Whatever laudable intentions may have gone into the 1934 I.R.A., by the time the preliminary drafts of this Act of Congress became enacted as United States Statute, the long-range thrust of this legislation melded in unbroken continuum with the Euro-American policy of the previous centuries: the obliteration of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples, our culture and our traditions. The intent was the total destruction of our families and Dodems, as well as to rewrite history so that the Ahnishinahbæótjibway would disappear into oblivion, replaced by the mythology of Indians which the immigrant Europeans and their heirs the Euro-Americans have created. These Western European policies of genocide are still here,[i] obscured but not mitigated by the I.R.A. In 1977, the American Indian Policy Review Commission wrote:[ii]
The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 ... manifested a positive attitude on the part of Congress toward Indian tribes and their development, but such outward manifestation was somewhat misleading.
The Indian Reorganization Act is about the Chippewa, the Métis, and the White Indians. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway have had nothing to do with any of the U.S. Government's machinations with their Indians: not with the "Treaties," nor the Minnesota Chippewa Commission, nor the Indian Reorganization Act. Western European civilization, and the United States Government which is derived from its precepts, is foreign to this Continent. We, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, lived here in plentiful harmony long before the Western Europeans and their Indians got here. The White man and his cohorts can write anything they want, but they cannot change reality or what they have done. The United States ignored the real world by refusing to recognize the billion people of China for more than a generation; the Ahnishinahbæótjibway are real whether or not Western Civilization formally recognizes us.
What follows is a documented history of how the Indian Reorganization Act came to be applied to the people whom the United States Government put onto Ahnishinahbæótjibway land at Red Lake and made into Chippewa Indians. Neither the Indian Reorganization Act nor the Indian Tribal Governments derived from it, have any jurisdiction over the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, nor over our land. However, the history of the I.R.A. at Red Lake is important because it is not atypical of the way the U.S.A. has dealt with their Indians, and also because the Indian Reorganization Act Tribal Councils are misleadingly presented to the general public as though they were legitimate, Sovereign governments.
There are at least two stories about how the Indian Reorganization Act was put onto Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway land.
One story, which circulated at Red Lake, is that "a 'yes' vote meant a 'no' vote." According to this story, the B.I.A. said, "we will do it in a democratic way, and let the people [sic] decide." The people voted "no," rejecting the Indian Reorganization Act. The bill went back to the United States Congress, which attached a rider saying that "a 'no' vote meant a vote for the I.R.A." Then, the I.R.A. went back to the Reservation, and it "passed" unanimously, that is, everybody voted "no." This story is a metaphor for the B.I.A.'s use of proxy votes under trusteeship.
Another story comes from the B.I.A.'s files in the National Archives. According to the B.I.A., the United States considered the Red Lake Chippewa to be part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe on the basis of the Act of January 14, 1889. The Métis at Red Lake rejected the 1934 I.R.A. incarnation of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (M.C.T.), which organized in June of 1935. The people categorized by the U.S. Government as the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe were, by 1935,[iii] approximately 9,500 Métis people, White people, and mulatto people with a Lislakh patriline,[iv] and a very few Ahnishinahbæótjibway who had been so categorized without their knowledge or consent.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs used Indian Trusteeship and the M.C.T. they had invented, to falsely imply that the Indian Reorganization Act had been accepted by their Chippewa, as well as the Ahnishinahbæótjibway at Red Lake, writing, for example, "The Red Lake Indians voted to accept the Indian Reorganization Act ..."[v] The Indian vote to which John Collier referred was the vote of the so-called Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, probably a proxy vote cast by the B.I.A. for their "sovereign" Indian wards.
In August of 1958, as a part of the intensified Bureau efforts to bring Red Lake under the Indian Reorganization Act, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs once again claimed that the Indian Reorganization Act was "adopted ... in an election held on November 17, 1934, by a vote of 418 for and 24 against."[vi] Some of the people who were identified as Chippewa Indians may have knowingly accepted the 1934 I.R.A. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway at Red Lake were, and remain, strongly opposed to the Indian Reorganization Act at Red Lake, as well as to any other external government being forced onto us. We have always had our traditional, egalitarian, consensus Midé government.
The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe was created by the United States Congress under the Act of January 14, 1889. The U.S. used this Indian tribe which they had invented as proxies who agreed to the sale of nearly three million acres of land which belong to the Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway.[vii] The proceeds from the alienation of this land were accredited to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and a number of Métis and White Chippewa were "transferred" to the Red Lake Chippewa Indian Rolls by the Minnesota Chippewa Commission.[viii]
These Chippewa Indians at Red Lake were formally organized by the B.I.A. under a 1918 Red Lake Constitution, with the mis-apprehension that they had seceded from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. It was not necessary for the Ahnishinahbæótjibway to secede, since the imposition of the Act of January 14, 1889 was a unilateral act of the United States Congress, which has never had jurisdiction over the Ahnishinahbæótjibway.
By 1933, the United States Supreme Court had issued a decision certifying that Métis people at Red Lake were a "legally recognized independent Indian group"[ix] whose assets were separate from their brothers and cousins at White Earth, Leech Lake, and Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, and Nett Lake/Deer Creek[x]/Vermillion Lake. One irony of this United States Supreme Court decision is that the assets referred to are the land and resources of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, not those of the Métis people whose lawsuit went before the Courts.
There was a sense of urgency at this time for the Métis. United States Indian Law is written in such a way that so-called "Indian land" not held under trust title by the United States Government is considered subject to property taxes, tax forfeit and other forms of alienation. (Ahnishinahbæótjibway land is not legally taxable by Euro-American nor other Western European governments.) The Indian Trust period established by the U.S. Congress under the Act of January 14, 1889, expired in 1939. Although neither the 1889 Nelson Act nor the subsequent Indian trusteeship and its expiration had legal application to Ahnishinahbæótjibway land, the Bureau of Indian Affairs insinuated that the expiring trust period meant that the United States could sell Red Lake out from under the Ahnishinahbæótjibway to whom this land belongs.
The Red Lake General Council, recognized by the United States under the 1918 Chippewa Constitution, was a colonial government. This General Council, also known as Peter Graves' Council, was organized under the auspices of the B.I.A. pursuant to the "Agreement with the Red Lake Chippewas" of March 10, 1902, enacted by Congress as amended on February 20, 1904. This "Agreement" was brought to Red Lake by the U.S. Government under the administration of Acting Indian Agent Major G.L. Scott of the 10th Cavalry. This document was written in the English language, and although the hierarchical Chippewa language was at that time a written language, it was not written in Chippewa. The interpreters, Joseph C. Roy, C.W. Morrison, and Peter Graves, did not translate the provisions of this instrument into Ahnishinahbæótjibway, because they spoke only limited English, broken French, and the Creole language of Chippewa. It is not a coincidence that the 1902 interpreter, Peter Graves,[xi] became Secretary-for-Life of the Chippewa General Council formulated under the provisions of Articles IV and V.
