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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: 2 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 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 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 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
Box/folder/tape

Administrative Series

Box 1:
2 Audio Cassette Tape and Transcript List, 1993
3 Medicine Fiddle 1992
4 “Buffalo Voices,” in North Dakota Quarterly 1991
5 Plains Chippewa/Metis Music from Turtle Mountain recording reissue, 1991-1993
6 “Turtle Mountain French Culture Project,” for Smithsonian Institution, 1989
7 National Heritage Award nomination, 1981-1984
8 “Tunes, Song, Dance and Stories from the Turtle Mountains,” a film proposal to North Dakota Humanities Council, 1984
9 “Metchif Music: Music, Songs and Stories from the Turtle Mountains,” grant proposal, 1983
10 “Turtle Mountain Music: Song and Tunes from the Metchif of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Cree” grant proposal, 1983

Cree Family Series
11/1 Francis and Rose Cree, Chippewa Baskets, 1980
12/2 Francis Cree, Chippewa Song1983
13/3 Francis Cree, Storytelling, 1983
14/4 Francis Cree, Chippewa Music, 1984
15/5 Francis Cree, Chippewa Music, 1984
16/6 Francis Cree, Chippewa Music, 1984
17/7 Francis Cree, Round Hall Singers, 1984
18/8 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
19/9 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
20/10 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
21/11 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
22/12 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
23/13 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
24/14 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
25/15 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
26/16 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
27/17 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
28/18 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
29/19 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
30/20 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
31/21 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989
32/22 Francis Cree, Life Narrative, 1989

Fred Allery Series
33/23 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
34/24 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
35/25 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
36/26 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
37/27 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
38/28 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
39/29 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1984
40/30 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1984
41/31 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1984
42/32 Fred Allery, Metchif Fiddle, 1984

Fred Parisien Series
43/33 Fred Parisien, w/King & Alvina Davis, 1984
44/34 Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 1984
45/35 Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 1984
46/36 Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 1984
47/37 Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 1984
48/38 Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 1984
49/39 Fred Parisien, Chanteur, 1984

Delia LaFloe Series
50/40 Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 1984
51/41 Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 1984
52/42 Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 1984
53/43 Delia LaFloe, Chanteuse, 1984

Page Family Series
54/44 Mike and Dorothy Page, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
55/45 Mike and Dorothy Page, Metchif Fiddle, 1983
56/46 Mike and Dorothy Page, Metchif Fiddle, 1983

Frank Poitra Series
57/47 Frank Poitra, Fiddler/Chanteur, 1984
58/48 Frank Poitra, Fiddler/Chanteur, 1984
59/49 Frank Poitra, Fiddler/Chanteur, 1984

Raymond Houle Series
60/50 Raymond Houle, Harmonica, 1983
61/51 Raymond Houle, Harmonica, 1983

King and Alvina Davis Series
/52 Gregory “King” and Alvina Davis, Stories/Songs (tape only), 1984
62/53 Gregory “King” and Alvina Davis, Stories/Songs, 1984
63/54 Francis Davis, Stories, 1984

Tom Parisien Family New Year’s Series
64/55 Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 1984
65/56 Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 1984
66/57 Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 1984
67/58 Tom Parisien Family, New Year’s Day, 1984

Smithsonian Fieldwork Series
68/59 Raymond Wilkie, Metchif Music, 1989
69/60 Mary (Lawrence/Lavadure) Bruce, Metchif Song, 1989
70/61 Rose Azure, w/Dorothy and Mike Page, Song and Story, 1989
/62 Martin Belgarde, Metchif Song (tape only), 1989
71/63 Alex and Christine Boyer, Metchif Music and Story, 1989
72/64 Jenny Jeanotte Schindler, Metchif Story/Fairy Tale, 1989
73/65 Lawrence Keplin, w/Lawrence Allard, Music and Stories, 1989
74/66 Matilda Poitra, French Stories/Narrative, 1989
75/67 Rose Azure and Matilda Poitra, French Song and Story, 1989

North Dakota Council on the Arts Fieldwork Series
76/68 Alex Morin, Metchif Fiddle and Jigging, 1980
77/69 Alex Morin and George Longie, Music and Dance, 1981
78/70 Alex Morin and George Longie, Music and Dance, 1981
79/71 Leo J. Wilkie, Woodcarver, Sculptor, 1981
80/72 Leo J. Wilkie, Storytelling, 1981
81/73 Leo J. Wilkie, Storytelling, 1981
82/74 Leo J. Wilkie, Storytelling, 1981
83/75 Mary Lavadure, Dance and Story, 1981
84/76 Leona Patnaude, Music talk, 1981
85/77 Mary and Patrick Gourneau, 1981
86/78 Agnes Peltier, Dance and Medicine, 1981
87/79 Emily Gourneau, Music and Dance, 1981

Turtle Mountain Music Recording Session Series
/80 Recording Session, 1984
/81 Recording Session, 1984
/82 Recording Session, 1984
/83 Recording Session, 1984
/84 Recording Session, 1984
/85 Recording Session, 1984
/86 Recording Session, 1984
/87 Recording Session, 1984
/88 Recording Session, 1984
/89 Recording Session, 1984
/90 Recording Session, 1984
/91 Recording Session, 1984
/92 Recording Session, 1984
/93 Recording Session, 1984

Brian Johnson and Higher Ground Festival International de Louisiane Series
/94 Higher Ground, Fiddle Workshop, LaFayette, La., 1992
/95 Higher Ground, Performance, LaFayette, La., 1992
/96 Higher Ground, Main Stage, LaFayette, La., 1992

Metis Images Series
88 Finding aid and acknowledgements
89 Slides (95 images)

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