Chief Okanase (aka Michel Cardinal)

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Chief Okanase (aka Michel Cardinal)

Also Known As: "Michel Cardinal"
Birthplace: Bow River, Alberta, Canada
Death: Died in Manitoba, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Chief Old George Bone aka: Okanase and Kookoo Cardinal aka: Bone
Husband of Orkney Mixed-Blood Woman; Assiniboine Woman and Lizzette Slater
Partner of Unknown
Father of Chief Keeseekoowenin; Chief Baptiste Bone; William Cardinal; Jerome Cardinal; Jean Baptiste Lolo and 12 others
Brother of Chief Pat Bone aka: Okanase

Managed by: DeAnne Valentin
Last Updated:

About Chief Okanase (aka Michel Cardinal)


Please note that Chief Okanase is not the same person as Michel Okanins

An Ojibway First Nation, this history is provided by our Indigenous 'Oral Tradition'

Chief Okanase (aka Chief Michel Cardinal) is the son of Old Chief George Okanase (aka Old Chief George Bone) and his wife Kookoo Cardinal. His alternative surname Cardinal was inherited from his mother, rather than his father. given to him through the Sacred Pipe ceremony. Government agents translated Okanase as Bone and assigned it as a surname under the Indian Act authority. Old George Bone had sons and grandsons who were named after him, and he has many descendants with the name.

Our People of Riding Mountain House

Our People of Riding Mountain House by Walter Scott; Chief Okanase's band lived and hunted and trapped in the Riding Mountain. Area of Lake Audey, Clear Lake, White Water Lake, Kinnis Creek, Shoal Lake, Bone Lake, and all areas of the Riding Mountain the decendants of first original Nation of this area. The Okanase band lived a good life, documented in the early 1800's in the winter months they lived in the Riding Mountain around Lake Audey. The west end of Clear Lake aka Wasagaming where Chief Pat Bone had his village, and North and on the present day Golf course. There was food, buffalo, moose and elk where very abundant, fuel and shelter at its best. One of their home sites was along the west shore of Wasagaming aka Clear Lake near the Okanase Cemetary. Another home site was the entire area of the present day Golf course where the Lake comes in like a bay. Also, home site Lake Audey, Kinnis Creek. Fish and game birds were very plentyful, on their other home land Lake Audey known to the Okanase Nation as Poneeakesakaekun which means in Ojibway "bird landing lake". In the spring they would journey to their spring home land in the area of the Riding Mountain known now as McCreary for the making of Maple Syrup which was stored in weegwass mukkuk which means birch bark containers. The weegwass mukkuk were sealed with spruce pitch. In the summer the Okanase Nation would hunt Buffaloo on the Plains on the south west side of the Riding Mountain. There the Buffaloo chase and the drying of meat, kaskkeewuk which was later pounded into nokkeewaquanuk, then mixed tallow and wild fruit called pemeekkesegun or pemmican. Stored in skin bags of hide or birch bark containers. The Okanase Nation lived a rich, a good life with plenty of food, clothing and are the keepers of the Traditional Medicine of the Riding Mountain and its four boarders.

Death and Burial

Chief Okanase died in 1870. He was burried on a hill about one half mile south of the Hudson's Bay Company post at Riding Mountain House. Dictionary of Canadian Biography: Keeseekoowenin

First Marriage

Okanase married an Orkney Mixed-Blood Woman.

Second Marriage

Okanase married Lizette Slater. She is said to have been a French-Salteaux woman, although her surname also suggests that she had an Orkney ancestry. Dictionary of Canadian Biography: Keeseekoowenin

Children of the Second Marriage

Third Marriage

Okanase married an Assiniboine woman.

Children of the Third Marriage

Metis Script Application by his son William Cardinal

LAC LA BICHE, 21 AUGUST 1886: WILLIAM CARDINAL; address: White Fish Lake; claim no. 710; born: 1849 at Riding Mountain; father: Michel Cardinal (Métis); mother: Lizette Slater (Métis); married: 1866 at Riding Mountain to Mary; children living: 9 (names on application); scrip for $160.00 = Cardinal, William; résidence: White Fish Lake; no de réclamation 710; né(e): en 1849 à Riding Mountain; père: Michel Cardinal (Métis(se)); mère: Lizette Slater (Métis(se)); marié(e): 1866 à Riding Mountain à Mary; enfant(s) vivant(s): 9 (noms inscrits sur la demande);certificat au montant de 160$.00. [Library and Archives Canada: North West Territories Metis Scrip Applications, reference RG15-D-II-8-c. Volume/box number: 1340. Copied container number: C-14957]

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Chief Okanase (aka Michel Cardinal)'s Timeline

Alberta, Canada
Age 8
Age 28
Bow River Region, Manitoba, Canada
Age 42
Red Pheasant Indian Reserve, Saskatchewan, Canada
Age 46
Manitoba, Canada
Age 49
February 1846
Age 56
Manitoba, Canada
Age 59
Riding Mountain, Manitoba, Canada
Age 66
Manitoba, Canada
Age 74
Manitoba, Canada