History of chief Rocky Boy The Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians

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According to an April 8-14, 1909 census conducted by Thralls W. Wheat of chief Rocky Boy and his subjects, chief Rocky Boy was 56. He was born in either 1852, 1853 or 1854. His place of birth was possibly Deer Lodge Valley in southwest Montana or in North Central Montana including the Great Falls region. He was possibly related to the Ojibway leader known as chief Big Bear. It's known that chief Rocky Boy was chief Little Bears uncle. He was supposedly a few years older than his nephew Little Bear. Chief Big Bear was Little Bears father. Before 1860, few whites had visited what is now Montana. After 1860, that changed. At that time (1860) the whites (from both Canada and the United States) were conspiring to force their way to the plains Ojibwa's Territory. They were very greedy for North Central Montana's abundant farmland and southern Alberta's and southern Saskatchewan's farmland. However, they had to first negotiate with plains Ojibway leaders about Red River Colony. American leaders wanted the abundant farmland along that portion of Red River in Minnesota and North Dakota. English leaders wanted southern Manitoba's farmland. Most of Red River Colony was located in southern Manitoba. Ojibway Soldiers were subjugating the whites and Eskimos who lived within Red River Colony. Ojibway leaders did not like them. Many of the whites and Eskimos from that portion of Red River Colony located in Minnesota and North Dakota, retreated south to American forts in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the early part of the 19th century, the Ojibway-Dakota War (it was really the Ojibwa-Eskimo War) intensified. Both American and English leaders, supplied the Eskimos and their white allies, with large quantities of their weapons.



Farmland in the northern plains was especially abundant. White leaders knew about the mountainous region far west of Red River Colony and didn't care for it. They slithered up to Indian leaders in those mountainous regions and commenced extending their forked tongues to them repeatedly. White leaders loved the climate of the northern plains. Long cold winters and short warm to hot summers. They treated the Indians who lived in the mountainous regions kindly and deceptively. They explained to them how little appeal their land had to them. Thus, they formed alliances with some of those tribes.



Around 1860, American leaders coerced certain Indian leaders in southwest Montana, into allowing them to explore their lands mountains for Greed. They complied. However, they soon noticed that the mining camps of the whites were permanent or the whites were invading. War commenced. An agreement had been reached in the late 1850s, between Ojibway leaders and American leaders, which allowed the Americans to make improvements to an ancient Ojibway road. Lewis and Clark wrote about that road in their journals. It became known as Mullan Road. It was named after Lt. John Mullan who was put in charge of making improvements to the ancient Ojibway road. That happened in 1859-1860. It extended from Fort Benton, Montana to Fort Walla Walla, Washington. Ojibway Soldiers were yet in control of the Dakota's at that time. Though the Americans first invaded southwest Montana, they commenced their war for the northern plains in 1862.



In August of 1862, Ojibway leaders met with American representatives at what is now Grand Forks, North Dakota (it was the southern most portion of Red River Colony) and negotiated about Red River Colony. American representatives were hostile and demanding. That enraged Ojibway leaders. After each hostile request or response from American representatives, it enraged Ojibway leaders all the more. Finally Ojibway leaders abruptly ended the negotiations. They then sent 1,000s of the soldiers to attack that portion of Red River Colony in Minnesota and North Dakota and the whites living in southern Minnesota. The war for the northern plains had commenced. Ojibway leaders were not stupid. They knew they had to fight if they were going to keep some of their land. By 1863-1864, the war had extended to western North Dakota and eastern Montana.



However, American Soldiers were already invading northeast Montana by 1861. They could not, however, establish a stronghold in that location. They formed alliances with mountain tribes like the Crow of southeast Montana. It allowed them to establish their soldiers in southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming. Ojibway Soldiers from the plains to the north, were sent to those locations to combat the white invaders. American leaders commenced organizing large numbers of teamsters to bring in supplies to the few white settlements located in southwest Montana, by using Mullan Road. It was dangerous yet the whites had repeating rifles and revolvers. Teamsters in teams of 100 to 200, regularly brought supplies to the few white settlements in southwest Montana. It was quicker to use steamboats to first bring supplies to northwest North Dakota and northeast Montana. Those steamboats could sail Missouri River to Fort Benton. From Fort Benton, teamsters brought the supplies to southwest Montana. It was dangerous however. By the mid 1860s, the Mullan Road War had greatly intesified.



In late 1865, the Powder River Expedition (aka Sun River Stampede) led to the establishment of American Military Forts near Great Falls. It was costly to Americans. Most of their horses probably died from extreme cold. Those American Soldiers who survived the extreme cold, sought help from St. Peters Mission located near Rainbow Falls at Great Falls. After Ojibway leaders found out that St. Peters Mission was breaking agreements, Ojibway Soldiers drove whites and any Indians who cooperated with whites, from St. Peters Mission. Sometime in mid 1866, American Soldiers who had participated in that Powder River Expedition (they hid out southwest and southeast of Great Falls) established camps at what is now Fort Shaw and at Judith Rivers mouth. Camp Cook was located very near Judith Rivers mouth. They then converted Fort Benton to a military fort. Chief Rocky Boy obviously knew about those incidents and possibly participated in them. During those times, North Central Montana yet had vast herds of buffalo. Meriwether Lewis wrote in June of 1805, that the largest herds of buffalo he seen on their expedition, were located in the Great Falls region. In those times (1860s) North Central Montana had an Ojibway population in the 100,000s. It was those buffalo herds that allowed their population to be so numerous.