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A trip through Native lands (and possibly Bigfoot lands) (Entry by Scott)
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(Apr 25th, 2005) Tansi, Hau, Boozhoo, Hello!
One of the things Todd and I are looking forward to is meeting all of the various diverse people that live along the route. Our trip will take us through or near 16 different Native/Indigenous Reservations/Reserves in Minnesota and Manitoba (I've included a full list at the end of this journal entry). The entire trip will be conducted on water and land that either Dakota, Annishinabe (Ojibway) or Cree people have lived on for thousands of years.
The Dakota people's homeland for many hundreds of years in Minnesota stretched from Lake Mille Lacs to up and down the length of the Minnesota River. In 1930 when Sevareid and Port canoed up the length of the Minnesota no Dakota people lived there. This is because in 1862 relations between the U.S. and the Dakota people became violent (in large part due to mis-treatment and bad faith negotiating on the part of local traders who were supposed to fairly adminstrate government treaty monies). After a small group of Dakota killed some settlers, things turned violent. Eventually hundreds of Dakota were sentenced to be hanged. Only through the last second intervention of President Lincoln were most (265) saved. Still, 38 Dakota were hung in Mankato, Minnesota marking one of the most horrific days in European-American-Native American relations in the country. In 1863 Congress passed a law to forcibly remove all Dakota from Minnesota. Some were put into internment camps and many were forced on long, painful walks.
In 1938 three small reservations of land were created in 1938 along the Minnesota River and some Dakota people returned to live on these. All three are working to gain economic independence and preserve and strengthen their culture.
The Anninshinabeg, or Ojibway, land that we will pass through is along the northern half of the Red River and the southern half of Lake Winnipeg. Sevareid and Port spent a few days in the community of Berens River and really liked the chief there. Perhaps we will meet some of his descendents.
Sevareid's book about his trip, 'Canoeing with the Cree', is of course so named because of their extensive interaction with Cree people, particularly at the community of Norway House on the northeast shore of Lake Winnipeg. Sevareid and Port probably wouldn't have survived their trip without help from two Cree Indians and one white church official whom they followed through the rugged mix of small lakes, streams and portages between Norway House and Gods Lake. They also relied on Cree help once they reached York Factory; Cree people took them up the Nelson River to the rail line.
We hopefully won't require any life-saving help on our trip! Although just a few days ago, legitimate Canadian newspapers reported on a Bigfoot sighting in Norway House. Cut and paste this link into your browser to read more about that: http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/04/21/bigfoot-video050421.html
At least he/she appears to be a nice Bigfoot...
And we already have a friend in Norway House, Mike Muswagon who sits on the tribal council, so we think we will be in good hands.
We are leaving in 7 days--I'm so excited I can't breathe right.
Pilamaya yelo, Miigwech, Ekosi, Good-bye
List of Native Communities we will go through or near, in the order we will reach them:
Shakopee Mdewankaton Community
Lower Sioux Indian Reservation
Upper Sioux Indian Reseravtion
Lake Traverse Indian Reservation
Peguis Indian Reserve I.R.
Fort Alexander I.R.
Black River I.R.
Hollow Water I.R.
Bloodvein River I.R.
Pigeon River I.R.
Berens River I.R.
Poplar River I.R.
Norway House I.R.
God's Lake I.R.
God's River I.R.
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