Spirit Car by Diane Wilson

By cea1111
  • Louix LaCroix and Rosalie Marpiya Mase

    "Their marriage was probably arranged to strengthen a trade alliance between LaCroix and Rosalie's tribe...An Indian wife guaranteed a certain amount of loyalty from the tribe's hunters, as well as providing the trader with an interpreter, guide, and companion."
  • Traders refuse to give food to the Dakota

    At the Lower Sioux Agency, Thomas Galbraith refused to issue the promised provisions, "those belonging to the Dakota by treaty and already stockpiled in the warehouse" even though the Indians were starving." Little Crow replied saying "We have no food, but here are these stores, filled with food. We ask that you...make some arrangement by which we can get food...or else we may take our own way to keep ourselves from starving." A trader, Andrew Myrick, replied "Let them eat grass."
  • Dakota men attack white settlers

    Four Dakotta men attacked and killed five white setters. At a meeting of some of the Dakota afterwards, Little Crow spoke saying, "You will die like the rabbits when the hungry wolves hunt them in the Hard Moon [January]. Taoyateduta is not a coward: he will die with you." in response to the cries that the Dakota should "Kill the whites."
  • The Dakota begin the Dakota War of 1862

    The Dakota attack the Lower Sioux Agency in force, starting the Dakota War of 1862. Andrew Myrick is killed and found with his mouth stuffed with grass.
  • Renville Rangers arrive at Fort Ridgely

    Fred LaCroix, the oldest son of Rosalie and Louis LaCroix, returns to Fort Ridgely with the Renville Rangers. As a a so-called "mixed blood," Fred has to fight his own people to protect the fort and his family.
  • Little Crow and his men attack Fort Ridgely

    "When the first attack finally came on the afternoon of August 20th, Fred fired without hesitation." Fred and others defend Fort Ridgely and his family against the attacking Dakota. "The Dakota War of 1862 was also a blow against...the peaceful heritage of kinship that had bound Dakota families together for generations....forcing families to choose sides, placing the survival of individual families above the needs of the community."
  • Sibley arrives at Fort Ridgely

    Henry Sibley arrived at Fort Ridgely with 1400 men. This was 6 days after Little Crow's unsuccessful second attack on the fort.
  • Sibley pursues Little Crow

    Sibley leaves with about 1600 men to negotiate the release of prisoners and pursue Little Crow.
  • Little Crow flees north; Remaining Dakota surrender

    Little Crow fled north with about 150 followers. Sibley marched into the camp and freed the prisoners. The remaining Dakota surrender to him.
  • Start of the March to Fort Snelling

    Start of the March to Fort Snelling
    The Dakota people begin the march to Fort Snelling, "a long, slow line of Dakota people began to leave the nearby camp." They reached Fort Snelling a week later, and "they were confined in an overcrowded camp of tipis...surrounded by a wood fence to protect them from maurading parties of white people."
  • Execution of Dakota

    Thirty eight Dakota prisoners were executed by hanging on orders from President Lincoln for crimes committed during the war.
  • Legislation Passed

    Federal legislation is passed breaking all previous treaties and agreements with the Dakota.
  • Additional Legislation is Passed

    Additional legislation is passed that removes the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Mdewakanton, and Wahpekute bands from their lands arranges for it to be sold.
  • Dakota removed from Minnesota

    In the spring of 1863, exact date unknown, the Dakota were loaded onto steamboats and transported down the Mississippi River and up the Missouri River to Crow Creek.
  • Little Crow Killed

    Little Crow was shot and killed near Henderson while picking berries with his son, Wowinapa.
  • Santee Reservation created

    In the spring of 1866, exact date unknown, a new Santee reservation was chosen in Nebraska just below the South Dakota border after an official report deplored the state of semi-starvation at Crow Creek. Much of the new reservation was only suitable for grazing, but it was to be the place where the Dakota would try to rebuild their lives and community.
  • Sisseton Reservation Created

    In 1867, exact date unknown, a treaty established the Sisseton Reservation, and Gabriel Renville was elected its chief. The people of the Sisseton Reservation were able to become fairly successful at farming while maintaining the Dakota language and traditional customs.
  • Oliver LaCroix travels to the Santee Reservation

    Oliver LaCroix travels to the Santee Reservation
    In 1884, exact date unknown, Oliver LaCroix, Rosalie's youngest son, traveled to the Santee Reservation to recieve a 160 acrre land allottment on the reservation. On the Santee reservation Oliver meets Jenny Felix.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    About 300 people are killed at Wounded Knee. Black Elk later said, "A dream died there...The nation's hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead." By this time, Oliver and Jenny have been married three years and have a two year old son named Oliver Jr.
  • Death of Oliver LaCroix

    Death of Oliver LaCroix
    Oliver LaCroix fell through ice in the fall of 1907, exact date unknown, and shortly after died from illness brought about by the event. He left behind his wife, Jenny, and nine children. "Jenny was now a widow and the sole support of nine children."
  • Paul Dion and Maude LaCroix Marry

    Maude LaCroix, daughter of Oliver and Jenny LaCroix, and Paul Dion are married. They are the grandparents of Diane Wilson. Paul and Maude moved to Burke after they married and had their first child, Margaret May Dion, in May of 1916.
  • Lucille Irene Dion is born

    Lucille Irene Dion is born
    Lucille Irene Dion, Diane WIlson's mother, is born. She is the sixth daughter of Maude and Paul Dion. Margaret and Agnes Dion are away at the Saint Francis boarding school on the Rosebud reservation.
  • Norma Grace Dion born