The aspect of the 1902 Agreement which was stressed in the English-language transcripts of the negotiations[xii] was separation from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, which was not completely true.[xiii] From the standpoint of the United States, the Articles under which the Chippewa Indians agreed to sell 256,152.28 acres[xiv] of Ahnishinahbæótjibway land were probably the most important. These Articles included the stipulation in Article I, "for the removal within the diminished Reservation of their dead from where they are now buried on the tract hereby ceded." The dead in question were not the ancestors of the Indians who agreed to dig them up. At that time, there were tens of thousands of Ahnishinahbæótjibway burial mounds on the land which the Chippewa ceded.
The provision about removal of the dead had to do with two issues: one of them was the plundering of the graves of my people for "artifacts." The second was the removal of all physical evidence that the Ahnishinahbæótjibway had ever lived in the area. The land presently occupied by the town of Thief River Falls was a meeting-place and junction of Aboriginal Indigenous trade routes long before the Europeans arrived. Under the removal of dead provision of the 1902-1904 "Agreement," the burial mounds of my ancestors were plowed under, houses and roads were built on top of our graveyards, and the Whites and their Chippewa Indians tried to obliterate every trace that the Ahnishinahbæótjibway had ever been there. The Métis told us that our dead were dumped near where the old Frogs' Bridge was, but I went and looked, and found no evidence of this. Desecration of Ahnishinahbæótjibway graves, through the Indians, is still encouraged by U.S. Statute, including the 1993 amendments to the Indian Freedom of Religion Act.
My great-grandfather, Bah-se-nos, is alleged to have signed this 1902 Agreement with an "X," although he was dead at the time.[xv] Other Ahnishinahbæótjibway who are also recorded as having "signed with an X" did not understand either English or the foreign language of Chippewa, and did not agree to any provisions of this "Agreement." My grandfather, Bah-wah-we-nind, objected strongly enough to this document that he is not recorded as having signed, even with a forged "X."
The 1918 General Council was tolerated by the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, as a government of the Chippewa Métis. We never recognized any of the Indian governments as having jurisdiction over the Ahnishinahbæótjibway--these foreign governments do not belong on our land. At the time that the 1918 Constitution was written, and for a generation thereafter, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway at Red Lake were numerous enough, and politically powerful enough, so that the Indian people named by the United States as Chiefs and Headmen, as well as the Indian officers under the 1918 Constitution, had to support the wishes of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, at least in local matters where what they were doing was obvious. However the Chippewa Council also transacted business with the B.I.A. of which the Ahnishinahbæótjibway were not informed, and to which we would not have consented.[xvi] There were no Ahnishinahbæótjibway on the General Council of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians when it was organized on April 13, 1918.
By 1932, the general concept of the Indian Reorganization Act had been thoroughly worked out by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the B.I.A. had begun organizing its own Euro-Indians in preparation for the shift to what the B.I.A. promoted as Indian self-government. Under Bureau auspices, an organization called the Red Lake Tribal Business Association was organized in 1932. The organizers included P.H. Beaulieu (son of the interpreter C.A.H. Beaulieu), and his son-in-law, Roger Jourdain, who eventually became the first I.R.A. Tribal Chairman. Both of these men were Métis with strong family ties to the Métis community of White Earth Reservation. Even before the Indian Reorganization Act was unilaterally passed by Congress, the B.I.A. was already playing the Tribal Business Association against the General Council. On September 26 of 1933, B.I.A. Commissioner John Collier wrote to the B.I.A. Agency Superintendent at Red Lake, Raymond Bitney:[xvii]
It has come to my attention that there are two organizations or councils on the Red Lake jurisdiction, both claiming to be representative of the Indians and authorized to speak and act for same. At my request, Mr. Sniffen, Secretary of the Indian Rights Association, on the occasion of his visit to Red Lake, discussed with some of these Indians and the superintendent, the question of bringing these two bodies together ... There might be appointed a committee to draft such a constitution and by-laws and another committee for the nomination of delegates or members to the proposed business committee or council. ... It would appear that not more than 12 should comprise the business committee or council. The officers should be chosen from among the 12 delegates selected.
You should assist the Indians or committees chosen to handle these matters. Your office should mimeograph the draft of the constitution and by-laws. ...
The Indians of the Red Lake jurisdiction should appreciate the importance of this movement and when carried out this Service and the Congress will have one organization to look to for information and co-operation in carrying out plans, etc. ... We hope there will be the fullest cooperation on the part of all, and that there may also be a most cordial and pleasant relationship between such committee and the agency. ...
The community organization instituted by the Bureau was carried out in English; all the Chippewa Indian Constitutions and by-laws were written only in English. There was nothing written in Chippewa, although it is claimed that these documents are the basis of the "Chippewa Nation." Neither the Red Lake Tribal Business Association nor the General Council of the Red Lake Chippewa Indians was the government of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway. These organizations, as well as the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, are European governments controlled by the U.S.A, illegally claiming to represent the Ahnishinahbæótjibway. The Federally recognized leaders of all of these organizations have always been European subject people. They are not Aboriginal Indigenous people, and have no connection to the Ahnishinahbæótjibway traditional government, the Midé. We have done the genealogy of the people involved in these Euro-governments, and can prove what the Ahnishinahbæótjibway have always known: these Indians are not the same people as we are; we can trace their patrilineal ancestry back to Europe.
The Ahnishinahbæótjibway at Red Lake are in a unique position within the territory claimed by the United States. We are among the very few Aboriginal Indigenous people who still live on our own Sovereign land, which has been our land for many millennia. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway have always been Sovereign. The United States is aware that they have no legal jurisdiction at Red Lake; and that they had no right to come onto our land and destroy our forests and our food supply, and try to steal our land. From an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective, Western European civilization has offered us nothing but a quality of life inferior to what we had before. If the B.I.A., their Indian Governments, and their Indians went back to Europe tomorrow, we would get the same benefits from them as we get now, which is nothing.
