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Manuscripts by Subject - Indians of North America - #10645

Title: Turtle Mountain Oral History Project

Dates: 1980-1993

Collection Number: 10645

Quantity: 3 feet

Abstract: Consists of interviews, photographs, and audio cassettes from a project of the North Dakota Humanities Council, the University of Mary, and the State Historical Society.

Provenance: The State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired this collection from Nicholas Curchin Peterson Vrooman in 1997. The collection was also donated to the NDSU Archives and the Special Collections Department of the Chester Fritz Library at the University of North Dakota.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Nicholas Curchin Peterson Vrooman received his bachelor’s degree at State University of New York, Plattsburgh in 1973 with concentration in American Indian studies and environmental studies. In addition to a M.S. degree from State University of New York at Oneonta in 1979 in education, he was a Clark Fellow at State University of New York at Cooperstown where he earned a M.A. degree in 1979 in a combined program in history museum studies and American folk culture. In 1980 he became North Dakota’s first State Folklorist with the North Dakota Council on the Arts. While serving in that position, he was the recipient of the North Dakota Governor’s Heritage Award, and served as a consultant to the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was involved in numerous exhibits during his tenure, including producer and curator for Common Wealth: North Dakota Folk Art (1981), co-producer for Winter Wheat, Art of the Aging (1982), and Iron Spirits: Blacksmith-made Decorative Iron Grave Crosses on the Northern Plains (1983). In 1984 he left the North Dakota Council on the Arts and established Wings/Hands and Co., a cultural conservation firm working to identify, protect and encourage traditional aspects of American life. Through that firm Vrooman was involved as a consultant, researcher and writer on various projects.

In 1990 Nicholas Vrooman became State Folklorist and Director of Folklore Programs with the Montana Arts Council in Helena, Montana. There he was responsible for the protection and encouragement of the state’s traditional cultural heritage and leveraged $1.3 million for traditional culture public programming. In 1994 he founded and continues to operate Northern Plains Folklife Resources at Helena, a community service cultural conservation, education, research mediation, interpretation, and production organization. Through this organization he has been involved in numerous folklore and cultural projects, working with the Nevada State Council on the Arts, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, Montana Historical Society, and the Metis National Council. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Iron Spirits (1982), Turtle Mountain Music (1984), “Land of Vision: Folklore/Folklife and History on the Northern Plains” in North Dakota History (1989), Plains Chippewa/Metis Music from the Turtle Mountains (1992), and Songs for Asking (1997).

Source: NDSU Archives

SCOPE AND CONTENT

Vrooman’s collection consists primarily of his recorded interviews on cassette tapes with accompanying transcripts with members of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Automated versions of the transcripts were also donated and are on file. The interviews deal mostly with Metchif music, but some of the other topics discussed in the interviews are Chippewa music and baskets, dance, woodcarving, storytelling, medicine, and the history of the Metis in the upper Midwest and Canada. Vrooman conducted the interviews over several years (see folder 2 for specific dates). The collection also includes documents related to other projects/proposals dealing with the Metis in North Dakota. The collection is divided into fifteen series which follow Vrooman’s original order: Administrative, Cree Family, Fred Allery, Fred Parisien, Delia LaFloe, Page Family, Frank Poitra, Raymond Houle, King and Alvina Davis, Tom Parisien Family, Smithsonian Fieldwork, NDCA Fieldwork, Turtle Mt. Music Recording Session, Brian Johnson and Higher Ground Festival International de Louisiane, and Metis Images.

The Cree Family Series includes audio tapes and transcripts of Nicholas Vrooman interviewing Francis and Rose Cree about the following: Chippewa baskets, Chippewa song, storytelling, Chippewa music, Round Hall Singers, and Francis Cree’s life narrative.

The Fred Allery Series consists of audio tapes and transcripts of Allery playing his fiddle and talking about the music. The Fred Parisien Series includes tapes and transcripts of Parisien singing, translating the songs, and explaining the origins of songs. The Delia LaFloe Series contains tapes and transcripts of LaFloe singing and translating the lyrics.

The Page Family Series has tapes and transcripts of Mike and Dorothy Page discussing Metchif fiddling and its origins, and Mike playing the violin. The Frank Poitra Series includes tapes and transcripts of Poitra playing his violin and talking about Metchif music. The Raymond Houle Series consists of tapes and transcripts of Houle playing the harmonica and talking about the music.

The King and Alvina Davis Series includes tapes and transcripts of King, Alvina, and Francis Davis talking about music and telling stories. The Tom Parisien Family New Years Series mainly consists of audio tapes made on New Year’s Day, 1984, at the Parisien home. The documents in the file are summaries of the conversations rather than transcripts. The Smithsonian Fieldwork Series includes tapes and transcripts of Vrooman’s interviews about Metchif music with the following people: Raymond Wilkie, Mary (Lawrence/Lavadure) Bruce, Rose Azure, Dorothy and Mike Page, Martin Belgarde, Alex and Christine Boyer, Jenny Jeanotte Schindler, Lawrence Keplin and Lawrence Allard, and Matilda Poitra.

