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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1857

Mackinac agency,   pp. 27-46 PDF (6.6 MB)

Page 27

MACKINAC AGENCY.                        27 
No. 5. 
Detroit, October 20, 1 857. 
SIR: I embrace the earliest opportunity after my return from the 
distribution of the government annuities to the Chippewas of Lake 
Superior to submit the annual report of this agency. 
In my recent visit to the Indians in the Lake Superior country, I 
availed myself of every opportunity to ascertain their condition, wants 
and prospects. 
I was happy to find that in most of them a marked change was 
going on in their minds and feelings in reference to their future 
The fact that most of them have no fixed habitations, and the roving 
disposition that has ever characterized the race, clearly evince that 
they have never fully appreciated the idea of home, With its comforts, 
conveniences and endearments. 
Their possessions have ever been in common, and marked by exten- 
sive boundary lines, and only valuable to them as they could pursue 
the chase and secure the game for present subsistence. 
The dissoluteness and improvidence, the want of regard for the 
marriage relation, and that other great evil so common among them, 
especially with the men, laziness, with its kindred influences, may be 
readily traced to a cause or causes not beyond the ken of the observing 
and thoughtful. 
The late treaties made by the government with nearly all the In- 
dians in this agency have provided, in due form, what I regard as 
essential to their elevation and prosperity, viz: the agricultural and 
educational provisions made for them; colonizing them from their 
scattered localities upon ample reservations; and their giving to each 
family, each unmarried person over twenty-one years of age, and each 
orphan child, a liberal amount of land, with proper restrictions as to 
the power of alienation. 
At each of the points where payments were made, those to whom 
reservations had been assigned expressed a strong desire that the land 
should be immediately surveyed, and they would forthwith select their 
lots and begin to improve them. 
For the Chippewas of Lake Superior, six reservations have already 
been made; two of them have been partially surveyed, the remaining 
four are unsurveyed. 
The reservations are- 
1st. Grand Portage. 
2d. Fond du Lac. 
3d. Old Buffalo's, for his band. 
4th. Bad river. 
5th. L'Anse bay, west side. 
6th. L'Anse bay, east side. 

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