The United States policy-makers know their claims to Aboriginal Indigenous land under the Western European doctrines of "discovery" and "conquest" are not valid in relation to the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, and are also aware of the fraudulent nature of their "Indian Treaties." As a part of the Indian Reorganization Act, the U.S. set up the Indian Claims Commission, which continued the United States' strategy of using their Indian subject people to "close the books" on the legitimate claims of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway against the United States. Docket No. 18-A of the Indian Claims Commission, dated September 17, 1951, was presumed to settle all residual claims arising out of the 1863 Treaty and 1864 Amendments, in favor of the United States; however the plaintiffs named in this case are not Ahnishinahbæótjibway.[xviii] The litigation relating to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe includes Miscellaneous Dockets Nos. 19, 288, and 189-A, in which one hand of the U.S. Government, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (created by the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act), went to court with another hand of the U.S. Government, the Indian Claims Commission (also created by the 1934 I.R.A.).[xix]
The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1933 that the assets of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, claimed by both the Red Lake Chippewa and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, would be "segregated" between the two Indian tribal institutions the U.S. Congress had created, leaving the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, whose property this is, with nothing. The U.S. maneuvered to bring the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe back together in 1936, and unilaterally maintained this fiction through their organization the Red Lake General Council:[xx]
WHEREAS the Red Lake Council has agreed to affiliate with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council until the Red Lake Band is segregated by an Act of Congress from the Chippewas of Minnesota in their common interests as provided under the Act of January 14, 1889 (25 Stat. 642). NOW THEREFORE, BE, AND IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that Mays-ko-gwon, William Sayers, Bazil Lawrence, Peter Graves, and John Wind are hereby appointed as delegates, and William Sayers and Peter Graves are hereby appointed as the Executive Committee, said appointees to act for the Red Lake Band in said Council. The said appointees shall attend the calls of the Council until this Council shall direct otherwise.
The Métis leadership on the other Reservations encompassed by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe had been told that "The Chippewa Indians other than Red Lake cannot organize without Red Lake ... and [Red Lake] will be needed to form a tribal council under the re-organization act."[xxi] The persons who were agreeing "for" the Red Lake Chippewa at this meeting were the White B.I.A. Superintendent and a White lawyer. The B.I.A. was voting for the "Red Lake Chippewa Indians," as wards of the Government under Trusteeship, agreeing on their behalf that the Red Lake Chippewas would re-join the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The B.I.A. still exercises trusteeship in this way, voting by proxy for their Sovereign Indians.[xxii]
The news of this merger-by-proxy filtered out, and there was strenuous enough objection so that the Assistant Commissioner of the B.I.A. wrote, a month later, to Red Lake B.I.A. Agency Superintendent Raymond Bitney:[xxiii]
... regarding participation of the Red Lake Indians in the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council. Your letter of March 17 shows that the Red Lake people apparently have completely reversed their position of joining with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council. ... By this time you have received a copy of the letter as approved by the Department suggesting changes in the constitution of the Minnesota Chippewa organization. In view of the present situation, it is believed that you should arrange a conference with Superintendent Burns and Miss [Mary] McGair to go over the entire situation and determine if possible just what, if anything, can be done. It is unfortunate that this breach has come about. ...
Bitney responded, in part:[xxiv]
On February 5, Mr. Fred Dennis, Tribal Attorney, and myself attended a meeting of the Executive Council of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council. Mr. Graves and Mr. William Sayers, of the Red Lake General Council, were both ill and unable to attend. I believe also that Mr. Paul Beaulieu was sick in bed. Mr. Dennis was empowered to act for the General Council of the Red Lake Band of Chippewas and I was there in my official capacity as superintendent of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Mr. Dennis prepared for their support and consideration a bill which he was about to introduce in Congress to segregate the Red Lake Indians and keep their funds separate and distinct from the other [sic] Chippewas in Minnesota. Since the Minnesota Chippewa group had agreed in November to aid and support the movement of the Red Lake Band of Chippewas for segregation, it was not felt that this action for support was amiss and was only keeping the good faith as advocated by the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council. After a lengthy discussion during which time many mean and nasty things were said with reference to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and old wounds were reopened; the motion was tabled until an accounting of all the funds could be made. The Red Lake Band of Chippewas were notified of the action of the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council and of their failure to keep their part of "a gentleman's agreement." The General Council of the Red Lake Band then held a meeting, withdrew their resolution affiliating themselves and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council on a temporary basis, and also their resolution authorizing Peter Graves and William Sayers to represent the General Council.
At my insistence Mr. Peter Graves and Mr. William Sayers attended a meeting of the Executive committee of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council and also a meeting of the committee on the drafting of the constitution. ... When I asked Mr. Graves to go he stated that he did not care to go as he had been subjected to a great deal of adverse criticism by the Red Lake Indians, who accused him of playing politics with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council, and further, that the other Indians in the General Council of the Red Lake Band had bitterly opposed the affiliation ...
During the rest of 1936, the B.I.A. continued to try to include the Red Lake Chippewa within the legal jurisdiction of the 1934 I.R.A. Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, although subject to "segregation of funds." They dealt with the Ahnishinahbæótjibway by refusing to recognize us, and diverted attention from the Indian Reorganization Act with a $25.00 per-capita payment (a lot of money in 1936), and a proposal to "purchase ... lands on the shores of Upper Red Lake, so as to include all of that part of the Lake within the Red Lake Diminished Reservation." The Bureau pointedly stressed what they presented as the "no more land alienation" provisions of the I.R.A. with an application from one Mr. Milton G. Hooper of Pitt, Minnesota for "homestead entry" into the "ceded lands" north of upper Red Lake. The B.I.A. also fostered the organization of a third "all-Indian" organization at Red Lake, the Farmer-Labor Association.[xxv]
The B.I.A. continued to build factional tension at Red Lake between the Red Lake Tribal Business Association and the General Council. In 1937, apparently with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, members of the Tribal Business Association leased Red Lake land to Whites under the provisions of Section 6 of the Indian Reorganization Act.[xxvi] Through 1940, the B.I.A. also continued to play the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe against the Red Lake Chippewa General Council.
In 1940, in accordance with the Bureau's procedures for establishing I.R.A. Governance, a petition circulated at Red Lake, Redby, and Ponemah was submitted to the B.I.A. The petition read, in part:
This petition, signed by members enrolled as the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians residing in the Red Lake Reservation County of Beltrami State of Minnesota, is a request to the Honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs ... for autoritative [sic] action for dissolution of the two factious councils; which exists in this Reservation; by the process of a general election through the medium of vote by ballot in the selection of leaders from the Red Lake Band capable of honest, sincere and unbiased guidance in dispensing of duties and responsibilities imposed upon them regarding tribal matters and affairs of the Reservation.
Superintendent Bitney wrote, in his cover letter sending this petition to the central B.I.A. office:[xxvii]
... This petition was apparently started ... in an attempt by some of the Indians to gain control of Tribal affairs. This petition was presented to me by Thomas Cain, Peter Baptiste, and Peter Sitting, and they requested that I transmit it to Washington. I asked them if they wanted to be organized under the Indian Reorganization Act, and they stated very positively that they did not want to be organized under the Indian Reorganization Act, and that none of the Indians on the Red Lake Reservation wanted a charter under this Act.
