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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 7

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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