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Wood Mountain


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Woonkapi Sni (John Lecaine/John Okute)


    John Lecaine was the oldest son of Okute Sica and Tasunke Nupawin. He and his siblings were registered under their mother's first husband's name. Only later in life did he begin to use his father's name, Okute.
    Between 1899 and 1906 he attended the Regina Industrial School where he was given a practical education in agriculture and carpentry. In 1907 he moved with his family to Wood Mountain. Three years later he homesteaded. By 1913 he had proven up his homestead by breaking 32 acres of farmland and building a lumber house, log stable and log granary. John Lecaine did all of his farm work, that is ploughing, seeding, harvesting with horses. He travelled to town and hauled his grain to market

Woonkapi Sni
with son John

with a horse-drawn wagon. To feed his horses in the   winter he cut prairie hay with a mower, raked it and loose stacked it.
    When the reserve was granted at Wood Mountain his homestead was in the middle of it. He retained his homestead as private property until 1952, when he reclaimed his Indian rights and his homestead became part of the reserve.
    John Lecaine was a spokesperson for his people from the time he completed school in 1907 until his death in 1964. He was married three times, his first two wives, Florence Cote and Helen Tawiyaka died while still young women. In 1925 he married Christina LaSuisse of the Standing Buffalo Reserve. He had six children in all - Adeline, Stella, John, Grace, Augustus and Margaret. 
    In 1910 John Okute's father took him on a remarkable horseback journey. They rode west to the Frenchman River and then back to Wood Mountain, stopping along the way at more than thirty sites of significance to the Lakota people between 1877 and 1881, sites of Sitting Bull's winter camps, of sun dances, of red ochre mines, of meat caches, of vision quests, of sacred objects, of burials. Later he carefully mapped those sites.
    John Lecaine became the first Lakota historian of the Lakota people of Canada.


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