I have heard many conflicting rumors about this petition: that some of the people signed it understanding that they were petitioning for a per capita payment, and some of them signed it understanding that they were petitioning to abolish the Red Lake Tribal Business Association. Moreover, there are 30 Indians at Ponemah who have signed with a cross, and 14 at Red Lake who have signed with a cross, which of course means that these people cannot read or write, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that they did not know what they were signing. I note one thing, and that is that all of the Indian employees at the Red Lake Indian Sawmill have signed this petition, as have the majority of the people on relief. ... Inasmuch as this group ... are opposed to organization under the Indian Reorganization Act, I can see little to be gained by abolishing or attempting to abolish the existing council ... There is also the proposition whereby the Office could refer this petition back to the General Council of the Red Lake Band of Chippewas for consideration by them, if the Office so desires.
B.I.A. superintendent Bitney did not mention that a number of the "signatures" on this petition were written in the same handwriting.
The B.I.A. worked at getting an I.R.A. Indian Tribal Government into Red Lake for another eighteen years, through 1958. Obtaining adoption of the Indian Reorganization Act, and setting up I.R.A. Tribal Councils and Band Councils on the Reservations was important to the B.I.A. At Red Lake and elsewhere, the process of I.R.A. "tribal organization" was micromanaged minutely by the Bureau. Some of the most finely detailed ethnologies of U.S. Indian Reservations were commissioned by the B.I.A. as a part of the background research and social engineering done to get the Indian Reorganization Act onto the Reservations. Some of this unpublished research is (in fragmentary form) in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Archives files.[xxviii]
During the 1940's and 1950's, the B.I.A. aggravated what they termed "factional rivalry" between the General Council of Peter Graves, and what became known as the Young Man's Council of P.H. Beaulieu and Roger Jourdain. The Democratic Farmer-Labor Indian coalition, and several smaller groups formed around individuals, notably Louis Stateler and John Morrison, were also tacitly encouraged in the factional mosaic which the B.I.A. was creating among the Chippewa Indians.[xxix] Rather than attempting to bring the Ahnishinahbæótjibway into the I.R.A., the B.I.A.'s strategy seems to have been to draw a very few Ahnishinahbæótjibway into the periphery of the White and Chippewa organizations the Bureau was manipulating.
The political organization frequently referred to as Peter Graves' General Council was based on Article VI of the U.S. Congress Act of February 20, 1904.[xxx] By the time the General Council was formally organized in 1918, nearly all of the Mixed-Blood Allotments at White Earth and Leech Lake had been alienated, and some of the Minnesota Chippewa Indians who had lost their allotments were pressing to be allotted again at Red Lake. For certain of these Indians, this would have been the fourth or fifth time that Ahnishinahbæótjibway land had passed through their names as a part of the U.S. process of using Indians for "clearing" Euro-American fee simple title.
The majority of the funds in the Trust Accounts of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe was from their sale of three million acres of Ahnishinahbæótjibway land at Red Lake. According to the unilateral provisions of the Act of January 14, 1889, the proceeds from this illegal sale were due for per-capita distribution as an Indian Payment in 1939. The Métis people at Red Lake felt the money derived from their alienation of Ahnishinahbæótjibway assets should be distributed only to the individuals on the Minnesota Chippewa Commission Rolls of Red Lake and their heirs, rather than divided among the many thousands of Métis and Euro-Indians of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.
The 1918 Red Lake General Council Constitution was written as the Constitution of one of the Bands of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, with separation from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe only with regard to "tribal property business and affairs."[xxxi] The General Council Constitution provided centralized determination of U.S. Indian Chiefs, and [Article 9], specified that the "majority vote in this Council shall govern," without a minimum quorum. The Chairman did not have a vote. The original Chairman of the 1918 General Council was Joseph B. Jourdain; the secretary was John Graves, and the treasurer was Peter Graves. The Councilmen of the General Council were based on the Seven Chiefs invented by the Minnesota Chippewa Commission. These Chiefs were not Ahnishinahbæótjibway, and the vast majority of the five Councilmen appointed by each Chief were also Euro-Indians or Métis with a Lislakh patriline.
During the early years of the General Council, Peter Graves managed to maintain the illusion of consensus by holding open Council Meetings at which any one who wished to comment on an issue was able to do so; dealing with most U.S. Government business behind closed doors.[xxxii] The issue of immediate concern to the Ahnishinahbæótjibway with regard to the Chippewa Indians and the U.S.A.: that our land and resources remain intact, was not seriously challenged in a publicly visible way during the years of the General Council. In obvious encroachments, individuals were scapegoated rather than acknowledging that Peter Graves was acceding to the United States Government through the vehicle of the Chippewa General Council. Most of the logging done prior to 1958 on the "diminished Reservation" was supposed to be "dead-and-down" rather than live trees, and although there was fraud[xxxiii] and extensive cutting outside the diminishing Reservation, the ecosystem remained viable. The land was apparently not allotted,[xxxiv] and the inevitable deterioration of the Red Lakes from the dam agreed to by the General Council in the 1930's had not yet become fully apparent. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway maintained our Traditional Midé government, and ignored the General Council as the Euro-Americans' Jim Crow government for their the Chippewa Indians.
After the initial refusal at Red Lake to accept an I.R.A. Government, the United States Government worked on building conditions in the community under which their next attempt to force an I.R.A. Constitution onto Red Lake would succeed. The B.I.A. encouraged rival factions among the Chippewa Indians, and at the same time fostered increasing dictatorship of the General Council, promoting community unrest which would later be crystallized into pressure for change--into an I.R.A. Government.
During the 1940's and 1950's there was dissatisfaction among the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, particularly at Ponemah, with the increasing encroachment of the General Council into areas of Midé Sovereignty. This was socially engineered by the B.I.A. into political turmoil. Using Métis people living in the then predominantly Ahnishinahbæótjibway community of Ponemah as go-betweens, the B.I.A. circulated petitions, and managed to involve a few of the Midé in expressions of growing concern about the autocratic, non-representative directions Peter Graves' General Council was taking. The distress that the B.I.A. had managed to build by 1944 is exemplified by a letter to John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated March 2, 1944. It was thumbprinted by Kush-ka-john Kingbird and John Jones, and signed by Métis Peter Baptiste and Mrs. Blanche Sayers.
