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 149

You (Way-ge-mah-wish-kung) can remember when you were a small boy, this country was all taken from the Sioux and that the Chippewas all owned it in common.  One band sold a little, and then another band sold some, when all should have joined in the cessions, and this produced injustice and inequality of division, so the Great Father last winter decided that you all had an interest in the title of Indian lands in Minnesota, and that your interests should hereafter all be united.  That is the reason that we first went to Red Lake, as they own a reservation very much larger than your’s three or four times.  You who own a small reservation, the most of it you will keep in your allotments, will get as much as those who have large reservations.

The Chippewas of the Mississippi put a large reservation here, and do not take a foot of it in allotments, beside giving four townships at White Earth containing pine.

The great council arranged this so as to correct whatever injustice had been done.  Then to help you along until you should receive money from the sale of the pine, the Great Father appropriated $90,000, which is now in the Treasury, to be given to you, not only now, but to be continued year after year until you shall receive a greater sum.  It has been customary to give you so much money for so much land, whether it was much or little, but now the land is sold for you and you get every dollar it brings.  And instead of leaving you to settle your own disputes among yourselves, and which are seldom ended in that way without disaster, the law will settle them as it does with the white people.  If one Indian injures another in person or property he will be punished precisely the same way he will be if he injures a white man; exactly at the Government punishes a white man for doing any injury to another.

When you have taken your allotments you will have much more land than the white man receives.  He only gets 160 acres, while here the head of a family gets that and the children and other persons who are of age also get land.  Any mistakes under former treaties, these old matters, cannot be brought up here.  The damages caused by, and the land taken for, the reservoirs, are not matters which are covered out of sight by this arrangement, but are still alive.

Way-ge-mah-wish-kung:  We have all kinds of stories here.  There was a surveyor at work in this section of the country, and he told me that he was going to Mississippi.  He said the Great Father did not own nay land there, but it is three miles back from where the Mississippi empties into this lake.  There are a great many whites north of Winnebagoshish.  The whites have stopped at the third river from Leech Lake, and not know exactly where the lines are.  We wish an adjournment now, and will meet you tomorrow.

Council adjourned.

Second council at Cass Lake.
August 24, 1889

Way-ge-mah-wish-kung.  There are many here who are ignorant of this transaction and we can not make them understand fully the purport of your visit.

Mr. Rice then repeated the full and complete explanation of the prepositions made the day before.

Way-ge-mah-wish-kung.  I wish to ask you about the request made by the Pillager Indians while I was there in reference to the money obtained from the dam matters.  The Indians made a request that they should receive the whole amount to enable them at once to purchase cattle.  How was that decided?

Mr. Rice.  We put it down in the paper just as they said it.

Way-ge-mah-wish-kung.  We wish it understood that the request of the Pillagers about the dams are our requests also.

I wish to state that our young men do not tie us up as the chiefs at Leech Lake relative to tied.  We are a little more free here.

The same thing that troubled the minds of the Indians at leech Lake relative to the dam money and about the land at Leaf River, and the demand they made to have the account of the utility fund investigated, all these things are on our minds also.

At the time of the Northwest Commission I did not like the arrangement, but on account of the agent’s persistence, after he had been after me three times, they got me to sign it.  As you have referred to the old treaty, I will tell you what I said at that time: “I sign that agreement just because I am urged to sign it; it is not because I like it.  I do not like the agreement: you do not give us anything in our hands for signing that agreement, but I will sign it, as you urge me to sign it.”  We were waiting for a young man who said he would be present when this arrangement was made.

Mr. Rice.  We have not come to urge any of you to sign, but to tell you all there is in the proposition, and then to leave it optional with you to accept it or not.  You have been left alone, without a mill, a Government farmer, or a carpenter; so far as I can see nothing has been done for you.

This country will not be filled up as the country south will be, because it is not as good for agriculture.  If this is carried out, you will not be confined to your reservation

< HOME >
< NEXT >
< NEXT >