Wounded Warrior Site

During the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, encounters between the Ojibwa and Sioux in the study area were undoubtedly frequent. At See-bos-qui-tan (Roseau Rapids) there was said to have been two large ‘rifle pits’ dug by the Ojibwa as a defense against Sioux raiding parties. One was close to the Crow Wing Trail at the lower crossing on the south side of the river; the other was on the north side of the river on the high banks east of the upper crossing. 

At least one site, the Wounded Warrior Site in the R.M. of Franklin is recognized by both the Sioux of North Dakota and the Roseau River Ojibwa as a sacred spiritual site, commemorating a particular encounter between the Sioux and the Ojibwa, in which an Ojibwa brave distinguished himself by his bravery.

According to the legend, a party of Sioux had been pursuing a group of Ojibwa who were attempting to reach the relative safety of their campsite at the Rapids. One of the Ojibwa men, who had been wounded in the initial encounter, urged this companion to leave him behind to delay the Sioux and make good their escape. From the relative protection of a huge bolder, the wounded warrior was able to delay the Sioux long enough to allow his companions to escape. 

Upon returning with reinforcements, his companions found that the man had been killed by the Sioux. However, the Sioux had been so impressed by the bravery of the wounded warrior that they resolved that, from then on, the boulder would mark the northern boundary of the Sioux territory. To this day, both the Sioux and Ojibwa regard this as a spiritual site, making offerings of tobacco and sweetgrass in commemoration of the bravery of the wounded warrior.

During the dust bowl conditions of the 1930’s, much of the bolder was covered by drifting soils. However, the top few feet are still exposed. During 1990’s road construction Historic Resource Branch staff pointed out the site to provincial work crew. In order to preserve the site, the work area was slightly realigned to avoid damaging or drawing attention to it. Due to its spiritual significance, the location of the Wounded Warrior Site is not marked, but it is known to the members of the Roseau River band, provincial and municipal officials, and a small number of local residents.