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 Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters private contracts. In early 1837, the Corn- comprehensive national removal policy missioner dispatched a trusted investi- was then being implemented, no hint of gator, Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock, to such a provision was contained in these evaluate the situation. He reported that instructions or expressed during actual water-power sites and locations for dams negotiations. On the contrary, Governor and impoundments along the streams in Dodge was directed to press for use of the the pinery region, vital for timbering, proceeds for long-term local Chippewa were few in number. Hence, unregulated, social and economic development on their the American Fur Company's successors remaining lands in Wisconsin and Minnecould quickly obtain exclusive control of sota and to determine whether the western timber resources, which would block Chippewa bands would allow the United broader development of the region. From States to resettle the Ottawa and ChipFort Snelling, Agent Taliaferro reinforced pewa of Michigan among them. From the Hitchcock's reports, emphasizing—so he perspective of Washington and the ofclaimed—the opposition of these en- ficials of Wisconsin Territory, there was trepreneurs to government interests and yet no need to bring about the dislocation the growing antagonism of the Chippewa and westward "removal" of these Chipto them. Later, Wisconsin's territorial pewa bands. Instead, they were expected governor, Henry Dodge, expressed addi- eventually to resettle voluntarily among tional reasons for defining a serious threat their kin to the north and west. 24 in the efforts of this cabal: they were, he Practical arrangements for this parley charged, loyal to British interests.22 Thus, created immediate and long-range probin addition to the concern with maintain- lems. Since the Lake Superior Chippewa ing the government's ascendancy in had been in an administrative never-never managing Indians and the need to pro- land (their villages were located between mote extraction of pine timber vital for and remote from the Indian agencies at regional development, two Jacksonian Sault Ste Marie and Fort Snelling), they specters hovered over the preliminaries to had never been effectively served by any the Chippewa's first land cession: the Indian agent.25 The latter place was conthreats of private monopoly and of in- venient to Governor Dodge's offices in creased British incursions into the econ- Mineral Point, close to the Mississippi omy of the Northwest frontier. Under- River traffic-way in extreme southwestern neath, however, the real threat was one of Wisconsin. But his selection of Fort Snellold-resident, locally influential mdi- ing as the treaty grounds placed arviduals to the established Democratic pa- rangements for the meeting in the enertronage system, interests that threatened getic hands of Agent Taliaferro. Taliathe flow of political benefits to the faith- ferro was rarely slack in promoting the inful. terests of Indians within his jurisdiction— In May, 1837, Governor Dodge received in this instance the Chippewa bands of the instructions for this first Lake Superior Upper Mississippi—nor reluctant to Chippewa land sale. Therein the Commis- thwart the influence of his rival at the sioner of Indian Affairs narrowly em- Mackinac Island-Sault Ste Marie Agency, phasized to him the importance of acquir- Henry R. Schoolcraft. Thus from the ing the pine lands but forbade recognition start, the Mississippi bands, only a small of any existing private leases for lumber- fraction of whose lands were involved in ing, which in the end only provoked a this negotiation, were administratively land-rush for key sites even before the much favored. treaty was ratified (Fig. 1).23 Although a The second cluster of Chippewa in8
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