The North Dakota Council on the Arts Field work Series includes tapes and transcribed interviews with Alex Morin, Leo Wilkie, Mary Lavadure, Leona Patnaude, Mary and Patrick Gourneau, Agnes Peltier, and Emily Gourneau regarding Metchif fiddling and jigging, music and dance, woodcarving, storytelling, and medicine. The Turtle Mt. Music Recording Session Series includes audio tapes taken from the master tapes of music from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. The Brian Johnson & Higher Ground Festival International de Louisiane Series contains audio tapes of the fiddle workshop and performance at LaFayette, Louisiana in 1992.

The Administrative Series includes information related to Vrooman’s project on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and other related projects/proposals. The series contains published information on the film Medicine Fiddle, which features many of the same people Vrooman interviewed for his study, and a copy of “Buffalo Voices,” written by Vrooman, which was published in North Dakota Quarterly, Fall 1991. The series also documents Vrooman’s correspondence with Smithsonian Institution regarding the distribution of the Turtle Mountain CD and Vrooman’s participation in the Smithsonian French Culture Program. The files also include his applications for NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) grants and a nomination for Alex Morin for a National Heritage Award.

The Metis Images Series contains a finding aid, acknowledgements, and slides related to the Metis. The slides are both historical and contemporary. Most of the slides were taken from published sources, but a few of the slides were taken by Vrooman. Pictures of many of the people interviewed for the project are included in this collection.

BOX/FOLDER INVENTORY

Cree Family Series
Box 1:
1  Francis and Rose Cree, Chippewa Baskets, 1980 (Tape 10645-00001)
2  Francis Cree, Chippewa song, 10/15/1983 (Tape 10645-00002)
3  Francis Cree, storytelling, 10/14/1983 (Tape 10645-00003)
4  Francis Cree, Chippewa music, 02/02/1984 (Tape 10645-00004)
5  Francis Cree, Chippewa music, 02/02/1984 (Tape 10645-00005)
6  Francis Cree, Chippewa music, 02/02/1984 (Tape 10645-00006)
7  Francis Cree, Round Hall Singers, 03/05/1984 (Tape 10645-00007)
8  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/19/1989 (Tape 10645-00008)
9  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/19/1989 (Tape 10645-00009)
10  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/19/1989 (Tape 10645-00010)
11  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/19/1989 (Tape 10645-00011)
12  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/20/1989 (Tape 10645-00012)
13  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/20/1989 (Tape 10645-00013)
14  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/20/1989 (Tape 10645-00014)
15  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/20/1989 (Tape 10645-00015)
16  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/21/1989 (Tape 10645-00016)
17  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/21/1989 (Tape 10645-00017)
18  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/21/1989 (Tape 10645-00018)
19  Francis Cree, life narrative, 09/21/1989 (Tape 10645-00019)
20  Francis Cree, life narrative, 12/05/1989 (Tape 10645-00020)
21  Francis Cree, life narrative, 12/05/1989 (Tape 10645-00021)
22  Francis Cree, life narrative, 12/05/1989 (Tape 10645-00022)

Fred Allery Series
23  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 10/13/1983 (Tape 10645-00023)
24  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 10/13/1983 (Tape 10645-00024)
25  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 10/13/1983 (Tape 10645-00025)
26  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 10/13/1983 (Tape 10645-00026)
27  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 10/13/1983 (Tape 10645-00027)
28  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 10/13/1983 (Tape 10645-00028)
29  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 02/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00029)
30  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 02/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00030)

Box 2:
31  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 02/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00031)
32  Fred Allery, Metchif fiddle, 02/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00032)

Fred Parisien Series
33  Fred Parisien, with King and Alvina Davis, 01/04/1984 (Tape 10645-00033)
34  Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 02/02/1984 (Tape 10645-00034)
35  Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 02/02/1984 (Tape 10645-00035)
36  Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 03/06/1984 (Tape 10645-00036)
37  Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 07/21/1984 (Tape 10645-00037)
38  Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 07/21/1984 (Tape 10645-00038)
39  Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 07/21/1984 (Tape 10645-00039)

Delia LaFloe Series
40  Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 01/04/1984 (Tape 10645-00040)
41  Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 01/04/1984 (Tape 10645-00041)
42  Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 02/03/1984 (Tape 10645-00042)
43  Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 02/03/1984 (Tape 10645-00043)

Page Family Series
44  Mike and Dorothy Page, Metchif fiddle, 10/16/1983 (Tape 10645-00044)
45  Mike and Dorothy Page, Metchif fiddle, 10/16/1983 (Tape 10645-00045)
46  Mike and Dorothy Page, Metchif fiddle, 10/16/1983 (Tape 10645-00046)

