, Montana and trekked 200 miles north to reach Poplar, to reinforce over 100 American Soldiers already there.

After those new American reinforcements arrived, over 300 American Soldiers commenced to using their howitzers, machine guns, and revolvers against 100s of innocent Ojibways, on Sunday January 2, 1881. Ojibway Soldiers were driven away from Poplar to a wooded area, followed by American Soldiers. After reaching that wooded area, American Soldiers commenced to using their howitzers on them. Within a short time, Anishinabe military commanders surrendered. Anishinabe casualties were 8 killed and an unknown number were wounded. I don't know what white casualties were. At least 324 Ojibways surrendered after this battle. Some 60 or more escaped up to Canada. This battle ended war for control of Montana.

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