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Manitoba where the Indians were able to find feathers needed for their elaborate headdresses.
One section of good farm land at Indian Ford, five miles north and one mile west of Rathwell, is still owned by the Swan Lake Reserve, and has been rented by Mr. Russell Metcalfe of Portage la Prairie since 1923.
Recently, when studying the history of Chief Yellowquill, we learned that much of the trail named after him still remains. In spots where it had followed too closely to the Assiniboine River, only mud holes remain. Some stretches are still well-travelled. Other stretches, such as the portion within the Long Plain Reserve, are gravelled thorofaresr- We also learned that although the Yellowquill Trail passed through property which became privately owned, the landowners could not close their gates to the travelling Indians. This trail belongs to them.
Chief Yellowquill was buried at Indian Ford about 1910. He
was given the true Indian burial rites given to any Chief. His pipe and a few personal items were buried with him. A little wooden canopy was built over the grave. Food and tobacco were placed at the grave for four days after his burial, and a small fire was lighted each morning and evening at the foot of his grave. This signified the belief that it took the spirit four days to reach Heaven, and a traveller needs food and warmth in the morning and evening.
A few Portage residents remember Chief YellowquilL Many remember his son, John. His grandson, Joe, died recently. However, there are other descendants who still reside on the Portage Plains. A great-great-granddaughter, Shirley Yellowquill, rode on a float in the "Old Home Week" parade a few years ago. Shirley's son, dressed in full Indian attire, presented Queen Elizabeth with a bouquet of roses when she stopped in Portage la Prairie in 1959.
In memory of Chief Yellowquill we have a street and a motel named after him. Both are located close to his original trail.
INDIANS - THEIR LIVES AND PROGRESS
Verifying the authenticity of the stories told about the early Indians is very difficult if not well-nigh impossible. Relics which have been found are, of course, of value in determining their methods of cooking, hunting and warfare but do not indicate the rivalry, fears and feelings of these people.