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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855

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

Page 54

The Pillager and Lake Winnibigoshish bands were much pleased 
at the quantity and variety of goods given them at their annuity 
payment. I think it a fortunate circumstance that the instructions to 
divide the payment was received too late for action, and all the goods 
and money paid to them at the same time. Previous to the return of 
the chiefs from Washington, last spring, some fiendish parties 
poisoned the minds of the Indians against the treaty, telling them 
that their lands had been sold for a song and perhaps three bits in 
money; so much confidence did this suspicious people place in the 
authors of this report that they broke into the store of George Bungo, 
a half-breed trader, and stripped it of its contents and threatened his 
life, killed the horse of another half-breed, giving as a reason that 
those parties were friendly to the treaty, and had assisted the chiefs 
from Leech Lake to Crow Wing on their way to Washington.    After 
the return of the chiefs, and the provisions of the treaty had been 
explained to them, so suspicious are they, and prone to receive the 
counsels of the evil disposed, that they sought the lives of the chiefs;
and, even after the goods had been received at the agency, not aware 
of the quantity which each would receive, they were loud in their 
demonstrations-so much so that I was obliged to send to Fort 
Ripley for a guard, fearing an outbreak.  In the last instance they 
were instigated and encouraged by the counsels of one James Tanner, 
a half-breed, who manages to gull the good people of New York and 
Boston out of a livelihood, under pretence of being a Christian 
teacher; as soon as he was arrested and removed to the fort, (he had 
previously been removed from the Indian country, Sault Ste. Marie,) 
they became more quiet. When the goocjs were divided among them, 
the quantity was so much greater than they had any idea of, that 
they, to a man, gave up their opposition, expressed great regret at 
the course pursued, and promised good behavior for the future, and 
offered as an excuse that they had been influenced by bad men, not 
the least of whom was the man before named. 
The Pillager and Lake Winnebigoshish bands have made, by treaty 
with the government, provision for the breaking of lands and the em- 
ployment of laborers to assist them in its cultivation, consequently the
presence of the agent is required among them. The Mississippi In- 
dians have dispensed with all their employes, hence there is no neces- 
sity of the agent remaining at Crow Wing. I suggest, therefore, to 
the department that the agency dwelling be built at Leech Lake, 'tis 
there where the payments will be made to the Pillager and Lake 
Winnebigoshish bands; 'tis there, too, where the store-house, council- 
house, and office must be erected, hence the most suitable place for an 
agency dwelling; 'tis, too, the most central reservation. 
The buildings above mentioned should be built early in the coming 
spring, to be ready for the next payment. These buildings will, of 
necessity, in this far off country, be built of logs, which should be got
out during the winter and hauled where required, as it can be done 
much cheaper then than in the summer ; in the spring it will be al- 
most impossible to procure them. 
A mistake was made in the wording of the late treaty with regard 
to the reservation at Cass Lake. The Indians were promised the land 

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