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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

[Northern superintendency],   pp. 34-65 PDF (12.8 MB)


Page 48

CHIPPEWAS OF THE 'MISSISSIPPI. 
it very judiciously, perhaps as much so as any white man would; 
while others used it as other white men would, for that which was of 
no use to them-whiskey being a leading article. After they ascer- 
tained there would be a spring payment, quite a number of them came 
to me and borrowed money for the purpose of buying seed, their pay- 
ment not being quite early enough for that purpose. 
Many of the Mississippi bands, for the first time, planted, tended, 
and would have raised good crops, had it not been for the grasshop- 
pers, which made their appearance on the 28th of July, and literally 
swept the whole country. This is to be regretted this year more than 
any previous one, for it may discourage the new beginners and drive 
them back again to the chase. There is only about half the usual 
crop of rice, and, as a matter of course, the Chippewas have a hard 
winter before them. 
Since the employ~s (who were frequently stationed at the cross 
trails and other places for the purpose of destroying whiskey) have 
been discharged, the Indians have taken advantage of it, and have 
brought more whiskey into the country this year than usual. 
I am stationed five miles west of the Mississippi river, where it is 
necessary my whole time should be occupied, for there is no telling 
when a load of goods or provisions may arrive, and there is no one to 
receive and store them but myself. In the mean time the Indians go 
below, buy whiskey, bring it up to the mouth of the Crow Wing, and 
then up the Mississippi, there being no one below to stop them or 
destroy it, although they pass by the doors of two churches, two jus- 
tices of the peace, and three missionaries, the latter of whom speak 
their language well. In Morrison county, where the whiskey is sold, 
there are not over twenty legal jurors, after selecting the grand jury; 
half of whom have sooner or later, directly or indirectly, been engaged 
in the whiskey traffic. Then, what chance is there to prevent it by 
law ?  Sir, I have seen it tried. When General Fletcher was here 
with the Winnebagoes, he made his best efforts to bring those whis- 
key sellers to justice, (and I consider him as thorough and efficient 
an agent as there is in the Indian country.) I attended court with 
him; he had some twelve or fifteen of his Indians with him, at an ex- 
pense of perhaps thirty dollars per day ; found some twenty indict- 
ments. Among the number was one against a Chippewa widow wo- 
man, on whom he proved, in the most positive terms, that she had 
sold whiskey to the Indians at different times ; all the evidence was 
perfectly plain, and no rebutting testimony. The jury was out a few 
minutes and acquitted her. The general "caved" and informed me
that if I intended to have the Chippewas keep tavern for his Indians, 
he wished I would furnish them with better liquor. He then went to 
the old widow and bought her off by paying her some blankets, cloth, 
&c., and she quit the business. The balance of the indictments were 
never prosecuted. But the whiskey traffic can be prevented; I can 
find men to do it, but they must be paid ; men will not work without 
pay. If the Indian department authorize me to draw for that purpose, 
to some limited amount, I will see that it is properly applied. 
In relation to the agency and payment at Leech Lake, I will refer 
you to my last annual report, which explains the whole matter. 
48 


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