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Battle of the Grand Coteau


On this day July 13, 1851 a small Métis hunting party engaged Dakota warriors at the battle of the Grand Coteau, southeast of present day Minot, North Dakota.

The Métis, largely the descendents of Ojibwa and Cree mothers and European fathers, were on a hunting expedition when they stumbled upon a large encampment of Dakota American Indians. Throughout the early nineteenth century, the Dakota were the Métis’ bitter rivals, and competed for the same land and food resources. At the Grand Coteau both groups engaged in fierce fighting. However, the Métis were able to successfully fortify their positions and suffered only one fatality, while the Dakota lost some 80 men, and nearly as many horses.

Although both groups lost their later attempts at independence from the Canadian and American governments, the Battle of the Grand Coteau ended major hostilities between the two peoples.

Written by Lane Sunwall


"Battle of Grand Coteau - the Days Before", Heritage Community Foundation http://www.albertasource.ca/metis/eng/beginnings/political_battle.htm (accessed June 24, 2008).

Morton, William, "The Battle at the Grand Coteau: July 13 and 14, 1851", Manitoba Historical Society http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/transactions/3/grandcouteau.shtml (accessed June 24, 2008).

Timbrook, Mark. "Battle of the Grand Coteau: A Forgotten Event of Regional History." Minot, ND: Ward County Historical Society.