"Indian copy" of Red Lake transcripts
provided to Red Lake General Council by the Minnesota Chippewa
and second council at Red Lake - June 29th, 1889
page 1 - "The Indians having
assembled, the members of the Comission proceeded to the school
building in which the council was to be held ..."
page 2 - "... before it two
different bills; there was one bill presented by the white people who
live here in the neighborhood of the Indians, who want to get their
lands so as to make use of them, as they are now lying usless.
This bill was framed perhaps more for the benefit of the white people
than for the benefit of the Indians ..."
page 3 - "... use of
them. This bill is like the net or the fish-hook to take the fish
out, so the Indians will have plenty and be well off. As it is,
your pine lands are burning; a great many pines are stolen; your
property is getting less all the time and you have no benefit from it
page 4 - "As the Act is very long, we propose to give you
until Monday morning, at nine o'clock, to consider ..."
council at Red Lake - July 3, 1889
page 5 - "The council was called to
order by the Chairman at 1 p.m., after which Bishop Marty offered
"MR. RICE:- We
told you that we would give you all the time necessary to
deliberate. You have fixed three different times to meet us; you
did not keep any of the appointments ..."
page 6 - "MR. RICE: - My
friends, we have heard the answer that you wish us to send back to the
President. For the last ten years, in consequence of your
poverty, the Government of the United States has sent you over
$10,000., every year, as a present. You have a mistake in saying
that you have had no voice ..."
page 7 - "[All along the track
we came lies the blackened pine, falling to the ground, groan-]ing out
its dissent that it should be thus destroyed. From this burnt
district, the moose and the deer flee for safety. Each year these
great fires are driving your game further and further, and each year
there is less for them to subsist you. If the moose, and the
deer, and theother game is destroyed by fire, what are you to live
page 8 - "... happy and
prosperous, able to care for you in your old age, and with horses and
cattle, and wagons and mills, everything that civilization will bring
you? So with only blackness and sorrow and distress on the one
hand, you may on the other hand go upward and onward in the bright
sunlight of future prosperity ... "
page 9 - "[GAY-BAY-GAH-BOW:-
] ... listened attentively. They are words of great wight,
but although they are words of weight, and although we must respect
them as we respect our Great Father, we do not believe, it is to our
interest to comply with their request. We call upon the Master of
Life to see the righteousness of our intentions, and God will help us
because we are in the right ... "
page 10 -
"MAY-DWAY-GON-ON-IND:- When I went down to St. Paul lately, in passing
Mrs. Warren's place, there was a fire raging to the West of the
road. The woman told me that there was not an Indian in the
country; that the fire had been set by settlers. We never set
fire to our pine.
"WAY-ME-TE-GO-ZHEENCE:- We are blamed for
anything that is destroyed - on what we consider our own - this
page 11 - "... to you.
You evidently have not condiered the propositions. If you have,
you have trifled with them; you have trifled with us. All that
you have told us is to take back the words of the President and throw
them in his face; I can assure yo that we will do it, and you must take
page 12 - "... The second
thing is: That the rest of the land, which is now being used up, stolen
from you or burnt off, will be taken hold of by the Great Father, for
his children. He will sell your pine ..."
page 13 - "BISHOP MARTY:- Every
one is to speak for himself; we have to get the signature of every
Indian. We want to know as to each one, whether he is reasonable
or not, and those who give a reasonable answer will be helped by the
President, and those who are not reasonable, need not expect any help
- "[PUS-SE-NOUS:- There are none here who are owned by any one; each
one] owns himself, and is master of his own ideas. We own the
land in common; when a visit is made by us to the Great Father, we will
tell him what land we will cede."
