As part of KCCM's Our Home Town series, this program is a sound portrait of Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. Highlights discussion on Michif culture. Also includes interview with Francis Cree on traditional Indian religion. About Our Home Town series: KCCM Radio in Moorhead, in conjunction with the North Dakota Committee for the Humanities and Public Issues, produced a series of twenty-six half-hour programs that documented attitudes and character of life in five North Dakota communities (Strasburg, Belcourt, Mayville, Mott, and Dunn Center). The programs were produced as sound portraits with free-flowing sounds, voices and music, all indigenous.
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world But you happy endings are on here. I got my uncles and my nephew is here and we're having a lot of fun. All Indians lived us a reservation. The always come back here is because they were born and raised here. She this is our home. We got no place else to go. They sent us out on relocation we go up there different places. We could get jobs. We live our jobs for our people the turtle Mountain Indian Reservation our hometown one in a series of programs exploring the values and character of life in small communities produced by Minnesota Public Radio station kccm with funds provided by the North Dakota committee for the Humanities and public issues. Well, not a town the turtle Mountain Indian reservation is home to the people who live in the area in the center of the northern border of North Dakota in today's program. You'll hear about the traditional Indian religion from Francis create. Another residents will describe the nature of the Mischief or mixed French Canadian and Indian culture. The interviewer is John ydstie raisin nut muffin reservation. How much are pointed toe last to know? I mean right around Halloween all white. Who am I in this Annette? Far as knowing you know what? I don't know what they mean by who am I, you know, I think we do know who we are. I think we know where we came from and we know what we have to face and you know, we have to learn how to face our problems. Mountainside is born here and I lived here all my life and I love it. What do you like about it? Why do you like it? If I didn't know it's not just the idea of living in education, but it's what you put into it that do really like about it. You know try to go Indian all the way to this area. I like I want to live here just about all my life. I wanted my kids to grow up your the way I grew up here to. how to keep letting the generations go on and on and turtle Mountain Indian Reservation What do you see for a future here? Well, I think it's going to change so, you know, I really can't see what see what's going to be in the future, but it's changing now and it'll keep on changing probably for the better. Would you guys misspelled card if you had to live somewhere else? No, no way. What do you think is unique about this area in terms of people and culture orenda as compared to the rest of the state by the Dukes mixture? Every nationality in the world here punching the guy said hey, you know you're going to work for me. And I think that's the thing. I appreciated most about this community was the fact that they didn't. Say to me, you know, you're an ex-convict. So you can't work you going to live here. You got to have your feet on the ground and you're going to be faced with a lot of problems the lot of hurts. and we're going to have to recognize a lot of the shortcomings that you are faced with chair. I don't think this community is any different than any other community where you have a pocket of poverty, but I do feel that. Living here and trying to work in this area has made us all better people because we've been faced with a lot more problems, then people perhaps of a middle or upper-middle class ascites ever been Facebook. We know what it feels to her to go without and to be on employed and I think we can recognize these as some of the symptoms that the people are faced with and we are not critical of the people like him. We would be if we had grown up on the outside in the middle class Society. I think we have more feelings for the people because we understand we live with and Are more aware of the problems of people are faced. Don't feel out of place. All are here in if you go to Big City or something tonight, you're going to feel uncomfortable and you alone know everybody around here. She knows everybody's blind gossip. Well, we've been raised Brands mostly all of us at that have been raised around here. We've been raised French. We have many ways Indian like we're different from like the Sioux, you know, they're all Indian down there and they really know that called turned up and we don't most of our cultures friends are languages have half Korean half Brands happening to have friends. And so it's pretty confusing and a lot of our parents. They mostly identify with the French side. They'll say they're Indian. Um, but that's fine. But that's as far as it goes. And I'm for the kids. Their identity only came in at really strong when a man came and got involved in any movement. They start identifying with that. So now it's an identifying so much with your friends with the Indian Diamond identify Morty Indian in the high school and see more kids dancing. We don't have that many dancers routers mom that the tribe I don't think we've ever I felt that we were anything but Indian and hopefully our grandchildren will carry on with the same feeling because I think this is one of the biggest areas of frustration amongst. Our people is trying to be something that they aren't you have to know who you are what you are appreciate what you are in order to be content with it looked upon to Welfare job. Lottie's people were mixed Bloods today a lot of passes French. It wouldn't say they were from here to say where they were from Rolla it Wednesday for the little things like that much today, but there's still some course if you read the text books that we grew up with no change there just now coming about the Indians were made out to be Savages and everything else all People would go to school and then look at their ancestry and say geez, I don't want to be one of those. You know, they were Savage here on civilized a torture device notice and actually they became I think prejudice against themselves as a result of their Educational Learning fine. He know if you can see yourself as an Indian you have a good self-image so you don't care who knows you're Indian. You know, what can you feel great about it? So I think in that respect as a state of mind then I heard people say, well, I want to be an Indian and all I ask a question will what is