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)
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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