Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
Ogima Big Bear
He was born around 1825, probably to an affluent Anishinabe military family. Ogima (chief) Big Bear (his Anishinabe name is Mis-sta-hi Mus-squa which means Big Bear) was born in Wisconsin. His son, Little Bear, told reporters his mother was born in Wisconsin. White historians have completely corrupted the historical information about chief Big Bear. A conspiracy hovers around the life of ogima Big Bear, or in Anishinabe, ogima Mis-sta-hi (could be pronounced as mis-ty) Mus-squa. Shortly before ogima Mis-sta-hi Mus-squa died, he requested from his sons (he had several sons and one may have been ogima Rocky Boy for all we know) that they return to their original homeland the whites drove them out of. Ogima Mis-sta-hi Mus-squa claimed he was driven out of his original homeland by the whites while still a young child. White historians claim that ogima Mis-sta-hi Mus-squa was born in western Saskatchewan (where the Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Chippewa's live), in the 1820s. That information alone tells a story because the whites had yet to colonize Saskatchewan, as well as Montana, in the 1820s and 1830s. According to historical records, ogima Mis-sta-hi Mus-squa wanted the one son of his who was devoted to peace, to return to their original homeland (Montana) because he knew the whites would tolerate him more than ogima Little Bear who may have been the famous Crazy Horse.
Chief Big Bear told his children that his family had been driven out of their original land by the white invaders while he was yet young. In the 1830s and 1840s, 10,000s of Chippewa's were leaving their lands in the Great Lakes region. What we don't know is the exact time of this exodus to the west by the Chippewa's chief Big Bear was among. In 1832, the United States set aside a 5 million acre Chippewa Reservation in Iowa and northwest Missouri. A migration of 10,000s of Chippewa's from southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, followed. Then in 1838-1839 another massive migration of 100,000 or more Chippewa's from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania happened. They migrated to western Missouri then into northeastern Kansas. They eventually migrated to southeastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico. Many migrated into Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. The Seven Fires Prophecy motivated the exodus.
It is the northern most group of Chippewa's chief Big Bear was among. Chief Big Bear's family probably arrived to either western Iowa, northwestern Missouri, or eastern Kansas between 1832 and 1838. From there, they joined the 70,000 or more Chippewa's who migrated to the Salt Lake Valley of northeastern Utah. While living there after they arrived between 1847 and 1848, chief Big Bear eventually moved to southeastern Idaho. He probably fought in the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War. His original homeland was probably Wisconsin. While in Utah his wife gave birth to his son Little Bear. This may have happened between 1847 and 1850. Little Bear was probably raised in southeastern Idaho. However, his family may have lived in Utah and Wyoming and even Montana.
Bear River Massacre
Sometime in the mid 1850s, the United States broke treaty promises and launched an invasion into the vast Chippewa Deseret Reservation. The war which followed escalated into the Snake River and Black Hills Wars. The Black Hills are really located in southwestern Montana. Lewis and Clark wrote that down in their journals. On January 29, 1863, the United States sent their soldiers to a Chippewa village located in what is now Franklin County, Idaho. Could be Franklin County, Kansas for all we know. The Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa's (the Saginaw's) had a Reservation in Franklin County, Kansas at the time they shared with the Brotherton, Munsee, and Stockbridge Chippewa's. Now if the Bear River Massacre actually happened in Franklin County, Kansas, there is then a problem. It means ogima Big Bear fled with his family west into the area in Colorado where Denver is located. They were not wanted there. In fact, chief Big Bear may have had family who were killed in the November 29, 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. They fled further to the west over the Rocky Mountains into northeastern Utah. From they they relocated to southeastern Idaho.
Either scenario is likely. Anyway, after chief Big Bear and his family settled down to live in Idaho, they were forced to relocate up to the Black Hills of southwestern Montana. This may have happened in the early or mid 1860s. By the mid 1860s, the United States intensified their settlement of the Black Hills of Montana but Chippewa soldiers were constantly sent to the Black Hills to battle the white invaders. Some of the white settlements were fortified. Most had garrisons of citizens who were armed with repeating rifles and revolvers. They could easily defend their settlements being they had superior weapons. The United States even launched an invasion to the Great Falls region in late 1865 and early 1866 but were driven out in defeat. Chief Big Bear obviously was an Anishinabe military commander during those times..
