and had made known to their people
the object of our
mission. We found these people healthy in body and mind, unusually
careful of self. All were anxious to
acquire land in severalty, and the young men were eager to find work. They said they had been forced to look for
subsistence outside of their reservation. Their
bands numbered one hundred men. All except
one signed the agreement.
On the 2d
of October we met the Mille Lac Indians, and were with them until the
the 5th, and almost constantly in council.
the general opinion, we found them intelligent, cleanly, and well
behaved. Their neighboring white settlers
gave them a
good name. Some who had been on these
borders for many years said they had never been molested in person or
by them. Upon this reservation there
are a large number of whites, who have made claims thereon, and even
these testified to the harmless conduct of the Indians.
Their principle fault seems to lie in
possessing lands that the white man wants.
reservation was set aside for their use by treaty of February 22, 1855,
guaranteed as their permanent home. As
a sample of injustice to them we were told hat the land had been plowed
miles north of their reservation, and not a foot for their use thereon. To satisfy ourselves of this, we visited the
place designated (lots 1 and 2, section 13, township 44, range 28 west)
ascertained from the then occupant, a very respectable citizen by the
Dinwiddie, that his farm embraced the improvement mentioned, which had
made before he purchased.
treaty of March 11, 1863, this reservation was ceded to the United
by a proviso in article 12 it was stipulated--
to the heretofore good conduct of the Mille Lac Indians they shall not
compelled to remove so long as they shall not in any way interfere with
any manner molest the persons or property of the whites.
4 of the same treaty, it was agreed that the United States should clear
stump and grub and break for the Mille Lac band, upon said reservation,
acres of land, which confirmed the belief that they were not only
located, but had the sole occupancy of the reservation.
treaty of May 7, 1864, which was intended to supersede the one last
article 4 makes the same stipulation as to the breaking of 70 acres of
and by article 12 a promise as to their living thereon, the same as
the treaty of March 11, 1863.
Interior Department now holds that--
Lac Indians have never forfeited their right of occupancy and still
notwithstanding this, white men have been permitted to rob them of
and for years to settle upon their agricultural lands, and there to
quiet position to this day to the great injury and fear of the Indians. Some of the whites had the shameless
audacity to take from the Indians land the latter had, with much labor
perseverance, put into cultivation. Squatters
are now settling o this reservation, and the
interest of the
many persons upon the Mille Lac Reservation who went there believing
they had a
right to do so. They were induced to
believe so by the action of person who not only sought the rich pine