We, the full-blooded Ponemah Indians [sic][xxxv], members of the Red Lake Band submit this petition Via Red Lake Agency Office, Red Lake, Minnesota in the hope that we be given Justice and Equality here in our Reservation.
We the Ponemah Indians [sic] believe that a large number of the Red Lake Band resent the manner and the methods employed by the so-called General Council of the Red Lake Indians and do wish to change the admittedly one-man rule of that organization. Seems a good many members are firmly of the opinion that through this one-man rule the Red Lake Indians have been exploited to the detriment of the tribe as a whole.
Mr. Commissioner, the present administration encourages the preservation of tribal heritages and traditions, the Red Lake Indians [sic] are fast losing their identity in both. The freedom enjoyed by our members for many years has about desappeared [sic] as the direct result of one-man tribal government under the seemingly up-to-date system of a dictatorship. We have no voice in the General Council.
The above are some of the outstanding matters we believe should be adjusted and can only be adjusted by one liberal tribal governing organization in our Reservation.
Our Indians [sic] boys are now fighting on many fronts, in Europe and Asia. Fighting to democracy that our people have so long enjoyed. Fighting against one-man rule domination as being practiced in Europe.
Therefore, while our Indians [sic] boys are fighting in far fronts, we want to do something good for them in our home front, so when they come back they will find freedom is still there and they will know that their sacrifices have not been in vain.
Mr. Commissioner without your help we can not eliminate the things that are hurting at the present time in our Reservation.
We believe in the United States preamble especially where it says, "with liberty and Justice for all."[xxxvi]
This letter arose from a petition drive which was orchestrated by the B.I.A. as a part of building the foundation for executing an I.R.A. Indian government at Red Lake, and was jointly written by Métis and Ahnishinahbæótjibway. For generations the Ahnishinahbæótjibway have tolerated the Métis people and their Euro-American outlook and values, and have hesitated to draw lines of discrimination, but rather treated them as human beings, although different from ourselves. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway did not have access to the B.I.A.'s documents, and at that time most of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway at Red Lake were severely handicapped in the English language.
The Ahnishinahbæótjibway have always known that Métis and Euro-Americans are not from here, and do not have a Dodem; however we did not have a comprehensive view of the hierarchical nature of their imported Western European culture. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway world-view is based on an egalitarian, consensus society and a language in which there are neither words nor concepts denoting ranked social status, subject peoples, nor centralized government. All of these are alien to us. The Sovereignty of Euro-Americans, Métis and Chippewa Indians is held externally, and these subject people have no roots, no identity of their own, and no concept of the responsibilities which we see as inherent values. The anthropologists who intensively studied Red Lake during the 1930's did not understand us, and what they described was a projection drawn from their own theories and cultural images, and a hodge-podge of what their predominantly Métis informants told them. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway did not completely understand the language of the Euro-American anthropologists, the B.I.A. bureaucrats, nor the Métis; we dealt with what we saw as irresponsible and obscene behavior with courtesy and by distancing ourselves from the rudeness and violence of Western European culture. The time had not yet come when Ahnishinahbæótjibway spoke and read English. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway in Ponemah were saying:
We do not need the Europeans to come in here and tell us how to govern nor what to believe. We have our own identity. We have our own government, and we have our own religion. We have our own economic system and our own permacultural food supply. We have a right to exist on our own land, without interference.
What Ahnishinahbæótjibway were saying was getting lost in translation, re-written by the Métis and Euro-Indians who said they were working with them. We are still saying the same thing, but now there are Ahnishinahbæótjibway who understand English; who understand the situation both from an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective and from the Lislakh perspective. The B.I.A. can no longer manipulate the parameters of the issues to fit their own agenda.
The Ponemah petition and letter were sent to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs by Tom White, who was then Agency Superintendent at Red Lake, with a cover letter which read, in part:[xxxvii]
They verbally request that only full-blooded Chippewa Indians [sic] of this Reservation be sent as delegates [to represent themselves in Washington]. ... it would appear proper that the Office consider favorably the assignment of a person or persons to this Reservation for the purpose of answering this claim, also to formulate, if deemed essential, a more representative organization whereby the business of the Reservation may be conducted in a manner so the people of the Reservation may be fully represented in a democratic manner.
Indian Reorganization Act Coordinator and former Assistant Solicitor Mark Burns was sent to Red Lake, to "see what, if anything, can be done to bring about a more cooperative relationship between the two factions."[xxxviii] Mr. Burns wrote that "if [Peter Graves'] strong influence were removed, the two groups could be brought together in some degree of harmony," and recommended that "changing the type of organization" to an I.R.A. government be delayed until after World War II.[xxxix] The Commissioner's Office subsequently recommended to Superintendent Tom White that:[xl]
We believe that it would be inadvisable at this time to precipitate a factional fight over the adoption of a new constitution and by-laws.
The B.I.A. sent a circular letter in June of 1944, and in August the "Ponemah Indians of the Red Lake Indian Reservation" submitted a statement to the Sub-Committee on Indian Affairs, including:
The majority do not know what is going on with their business affairs and otherwise. ...
[The petitioners want]
II. A. ... to abolish my present system of representation in the Reservation and also to abolish the Forestry Act of May 18, 1916 as applied to the Red Lake Indian Reservation. I merely ask for my property so that I can conserve and not destroy my forest and grazing land for my future generation[s]. This forest Act is unconstitutional in that the majority of the Red Lake Indians did not turn over his property to the United States government. Each member [sic] owns a share to this forest and the land upon which the forest stands. ...
The four major requests:
1. To have and to hold our Reservation for future generations.
2. The privilege to practice democracy[xli] in this Reservation.
3. Freedom from suppression through economic aggression.
4. No mixed blood or adoptee (those adopted into the tribe) to assume as a representative to pass judgement concerning my tribal assets and resources, ...
III. ... This committee wishes to go on record as definitely opposing any sale of liquor within their community.
IV. This committee does not wish to have Congress to empower the Secretary of the Interior to make and enforce wildlife conservation in no cases. Most communities with proper persuasion from Indian authorities, without enactment of a law.
V. ... We wish to go out of this act [the Indian Reorganization Act] for these reasons:
A. Has only one referendum.
B. Bill is for landless Indians--we have land.
C. Bill provides that you can mortgage your Reservation. We wish to hold our Reservation and resources intact for our future generation[s].
D. Bill provides you can sue and be sued. Our many resources will demand a staff of lawyers to protect our interests.
E. Future administration can interfere with the provisions of this legislation in view of the fact that it is enacted as a law. No one knows what the future will bring. We have been deceived too often in past administrations.
