University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Haywood, Carl N. (ed.) / Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume 75 (1987)

Clifton, James A.
Wisconsin death march: explaining the extremes in old northwest Indian removal,   pp. 1-40 PDF (18.7 MB)

Page 6

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters 
ily assimilable Indians might be avoided War of 1812, declining British invitations
by relocating them "permanently" in a to join in active military
huge western Indian Territory on lands Thus, not considered enemies by Amenthat
would be forever theirs. By 1850, this can authorities, they did not participate
in was no more a realistic plan than was the any of the several subsequent
peace abortive parallel policy of reducing sec- treaties pressed on neighboring
Indians— tional tensions over slavery by repatniat- including related
Chippewa bands—when ing Afro-Americans to Liberia.'6 hostilities
These postwar compacts The political pressure for Indian Re- restored the
status quo antebellum and removal was effectively removed by events quired
a fresh acknowledgement of of the latter 1840s, which saw the American authority
in the region, which emergence of a geographically larger, the Lake Superior
Chippewa had yet to socially more complex United States. The deliver. Moreover,
throughout the renew continental nation was far more moval era, the Lake
Superior Chippewa diverse ethnically than it had been when continued a century-old
pattern of warthe removal and repatriation schemes fare against their Dakota
neighbors, as were conceived. Nevertheless, through the good a measure as
any of their autarchy 1830s and 1840s the promise of perma- and a major concern
of Americans atnency of tenure on tribal lands in an ex- tempting to impose
peace on this frontier. clusively Indian Territory legislated in the Such
concerns were expressed between 1830 Removal Act (essentially a segre- 1825
and 1827, when three treaties were gated native homeland or apartheid required
at last to bring all these small, policy) was confirmed in every proper scattered
Chippewa bands under some removal treaty. No such stipulation was measure
of American authority.'7 These included in those negotiated with the Lake
agreements established the meets and Superior Chippewa in 1837 and 1842 for
bounds of Lake Superior Chippewa the cession of their lands east of the lands,
declared a "peace" between the Mississippi. The 1850 effort to
dislodge Chippewa
and their Indian neighbors, them from Wisconsin and to resettle them defined
a new subordinate political status near Sandy Lake—east of the
for them, and included provisions for 
—involved a temporary location only, be- modest educational services
and the paycause of their specific history of dealings ment of a minor annual
annuity. So far as with the United States. American authorities were concerned,
Occupying the farthest northwestern these Chippewa thereby became depenreaches
of the Old Northwest, the Lake dent client societies. 
Superior Chippewa were the last Indians Yet for a decade these agreements
had of that Territory to have their indepen- little consequence for the daily
lives of dence erased by formal treaty agreement these Indians. No lands
were ceded, while with the United States. Although placed the small annuity
fund and scanty Indian under nominal American sovereignty in Office services
provided were delivered the 1783 Treaty of Paris and again in the mainly
to those Chippewa living near Treaty of Greenville in 1795, this was a Sault
Ste Marie. For another full decade, status unknown to these Indians—who
re- contacts between the Lake Superior Chipmained in a position of unqualified
pewa and Americans, other than traders political autonomy. The degree of
their and a few ineffective missionaries, recontinuing independence was marked
by mained occasional and minor. However, two developments. Unlike other foraging
these three treaties expressed the legal bands near them, they had sat out
the foundation for the Chippewa's political 

Go up to Top of Page