LA COLLE, Cree chief; fl. 1736–42.
La Colle was a civil and war chief of the Monsoni division of the Woods or Swampy Crees, with its main village at Rainy Lake in the vicinity of Fort Saint-Pierre built by Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye in 1732. He enters and leaves history in the portions of the journals and letters of La Vérendrye covering the period 1736–42. La Colle was described by La Vérendrye as the “principal chief of the Monsoni; and in high repute also with the Cree and Assiniboin, acquired through his intelligence and his bravery. . . .” La Colle’s influence, not only with the Monsonis, but with allied Crees and Assiniboins as well, was noted by La Vérendrye on at least three occasions. He was the chief go-between in diplomacy between La Vérendrye and the allied tribes. On several occasions La Colle was able to forestall war expeditions against the Sioux on behalf of the explorer. Despite La Vérendrye’s asserted policy to the contrary, however, La Colle in September 1741 led a war party of over 200 men, mostly Crees and Assiniboins, against the Sioux of the Prairies, killing at least 70 of the enemy while losing but six men. All in all, La Colle played a major role in aiding La Vérendrye’s exploration and trade westward.