The 1876-1877 War and Exodus
In early 1876, the United States reinforced several of their fortifications in Montana and sent 1,000s more of their soldiers to Montana in May and June of that same year. It escalated on June 25, 1876, when Chippewa soldiers prevented 1,000s of United Soldiers and their Indian allies, from destroying their capitol located at what is now the Great Falls, Montana region. In late 1876, the United States launched a winter campaign which lasted into the early part of 1877. By the spring of 1877, Chippewa ogimak (leaders) knew they had to follow prophecy and commence another exodus. At first 10,000s of Chippewa's fled west into Idaho, Oregon, and Washington but the United States halted that exodus. In response, the Chippewa's then fled north into Alberta and Saskatchewan (around the Cypress Hills). Chief Big Bear and chief Sitting Bull led 10,000s of Chippewa's to the Cypress Hills. For the next 8 years little fighting took place. That could be as a result of a large Reservation Canada and the United States promised the Chippewa's.
The 1885 Northwest Rebellion
By early 1885, Chippewa leaders in Saskatchewan knew they were lied to. Canada had no intentions of honoring any agreements they reached with Chippewa leaders. Even before the 1885 Northwest Rebellion commenced, Canada was coercing many Chippewa's to leave the Cypress Hills and relocate to southeastern Saskatchewan where woodlands dominated the landscape. Chief Big Bear led large numbers of Chippewa's north into the region where Jackfish Lake is located in Saskatchewan. Chippewa leaders wanted a very large Reserve and Canada rejected. Chief Big Bear controlled a large Chippewa population between what is now Prince Albert and Onion Lake, Saskatchewan, and Frog Lake, Alberta. The Jackfish Lake region was their primary military location. Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan was one of their targets. It was located 68 miles northwest of Jackfish Lake and 9 miles from Alberta. On July 5, 1884 Louis Riel arrived to the area where Fish Creek, Saskatchewan is now located. Riel established a white colony and that ignited the 1885 Northwest Rebellion.
After Riel illegally established the white colony in Saskatchewan, the few whites and mixed bloods living there formed a civilan army. They were well armed with repeating rifles, revolvers, and machine guns. Canada also had other Forts in Saskatchewan known as Fort Battleford and Fort Carlton. Fort Battleford was located 17 miles south of Jackfish Lake. Fort Carlton was located 32 miles southwest of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Nearly all of the fighting during the 1885 Northwest Rebellion, was fought between Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt. Fort Carlton was first targeted by chief Big Bears soldiers in March of 1885. On March 27, Chippewa soldiers forced the whites to flee from Fort Carlton and took the fort.
On March 30, 1885, Chippewa soldiers took the town of Battleford. The 500 or so white and mixed bloods who lived in Battleford, fled to nearby Fort Battleford. Since they were well armed and Fort Battleford was a strong fortification, Chippewa soldiers did not attack the fort. The region between Fort Battleford and Fort Carlton was now under Chippewa control but Canada was in the process of sending reinforcements to Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, in Alberta chief Little Bear was leading scores of Chippewa soldiers to launch raids against unwanted whites. On April 2, 1885, chief Little Bear ordered his soldiers from the Yellow Quill Chippewa's to kill 9 whites at Frog Lake. It is known as the Frog Lake Massacre. The Frog Lake Massacre is the event which forced chief Little Bear to flee back to Montana. The next day, April 3, 1885, more Yellow Quill (aka Blue Quill) Chippewa's launched raids near what is now Saddle Lake, Alberta which is 53 miles west of Frog Lake, Alberta and 80 miles northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. On April 17, 1885, Fort Pitt was taken by Chippewa soldiers led by chief Big Bear. Big Bear let the white soldiers leave unharmed. On April 24, 1885 Chippewa soldiers attacked the whites at Fish Creek, Saskatchewan. Also on April 24, 1885, white reinforcements arrived to Fort Battleford. On April 26, 1885 Chippewa soldiers probably led by ogima Little Bear, launched a raid on a HBC post at Lac La Biche, Alberta which is 86 miles northwest of Frog Lake and 103 miles northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. It appears as if ogima Little Bear was leading a large number of Chippewa's to the northwest.
