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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1865
([1865])

Mackinac agency,   pp. 449-454 PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 453

MACKINAC AGENCY.                      453 
the time, and now would gladly wish to have the disgusting accounts of 
them forever blotted from our recollection and from history. 
And yet how much greater crimes, and disgusting even, have a lighter 
skin been guilty of recently in waging a most unjust and cruel war against
the best and most liberal government the world ever was blest with. Few,
if any, among us, now that the rebellion is most effectually put down, de-
mand the extermination of the white race, nor even of the " chivalric"
por- 
tion of it, who organized and prosecuted it with such recklessness, and,
in 
many instances, with such horrible barbarities, immensely wicked and 
infamous as they and their strange work have made themselves. 
The land matters of the Indians of this agency seem to require special 
attention at the hands of the department. The Ottawas and Chippewas, 
iumbering about five thousand souls, have fourteen reservations, covering
in round numbers about one thousand square miles. Several of their reser-
vations are eligibly located, and possess a fertile soil, and are looked
upon 
with longing eyes by the whites who are now flocking into the northern 
portion of the State. Not many of these persons have ventured to enter 
upon and appropriate lands on these reservations yet ; but the tide of emi-
gration is now setting so strongly towards the newer sections of the State,
where these reservations are located, that it will be difficult, without
the 
most stringent regulations, to prevent extensive trespasses. There is one
reservation where already numerous white families have settled. I refer to
the one located in Lelenaw county, between Grand Traverse bay and Lake 
Michigan, and covering an area of about one hundred and fifty square miles.
I am assured that something like one hundred white families have already
settled on this reservation, and that additions to the number are frequently
made. 
Whether the existing treaty should remain unchanged, and the "exclu-
sive privilege" of purchasing lands on these reservations for "five
years" 
be retained by the Indians, or whether an equitable arrangement should be
made with them, and a fair remuneration made to them for the surrender of
this privilege, are questions which demand the serious consideration of the
department. In any arrangement that may be made, or attempted, the 
rights and interests of the Indians should be scrupulously guarded. This
their dependent condition, as well as their legal and equitable claim upon
the reservation, should insure to them. 
During the next four years the sum of $206,000 is to be paid to the Otta-
was and Chippewas under the stipulations of the treaty of July 31, 1855.
I 
believe that their interests would be promoted by expending, with their ap-
proval, of course, a portion of this money for the support of smith-shops
and 
schools amonW them, for the purchase of building materials, and perhaps,
also, for agricultural implements and cattle. Without aid from this source,
the schools and smith-shops must soon be discontinued.  The loss of either
would be severely felt. 
It is also well worthy of consideration, whether it would not be well for
them to invest a portion of this fund in lands for the younger members of
their families. Only those who Were twenty-one years of age at the making
of the present treaty received land under the same. Hence a large portion
of the young men and women are without land and without the means of 
purchasing it. It is doubtless important for an Indian, as well as a white
man, to have a permanent home,'and to feel it is his own. Hence it seems
to me that it would be a wise and judicious course to secure homes to the
young above mentioned through the agency of the fund referred to. 
I also earnestly recommend that provisions be made for paying to the In-
dians of the agency the value of the premium on the coin they were entitled
to receive as annuities for the years 1863 and 1864. Those two years they
2I 


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