Monday, July 23, 2012

The Historic Pembina "Ox Cart" Trail

Experience a day on the historic Pembina Trail, otherwise known as The Woods Trail, one of the many branches of the Red River Ox Cart Trails. The trade route traditionally carried furs and buffalo hides from the Red River Colony (Selkirk) on the long journey to St. Paul, Minnesota. The ox cart trains consisted of several to hundreds of carts. The ox cart teamsters were a  colorful mix of peoples, primarily Metis, who are themselves of mixed race. Portions of the Woods Trail still exist in Red Lake County, Minnesota, near Huott and Dorothy. That is where I made this day trip by oxcart to capture a taste of what life on the trail might have been like. A follow-up video chronicles our stop at Old Crossing Treaty Park where we went for an evening swim after a hot day on the trail.


Music: Silver Spear
Album: Slainte
Group: Siainte
Source: Free Music Archive

Historical photos I referenced for the digital artwork came from numerous sources, most of which are listed here:
State Historical Society of North Dakota
Manitoba Culture, Heritage & Tourism
Project Gutenberg
Minnesota Historical Society
Library and Archives Canada
McCord Museum of Canadian History
Manitoba Historical Society
The Pageant of America Collection
APTN Digital Nations
Encylcopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America
Minnesota Historical Society
Portage La Prairie Images
Whitney's Gallery

Swimming with the Ox at Old Crossing Treaty Park

Near Huott, Minnesota, the Pembina  Trail, otherwise known as The Woods Trail (one of the major branches of The Red River Ox Cart Trails), crossed the Red Lake River at what is now known as Old Crossing Treaty Park. After a hot, bug ridden day of carting on one of the  remnants of the trail, Scout the Ox, Harry the Dog, and I stopped at the park for a swim in the river. This is the location where oxcarts on the trail forded the river, and it became a well known meeting spot as well. The crossing is rich in history and is home to the annual Chautauqua and French Festival at Old Crossing Treaty Park.

Historical reference photo: State Historical Society of North Dakota

Music: Jig of Slurs
Album: Cup of Tea
Group: Siainte
Source: Free Music Archive