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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 I. — Movements of Algonquin Tribes in the Region of the Upper Lakes.

FROM early times the Chippewas had, under their generic appellation, and the various local names of their several subdivisions, constituted one of the most powerful bodies of Indians in the North-West. In a region half covered with lakes, to be good canoemen, expert warriors, keen hunters, active foresters, and eloquent speakers, are most important qualifications in the members of the tribes. The name Chippewa appears to have imperceptibly taken the place of that of Algonquin, the language they speak. Having been friends of the French, from the period of their landing in Canada, they adhered to the fortunes of that nation until the final surrender of the country to the English, when they transferred their attachment to the latter power. They fought for the French on the bloody field which was the scene of Braddock's defeat, at Michilimackinac, and at Detroit; and aided their new allies, the British, at St. Clair's defeat, and in almost every battle fought during the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary wars. At length, having been defeated on the Thames, under Tecumseh, by General Harrison, they returned to their several haunts, vexed and dissatisfied. In 1820, they opposed the entrance of an official American exploratory expedition into Lake Superior, and hoisted the British flag in defiance. Two years subsequently, an American garrison was stationed, and an Indian agency located, at the foot of that lake, and intercourse opened

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with them. Some few years later, the British withdrew the post from Drummond Island, at the entrance of the straits of St. Mary, and, retiring to the foot of Lake Huron, at Penetanguishing, planted an Indian colony on the large limestone chain of the Manatouline, where the tribes were invited to settle by Sir Francis Head, without respect to the political boundaries of their home location. This policy was ill judged. The Indians, as a body, did not wish to engage in agriculture, and such as did, found the soil was poor, and that there existed no compensating advantages. Many of the tribes lived in the United States, and received annuities, which they must relinquish by permanently migrating to the Manatouline. Hence the failure of the plan. Having been warriors and hunters during all that period of their history known to us, that is, from 1608 to 1836, these tribes still continued to pursue the same vocations, with the difference, that the wars in which they had been allies of Europeans having terminated, they were destitute of employment, while, at the same time, their hunting-grounds were exhausted. War had reduced their numbers, and the declining fur trade had left them in debt. But one general mode of recruiting their affairs remained to them; they were possessed of immense tracts of lands, some of which were of a rich agricultural character; others contained valuable mines, and were covered with forests of timber; while the lake shores were valuable fisheries. Many millions of square miles intervened between their extreme borders. To cede a portion of their lands, in consideration of annuities, and to pledge a part for the establishment of schools, arts, and agriculture in their midst, was, clearly, the proper course to be pursued; and, for this purpose, a large delegation of the chiefs visited Washington, during the autumn and winter of 1835-36, where they were joined by a similar delegation of the Ottawas. With respect to the Manatouline scheme, it required means, which the British Government withheld, and industry, which the Indians did not possess. Besides, if they were inclined to form industrious habits, the most advantageous position for their exercise would be that pointed out by the American Government, in the fertile fields of the West.

A few of their oldest and most sagacious men having been made to comprehend this fact, and urged to turn their attention to a permanent state of future prosperity, other members of the tribes became favorably inclined towards the plan. The Canada colony caused some local disturbance among the tribes, but never made much progress. So long as ample presents were distributed, the Indians went to Canada for them; they spent the summer months on the Manatouline, but returned to winter on their lands in the United States.

The Chippewa tribe had always exercised an important influence. These natives were, personally, a tall, active, and brave race of men, renowned, in Indian story, for prowess in war, skill in the chase and diplomacy, and for their exellent oratorical powers. It was observed by the French, at a very early period, that they possessed a body of oral legendary lore which made their lodge circles attractive, and an ingenious mode of distinguishing family ties and clans, by totemic devices, or pictographic symbols.

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A similar system of ideographic signs was used to supply the place of the art of notation, for
their songs, and for brief memorials, displayed on their cedar grave-posts. 623

The policy of the United States Government being, to remove all the tribes from the States to the lands west of the Mississippi, it became desirable to ascertain the wishes and feelings of a tribe which had figured so prominently in Indian history. The Chippewas and Ottowas speak dialects of the same language, 624 very much resemble each other in manners and customs, and either live in juxtaposition, or intermingle.

When the delegates of the co-tribes arrived at Washington, the Secretary of War, to whom the government of Indian affairs at that time pertained, and who, having formerly resided in the West, was aware that the two tribes were intercalated, and held their lands very much in common, directed the Chippewa chiefs to be present at the conferences, and entrusted the negotiation to their local agent,
Mr. Schoolcraft. The conferences occupied the entire season, delegates having been invited from remote points, and the deliberations were protracted; but, on the 28th of March, they united in a general cession. 625 The Ottawas and Chippewas of Grand Traverse Bay ceded all their territories, extending from Grand River, on the lower peninsula, to the Straits of Michilimackinac, thence north of the basin of Lake Huron, along the Straits of St. Mary's, to Lake Superior, and up its southern shores to the influx of Gitche Seebi, or the Great River; thence to the river Menomonee of Green Bay, and, along a water line, to the place of beginning at Grand River Lake, Michigan.

The cession of 1836 was far the largest ever made by this tribe; including hunting-grounds, homesteads, burial-grounds, and ossuaries, which they had possessed and cherished for centuries. Seas were, in fact, comprised within the limits of the territory ceded; for the character and amplitude of the lakes entitles them to be so called. About 16,000,000 acres of these lands were located in the upper peninsula, or Algoma region, along the shores of Lake Superior, without estimating any portion of those situate in lower Michigan. Ample reservations of the best tracts were secured to them in different locations; upwards of $3,000,000 were stipulated to be paid them in annuities, within twenty years; $300,000 to be expended in liquidation of their debts; $150,000 to be distributed in gratuities to their half-breed descendants; and presents of goods and clothing, to the amount of $150,000, to be made them on the ratification of the treaty. Ample provision was made for their education, and for their tuition in agriculture and the arts. Their surplus lands, which had lost their value as hunting-grounds, thus furnished the means, not only for their present subsistence, but also for their instruction

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in arts and letters, and for their advancement in every element of civilized life. The number of persons who participated in these benefits was about 4500. In a report of the superintendent, made to the Government on the 30th of September, 1840, they are returned from the pay rolls, as organized in their separate bands and villages, at 5020 souls. 626 The results of four years' experience and observation of their habits and prospects, had, at that period, given data to decide whether a mixed occupation of the territory would be permanently beneficial. It is remarked that insuperable causes of dislike and dissension exist between the European and Indian stocks, and that the latter cannot long reside in prosperity on their reservations. The question of their removal and final location in the West, began to assume importance, and became the subject of animated discussion among themselves. "It is not probable" adds the agent, "that any provision can be made for the aboriginal race, which promises to be so effectual as their transference to, and colonization in, a separate territory, where they cannot be reached by the evils now pressing upon them, or thwarted in their peculiar government and laws. If the Indian is ever successfully to assert his claims to distinction among the races of men, it must be under circumstances which will give latitude to the peculiar bent and tastes of aboriginal intellect." 627

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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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