an engine and actually what is an Indian, you know, I see myself as an Indian name. Somebody else wouldn't see me that way, but I feel I'm an Indian night. I'm just an Indian know some people say where you don't think like an Indian. Well, how does an Indian think because what is a minion minion does have a different point of view? And not as you know, most Indian Surah humble towards one another seat and they don't really go around sticking her nose up in the air think they're real problem. And I think an Indian has definitely has different point of view. We share with everything. We have our groceries be sure and gas stuff like that. I think it's available on top de pollo. The celebrations on the Indians are very patriotic to America and we are proud of our our land and if you if you've noticed and the dancers, there is quite a few of the dancers that have the red white and blue if there's a veteran on Dancing in the crown, you know, he's a veteran because he's wearing red white and blue. Like me, I'm not a veteran, but I'm very proud of this land and I wear flag When I Dance. Hangs on my right side. It's centrally and being Indian is being yourself To try and do the best you could in school or at work? At home Indian people quit their job to go prowling and you know, we don't have two weeks out of here we go on vacation you laugh like a white mint chip. We feel like leaving in the summer time and we go and we meet our relatives and we meet friends at powwows and we meet Indians from all over the country and stuff there and it's just it's worth in our blood cultures live people just can't stay away from hell has no matter what you know, it's really neat. That's what therefore it's just to have a good time and and to dance the traditional dance now that's the old way of dance in the old time way dancing Diamonds dance and I really dig it like the women's traditional to a date the women to stand in one place and bounce up and down and in time to join me the fancy dance that's just come in when I first started the women's fancy and that was really shocked. I mean because there's a lot of old people around here to lot of them. They'll say we never danced like that, you know, that's shameful. It's a lot of fun and it gets in your blood. But the fancy hands is something new and something the older Indians right now, the more traditional Indians really frowned upon the man. There's a way that go down like this supposed to be telling a story with their dance. A lot of that meaning is Lawson and I've never had anyone explain that to me. That's I just had explained by an old Indian woman that that's what they do is tell a story with the dance. Chippewa religion they had this what they called me do Society. Then they had the they also had another religion what they call the bear sweathouse religion. And they also had another religion what they call the SmokeHouse smoked EP religion know so they had to Sundance religion. Now the Sundance religion would take part when it down there early and spring this early in the summer in June. Now this here was the family people would promise God that they for filling go through torture and sacrifice themselves and torture and intro fasting different things for the hardship that they go through the healing and so forth. This was the Sundance then they worship different gods many different gods Stone in the moon and the sun and stars everything just about you could name any Gods had great respect what I mean really respect. And then the the medieval Society worship was practice medicine bad medicines. There is exercise bad medicines, which is what they called today white man calls just witchcraft where witchcraft was practice powerful medicine powerful witchcraft. I believe it falls in the same line, like sciences and things like that runs about in that same category. And the bear sweathouse also was a purifying purifying the body and also a worship and here it was worship. The Bear gone there. God was worship. That was a real torture was real torture that use Stones So Many Stones about Haiti stones and was covered up late like a hot potato footlong about 455 ft wide by 3:15 half feet high was covered up good and tight. You couldn't get out until it was all over the way. You just go in there just a Schwartz and stand all the heat dinner. I suppose the heat must have been in there close to 300 because I almost cook lot of times in there. Hello, these other ones who was the same that sing all night, but they call the SmokeHouse that sing all night and smoke there and it talked to gods and they sing different types of worship songs different Spirits calling and talking to different Spirits. This was another worship the desire to worship the chip was that they had to hear in the turtle mountains child mother was always giving a present if you took a look, Anything from the ground your mother? You give a present in return? Is he because of the earth your body can that's the Indian belief? And then they worship the Sun. And the sun was worship because without the Sunday would be no life. Trip is like a father mother. Arrangement without either one it would be no engine. That would be no animal. So that's why they worship that and then the Moon. regulated the seasons, but that's why they worship because there was that dumb that belief that the sun was You give her a life? And the mother was the womb the Earth was just starting to realize how beautiful the engine personalized in the old days. You just getting acquainted with someone here or something various Indian tribes normal person is 100% whatever, you know or Indian ID on Spring and ideals know they were something that a person wanted to live by to the best of his ability. And there's no reason then a person. Can become a world-class to become aware of what was inside and what did he think was important? You know, I don't need to live in a teepee to understand or to try. To be a better person. Okay my idea of being engine. Is being a better person I guess one of the things that I personally as the person of dual cultures has had to try to accept both sides self as I'm okay. You know, I don't give a damn what anybody says that I have to feel okay about myself. You know if I'm part white and part Indian, but I have to accept us and I don't know that there is anywhere where people live Indian, you know. to my understanding of Engineers cuz I think Union was not a poor person. He was not a confused person. He was in tune with his environment you was in tune with nature. He was a beautiful person know who knows how to survive in the woods and live and spend a year around here, you know in 30 below weather and survive. Okay, many many and people did