Bah-se-nos's great-grandson, Wub-e-ke-niew,
comments that: "Bah-se-nos told the Commissioners that the Ahnishinahbæótjibway
and would not sell our land, but the Chippewa Creole in which the
meetings were being interpreted was a hierarchical trade pidgin in
which it was impossible to communicate Ahnishinahbæótjibway concepts. ... We
cannot sell our philosophy or our religion, our identity our our
relations who share the Earth with us. We cannot sell land; the
idea was sacreligious then and it still is now."]
page 15 -
"[MAY-DWAY-GON-ON-NIND:- ... You know] that we have been at peace all
the time; we never do anything to wrong each other. ..."
page 16 - "[BISHOP MARTY: -
... ] As soon as we begin to talk, we see that we understand each
other very well. You may be sure that I did not come to take any
land away from you. I want you to have plenty of it, and your
page 17 -
[AH-NUH-NE-AY-GE-SHIG:- ... It is on the same principle that you have property; you get
the worth of your property; you are not going to share with a neighbor]
what you get for your own property. That is the way we want to do
with this ..."
page 18 -
"MAY-DWAY-GON-ON-IND:- My friends, (you will not forget that we
use that appellation in sincerity) as there is no amusement whatever
tomorrow we might as well mett. You blame us for not keeping our
engagements, but none of us have watches, and we could not tell the
time if we had."
Council at Red Lake - July 4th, 1889
page 19 - "The Council was called to order by the
Chairman at 2.30 P.M., after which prayer was offered by Bishop Marty.
"MR. RICE:- We expect to-day to hear your
objections to the propositions made to you by the Government.
After hearing you, it may ..."
page 20 -
"...poverty just the same as we are; that is a serious objection.
We have heard from the explanation of how the money was to be expended;
we have not a clear insight into it. ..."
page 21 - "[The reservations of
the Leech Lake, Win-]nebegoshish and Cass Lake Indians are known to
you, and you know how well they are situationed. There is another
reservation that goes nearly around theirs; which belongs to the
Chippewas of the Mississippi. ..."
page 22 - "The Mille Lacs
Reservation has large and valuable tracts of pine upon it, but I do not
wish to say anything about that, for there is a controversy, as to its
termination we have no knowledge. It is my opinion however, and
the opinion of my assoicates here, besides that of a good many other
men who are familiar with these reservations, that by this
consolidation, you will be benefited. ..."
page 23 - "... only six weeks
since I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing Mr. Rice, but from
the first moment we met, we became very good friends. He found
that I was a friend of the Indians, and I found that he was a friend of
the Indians. ..."
page 24 - "... that the
Chippewas were all poor, and if so, they ought all to help each other;
if they are against each other, they will always be poor. We are
all childre of one Father, who is in heaven, and ..."
page 25 - "speeches of
the other Indians, -we have not said a word,- my brother and myself,
Moose Dung,- and I concluded to express the feeling of these people, as
we understand it."
page 26 - "... of Life; that
is where I get my lessons, and I am very happy to hear your
remarks. When I pray, I pray that I may reach that life that I am
taught we shall go to, if we live well. I also encourage learning
and school teaching. that is the reason that I would not take any
remorks derogatory of what you have said, on account of those who are
page 27 -
"[Me-GUAN-AH-QUOD:- By observation over there among the Pillagers
you will] find that I have spoken the truth; I know what they will do."
page 28 -
"AH-NUH-ME-AY-GE-SHIG: - There was no answer made to what I asked
page 29 - "... in their
hands. We have not been paid a sufficient sum of money for the
cutting of logs upon our land by the lumber camps - let along the
thefts and depradations committed along the line; we will never see a
cent of that. I was the man selected by the bands to go around
the line of the reservation, and you would be surprised to see the
amount of depradation that has been committed ..."
page 30 - "GAY-BAY-GAH-BOW:- I
want to know if you would like to reply to what Leading Father has
page 31 - "[... What you do not
receive in cash, will be spent in your midst in making improvements,
which will give work for all your young men, so that the money will
reach your pock-]ets, and employment is what you require more than
anything else; 'An idle head is the devil's workshop.' ... "
page 32 - "... I take this
pipe, and make a comparison; we are called upon to deliberate something
that is useful, not whast is bad. That is all I have to say."
