Defending our Lands – War 1812-1814

Students on Horse-Drawn Wagon Ride Provided by Garnet Gompf

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation hosted a two-day event in commemoration of the Dakota involvement in the War of 1812-1814 on February 27th and 28th, 2014. The event consisted of a day of student-oriented presentations and events to promote a better understanding of Dakota tradition, culture, and the Dakota commitment to the war efforts, followed by a second ceremonial day which brought local dignitaries to the community to help commemorate this historic event.

Visiting Students Enjoying Archery Lessons!

During the first day, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation hosted over 330 students from grades 4 to 6 and 7 to 12 from Sioux Valley and schools in nearby Brandon, Virden, and Reston. The students were introduced to a number of different presentations by Sioux Valley presenters which illustrated the traditional practices of the Dakota peoples during the War of 1812-1814 and provided a basis for understanding Dakota culture at a time of conflict. Roland Ironman led an interactive archery presentation and demonstration, which invited all students to learn about traditional Dakota archery and try their hand at shooting a variety of stationary targets.

Sioux Valley’s Donny Elk making tea

Donny Elk instructed the students in traditional outdoor fire-building and practices for making and cooking fry bread and tea over an open flame.

Traditional Sioux Valley Artifacts Display by Eugene Ross

Students were treated to an extensive display of traditional Dakota goods in the Veterans’ Hall.  Eugene Ross presented a historical collection of traditional craftwork and trading blankets, authentic antique traded goods from the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1800s, beadwork, and handcrafted basketwork, as well as an extensive photographic record of Sioux Valley through history and a display of traditional herbs and medicinal plants.

Traditional Craft-making Displays

Caroline Johnson, Shelia Mckay, Lisa Beardy, Linda Eastman, Teresa Mckay and Arlene Mckay presented displays on traditional quilting, beading and beadwork, quilling, and traditional outfits including belts, gloves, shirts, jackets and shoes worn traditionally worn by the Dakota.

Sioux Valley Elementary School Gymnasion with Visiting Students

Sioux Valley Dancers

At the Sioux Valley School the students were greeted by a traditional Dakota tipi set-up and welcomed into the gymnasium for a display of traditional dancing and drumming, which illustrated the different traditional dance styles and their traditional purposes. Local dancers Keith Tacan and Zane Tacan demonstrated the Men’s Grass and Traditional Dances, and Tatianna Brown, Joanne McKay and Ashley Bonaise demonstrated the Women’s Fancy, Jingle, and Traditional dances. The students also participated in entertaining traditional moccasin games

Eric Robinson, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Manitoba 

Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament

The second day featured a commemoration ceremony at the Veterans’ Hall. Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Chief Vince Tacan welcomed a host of dignitaries to the community in order to commemorate the historic conflict that unified the British and the Dakota in a common purpose. Manitoba Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Eric Robinson spoke briefly on the upcoming Manitoba legislation recognizing Sioux Valley Dakota Nation as a self-governing Dakota Nation.  Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris, spoke highly of Sioux Valley’s historical presentation on the Dakota involvement in the War of 1812-1814 and congratulated Sioux Valley on their efforts to achieve self-government. Reg Hellwer, MLA for Brandon West, also congratulated Sioux Valley for the event and presented Chief Tacan with a plaque to mark the occasion. A gift exchange followed the speeches as Sioux Valley Dakota Nation presented guests and speakers with traditional star blankets in recognizance of their presence and contribution to the commemoration event. Sioux Valley Dakota Nation also presented a commemorative plaque developed for the event, which recognizes the contribution of the Dakota to the War of 1812-1814 and will be hosted on a cenotaph to be erected near the veterans’ memorial grounds.

Presentation to Sioux Valley Dakota Nation by Minister Eric Robinson

Chief Vince Tacan and War 1812-1814 Memorial Plaque