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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1855
([1855])

[Minnesota superintendency],   pp. 48-68 PDF (8.7 MB)


Page 53

COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.                  53 
Indians, who made no use of it. I was much pleased that the chief 
clerk of the Interior Department was present and saw the goods 
opened, that some plan may be adopted to prevent such damage in the 
futur6. Various contracts are made for the transportation of goods 
from the place of purchase to the place of delivery. I only know the 
contractor from St. Paul to the place of destination. Permit me to 
suggest to the department the propriety of having but one contractor 
for transportation to the place of distribution. If goods are damaged 
on the way the government will know whom to call on to make good 
all damages that may occur. 
Difficulties have arisen between the Mille Lac Indians and the lum- 
bermen engaged in that country. 
Several years since, a company engaged in lumbering erected a dam 
across Rum river, the outlet of Mille Lac lake; the land upon which 
this dam was built belonged to the government. By the late treaty 
the government, in part payment for the large tract of land sold by 
the Indians, gave them four fractional townships around the outlet of 
Mille Lacs, (or thousand lakes.) These townships include the dam 
and the country two miles beyond. At the mouth of the outlet are 
several small lakes, known as rice fields; from these fields the Indians
gather from three to five thousand bushels of rice annually, worth 
from four to five dollars per bushel. The maintainance of this dam, 
by flooding these fields, or raising the waters in these small lakes, 
destroys from two-thirds to the whole of the crop. The Indians have 
frequently raised the gates and let the water off. I cannot blame 
them; the dam is on their own land-land, their right to which the 
government is just as firmly bound to protect as it is to pay them their
annuities-and the Indians mainly depend upon this criop for a sub- 
sistence. Some arrangement should be made by which the rights of 
the Indians to their own land should be respected. In connexion with 
this subject I will remark, that the various reservations guaranteed to 
the Indians by their late treaty should be surveyed, and the boundaries 
marked. Emigration to this whole territory is very great; the whites 
are constantly trespassing upon these reservations, which is a fruitful 
source of difficulty. 
Early in the summer I called your excellency's attention fo the sub- 
ject of breaking lands on the Mille Lac reservation. From a personal 
inspection, I judged that the work could not be done for less than $30 
to $35 per acre, it being heavily timbered, but excellent land. I 
noticed an advertisement inviting proposals, since which time I have 
heard nothing. Those Indians are very anxious that the stipulations 
in their treaty should be carried out. 
I regret very much that the Indians at their last council, after pay- 
ment, requested the school to be discontinued, and the money kept for 
next year's annuities. I regret this action on the part of the Indians, 
as I believe the Rev. J. Loyd Breck was doing more good to them in 
the expenditure of the school money than can be done by the expen- 
diture of the money in any other way. Mr. Breck is certainly doing 
the Indians more good than any man I ever knew or heard of that has 
been among them. The Pillagers desire that if a school is established 
among them that the Rev. J. Loyd Breck may have charge of it. 


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