Council at Red Lake - July 5th, 1889
Council was opened with a prayer by the Bishop.
SHAW-WUN-AH-CUMIG-ISH-KUNG:- My friends, I salute you all, and also the
Indians. We wish to ask a question - although we have asked a
great may - about our line running from Thief River, directly south;
Moose Dung knows it was established from Thief River to Rice River ..."
page 34 - "... of
country. When one desires to buy, the question is generally
asked, 'who does this property belong to?' One man does not say
to another, whether or not you own this property, will you sell
this? If they had tried to find the owner of that land, they
would have found him here. We claim that land is still
ours. Our signatures do not appear on any paper as to the sale of
those lands. We want to know who ceded those lands, and in what
State they are. ..."
page 35 -
"SHAW-WUN-AH-CUMIG-ISH-KUNG:- Why does the President object to seeing us about this
matter, this bargain that it is proposed to make? The person
selling is generally called, and the bargain maid with the most
interested, that is what the white man does."
page 36 - "BISHOP MARTY:-
There will be a good deal more distributed if you accept what the
President now sends. It is easier for three men to come here,
than for three hundred men to go to Washington. ..."
page 37 - "[WAY-WAY:- ... You
see how tall I am, if I should stand in the midst of the money, of the
value of the damages,] what had been stolen from us, it would go over
my head. That is why I cannot come to a conclusion about the
papers yo present. I am working to arrive at the amount taken
from our reservation. ..."
38 - "[... Now we wish you to weigh your words well; we came here
to serve you, but if you are not ready to listen, and will not send
back a respectful answer to the President, all we have to do is to]
return and tell him that the Indians of Red Lake would not listen to
page 39 - "[If he finds there
are not enough wise men on your reservation, to manage it, and to meet
his] agents properly, he will conclude that you are not capable of
caring for yourselves; that he will have to do so for you, and treat
you as children."
- "... instead of their friends. It is easy to lead them wrongly, and
difficult to lead them right. For the whites and the Indians, I
have the heart of a father. It is my calling, which made me, all
these days, have patience with you, but I can well understand that a
gentleman like Mr. Rice, would not like it ..."
Council at Red Lake - July 6th, 1889
page 41 - "This was the
largest council held here up to this date, all interests on the
Reservation being represented. The Council was opened with prayer
by Bishop Marty ..."
page 42 -
"[NAH-GAUN-E-GWON-ABE:- ... It is wrong to act on the impulse of
the moment; one has to ponder for himself to come to a right
conclusion. We, as ignorant people,] have crooked guns; even if
we take sight over them, we miss the mark. We are trying to
straighten our guns ..."
page 43 - "... fathers have
done; I must look to my grand-children and their children's
grand-children,- I must look after the benefit of all. I shall be
dead when you receive the benefits of this work. If it pleases
the Master of Life that this shold be a blessing to us, it will be
because we follow the advice of those who are sent to us, and who say,
they are our special friends ..."
page 44 - "[MR. RICE:- ... We
certainly have not come here to do injustice to the Indians. This
Commission believe that your rights] are amply protected by the
carrying out the provisions of this Act. ..."
page 45 - "[... This is the
only proposition ever made to you, which] guarantees your security,
definitely fixing what shall belong to you and your children, and when
you retire at night you will know that your home cannot be disturbed.
"I am afraid you may not have understood the
this word 'consolidation' in its true meaning..."
page 46 - "[Two years ago
Congress passed an Act, by which it was decided that you should al take
allotments in severalty. It applies not only to this reservation,
but to all in the United States. That Act provides, that after
the President shall notify you, you shall select your land ..."
page 47 - "MR. RICE:- We
consent most cheerfully to the request made by your chief, and we hope
that by two o'clock you will have settled this matter between
yourselves. This is the most important point of all ..."
Council at Red Lake - July 6th, 1889
page 48 - "The Council was
opened with a prayer by Bishop Marty.