Frank Poitra Series
47  Frank Poitra, Fiddler/Chanteur, 01/05/1984 (Tape 10645-00047)
48  Frank Poitra, Fiddler/Chanteur, 01/05/1984 (Tape 10645-00048)
49  Frank Poitra, Fiddler/Chanteur, 01/05/1984 (Tape 10645-00049)

Raymond Houle Series
50  Raymond Houle, harmonica, 10/15/1983 (Tape 10645-00050)
51  Raymond Houle, harmonica, 10/15/1983 (Tape 10645-00051)

King and Alvina Davis Series
52  Gregory “King” and Alvina Davis, stories and songs, 02/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00052)
53  Gregory “King” and Alvina Davis, stories and songs, 02/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00053)
54  Francis Davis, stories, 01/30/1984 (Tape 10645-00054)

Tom Parisien Family New Year’s Series
55  Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 01/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00055)
56  Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 01/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00056)
57  Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 01/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00057)
58  Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 01/01/1984 (Tape 10645-00058)

Smithsonian Fieldwork Series
59  Raymond Wilkie, Metchif music, 02/22/1989 (Tape 10645-00059)
60  Mary (Lawrence/Lavadure) Bruce, Metchif song, 02/22/1989 (Tape 10645-00060)
61  Rose Azure, with Dorothy and Mike Page, song and story, 02/22/1989 (Tape 10645-00061)
62  Martin Belgarde, Metchif song, 02/23/1989 (Tape 10645-00062)
63  Alex and Christine Boyer, Metchif music and story, 02/23/1989 (Tape 10645-00063)

Box 3:
64  Jenny Jeanotte Schindler, Metchif story and fairy tale, 02/24/1989 (Tape 10645-00064)
65  Lawrence Keplin, with Lawrence Allard, music and stories, 03/22/1989 (Tape 10645-00065)
66  Matilda Poitra, French stories and narrative, 03/23/1989 (Tape 10645-00066)
67  Rose Azure and Matilda Poitra, French song and story, 03/23/1989 (Tape 10645-00067)

North Dakota Council on the Arts Fieldwork Series
68  Alex Morin, Metchif fiddle and jigging, 11/11/1980 (Tape 10645-00068)
69  Alex Morin and George Longie, music and dance, 04/05/1981 (Tape 10645-00069)
70  Alex Morin and George Longie, music and dance, 04/05/1981 (Tape 10645-00070)
71  Leo J. Wilkie, woodcarver, scultpor, 01/13/1981 (Tape 10645-00071)
72  Leo J. Wilkie, storytelling, 08/26/1981 (Tape 10645-00072)
73  Leo J. Wilkie, storytelling, 08/26/1981 (Tape 10645-00073)
74  Leo J. Wilkie, storytelling, 08/26/1981 (Tape 10645-00074)
75  Mary Lavadure, dance and story, 06/08/1981 (Tape 10645-00075)
76  Leona Patnaude, music talk, 07/08/1981 (Tape 10645-00076)
77  St. Ann's Turtle Mountain Days, seniors' dance, 07/23/1981 (Tape 10645-00077)
78  St. Ann's Turtle Mountain Days, seniors' dance, 07/23/1981 (Tape 10645-00078)
79  Mary and Patrick Gourneau, Tribal leader, 08/28/1981 (Tape 10645-00079)
80  Agnes Peltier, dance and medicine, 08/28/1981 (Tape 10645-00080)
81  Emily Gourneau, music and dance, 08/28/1981 (Tape 10645-00081)

Turtle Mountain Music Recording Session Series
82  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/06/1984 (Tape 10645-00082)
83  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/06/1984 (Tape 10645-00083)
84  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/06/1984 (Tape 10645-00084)
85  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00085)
86  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00086)
87  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00087)
88  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00088)
89  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00089)
90  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00090)
91  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00091)
92  Turtle Mountain Music recording session, 04/07/1984 (Tape 10645-00092)
93  Turtle Mountain Music celebration party, 04/09/1984 (Tape 10645-00093)
94  Turtle Mountain Music, direct from master, 04/10/1984 (Tape 10645-00094)
95  Turtle Mountain Music, direct from master, 04/10/1984 (Tape 10645-00095)

Brian Johnson and Higher Ground Festival International de Louisiane Series
96  Higher Ground, fiddle workshop, Lafayette, LA, 04/25/1992 (Tape 10645-00096)
97  Higher Ground, performance, Lafayette, LA, 04/25/1992 (Tape 10645-00097)
98  Higher Ground, main stage, Lafayette, LA, 04/25/1992 (Tape 10645-00098)

Administrative Series
99  Audio cassette tape and list, 1993
100  Medicine Fiddle
101  Buffalo Voices
102  Turtle Mountain Music/Reissue, 1991
103  Smithsonian French Culture Project, 1989
104  National Heritage Award Nomination, 1981
105  Film proposal - North Dakota Humanities Council, 1984
106  Turtle Mountain Music Grant, 1983
107  Turtle Mountain Music Grant, 1983

Metis Images Series
108  Photographs

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