    Norma Grace Dion is born in Lead.
  • Darlene Rose Dion born

    Darlene Rose Dion is born as the eighth daughter to Maude and Paul. Paul was working for the Homestake Mining Company, but he was injured and suffered from asthma.
  • Paul Jr born

    Paul Jr. was born in Rapid City. He is Paul and Maude's first son and last child.
  • Agnes Dion's Death

    Agnes Dion's Death
    Agnes died in a car crash after going out with friends.A week after Agnes's funeral, Paul Dion takes Pauline and Lucille Dion to Holy Rosary boarding school.
  • Paul and Maude move to Mendota, Minnesota

    Paul and Maude move to Mendota, Minnesota
    After selling a machine he aquired with Oliver Jr's help, Paul Dion bought a car and moved to Mendota, Minnesota where Jenny LaCroix was living, leaving Lucille behind at the Holy Rosary Boarding School. Jenny had a premonition of the family's arrival. "They're coming. They will be here tonight, maybe in the morning...It would be difficult, but that was life, wasn't it? You did what you had to do, and you made the best of it."
  • Lucille Goes to Rapid City

    Lucille Goes to Rapid City
    The exact date is unknown, but a father from Holy Rosary offered to take Lucille home for a visit (Pauline had already gone for medical reasons). Lucille arrives at her house in Rapid City only to find that her family has moved and left her behind. Lucille returns to Holy Rosary where she remains until her family has the money to send for her.
  • Diane and Jodi's Roadtrip

    The exact date is unknown, but in August 1991 Diane and her daughter Jodi go on a roadtrip. One of their stops is Holy Rosary Mission School where Diane's mother Lucille attended boarding school.
  • Diane's Mother and Aunts speak about boarding schools

    Diane's Mother and Aunts speak about boarding schools
    The exact date is unknown, but in October 1992, Diane gathered her aunts and her mother to talk about what it was like to attend boarding school. Her mother, Lucille, said "You didn't want to be there. If we had a choice, we wouldn't have gone. We wanted to be with our parents. They kept us when they could and used mission schools as a last resort." Pauline said, "We had no choice, and we made the best of it."
  • Diane visits Burke and sees Oliver Dion's home

    Diane visits Burke and sees Oliver Dion's home
    Exact date unknown: Jack Broome showed Diane around Burke, South Dakota. Diane saw Oliver Dion's home and spoke to Buck Mullen about her family's history.
  • Diane meets her mother's cousin Agnes LaCroix Mousel

    Diane meets her mother's cousin Agnes LaCroix Mousel
    The exact date is unknown, but in July of 1997, Diane traveled to Rapid City and spoke with her cousin Agnes LaCroix Mousel about their family history. Diane learned from Agnes and the other women in her family that you should, "work hard, complain little, laugh as often as you can. Cry only when you bury a parent or a child. No matter what happens, make the best of it. And always, always, place the family first."
  • Diane visited the Santee Reservation in Nebraska

    Exact date unknown: Diane speaks with the tribal enrollment officer named Willard Mackey, and they visit Oliver and Jenny LaCroix's old homestead where Maude LaCroix Dion grew up. "There was a simple beauty to it...I could see her [Maude] running across the fields, picking berries in the summertime."
  • Spirit Car

    Not an Exact Time: Diane experiences her spirit car. "My entire back seat was filled with relatives who wondered why I wasn't paying more attention to their part of the family story." She imagines her spirit car as "a big old Cadillac with fins, fancy hubcaps, leather seats, and power windows" where "sooner or later they [her relatives] all come up to the front seat and whisper stories in my ear."
  • Diane finds Oliver LaCroix's grave

    The exact date is unknown, but Diane finds Oliver Lacroix's grave with the help of Clement, also known as Tuffy. She also found the graves of two of Oliver's children, Clarence LaCroix and Agnes St. Arnaud.
  • Diane speaks with her mother

    Exact Date unknown: Diane would speak with her mother, Lucille, about what she has discovered and written during Lucille's oncology appointments.
  • Diane learns more about her family's history

    Exact Date Unknown: Diane meets with anthropological historian Alan Woolworth and learns about Rosalie and Louis LaCroix. She also learns about Fred LaCroix's involvement with the Renville Rangers.
  • Diane visits sites of the Dakota War of 1862

    Exact date unknown: Diane visits the Lower Sioux Agency and other sites involved with the Dakota War of 1862. "In such places, the decades that have passed since the massacre have not at all diminished the sense that the land itself, even the river have been victims of this tragedy. These are literally the wounds in Minnesota's history that still lie close to the surface, even if their immediate details are no longer remembered by the descendents of those who were here."
  • Diane felt the presence of Rosalie

    Exact Date Unknown: While living with her friends in a farmhouse to write Rosalie's story, Diane feels Rosalie's presence. "Perhaps she was impatient for me to begin to write and so she walked, knowing that I would waken and hear her call...There was no doubt in my mind that Rosalie had come home." Diane decides to participate in the commemorative march.
  • The Commemorative March begins

    Diane and her brother walk in the Commemorative March to Fort Snelling. Diane notices that "we were all intensely interested in how people were related...Indian people use family relationship like a compass, as a way of steering through complex connections and acknowledging family ties, no matter how distant."
  • Commemorative March Ends

    Commemorative March Ends
    The last miles of the march the people experienced the sorrow and pain the Dakota women must have felt as they arrived at Fort Snelling. "I would not give in to the pain...I could not even weep for her, my tears all used for my family, and now I was dry as a bone."
  • Diane shares what she learned and experienced with her mother

    Exact Date Unknown: Diane shares all that she has learned and experienced with her mother, Lucille. In response, Lucille says "I never paid attention to the drums when I was growing up. I tried to forget about being Indian, about that part of my life, because people made you feel bad. But I guess you just have to accept who you are."