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Spirit Lake Reservation


Chief Little Shell I loved this location in North Dakota. Below is a map of Spirit Lake Reservation and links to google earth photos of Fort Totten Town. Chief Little Shell I lived at an Ojibway village on Graham's Island which is an island within Spirit Lake. He was killed in battle during War of 1812. Whites, Eskimos and Beaver Indians (they are really Cree Ojibway's who became traitors) invaded southern Manitoba before War of 1812. They were capable of forcing their way as far south as Spirit Lake yet could not establish a presence in that location. Ojibway Soldiers had defeated them by 1817. They signed 1817's Selkirk Treaty with their enemies and granted them a small colony known as Red River Colony. Ojibway Nation subjugated Red River Colony until 1869. There are small mountains adjacent to and south of Spirit Lake. They may be those infamous Turtle Mountains. Chief Little Shell I's Ojibway Subjects were very much at home around this awkward lake in North Dakota. Spirit Lake is also known as Devils Lake. Whites named it Devils Lake. They didn't know certain aspects about this lake. Ojibway People named it Spirit or Ghost Lake for a reason. It has a tendency to diminish to a very small lake than quickly expand to a lake that in some locations, looks like an ocean.



Spirit Lake Reservation also has a corrupted history. We know from Father Belcourt, that Pembina Ojibway District extends from Minnesota's and North Dakota's border with Manitoba, to extreme southeast South Dakota near Nebraska. It then extends over 500 miles west into western Montana and western Wyoming. During 1862's Minnesota's Indian War, American Soldiers forced their way west to central North Dakota. They battled Ojibway People of that location. On September 3-5, 1863, American Soldiers attacked an Ojibway village in what is now Dickey County, North Dakota inflicting up to 300 casualties. This happened before October 2, 1863's Old Crossing Treaty. American's had established their presence in southeast North Dakota. 1863's Old Crossing Treaty dealt with land in Minnesota and North Dakota. It's better known as Red River Valley. Spirit Lake Reservation is located on it's far west. Ojibway leaders ceded land as far west as Stump Lake. Determining where Stump Lake is located is sneaky. As mentioned, Spirit Lake has tendency's to diminish to a very small lake. Today Stump Lake is Spirit Lakes eastern shores. It isn't always that way though. When they negotiated 1863's Old Crossing Treaty, Ojibway leaders certainly let American negotiators know, they considered Stump Lake to be a part of Spirit Lake. Ojibway's had lived there for an extremely long time and knew that lake very well. Thus, why they named it Ghost Lake. So we have to include all of Spirit Lake as being within 1863's land cession and date Spirit Lake Reservation creation to May 7, 1864's Treaty which ratified March 11, 1863's Treaty and October 2, 1863's Treaty. However, it wasn't until February 19, 1867, when what is now Spirit Lake Reservation, was officially established.



Spirit Lake Reservation originally had a land area of 495.7 sq. mi. or 1,283.7 sq. km. American leaders could not control their greedy citizens. They constantly demanded Reservation land. Ojibway leaders always demanded land whites didn't want. Ojibway leaders wanted forested land, mountainous land and wetlands. Land around Spirit Lake was demanded by Ojibway leaders. They knew Spirit Lake's tendency's as do whites of this time. There's mountains, many lakes and wetlands and also forested areas. However, Ojibway leaders knew Spirit Lake is dangerous. That's why they selected this region in North Dakota for an Ojibway Reservation. Ojibway leaders knew what they were doing when they negotiated this treaty. Whites didn't. Ojibway leader chief Red Bear, claimed as his domain Spirit Lake from it's east shores to Grahams Island. He also included Sheyenne River as a boundary. My map is slightly different than Spirit Lake Reservations boundaries yet close. It deals with mountains and wetlands. We know Spirit Lake Reservation is one of chief Rocky Boy's Reservations. He was allotted land at Grahams Island in 1906. We also know Ojibway's were living there in 1910. It was reported that half of Fort Totten Industrial Indian Schools Students numbering 473, were Ojibway. Though Spirit Lake Reservation has been opened up to white settlement, Indians make up most of it's population. There are several Indian villages. Most important are Fort Totten, St. Michael and Tokio. There are several others however. Ojibway leaders were intelligent in demanding this Reservation. It's location is very dangerous. We are just finding out how Spirit Lake or Ghost Lake, received it's name. It's well deserved.



Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View

Fort Totten Road View





Demographics of Spirit Lake Reservation
Covers 495 sq. mi. or 1,283 sq. km.
Population is 4,435
Indian: 3,317
White: 1,056
Black: 3
Asian: 5
Mixed: 54
Hispanic: 44 - Hispanic population is corrupted as usual. Mexicans are predominantly descended from the Native Americans who lived in the eastern part of the United States. The whites have forced them to lose their tribal identities.
Language is Corrupted

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