As more white soldiers were sent to Saskatchewan, chief Big Bear eventually agreed to surrender after he led a large number of Chippewa's up to the Loon Lake region of Saskatchewan (Loon Lake is 70 miles northwest of Jackfish Lake) in late May and early June of 1885. Big Bear bravely surrendered on July 2, 1885 at Fort Pitt. The descendants of the Chippewa's who were led to the Loon Lake region by ogima Big Bear are the Big River, Big Island, Canoe Lake, Flying Dust, Makwa Sagahiehcan, Ministikwan, Onion Lake, Pelican Lake, Thunderchild, Waterhen Lake, and Witchekan Lake Chippewa's.
The 1882 Treaty
It is the treaty which set aside the vast Chippewa Reservation located on the northern plains of the United States and in southern Alberta and southeastern British Columbia. It is officially known as the Chippewa Turtle Mountain Reservation. It is also known as the Chippewa Black Hills Reservation or Chippewa Blackfeet Reservation. The Turtle Mountains are not located in Rolette County, North Dakota. They are the Killdeer Mountains located in Dunn County, North Dakota. They are about 50 miles east of Montana and commence the foothills of the Rocky Mountains towards the southwest to where the Crow-Northern Cheyenne Reservation is. According to Lewis and Clark, the Killdeer Mountains were originally known as the Turtle Mountains or simply Turtle Mountain. The vast Turtle Mountain Reservation extends into all of northern Minnesota. We know Turtle Mountain Chippewa's settled at the White Earth Reservation in 1873. And we also know through chief Little Shell III, that the Chippewa's did not cede the 11 million acres on each side of the Red River of the north. Even now the Chippewa's celebrate the October 2, 1863 Old Crossing Treaty which supposedly ceded the 11 million acres on each side of the Red River of the north. They are being played and are traitors.
In 1882, ogima Big Bear signed the 1871 treaty 2 and 1874 treaty 4. White historians claim that it was treaty six but that is a lie. As an important Ogima of the Anishinabe Nation, ogima Big Bear and his council were responsible for ceding Anishinabe land. In 1871-1874, he refused to cede Anishinabe land in North Dakota and Saskatchewan, as well as parts of western Manitoba. By 1882, he was feeling intense pressure from the hungry Anishinabek who were reacting to the horrible effects of fighting a losing war against the white invaders who were cheating their way to victory and killing off the wildgame that roamed the land. He reluctantly signed treaty 1 and 4, on December 8, 1882. A large area of Anishinabe land in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, was ceded to the whites. A huge Reservation was then set aside. The illegal eradication of that vast Reservation led to the 1885 Northwest Rebellion.
Ogima Big Bear continued to return to northern Montana after fleeing to Canada in 1877, to hunt for buffalo and other wild game. He had no choice. The whites had killed nearly all the buffalo and it forced him to send his hunters and even soldiers, out over greater distances to find food for their families. Below is a photograph of ogima Mis-sta-hi Mus-squa. You can tell he was an exhausted man who had to put the well being of his subjects first. By the late 1870s and early 1880s, ogima Big Bear was an extremely enraged man who sought to kill any whites who were caught killing the innocent buffalo and other wild game. The whites in Montana stationed their soldiers in northern Montana after 1877, but it did not stop ogima Big Bear (a vast Chippewa Reservation covered northern Montana) from sending his hunters and soldiers throughout the north of Montana, between 1877 and 1885. Ogima Big Bear still continued to control the Alberta and Saskatchewan region, up to 1885. He knew from prophecy that the whites would steal the rest of his nations land. That happened in 1885.
On July 2, 1885, ogima Big Bear bravely surrendered to the whites at Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan. It ended the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. He was imprisoned for his role in the 1885 war. He was released in late 1887. He moved to the Little Pine-Poundmaker Reserve which is around 15 to 20 miles southwest of the Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Chippewa's. During that time (1887-1888) the Jackfish Lake Saulteaux Reserve was connected to the Little Pine, Poundmaker, Sweetgrass, Mosquito, Grizzly Bears Head, Lean Man, Red Pheasant, Moosomin, and Thunderchild Reserves. It probably covered up to 500,000 acres. After the deaths of chiefs Big Bear and Poundmaker (Poundmaker died on July 4, 1886), Canada broke treaty promises and stole the large Reservation. Chief Big Bear died on January 17, 1888.