F. We wish to reorganize under our own constitution and not chartered under the Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934 [the I.R.A.][xlii]
Because those the Bureau designated as "Ponemah Indians" were an ad hoc coalition of Euro-Indians, Métis, and Ahnishinahbæótjibway, their concerns continued to be mixed and garbled to cross-purposes, with the Ahnishinahbæótjibway focusing on consensus Sovereignty, protection of the environment, and recognition of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway Sovereignty in our own land; and the Métis and Euro-Indians working toward "representative democracy" under the jurisdiction of the United States Government.
It is clear that the Métis and Euro-Indians understood, at least to some extent, what they were doing. After yet another round of petitions, Tom Cain, one of the mixed-blood Ponemah Indians, was sent a copy of a letter to the Commissioner from the Superintendent in February of 1945:[xliii]
In the matter of organizing a new representative Tribal Council, it is understood ... that before a new Council could be established, it would be necessary to organize under the Indian Reorganization Act, also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act. If the petition herewith enclosed is proper to satisfy the requirements necessary so the Indians of this Reservation may organize as provided in the law, I would respectfully recommend that a representative of the Office be detailed to this Reservation for the purposes of completing the necessary procedures incident to the organizing in accordance with the Indian Reorganization Act ...
Ahnishinahbæótjibway who were living on the Reservation during the late 1940's and 1950's state with certainty that there was absolutely no discussion with them about any proposed new government having anything to do with the Indian Reorganization Act.
Superintendent White calculated that "324 eligible voters" were necessary to ratify "a reasonable constitution and by-laws," and that with 150 "Indians in the Armed Forces," and 100 "Indians residing off the Reservation, eligible to vote," ratification of the Indian Reorganization Act was possible if "all [in favor] could and would vote."[xliv] The Minneapolis B.I.A. Area Office determined that the prudent policy would be to wait, until "the war is over and our boys have returned from the Army, Navy and Air Corps," and presumably until after the death of Peter Graves.[xlv]During the next thirteen years, the Bureau continued to manipulate the community in preparation for implementing the Indian Reorganization Act. The factional rivalry between the Young Man's Council, the General Council, the so-called Ponemah Indians, and John Morrison's backers was encouraged. Part of the Bureau's preparation was done by altering of the number of eligible voters. It began in 1934 with the removal of a number of people from the Indian rolls, and was continued through shifting policies of "enrollment eligibility" controlled by the U.S. Government through their Chippewa General Council. Blood quantums and genealogies were also changed through the use of Euro-Indians as clerks in the local B.I.A. office in charge of the enrollment records. Irishmen and other Lislakhs with no Aboriginal Indigenous ancestry were changed into Indians, meaning eligible voters. People got new grandparents, former grandparents were changed into parents, and dead people were resurrected. Euro-Indians took the names of deceased Ahnishinahbæótjibway.[xlvi] Three years before the I.R.A. vote was held, much of the evidence available to the community was destroyed: the Catholic Cemetery was bulldozed, and the gravestones used as road-fill on the Ponemah Cutoff road.
[i].The International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide is in Appendix I. The critical reader will discern some significant loopholes in this Convention.
[ii].American Indian Policy Review Commission, Final Report, Op. cit., page 150.
[iii].Enrolled Members of Minnesota Chippewa Indians, Intertribal Chippewa Band, Inc., photostatic copy of book handmade for Floyd Sweet, Treasurer, about 1938.
[iv].National Archives Microfilm Publications, Series M-595, B.I.A. Indian Enrollments; Minnesota Historical Society, Ransom Judd Powell Papers, Microfilm Series M-455; Computerized genealogical database, Op. cit.
[v].John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to Honorable R.T. Buckler, United States House of Representatives, July 8, 1940, B.I.A. Central Classified Files, National Archives.
[vi].According to a November 17, 1934 letter from Harlon E. Burt, Anna Garrigan, P.H. Beaulieu, Allen Morrison and Peter Graves, to Raymond H. Bitney, Red Lake Superintendent,
We, the following Board appointed by you to receive and tabulate the votes cast during the special election on the Indian Reorganization Act, met at the Red Lake Indian Agency shortly after 5:00 p.m., Saturday, November 17, 1934. After checking the eligible list and counting all the ballots received, we found the following results:
No. Eligible Total Votes For Against
Red Lake 422 168 157 11
Redby 135 90 85 5
Ponemah 217 163 156 7
___ ___ ___ __
Totals 828 442 418 24
The election totals were sent by telegraph [November 17, 1934, 11:45 p.m.], collect to Washington from "Burg, Acct. Supt." Superintendent Bitney, in his letter officially reporting the election results to the Commissioner, two days later, comments,
Results of this election are very gratifying to us; it leaves no doubt as to the sentiment of the Red Lake Indians concerning the Bill. It was hoped that a larger vote might have been recorded. Government trucks and cars that were available were placed at the disposal of the Election Board in order to provide transportation for those who had no means of getting to the polling places. However, since the election was held in the midst of the deer-hunting season in this part of the country, many of the Indians [sic] were in isolated sections of the Reservation obtaining their winter supply of meat. ... The ballots, together with those spoiled or not used, tally sheets, etc., were placed in each precinct box under lock and key and are being held in the vault at the Agency office awaiting further instructions as to disposal of same.
Acknowledgement is made of courtesies extended by Superintendent M.L. Burns and Mr. Jacob Munnell, employee at the Cass Lake Agency office for their kind suggestions and assistance, which proved very helpful in conducting the election.
Western European democracy is a foreign government, which is out of place in the Ahnishinahbæótjibway Nation. We were, and continue to be, an egalitarian people among whom decisions must be made by the consensus of all Ahnishinahbæótjibway. Even in the Métis and Euro-Indian communities on Minnesota Reservations, vehement allegations of election frauds (some of which are well-documented) in I.R.A. democratic elections continue to the present day. In one recent election at White Earth Reservation, an incumbent got more than 100% of the eligible vote.
[vii].Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Irregularly Shaped papers, Item 104, Report of the Chippewa Commission, 1889-90, Record Group 75, National Archives. These records contain one of several versions (a different version was circulated at Red Lake) of the English-language transcripts of the Minnesota Chippewa Commission meetings held during the summer of 1889, as well as the original "Signature Rolls" upon which U.S. claims of "Indian Assent" rest. The "X" marks on these rolls are, for Red Lake Reservation, all written in the same (literate) individual's handwriting. Genealogies compiled on the persons listed in the signature rolls reveal some interesting anomalies.
[viii].Microfilm M-390, Rolls 3 & 5, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Chippewa Annuity Rolls, 1841-1907, Minnesota Historical Society; Microfilm M-595, Roll 649, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Enrollments/Census, White Earth Agency, 1885-1888, National Archives Microfilm Publications; Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Irregularly Shaped Papers, Item 105, entitled Chippewa Census Rolls and containing the Minnesota Chippewa Commission 1889 Rolls and 1899-1900 Additions, Record Group 75, National Archives.