that. There's there's so many things in our religion is lost. You know, the spirituality has lost its so many things about, you know, women not wearing you feathers or else going through the ceremony of those things are lost otherwise being Indian to me called today is dancing. Is it snowing your language is being proud of me if anyone comes up and tells me they're Indian accept them because if they believe it or not fantastic, you know, I know except that in the turtle mountains are also called are they separate cultures or is it kind of all mixed cultures? Quite different it's from the French Canadian side started back in the 1800s when the French Trappers came over and they do meth to the Indian woman in Meriden and that the maida I meant to have cream soda. And now they are different. I think dimittis culture in this reservation influence in this Turtle Mountain reservation. The mint is culture have what they call a violent dancing on square dance without the majority of people living in this reservation know how to play instruments of some kind. What are things you know on the? The old time fiddle players used to do around here. I used to use your feet to locked when they play in background for the music and let his Old-Timers still a monster feet and a lot of the guys feet sound better than beef. until recently it wasn't preferred do the engine and this affected many of our people because none of them are mixed blood many more half Indian and half French very few them my half angle. I I don't include French's I ain't going to because they're a little darker skin anyway, and that's one reason why the French were so acceptable to our tribe back 20 years ago is because they were different then the white settlers and other people that removing West so they they move right into our society. they instead of telling the Indian people that they were doing things wrong, but they should do it this way the French adapted the Indian Indian lifestyle and they married Indian women. And as time went on the Mischief was with your culture was formed, but we were still Indian. We may not be the I'm not talking about the whole Turtle not drive because there are some traditional Turtle Mountain Chippewa Indians. Most of the people live here are not traditionally says they don't practice any religion while the Catholic religion has been here and that is the dominant religion and it's been here two or three hundred years were there people so you're not talking about changing back to a traditional Indian religion that has been absent for only fifty or sixty years like some of the other Southwest drives and you're talkin about a religion has been absent for two or three hundred years. So as far as religion, we are not traditional. However, I think in our value system in our family systems. We are very traditional. In fact, I think we are traditional more so than some other drives around the country when you're dealing with it at your heritage here Intermountain. Do you try to teach the local Heritage the match of culture very much. So we have a language course, which is recognized tentatively. Anyway recognized by the state department. We we teach the image of way of life whatever that is. It's like you say the value system and family system. We we don't go into the traditional religious system, but we do study the the Ojibwe and the Algonquin religious systems that were prevalent going are disappearing now. Hard to get literature on those type of religious Customs because they were unrecorded, you know, and we depend on a lot of the older people and there are some around to give us that information. The people are are generally Jolly people are fun people they like to have fun and are easy to laugh. I'm sure you noticed and everybody ready to everything's funny. They can have the ball and yet they can get mad so easily I don't know is that comes from the French or public? They don't hold a good fighter, you know, he'll still here a lot of the other guys brag about him, you know, but I wouldn't mess with him. He's a real tough guy boy and you don't and they brag him up and I So he's got a reputation to live up to after that. And of course everybody else is going to have to try to knock them down. And then well I maybe I can whip me alone and I'll be there big guy, but then again there I I don't think this is as true now as it was before because most people, you know, they're not interested in having that kind of reputation. I think you are people that have a good education are caught in a college degree that are hooked up to buy most other than some people that are jealous of people that have a college degree. You know this I've got those segments of the people. That's Jealousy, probably done more damage on this reservation than anything and you'll see this for I just want to thank sit still. Pretty deep where there's a lot of people that are jealous of others one person get something the other ones jealous and they don't want him on the back and say that's great. I'm glad to see you got this. Study resent that the other in the fridge. I don't know what why this is but I see you just about every night in the week. If you could go to the dance. I don't care what it was who I keep having dance they have what they call a bouquet dance and I bake a cake and I have a book a walk around in there and all sudden you be sitting there a new it handed to you and And was up to you to put the next dance on and you would have to give it time and date where you going to have it. And put one on now you really is to have fun in those dances and there used to be an erasable Alpha square dancing with a big thing square dancing waltzes. Starts to steps intercourse are traditional Red River Jig with all their buddy had to see who is the best. You know, how can I step to the other one? But that part of it still going on the square dancing seems to see it very seldom that and if it is it's usually the Older people. I forgot the older people our age. Doing this more soon. Don't do the same. The person got it all these while dances that they're doing now on that spot, but most of the people are following and never getting away from our our our own Traditions from reservation. The turtle Mountain Indian Reservation our hometown one in a series of sound self-portraits illustrating the attitudes and character of life in small communities produced by Minnesota Public Radio station kccm with funds provided by the North Dakota committee for the Humanities and public issues producers of the series are John ydstie, Dennis Hamilton and Bill seem ring. You may purchase a cassette copy of this program by contacting kccm, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota 56560.