Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
Valley County Chippewa Reservation
In the very early 1900s (around the time the Chippewa Flathead Reservation was stolen and the Chippewa Reservation in the Blackfeet Reservation was established which was 1909), another Chippewa Reservation was supposedly established in Valley County, Montana. That Chippewa Reservation in Valley County, Montana covers 60 townships or 1,382,405 acres or 2,160 sq mi. Valley County covered all of present day Valley County, Roosevelt County, Sheridan County, and Daniels County, Montana when the Chippewa Valley County Reservation was established. How did the Chippewa Valley County, Montana Reservation get established? and why?
The 1904 McCumber Agreement and the Land Acts
In 1904, the United States passed the fraudulent 1892 McCumber Agreement. It set in motion events which would create new Chippewa Reservations in Montana. Flathead Reservation was an especially sensitive pedicament. Chief Rocky Boy negotiated on behalf of the Chippewas living at Flathead Reservation. Chief Charlo told the whites he rather relocate to the plains than live at the Flathead Reservation. Whoever printed that may have lied. It was the illegal Land Acts which enraged the Montana Chippewas. They were the Flathead Reservation Land Act and Fort Peck Reservation Land Act. Chippewas from those two Reservations demanded an off limits Reservation.
The Gros Ventre
They refer to themselves as the White Earth or White Clay People. They are also known as the People of the Falls or People of the Waterfalls. They obviously lived in the Great Falls of the Missouri region which is about 115 miles to the southwest of Fort Belknap Reservation. They are the descendants of the Indians who fled up to Canada in October of 1877, from near what is now the Fort Belknap Reservation. Their self identification as the White Clay People, is most likely a relationship with the Chippewas of northwestern Minnesota who live where the White Earth Reservation is. In 1830-1832, a disagreement arose among the Arapaho who the Gros Ventre are. One group went south (Wind River Reservation and Oklahoma), while the other group stayed in Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. They are obviously Chippewa.
Unrest at the Flathead Reservation
In late 1907 and early 1908, a farmer at the Flathead Reservation contacted Senator Dixon about Rocky Boy's people (the Chippewas). Dixon knew violence would occur if he did nothing. Senator Dixon added an amendment to the pending Indian Appropriation Bill. It authorized the Secretary of the Interior to spend $30,000 to relocate the Chippewas led by chief Rocky Boy. These Chippewas not only lived at the Flathead Reservation but also the Fort Peck Reservation. In October of 1908, the Swan Valley Massacre happened just east of Flathead Reservation. Within a few months, chief Rocky Boy negotiated with white leaders about creating new off limits Chippewa Reservations.
Fort Belknap Reservation and Frank Churchill
In 1908, Indian Inspector Frank Churchill took over negotiating on behalf of the United States. Churchill was instructed to relocate the Chippewas to an existing Reservation. He first negotiated with the Indian agent at the Blackfeet Reservation. However, Churchills main concern was about the Chippewas living at Fort Peck Reservation. They were more numerous and the more hostile. On June 30, 1909, Churchill was instrumental in having 60 townships or 2,160 sq. mi. set aside supposedly in Valley County, Montana. They claim north and east of Fort Peck Reservation. They are wrong! It's located adjacent to Fort Belknap Reservations western border and extends south to the Missouri River and to the west.
Chief Red Whip and the 1909 Battle
Researching the Fort Belknap Reservations historic timeline (click here to read it), i discovered a battle was fought south of Fort Belknap Reservation in 1909. Chief Red Whip supposedly led his soldiers in a victory against Crow and Lakota soldiers. That information is corrupt. Either the battle was between the Chippewas and the American soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Assiniboine Military Reservation, or the information is about another battle fought years earlier. We know the Montana Chippewas were very angry in 1909 and the battle in which chief Red Whip led his soldiers to victory in (at least 12 enemy soldiers were killed), in 1909, was most certainly a battle between the Chippewas and the United States. It led to the creation of a larger Fort Belknap Reservation. It is the Fort Belknap Reservation which is the new Chippewa Reservation created in 1909. At least 2,160 sq. mi. was added on to the existing Fort Belknap Reservation. With the land addition, the size of Fort Belknap Reservation increased to 3,160 sq. mi. Including Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation, the size of Fort Belknap Reservation is 4,160 sq. mi.
Fort Belknap Indian Agent William R. Logan
Logan really had no choice but to handle the predicament happening near the Fort Belknap Reservation in 1909. That be the hostile Chippewas at Fort Peck Reservation. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert G. Valentine, sent a letter to Logan requesting where would a good location be for the land addition. Logan replied the mountain outlets. They are south and to the west of Fort Belknap Reservation. Rocky Boy's Reservation is included. So is the old Fort Assiniboine Indian Reservation. The creation of the new 2,160 sq. mi. Chippewa Reservation became official on October 27, 1909. Relocation commenced on November 13, 1909.
New Chippewa Blackfeet Reservation
During the unrest of 1908-1909, Frank Churchill first negotiated with the Indian Agent at the Blackfeet Reservation. At an online website which has maps from the 19th century and early 20th century, the Blackfeet Reservation which was established in 1887 and 1888, does not resemble the maps of the Blackfeet Reservation after 1895. The eastern border of the Blackfeet Reservation now extends directly north to the Canadian border from Cut Bank. Before 1895, it was different. It extended directly north to the Canadian border about 10 to 15 miles west of Cut Bank. In 1895 or about the time chiefs Little Shell III and Red Thunder, were arrested and forced to relocate to the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, the United States supposedly negotiated a land deal with leaders from the Blackfeet Reservation.
Chief Little Dog was one of the Blackfeet negotiators. According to reports, the United States wanted to purchase the extreme western part of the Blackfeet Reservation. Unusual because that is where Glacier National Park is. We all know how land hungry white farmers were. Chief Little Dog told the whites on September 21, 1895, that from Cut Bank north to the Canadian border, is the land he would sell. We have two versions. Chief Little Dogs is the correct one. It actually happened either in 1887 or 1888. After chiefs Little Shell III and Red Thunder were arrested and relocated out of Montana, the United States felt more at ease. Blackfeet leaders did not sell the western part of the Blackfeet Reservation. That area is still a part of the Blackfeet Reservation. You are not stupid. The land sold extends about 10 to 15 miles west of Cut Bank and up to the Canadian border. Blackfeet Reservation is off limits. That became official on October 27, 1909.
On November 13, 1909, the first train loads of Chippewa settlers arrived at their new Chippewa Blackfeet Reservation. Chippewas from as far away as the Coeur d'Alene, Flathead, and Nez Perce Reservations, relocated to the new Chippewa Blackfeet Reservation. Though the new and larger Fort Belknap Reservations population is lower than the Blackfeet Reservations population, it's only slightly lower. The Blackfeet Reservations Indian population is a little over 9,000, while the Fort Belknap Reservations Indian population is over 7,000. The map below is from 1893.
At the present time the Chippewa Valley County, Montana Reservation still exists. It is a subject that was tucked underneath a rug nearly 100 years ago. There are a couple of off Reservation towns which should be included as a part of the Chippewa Valley County, Montana Reservation. And there are other locations classified as settlements but most are simple farms with little to contribute as being an actual settlement. Most are probably white. Below are the demographics of this Reservation.
Demographics of the Chippewa Valley County, Montana Reservation
Covers about 4,160 sq. mi.
Population is 7,106 when including Dodson and Harlem but probably higher. Most are Anishinabek, with the remainder being Dakotas and some whites.
Fort Belknap District Communities
Fort Belknap Agency
Rocky Boy District Communities
Little Box Elder
South Box Elder