1889 - Minnesota Chippewa Commission
Chippewa Indians in Minnesota - 1890 - 51st Congress, 1st Session - House of Representatives - Ex. Doc. No. 247
 
  
Report of the Minnesota Chippewa Commission, page 14





for several days indisposed to give a favorable hearing.  The propositions were not as favorable as those made three years ago, which did not require the proceeds of the reservation to be shared with others.  The chiefs were opposed to breaking up the tribal relations, fearing that if they were so broken their power and influence would be gone.  The young men, however, were heartily in favor of the allotment plan, knowing that if their lands were held in severalty, each man's earnings could be used for his own advantage, instead of, as heretofore, being necessarily shared with the idle, but they did not like the provision for providing with other bands, although when it was explained to them that the country from Lake Superior to and beyond the Red River of the North was, by the united efforts of all the Chippewas, taken by conquest from the Sioux, and that had it not been for such united efforts, they could not have taken or held the Red Lake Reservation; they admitted the correctness of this statement, but thought some of their neighbors had received more than their due proportion of annuities from former sales.

            Among themselves, boundary lines were not very strictly regarded, as those of one band intermarried with and joined such other band as was most agreeable; in fact, the young men roamed about at will.  The Chippewas of this State did unquestionably, in early times, hold their land in common.  It was so in 1825, at the time of the treaty at Prairie du Chien, and no other idea would ever had been entertained had not the mistaken policy of purchasing a tract here and there from the bands contiguous thereto been adopted.  Of the vast cessions heretofore made, there is little, and in many cases nothing, left to show for the benefit derived by the Indians therefrom.  This is owing largely to the hurtful practice, so long followed, of permitting their tribal relations to exist.

            As a result of the reverence the young men have for their chiefs, they would not speak in council, but a delegation called upon the Commission after adjournment and requested it should have patience, as they had resolved to have a council among themselves, in hope of influence their leaders, and if successful they would continue to keep in the background.  They clearly saw the advantage to them of the propositions made, including the offer of protection of the law.  Their efforts were successful and all of their bands cordially gave their assent by signing the agreement, except a few called pagans, residing on the north shore of the lake; their head chiefs and others, however, said they had not objections, and would sign when "they saw fulfilled the promises made."  We found them very poor, having comparatively nothing to work with, not even farming implements.  Years ago they had a saw-mill, but from neglect, when a small expenditure would have kept it in repair, it was permitted to go to decay.  So for years they have not had lumber to build new or repair old structures, and also cattle and such other helps as would enable them to commence at once to improve their condition.

            They claim, and we think with at least the appearance of truth, that their boundary as surveyed is not in accordance with the treaty lines.  We recommend that an engineer of repute be employed to examine and report the facts.

            They earnestly asked that they might be permitted to utilize the dead and fallen timber upon the reservation until such time as the survey and appraisal be made.  As this will be of great help to them and the trees will otherwise be destroyed by fire, worms, and rot, we agreed to support this most reasonable request.







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