When Dinner Was Big Game

Indian Influence

The Ojibwe and Dakota Indians fought over the land in the Big Fork River valley. As late as 1855, these two tribes staged a battle about one mile south of present day Bigfork. This final fight drove the Dakota out of the area. The Ojibwe were feared warriors, partly because they had guns obtained in their trading with voyageurs.

A nearby township and two lakes are named in honor of an Ojibwe chief. Look on a map or as locals where to find Deer Creek Township, also known as Bustitown, and the lakes - Busties Lake, east of Effie - and - Bustic Lake, south of Bigfork.


Chief Busticogan belonged to the Bois Fort or Nett Lake Band of Ojibwe. Busticogan was one of few survivors of a smallpox epidemic that swept the region during the mid-1880s. Later, he saved a government agent from being killed by an Indian. As a result, he was given the grant of land surrounding his camp.


Legend tells us that Busticogan continued to follow Native American traditions. He lived in a wigwam and used only native tongue. In 1910, he traveled to Washington D.C., to protest what he believed was the illegal taking of his timber and land homesteads. While there, Busticogan died in his sleep. He had blown out the light in his boarding house room without turning off the gas.


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