"MR. RICE:- The
Council will please come to order. It is proper that htose who
live at a distance should ..."
page 49 -
"[MAY-DWAY-GON-ON-IND:- ...The boys have drawn the lnes of what they
think will be the proper reservation for them to retain. They
have made it include some pines becaues they are thinking of their
posterity,-] of their grand-children, and of those who will live after
them, their great grand-children; we think they should be provided for.
"It is our wish
that the children be educated so that they make take care of
themselves; it is our sincere wish that our children, our
grand-children and our great grand-children should have the advantage
of learning from books,- that they should know how to read and
write. Another thinkg, thes emen of prayers, and the other men of
prayers - two different sects - they are the kind that we like here ..."
note: the May-dway-gon-on-ind
who was present at these 1889 sessions was a Christian mixed blood; he was not the same person as the
hereditary head chief at the 1863 treaty negotiations, who died in 1874.]
page 50 - "... We wish to
guarantee to our posterity some security; that is why we demand the
reservation we have outlined on that paper. ... We want the
reservation we now select to last ourselves and our children forever
page 51 - "... for grazing
land. The time may come when we will be called upon to locate
some of our people who may wish to cast their lot withus. We must
think, not only of the Red Lake Indians, but also of others in this
page 52 - "MAYS-CO-CO-NO-YAY:-
My friends, I shake hands with you all. The young men submitted
that outline for our consideration. We are with the young
men, and I hope you will grant their request. ... "
note: Under Article 9 of the "Treaty with the Chippewa - Red Lake and
Pembina Bands," October
2, 1863 [ratified March 1, 1864, Proclaimed May 5, 1864]
Mays-co-co-no-yay (George Sumner)'s family was granted "a reservation
of (640) six hundred and forty acres near the mouth of Thief River..."]
page 53 - "PUS-SE-NAUS:- My
friends, I salute you. I wish to allude to what was said before
the Commissioners and the others came in.
"It is seventeen
years since this matter was agitated here. Those who are dead, of
course, cannot be present. I am the only one of that lot. ..."
page 54 - "[MR. RICE:- ... the
lumbermen ... When they commence running pine into the Lake and making
the rafts in order to ship it below, there will be work for a large
number of ] men. If they are compelled to work in the midst of
your women and children, some troble will come which will be greatly to
the detriment of the tribe. We propose, after talking among
ourselves, to give you all the good land, and as much of the bad as we
can. We will consult a moment and see if we can change the line
page 55 -
"NAH-GUAN-E-GWON-ABE:- It is our sincere wish, after these papers are
signed, that a statement of the progress of the collection, or
accumulation of the revenue from this arrangement, shall be furnished
to us every six months ... "
page 56 - "[The white man is
very strong, the Indian is very weak. The white man is high, the
Indian is very low. When an agreement is made the white man
always knows how to construe it, but the Indian cannot help
himself.] My friends, take my remarks as friendly. If the
truth is promulgated, these people will thank you very much; and we
know it will be promulgated by men of truth and the friends of the
page 57 - "But it is not
enough for the Indian to have money in order to become well off;
something else isneeded; he must know how to make good use of money.
page 58 - "... who served the
country in the last war, has held many high positions since, and filled
them to the satisfaction of the whites.
the arrangement we are making with you, you will receive the Ninety
Thousand Dollars, already in the Treasury for distribution, giving
every man, woman and child among you about Nine Dollars apiece ..."
page 59 -
"[SHAW-WUN-AH-CUNIG-ISH-KUNG:- There are some Indians not here, who are
living outside of the Reservation, on ceded lands, at the Lake of the
Woods, they may be more or less, I don't know their numbers, what shall
we do] in that case? One was taken off and his improvements taken
page 60 -
"SHAW-WUN-AH-CUNIG-ISH-KUNG: - I will not be in the way of those who
want to sign ..."
page 61 - "BISHOP MARTY:- You may ..."
transcripts courtesy of Melvin Lawrence