The Nakota


Carlyle, 1980, Jeri-Lynn McCarthy

FTLComm - Tisdale - March 22, 2001


The smallest aboriginal group of people native to the land that is now Saskatchewan were called the Assiniboine people. These nomadic hunters are true plains people who depended upon the plains bison and other big game to survive and were on the short end of the stick when the European invasion took place. (American references do not have an "e" on the end of Assiniboine but Canadian references do)



river of

The Europeans hit the East coast of North America and rapidly began their penetration of the continent. The East coast people were all small bands, most highly territorial and yet small in actual population. Their futile efforts, though valiant were no match for the seemingly endless river of Europeans who came to the North American East coast by boat.




Once the coastals were compromised the Europeans moved inland and met the first real resistance that all but stopped their movement West. The Iroquois and the rest of the Five Nations were a well organised and capable fighting force but even they knew they would lose. Their people immediately began moving West as did all neighbouring people to the South. Their numbers were large and they put a lot of pressure on the people who occupied the Mid West near what is today Minnesota.




The people of the plains were almost all one large linguistic group. The various dialects had some consonants missing and emphasised others so they can be categoried as the "D"akota, "N"akota and "L"akota which are the ones with which we are most familiar. Of these, the ability to launch a military campaign and willingness to do so, seemed to be the primary capability of the Dakota.



Big Horn

Many scholars (American) believe that the Dakota, had they gone unchecked, by the US army would have exterminated everyone else. That is the line you will get at the Custer National Monument where the lecture on the battle of the Little Big Horn identifies the Dakotas called by the traders as the Sioux as the scourge of the West. What ever part of that is true is questionable but there is no doubt that the smaller numbered Nakotas were really in tough shape when the Europeans showed up before the CP rail line was built.




A small rag tag band asked the Anicinabe at the Whitebear to let them stay there and they were given land alongside the Whitebear as inferior refugees. The McCarthys and Ewaks were among these people and without power on the reserve they quickly adapted. The McCarthy family went into farming and besides getting a little land for themselves they were busy custom farming for Carlyle and Kennedy farmers. The McCarthys would come up to my Uncle's farm East of Langbank to assist with the harvest before he bought a combine.




Sarg. Joseph Ewak volunteered for the Canadian army and established himself as a competent leader and soldier during World War II. When "D" day came Joe was among the first ashore and inland he went quickly leaving the main forces on the beach Joe and his platoon soon were deep inside German territory and were captured. Moved to a concentration camp Joe and his men spent the rest of 1944 and 45 as POWs. Rosie, Joe's wife was told that Joe was missing in action and after a reasonable time of grieving the cheerful Rosie went on with life and another man. Then one day in forty-six or early forty-seven Joe, now skinny and retired from the army got off the train in Carlyle and walked home to their hillside home on the West side of the Whitebear. By now Joe spoke perfect German and once having sorted out that he was alive Rosie and he took up life where they had left off years ago. Joe went on to be a prominent dancer and cultural leader among the Nakota people and oversaw the restoration of the Pheasant Rump, and Ocean Man reserves to his people.




The Assiniboin/Nakota people have been known by many names and are still referred to as Stoney people in Alberta. They are small in number, perhaps 4,000 in Canada and 1,000 in Montana. There are some good references to their history and these will help clear up some of the confusion about their past.




An Excellent history site of the Assiniboine, with pictures
A short but definitive site explaining their history.
The Brittanica reference is excellent.
One page site for the stoney band in Alberta
  By Timothy W. Shire
Timothy Shire service as vice Principal in Carlyle, counsellor at the Cowessess Education Centre and principal at Fort Alexandre (near Pine Falls Manitoba)