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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter XI. — Census of the Numbers, Names, and Position of the Indian Tribes, Taken After the Conquest of Canada.

HAVING conquered Canada, one of the first things necessary for the management of Indian affairs by Great Britain was, to ascertain the names and numerical strength of the Indians who had been transferred to her jurisdiction; which task was undertaken by Sir William Johnson, the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs. As a central point, he began with the population of the Iroquois, who were then, and had long been, the objects of his special care. In a census table prepared by him, in 1763, 349 for the Lords of Trade, he represents the number of men capable of bearing arms among the Mohawks, at 160; the Oneidas, at 250; the Onondagas, at 150; the Cayugas, at 200; the Senecas, at 1050; and the Tuscaroras, at 140. He places the outlying band of Oswegachys (Ogdensburg), at 80, and the Caghnawagas (St. Regis), at 300; making a total of 2330 warriors, who, agreeably to the usual rules of computation, would represent an aggregate population of 11,650 souls. He computes that, of Conoys, Tuteloes, Saponeys, Nanticokes, and other conquered and dismembered tribes, then living in the Iroquois country, agreeably to their policy, there were, at that period, 200 men, or 1000 souls.

After leaving the area of New York, there is less reliance to be placed on the census, which was made up, not from actual enumeration, but from the reports of persons journeying amongst, or trading with, the tribes, and from the statements of parties supposed to be best informed on the subject. Sir William Johnson estimates the Algonquins, or Adirondaks, at 150 men, or 750 souls; the Abinakies, at 100 men, or 500 souls; and the various tribes of Hurons, or Wyandots, of Canada, at 240 men, representing a population of 1200 souls. This enumeration would allow to the Indians of Canada below Lake Ontario, and to the Iroquois of New York, including the nations conquered by them, and residing among them, 2820 fighting men, or 14,100 souls, a total which is believed to be a little above the actual numbers.

But, if the population of the region with which Sir William was least acquainted, namely, the lower St. Lawrence valley, was sometimes over-estimated by his informants,

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that of the great west, beyond the Alleghanies and along the upper lakes, if we except errors of synonymes, is conceived to have been returned with excellent judgment.

The attempt to estimate the numerical force of the Pontiac confederacy, during that year, must be considered to have been made under great disadvantages. The Baronet had himself visited Detroit, the seat of this confederacy, in 1761, and gathered the elements of his estimates from persons resident there.

The Wyandots, or Hurons, of Michigan, are rated at 250 men, or 1250 souls; the Ottawas, dispersed in various localities, at 700 men, or 3500 souls; the Chippewas, among whom are included the Mississagies, of the region of Detroit, at 320 men; and those of Michilimackinac, at 400 men, together making an aggregate of 8350. The Pottawattamies of Detroit are set down as comprising 150 warriors, and those of St. Joseph, 200; both, conjoined, representing a population of 1750 persons.

In the valley of the Ohio, and the region of country immediately west of it, the means for making an enumeration were more ample and reliable.

The Shawnees are estimated, with apparently good judgment, at 300 men, or 1500 souls; and the Delawares, with nearly the same probable accuracy, at 3000 persons, which would give them 600 fighting men.

The Miamies of the Wabash valley, under their Iroquois name of Twightwees, are numbered at 230 men; the Piankashaws, at 100 men; and the Weas, at 200 men, making 2650 souls. In the same general district, there are enumerated 180 Kickapoos, and 90 Mascoutins, a tribe of prairie Indians, who appear in all the earliest estimates, but who have since lost that designation. The name would indicate that they were Algonquins. These add to the estimate 1350 persons.

In the region of Green Bay, comprising the present area of Wisconsin, the Monomonies are computed at 110 men, or 550 souls. This estimate is duplicated under their French synonyme of Folsavoins. But, irrespective of this mistake, the number of Monomonies, at that time, would not seem to have been overrated at 1100 souls. The Winnebagoes, called by the French, Puanis, are rated at 360 men, or an aggregate of 1750 individuals, which is not excessive. The Sauks are enumerated as having 300 fighting men, or a population of 1500 souls, a probable excess; and the Outagamies, or Foxes, 320 warriors, or 1600 souls. These two tribes had united their fortunes, after their unsuccessful attack, in 1712, on the fort of Detroit, which act procured them the hatred of the French.

The aggregate of these enumerations and estimates of the western and northern tribes, reaches 24,050 individuals. Add to this the 14,100 of the eastern or home table of Sir William's superintendency, and there is presented a gross population of 38,150 souls. This does not include the southern tribes, or those residing on the west banks of the Mississippi, both of which groups of tribes were beyond his jurisdiction, and, also, outside of the limits of the territory ceded by the treaty of Versailles, concluded February 10th, 1763.

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Means for testing this estimate were furnished by the respective expeditions of Bradstreet and Bouquet, in 1764. The estimate of the former, as given by Major Mante, p. 526, only related to the tribes assembled at, or living within, a circle of five or six days' march from his camp. This computation furnished data for an aboriginal population of some 9500 persons, of which number, 1930 are set down as warriors.

The statistics of the Indian population collected by Colonel Bouquet, and published at Philadelphia, in 1766, proceed to the other extreme, and, instead of confining the enumeration to tribes which were visited, contiguous, or known, he not only extended it to tribes residing beyond the region, and outside of the limits of the British territory, but, also, frequently, under various synonymes, or soubriquets, duplicated or triplicated the same tribes.

After discarding these redundancies, limiting the estimate of the tribes to the ratio of that of Sir William, and correcting the evident confusion existing between the number of fighting men and the gross population of the tribes, as in the note, 350 the table of Bouquet does not exhibit, on the same area, a gross variance from the corresponding parts of the Superintendent's list. He does not show that the entire Indian force in the west, residing east of the Mississippi river, numbered over 30,950 souls, or 6210 fighting men. To these he has added (see note below) 11,350 southern Indians, comprising the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and the small tribes of the Catabas and Natchez,

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who are estimated at 2250 warriors. As if to evidence the peril from which he had escaped, or to show the force that could be brought against the British frontiers, the Sioux, Kansas, and wild prairie tribes of upper Louisiana, west of the Mississippi, are introduced into the estimates. Thus, the entire number of fighting men in his estimates is set down at 56,500, which, by the data he furnishes, would indicate a gross population of 283,000 souls, a most extravagant computation. 351

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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