[ix].Graham D. Taylor, The New Deal and American Indian Tribalism, 1980, page 54.
[x].The number of Indians enumerated by the 1980 Census at Deer Creek was zero.
[xi].Peter Graves was not Ahnishinahbæótjibway. In researching the genealogy and the history at Red Lake, people have told me a number of stories about where Peter Graves came from:
One is that some of the so-called Indians came into town one morning, and saw Peter Graves standing there in the middle of town. He said, "I am your leader," and that's how he ended up running the Red Lake Chippewa Indian Tribal Council.
The next one is that on July fourth, they didn't say what year, two old women found Peter Graves on the path leading up the hill to the Agency at Red Lake. People still use that same path. In this version, Peter Graves grew up to be the Great Leader of the Red Lake Chippewa Indians.
Another version is that they found Sha-ga-nosh-ee ["The English Canadian"], a.k.a. Peter Graves, in the bulrushes along the shores of Lower Red Lake. This story is not clear about whether he was a baby, or whether he was a full-grown man who was just "laid out" [unconscious from drinking] in the bulrushes. As this story was told to me, this is how Treasurer-for-Life Peter Graves became leader of the Red Lake Chippewa Indians.
Peter Graves was born sometime around May 20, 1870. His mother was Margaret E. "Elizabeth" Graves. In 1874, Elizabeth Graves, who also used the name Ke-che-gum-e-we-quay, or "Big Lake Girl," was working at White Earth, and had turned from a white woman into a halfbreed Indian. By 1884, Elizabeth Graves was working at the Red Lake Government School as a laundress and then a seamstress, and referring to herself as a "full-blooded Indian," although the 1891 Report of the Board of Inspectors notes, "Finds that rations are being issued to seamstress, she being a white woman." Elizabeth Graves later married Captain Daniels, who was the military superintendent at Red Lake during the early 1900's.
The identity of Peter Graves' father is open to question. In the 1900 U.S. Census, he claims (in his own handwriting, as he was one of the census enumerators) that his father was "White English born in English Canada, mother Chippewa born in Minnesota." Peter Graves later said that his father was "Joe Omen, a Canadian rebel who ran away across the border to be safe. He was here maybe five years. After a while the Canadian government said he could come back because I guess he didn't do anything very bad. So he went back. He wanted to take my mother along, but she wouldn't go. ... My mother was mad at this Canadian for going back, so I didn't get his name."
Peter Graves went to secretarial school near Peoria, Illinois, and then to the Lincoln Institute in Philadelphia, after which he played professional baseball in a Pennsylvania minor league. He returned to Minnesota around 1890 to work in the logging camps, and then worked for the U.S. Government as an interpreter as early as 1894. In 1898, The Indian Inspection Service evaluated the employees of the White Earth B.I.A. Agency at Red Lake. This evaluation is preserved in the National Archives on microfilm M-1070, Roll 57:
Peter Graves; Red Lake; Age 32; Male; Indian; Salary $240.00 per year; education, very little; character; personal habits, good; fitness for the position, only fair, he is not much of an Interpreter, but is the best that can be had, as no competent man will do the work for the salary paid.
At that time, he was also working as a disciplinarian at the Red Lake Boarding School. In the early 1900's, he worked as Postmaster and Chief of the B.I.A. police at Red Lake. In 1918, he became involved in the organization of the General Council, first as treasurer, and then, from 1920 until his death, as secretary-treasurer. Peter Graves remained in U.S. Government employ at Red Lake, explaining of himself, "I was always on the side of the government, and a lot of others didn't like it. But when I say something I mean it. That is why I was chief [sic]." Peter Graves had at least four wives, and more than 20 children.
Peter Graves didn't just have stories told about him--he could tell some tall tales himself. In 1950, Peter Graves told a real whopper about my great-grandfather to the Minnesota Historical Society, which is re-quoted in the book, "To Walk the Red Road." He said that "Bus-i-noss [sic] ... was a warrior. He was a veteran. He had been in battles with the Sioux." I know that this is not true. Peter Graves was projecting the violent "Indian" stereotype, of which he was a part, onto my Ahnishinahbæótjibway great-grandfather. Peter Graves was claiming that the Chippewa Indians are the same people as the Ahnishinahbæótjibway--and they are not. At that time, he was unchallenged in making up Indian stereotype stories about the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, but now we can speak and write in English.
I know that Bah-se-nos was not a "warrior." Both he and my grandfather, Bah-wah-we-nind, were spiritual men of the Midé with deeply held convictions of non-violence. "War," "warrior," and "peace" are Lislakh words which cannot be translated into our harmonious Ahnishinahbæótjibway language.
Peter Graves boasts that he "kept the peace" during the Métis' Sugar Point uprising by threatening that those who went "to war" would be "stricken from the rolls." This may have had some influence on the Métis Indians at Red Lake who might have gone to help their Chippewa Indian cousins, but why would my great-grandfather and grandfather go help the immigrant French and Moorish Métis identified as Pillager Indians? These were the very people who were helping the U.S. Government steal Ahnishinahbæótjibway land, saturating the Reservations with bootleg liquor, and doing other unsavory things. If my great-grandfather had spoken French Creole, he would have told the Chippewa Indians to take their Indian Rolls, their whiskey and their Indian Treaties, and go play Indian some other place.
[xii].Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75, National Archives.
[xiii].Article V. read, "It is understood that nothing in this agreement shall be construed to deprive the said Indians belonging on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, of any benefits to which they are entitled under existing treaties or agreements not inconsistent with the provisions of this agreement." That the 1889 Nelson Act "benefitted" even the Chippewa Indians may be arguable, but in any case the only "segregation" from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe outlined in the March 10, 1902 document was Article IV., "possession of their [sic] diminished Reservation independent of all other bands of the Chippewa tribe of Indians and shall be entitled to allotments ..."
Article V. was amended by Congress before enactment with the addition of the sentence, "It is the intention of this agreement that the United States shall act as trustee for said Indians to dispose of said land and to expend and pay over the proceeds as received from the sale thereof only as received, as herein provided."
