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 22

and had made known to their people the object of our mission. We found these people healthy in body and mind, unusually bright, and 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 close of the 5th, and almost constantly in council.
            Contrary to 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 property by them.  Upon this reservation there are a large number of whites, who have made claims thereon, and even many of these testified to the harmless conduct of the Indians.  Their principle fault seems to lie in possessing lands that the white man wants.
            This reservation was set aside for their use by treaty of February 22, 1855, and was guaranteed as their permanent home.  As a sample of injustice to them we were told hat the land had been plowed several 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) and ascertained from the then occupant, a very respectable citizen by the name of Dinwiddie, that his farm embraced the improvement mentioned, which had been made before he purchased.
            By the treaty of March 11, 1863, this reservation was ceded to the United States, but by a proviso in article 12 it was stipulated--
            That owing to the heretofore good conduct of the Mille Lac Indians they shall not be compelled to remove so long as they shall not in any way interfere with or in any manner molest the persons or property of the whites.
            By article 4 of the same treaty, it was agreed that the United States should clear and stump and grub and break for the Mille Lac band, upon said reservation, 70 acres of land, which confirmed the belief that they were not only permanently located, but had the sole occupancy of the reservation.
            In the treaty of May 7, 1864, which was intended to supersede the one last alluded to, article 4 makes the same stipulation as to the breaking of 70 acres of land, and by article 12 a promise as to their living thereon, the same as provided by the treaty of March 11, 1863.

            The Interior Department now holds that--
            The Mille Lac Indians have never forfeited their right of occupancy and still reside on the reservation.
            But, notwithstanding this, white men have been permitted to rob them of their pine, and for years to settle upon their agricultural lands, and there to remain in 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 and perseverance, put into cultivation.  Squatters are now settling o this reservation, and the interest of the Indians ignored.
            There are 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

< HOME >
< NEXT >
< NEXT >