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Sasswain Poitra was a member of the Marten clan. He served as a sub-chief to Little Shell III during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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The Crane Clan was one of the leadership clans that served the Turtle Mountain Chippewa people.
The Chippewa people were divided into a number of doodem (clans) named for animals. This clan system served as a semi-formal structure of organization as well as a means of dividing labor in some cases. The five main totems among the Chippewa were Crane, Catfish, Loon, Bear and Marten.

There were at least twenty-one totems and sub-totems in all, recorded by William Whipple Warren: Crane, Catfish, Loon, Bear, Marten, Wolf, Reindeer, Merman, Pike, Lynx, Eagle, Rattlesnake, Moose, Black Duck, Sucker, Goose, Sturgeon, White Fish, Beaver, Gull, and Hawk. Some totems indicate non-Chippewa origins, such as the Wolf Clan for Dakota or Eagle Clan for American. There are other totems considered rare today among the Chippewa people because the totems have migrated to other tribes, such as the Merman Clan, which shows up as the Water-spirits Clan of the Ho Chunk people (Winnebago).

Each clan was ascribed different characteristics, and members of those clans were thought to exemplify these characteristic.  For example, the Crane and the Loon Clans were given the power of Chieftainship. By working together, these two clans gave the people a balanced government with each serving as a check on the other.  The people of the Catfish Clan were thought of as teachers and scholars. They helped children develop skills and healthy spirits. They also drew on their knowledge to solve disputes between the leaders of the Crane and Loon Clans.  Members of the Bear Clan were reputed to be strong and steady police and legal guardians. Bear Clan members spent a lot of time patrolling the land surrounding the village, and in so doing, they learned which roots, bark, and plants could be used for medicines to treat the ailments of their people.  The people of the Marten Clan were hunters, food gathers and warriors of the people. Long ago, warriors fought to defend their village or hunting territory. They became known as master strategists in planning the defense of their people.

Do you know your clan?

3/1/2012 05:21:01 am

Most of our people don't know which clan they come from. How would they find out?

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Kade
3/1/2012 05:24:04 am

That's one of the things we need to learn....we need to make this a priority.

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Terri Martin-Parisien
3/2/2012 12:18:46 pm

Offer tobacco (asiimaa) to a spiritual leader.

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3/1/2012 05:22:23 am

The new Heritage Center web page looks good.

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Leah McCloud
3/1/2012 10:56:26 pm

Kade this a awesome sight packed with historical data which is a researchers dream. Way To Go! I Love It!

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Kade
3/2/2012 03:19:09 am

That's why I'm enjoying it soooo much!

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Terri Martin-Parisien
3/2/2012 12:20:24 pm

I agree. Great job Kade!!!

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Fran Demery
3/2/2012 01:44:14 am

This is so Awsome to have our heritage noticed!!

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Kade
3/2/2012 03:19:31 am

Thanks!

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Jane Ferris Downey
3/6/2012 12:15:29 am

Very impressive! Proud of you little cousin.

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Kade
3/6/2012 12:18:44 am

Thanks!

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10/24/2012 12:16:39 pm

Thanks to your blog, I'm gonna create one now too, thank you.

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2/19/2013 04:58:40 am

While I already knew what my clan was, I didn't know about the characteristics. I am of the loon clan, so learning about the power of Chieftainship is interesting.

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Lisa Poitra
7/17/2013 10:33:48 pm

Great job! The information you provided is very helpful. Thank you for providing this page.

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9/7/2013 02:22:59 am

I enjoyed reading your blog, thank you.

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1/15/2014 02:32:24 pm

These are great strategies for project managers. Though they study an entire unit on it in the certificate iv course, I think a lot comes down to personal time management strategies.

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1/21/2014 06:50:09 pm

This page is a great method to connect to others. Congratulations on a job well achieved.

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2/21/2014 10:23:24 pm

This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

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Shkodae
5/24/2016 10:05:15 am

people from my tribe the potawatomi tribe dont have some of those

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Daniel Charles Lesage Black
6/13/2016 11:10:24 am

Im just starting to find out my heritage and want to find out more,my father was of Georgina Island and want to research more about what clan I might be

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Shielah Andersen
6/26/2016 03:15:34 pm

I am especially interested as a swimming instructor to learn more about the Merman Clan...does anyone know any keeper of oral tradition, written story or link that I could go to for more info?

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Suzie CalfRobe
7/1/2016 12:41:47 am

My family is Doney

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Ernest Schuls
2/28/2017 09:16:23 am

I was glad to find this site..... I have been doing research on my family tree and have found that one of my ancestors was Ke-che-waub-ish-ash, known as Big Marten.... He was a Warrior Chief, a contemporary of and right-hand-man to Bi-aus-wah, who was the civil and peach Chief... of the Sandy Lake Ojibways.

Ke-che-waub-ish-ash was killed in a battle with Dakota Sioux warriors at a point of land between the Elk and Mississippi rivers around 1887 from what I can find.... Also Ke-che-waub-ish-ash had a daughter named Louise who married a trapper named Bethelemy Chevalier who was part French and part Menominee Indian...They had a daughter named Marie Antionette Chevalier(1793 to 1865) who wound up owning and operating one of the largest trading posts in the Green bay Wisconsin area.... The story goes that the Indians in the area could not pronounce Marie Antoinette, and their pronunciation came out Queen Marinette...... She was such a well known, well liked person and business woman in the area that the town and county of Marinette Wisconsin was named after her...And would be my great, great, great aunt......

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Lori Barkley
7/6/2017 01:46:21 am

Thanks for this great information. I'm a member of the Poitras family, which according to the posting above is of the Martin clan. My father, who is in his 70s looks EXACTLY like Henry 'Sasswain' Poitras above. He's a great (X 3) uncle to my dad. I've been researching some of Barkwell's information about the Red River Metis settlement and the dozen or so native women who were wives of the trappers. I'm related to Utinawas, Josephette Assinaboine, and Marguarite Grant. (whose uncle married Little Shell I's daughter). What's a good resource to find out more about the clans and how they functioned on the Prairies?

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    Author

    Content is provided by Kade M. Ferris M.S.  Kade has a B.A. in anthropology and history from University of North Dakota, and a M.S. degree in anthropology from North Dakota State University.  Kade serves as the Historical Society board Vice President and is a professional historian and anthropologist with over 18 years of experience.  He serves as the THPO and Director of Natural Resources for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and is the Vice President of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Historical Society Board.

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