[xiv].The price originally named by the B.I.A. for this land was slightly less than $3.90 per acre. According to the pamphlet The Eleven Towns, a Statement of the Conditions Surrounding the Opening for Settlement of the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota and a Description of the Land, by C.A. Smiley, Red Lake County Surveyor, some of this land was worth $60 per acre in 1904, and much of the "wild land and improved farms" were offered to White settlers for $16 to $35 an acre. The tone of the planned White settlement is reflected by the ads in Smiley's pamphlet, including the one for Jackson & Co. of Thief River Falls, on page 2, "[We] Sell Guns and Ammunition ... You Might see a Moose---or an Indian - All Sorts of Game is Found on the Reservation - "
[xv].In the Baptismal Records of St. Mary's Mission at Red Lake, Thomas Borgerding, O.S.B., writes that he baptized "Joseph Bassinass" in [June] 1901, with the notation "privatum. Non adfinit patrinus propter. Morbum contagiosum smallpox." Father Thomas may have visited Bah-se-nos, but if he "baptized" him it was without his knowledge or consent. Bah-se-nos died during the smallpox epidemic of 1901.
[xvi].Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Central Classified Files, Record Group 75, National Archives.
[xvii].Central Classified Files of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75, National Archives.
[xviii].The plaintiffs named are the Euro-American institutions: "Red Lake, Pembina and White Earth Bands [created by the B.I.A. under the 1934 I.R.A.], and [the] Minnesota Chippewa Tribe;" and White and Chippewa Métis individuals: Peter Graves, Joseph Graves, August King, Katherine Carl Barrett, Rosetti Villebrun, Eugene Brisbois, and Harold Emerson.
[xix].One of the orders relating to this case, Miscellaneous Docket No. 288, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Oct 15, 1990, by Francis X. Gindhart, Clerk of Courts, was filed with the notice, "Note: This Order has not been prepared for publication in a printed volume because it does not add significantly to the body of law and is not of widespread legal interest. It is a public record. It is not citable as precedent." The essential question in this case was whether or not there was a conflict of interest in the Government-approved lawyers working for two adversary parties of the case.
[xx].Minutes of Joint Meeting of the Tribal Executive Committee of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Council and the Board of Directors of the Chippewa Indian Cooperative Marketing Association, held at the Village of Cass Lake, Minnesota, February 5, 1936. Mr. John Broker, Chairman. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Central Classified Files, Record Group 75, National Archives.
[xxi].John Broker, Chairman, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 18, 1936, Ibid.
[xxii].For example, in 1986, before the Red Lake I.R.A. elections had been held in May, I went with a Red Lake enrollee to the Bureau of Indian Affairs Area Office in Minneapolis. The secretary gave us a "tribal directory" which already listed the B.I.A. regional (5-State) I.R.A. Tribal Council members who were to be elected in the forthcoming election.
[xxiii].Letter from Assistant B.I.A. Commissioner, William Zimmerman, Jr., to Red Lake B.I.A. Superintendent Raymond H. Bitney, March 31, 1936, B.I.A. Central Classified Files, National Archives, Op. cit.
[xxiv].Letter from Raymond H. Bitney, Superintendent and S.D.A., Red Lake Agency, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C., April 16, 1936, Ibid.
[xxv].Letter from Superintendent Bitney to the Commissioner, July 22, 1937, Ibid.
[xxvi].Letter from Raymond H. Bitney to the Commissioner, June 3, 1937, Ibid.
[xxvii].Letter from Superintendent Raymond H. Bitney to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, June 18, 1940, Ibid.
[xxviii].Among the experts who worked for the B.I.A. at Red Lake were Margaret Welpley Fisher, Anthropological collaborator; W. Duncan Strong, Anthropological Consultant; Dr. H. "Scudder" Meekel, Field Representative; Charlotte Westwood, Assistant Solicitor; Mark L. Burns, Coordinator; Allan G. Harper, Field Representative and Dr. Ruth Landis, Anthropologist.
[xxix].Bureau of Indian Affairs File number 9706, 1936, Red Lake 066, Record Group 75, Bureau of Indian Affairs Central Classified Files, National Archives.
[xxx].This Article provided for separation of what were called Red Lake assets from those claimed by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.
[xxxi].August 27, 1918 amendment to Article 5 of the "Constitution of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians," adopted April 13, 1918 at Red Lake Agency, Minnesota.
[xxxii].Thirty-five years after the demise of the 1918 General Council, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway still do not know everything that Peter Graves and the General Council did, agreed to, and tried to sell.
[xxxiii].One loophole in the U.S. logging regulations was the cutting of live trees for "boom sticks." Both the total amount of timber, and the amount of timber cut and paid for, was grossly underestimated: by "timber cruisers" who surveyed prime pineland as scattered trees, lakes and swamps; and in the scaling of cut logs. The measuring stick used by Government scalers to measure the logs was referred to in Reservation vernacular as a "fuck stick."
[xxxiv].Outside of Redby Townsite, the allotments which were made within Red Lake Reservation were documented only in B.I.A. records, some of which have been deposited at the National Archives and in other Federal Repositories.
[xxxv].At the time that this letter was written, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway at Red Lake did not understand English fully--and did not realize the way in which the word Indian was being used by the Euro-Americans. We had been told Indian was the translation of Ahnishinahbæótjibway.
[xxxvi].B.I.A. File number 9706, 1936, Red Lake 066, B.I.A. Central Classified Files, Record Group 75, National Archives.
[xxxvii].Letter dated March 9, 1944. B.I.A. Central Files, Op. cit. There is no such person as a "full blooded Chippewa Indian."
[xxxviii].Letter from Walter V. Woehlke, Assistant to the Commissioner, March 11, 1944, to Mark L. Burns, Coordinator, B.I.A. Central Classified Files, Ibid.
[xxxix].Letter from Mark L. Burns to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, April 3, 1944, Ibid.
[xl].Letter from Assistant Commissioner William Zimmerman to Mr. Tom C. White, April 12, 1944; carbon copies to Mark Burns and Tribal Relations; file copy initialed by Jennings, Leathy, Hass and Woehlker, Ibid.
[xli].What Ahnishinahbæótjibway thought was meant by the Western European word "democracy" was different from what the Euro-Americans meant by "representative democracy."
[xlii].Statement signed on this 4th day of August, 1944, by Committee selected on July 8, 1944. Henry Cloud, Chairman; Tom Cain, Recorder, B.I.A. Central Classified files, Ibid.
[xliii].Letter from Tom C. White, Superintendent, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, February 5, 1945, carbon copy to Tom Cain, Ponemah, B.I.A. Central Classified Files, Ibid.
[xliv].Superintendent Tom C. White, to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 17, 1945, B.I.A. Central Classified Files, Ibid.
[xlv].Letter from the Minneapolis Area Office to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, attention Joe Jennings, July 18, 1945, B.I.A. Central Classified Files, Ibid.
[xlvi].Genealogy of the Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway and Chippewa Indians, computer database, Op. cit.