Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)


August 6, 1993

On September 21, 1863, Governor Alexander Ramsey came to the “Old Crossing” of the Red Lake River, which was on one of the main fur trade routes for the “Red River Oxcarts.”  The next day, according to Governor Ramsey and Indian Trader Ashley Morrill’s official journal [which the U.S. Government hid for more than a century as “classified information”], the French Pembina Métis arrived, along with Hole-in-the-Day and a number of professional Indian treaty-signers.  On September 23, Governor Ramsey gave a speech which opened negotiations for what was presented as a right-of-way for a road across the Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway Nation.  After talking about the advantages of trade, Ramsey said, “Now, this is a trade which cannot ... be interrupted.  And their Great Father, feeling this, and desirous to prevent any trouble between his white and red people, has sent us here to come to some understanding with you about it.  The Great Father has no especial desire to get possession of their lands.  He does not want their lands if they do not want to part with them.  He has [stolen] more land now than he knows what to do with.  He simply wishes that his people should enjoy the privilege of travelling through their country on steamboats and wagons unmolested.”  Ramsey had unsuccessfully tried before to get the Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway to sell our land, and his talk about “right-of-way” was fraudulently misrepresenting his purposes.

In 1863, the Anishinabe Ojibway people did not speak English.  The Pembinas and the Chippewas spoke French and Chippewa Creole—they did not understand English either.  After one of his failures at “Treaty-Making” in 1849, Alexander Ramsey had made certain that the people he dealt with the next time would be unable to speak English. In 1852, he issued an executive order abolishing the teaching of reading, writing, and English to both the Anishinabe Ojibway and the “Indians.”  In both the brainwashing institutions known as U.S. Government Schools, and in the Missionary’s schools, the curriculum was “manual labor.”

What began as an alleged right-of-way negotiation was taken up to Washington, D.C., where it was re-written as a boilerplate land cession “Treaty” stealing about eleven million acres.  The language of the “Treaty” is standard Government Issue “Indian Treaty.”  The people who actually agreed to the land “cessions” and payment to the fur traders in the “Treaty” were not the Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway, and were not indigenous to this Continent.  Two of the people who allegedly agreed with “X-marks” as a “Pembina Warriors” actually used their French names—Joseph Gornon and Joseph Montreuil.  Another, who the U.S. Government appointed as a “Red Lake Indian Chief,” was a Frenchman named Racine (related to the Beaulieu’s) who used the name Kah-nun-dah-wah-wenzo as a professional Treaty-signer who also helped “sell” land at the “Treaties” of Sandy Lake, Gull Lake, and Boise Fort.  All of those who assented to this fraudulent “Treaty” were European subject people who had no claim to this Anishinabe Ojibway land.

As crooked as Ramsey’s original “Treaty” was, it wasn’t crooked enough for the U.S. Senate, who took the 1863 “Treaty” and amended it in New York so that more land could be alienated with the use of “Halfbreed Scrip.”  One of the so-called “Red Lake Indian Chiefs” who was taken East to agree to the Amendments died of the “persuasion” he was given.  The sacred drug of the White Men (rotgut whiskey) was used by the U.S. Government as standard procedure to procure “agreement” to “Indian Treaties.”  As the widow of another victim of deadly Eastern Treaty persuasion said over the body of her husband, “I told you not to touch that thing (whiskey) which has killed so many of our people.  Had you paid attention to my warning you would not be where now you are.”  This European ritual still persists to this day—for example weekend binge drinking.  The Ancient Indo-European Tradition of Bacchus (the Greek and Roman God of mus-zhah-way and mish-kwe-bee) dies hard and painfully.

On March 3, 1871, the United States Congress abolished Indian Treaty-Making.  It was reasonable that they abolished it unilaterally, because they had always owned both sides of the “Indian Treaties.”  Lo and behold, the snake-oil salesmen came up with new schemes, which depended on a unilateral assumption of a fiction they called the “Sacred Trust Responsibility,” based on imported European law, racism, and alleged “eminent domain” derived from the violent Judeo-Christian God.  In 1885, the scheme-of-the-year was another tax, which they called “stumpage.”  The United States Government used “timber thieves” (from whom they collected “stumpage” tax) as an excuse for “official” theft of Anishinabe Ojibway timber.  This particular chapter of ecological mayhem was officially known H.R. 4384, with which the 48th U.S. Congress replaced H.R. 846.

If you look at reality instead of the words which obscure the truth, the only thing that’s changed in the last 107 years is that there aren’t very many trees left—and as a direct result of the destruction of the Anishinabe Ojibway forest ecosystem, the lakes are dying, and the rivers are rampaging.  The immigrant European hocus-pocus (called in Crooked English “scientific forest management”) and their mentality of greed is making this land a barren rock like Europe.  What good is “making money” if your children get washed away by floods, poisoned by pollution, mutated by radiation, or starve?  Academic “forest management” has nothing to do with forests—it’s corporate tree farming run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and conveys no understanding about what a forest is really about.  In the interest of honesty, the United States Forest Service should be renamed the “European Plunderers and Tree Farmers [in the back pocket of resource corporations].”  If you put most of the “forestry professors” out in the woods, they’d get lost.  Many of them have never even seen a real forest. The abstract curriculum teaches the Europeans and their Indians that they are somehow separated from Nature, that they can exploitively “manage” Grandmother Earth, and that kind of perverted theoretical thinking has very real consequences.  You will not be able to continue burying your head in the sand with your abstract thought.  The time will come when you European immigrants have “intelligently” and “scientifically” stripped away the buffers of Mother Nature, and will have to come to terms with the reality that you cannot buy, sell, or “own” Grandmother Earth, nor destroy Mother Nature.  What you call “America” here is not for sale, and never has been.  Your European “land title” is a self-destructive delusion.

Seventeen years after “Indian Treaty-Making” had become illegal, who should come back to Red Lake, deranged with the mental illness of greed, but another Treaty Commission.  The 1889 Minnesota Chippewa Commission slithered around the boundaries of crooked Congressional statutes by writing that they were “ratifying an agreement,” although they told the people in Red Lake that they were making a “Treaty.”  The descendants of the foreigners who were packed onto Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway land under the “provisions of the Act of January 14, 1889,” including Indian Reorganization Act Chairmen Roger Jourdain and Butch Brun, celebrate the thievery of most of the Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway land and resources with pomp, ceremony, fanfare, speeches, and Wanna-be singing and dancing, every Fourth of July, and both they and the Minnesota D.N.R. call it the “1889 Treaty.”  The Anishinabe Ojibway call it the Grand Land Theft—and Genocide.  More than two thousand, five hundred documented Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway people “disappeared” in the twenty-five years between the 1863 “Treaty” and the 1889 “repopulation” by the French Minnesota Chippewas.  These more than 2,500 genocide victims were most of the remaining survivors of the Europeans’ earlier Holocaust which annihilated more than one and a half million (1,500,000) Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway.  When I write, “complicity in genocide,” I mean exactly that.

We, the surviving Anishinabe Ojibway have an inalienable right to exist as a Sovereign People on our own land.

 My telephone number is (218) 679-2382 and my mailing address is P.O. Box 484, Bemidji, MN 56601.

Wub-e-ke-niew


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