Flee Island Dakota Entrenchment
The eastern Dakota (Sioux) of Minnesota traditionally built "cunkaské" (pronounced choonkashkay)—wooden palisades, piles of stones and earthen entrenchments—around their camps and villages for protection against elements, wild animals, and potential enemies. One group was even referred to as the "Cunkaskétonwan," Nation of the Forts.
In the summer of 1862, many Dakota openly rebelled against the intolerable treatment they had received from American authorities. As a result, several hundred Dakota refugees moved north to the relative safety of the Red River Settlement, claiming the protection of Queen Victoria, whom they called the "Great White Mother".
In the spring of 1864, following an attack by Chippewa (Anishinabe) bounty hunters from Minnesota, the Dakota constructed fortified camps in the Portage la Prairie district. Each camp was enclosed by a circular trench and embankment behind which armed defenders could position themselves. Inside this circle was a ring of pits where the women and children could take refuge in the event of an attack.
However, until 1873, the Red Lake Indians from Minnesota, continued to terrify the Sioux who had fled to Flee Island. According to the folklore of the district from time to time they would make their way through the surrounding swamp, kill and scalp their prey (even going so far as to mutilate the corpses of. their unfortunate victims) before they could be driven back through the Flee Island marshes - back to their own stamping ground.
The Flee Island Entrenchment is nearly circular with a diameter of 73 metres. It is not quite continuous, however, as the eastern portion has been incorporated into the adjacent field. Depth of the intact trench varies from 0.3 to 1.0 metres, and there was a semi-continuous bank of earth on the outside. A number of deep, circular pits are also located on the inside, close to the trench.
Sources: Manitoba Historical Society Website
Government of Manitoba Website
Small well camoed hide. Has log book, and pencil, a few trinkets, and the glorious FTF