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)
Wisconsin Death March and economic future. The "tribal" boun- reaches us on the Mississippi . . . we wish dary agreements, for example, were in- to know when we might have our expectatended to ease, and were later used for, tions realized. "p land sale negotiations, whereas at Fond Unknown to the Chippewa, American du Lac (Duluth) in 1826, American nego- authorities were already moving to artiators had obtained a vaguely defined range a cession of portions of their lands. privilege from the Chippewa: "to search That February the Senate had directed the for, and carry away, any metals or mm- Executive Branch to arrange a purchase erals from any part of their country."8 of tracts north of the Wisconsin River. Sixteen years later, when at La Pointe the Seen from Washington, the aim was to Chippewa were pressed hard to cede their obtain control of the shores of Lake last remaining lands east of the Missis- Michigan and the Upper Mississippi, both sippi River, this seemingly minor stipula- to make the whole course of that stream tion about exploration for mineral sam- the "barrier" between Indians and the ples was used as a weapon to defeat their organized states and territories and to resistance. gain legitimate access to the vast pine For nearly a decade following ac- forests of the region.2° The latter knowledgement of their dependent status, represented a legislative response to the few new settlers or entrepreneurs ap- growing demand for pine lumber to build peared among them, especially in the the proliferating new towns of the Missisinterior away from the watercourses. sippi Valley, a demand that had far outThen, in 1836, a variety of developments distanced the supply of reasonably priced prompted both Chippewa leaders and lumber shipped from western New York American authorities to arrange the first and Pennsylvania. Moreover, on the of a series of land cession treaties. Among edges of the Chippewa's pine forests prothe Chippewa, the initiative came, signifi- per, a coterie of long-resident entreprecantly, from those along the upper Missis- neurs, recognizing a profitable new sippi River, who with other bands were in- market when they heard of it, were creasingly disturbed by declining income already maneuvering to obtain private from the fur trade and were jealous of control of these valuable Chippewa neighboring native peoples receiving resources. These were the old-line prinannuities from the United States when cipals in the fur trade, the heirs and they had none. Taking advantage of assigns of the dismantled American Fur Joseph N. Nicollet's exploration of the Company, as well as smaller independent Mississippi's headwaters, these Chippewa traders, led by such notables as Hercules sent a delegation with this French L. Ilousman, SamuelC. Stambaugh, H. H. astronomer-mathematician on his return Sibley, William Aitken, and Alexis to Fort Snelling. There Flat Mouth of the Bailey. Pillager band near Leech Lake, the most For a number of years, these experiprominent leader among the Mississippi enced local residents had been exploiting bands, declaimed a list of their miseries their personal ties among the Chippewa and wants. Other tribes, including the and other tribes, obtaining from them Chippewa of Michigan, he complained to leases for sawmill sites and timber cutting Agent Lawrence Taliaferro, "are doing rights in "Indian country."2' Operating better than us. They have treaties we hear, in the gray areas of Federal Indian law, and they have goods and money. . . . We their activities were scarcely slowed by an hear of treaties every day with our Nation imperative directive from the Commison the lakes and yet not a plug of tobacco sioner of Indian Affairs prohibiting such 7
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